Environmental issues have been out of the public attention for quite long since the dreadful effects of industries on nature were discovered. However, in the XXI century, the old-time conflict of nature vs. nurture seems to have been reborn, seeing how the ABOUT DAKOTA MURPHEY issue has been raised not only in researches (e.g., Nixon’s Slow violence), but also family-friendly movies like The Lorax.
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In the scene that starts with the words “Excuse me, Sir, I need to talk with your boss” (Geisel, 2012), the problem that the movie focuses on its being depicted. As the scene opens with a shot of Once-later in his char, his attempt at justifying his cruel actions towards the nature of the Thneedville and Truffula trees pretty much sums up the environmental problem of the XXI century:
“Bad? I’m not bad; I’m the good guy here. He just doesn’t get it. Do you think I’m bad?” – “Quack.” – “Thank you! I mean, something good finally happens to me, and he just has to come along and rain on my parade! What’s his problem?” – “Quack.” – “See? Yeah, bad. Right.” (Geisel, 2012).
This whole scene shows people’s attitude towards nature in a nutshell. Portraying a careless attitude of the humankind, the movie renders the same issue of the lack of responsibility that Nixon raises in his work. According to Nixon, “The representational challenges are acute, requiring creative ways of drawing public attention to catastrophic” (Nixon, 2006–2007, 15).
While the way in which Nixon pits the key concern of the XXI century is somewhat more obscure and, when taken out of context, can be related to not only environmental, but also to a number of other issues, it still shows that people are apt to make choices without thinking about the consequences, which leads to the most deplorable results.
One might argue that the concern over the state of nature and the effects that people’s actions have on the latter can be considered somewhat overrated.
The plot holes in the movie do not make the argument of the proponents of sustainability any stronger either since the similarities between the real world and the reality portrayed in The Lorax are rather far-fetched. The effects of the tree-chopping process that Once-later started does not seem to have any tangible effect on the world that the residents of the Thneedville live in. The problem of Thneedville was that it was “plastic and fake, and everybody liked it that way” (Geisel, 2012).
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The movie does not explain exactly why a “town without nature” (Geisel, 2012) is a bad idea; the threats of the environmental catastrophe that the lack of natural resources triggers is not displayed. The city is portrayed equally colorful at the beginning of the movie when it had a problem regarding sustainability, and at the end, when Truffula trees finally appeared. The above-mentioned does not help the case of sustainability.
However, much to the movie’s credit, it did manage to convey several interesting ideas, many of which cross with Nixon’s concept of nature and the issues raised by him. Sustainability being the prior concept and the most efficient solution to the problems currently faced by the humankind, the problem of responsibility deserves considerable attention.
Nixon puts the dilemma regarding the progress and the cost for this progress in a much sharper way than the movie does, for a quite understandable reason – being a family-friendly picture, The Lorax cannot threaten its audience with the consequences of unsustainable use of natural resources. However, both the film and the book manage to get across the fact that the problem is becoming more urgent and is slowly getting out of hand.
With that being said, one must admit that environmental changes are an integral part of progress. With every new step that people take to make another scientific discovery and reinvent the production process, creating a new strategy and, perhaps, even a new industry, nature suffers unless precaution measures are taken. Even though the movie might get the message across a bit boggled, it still explains in a very distinct manner that careless actions harm the environment.
Unless people want to pay the consequences and see several species dying out, including flora and fauna, and the humankind being put in a permanent threat of running out of resources, sustainability must be adopted as the key means of treating the environment.
The given idea is also conveyed in Nixon’s work, though approached from a different angle; according to Nixon, people have to take responsibilities for their actions: “How can leaders be goaded to avert catastrophe when the political rewards of their actions will not accrue to them but will be reaped on someone else’s watch decades, even centuries, from now?” (Nixon, 2006–2007, 14).
Even though the concept of sustainable approach presupposes the involvement of several elements apart from responsibility, the art of accounting for their actions is what people currently need to keep the resources safe from pollution and exhaustion.
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Geisel, A. (2012). The Lorax . Retrieved from http://megashare.info/watch-the-lorax-online-TlRBMk1BPT0
Nixon, R. (2006–2007). Slow violence, gender and the environmentalism of the poor. Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, 13 (2)– 14 (1), 14–37.