Promoting the Lorax

In keeping with the Holiday season, the Forest Service announced it is uniting with the Ad Council to promote Universal Pictures’ new movie, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. At least that’s likely how Universal Pictures’ p.r. department spun the story to its board. The Forest Service says that Universal Pictures is promoting forests to kids. [BTW, I've got four teens in the house; they know about forests. They would just rather not have much of anything to do with them.]

My guess is that the Forest Service’s bold partnership will attract the interest of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who wants to cut-off funding for the Forest Service’s public education programs because they are too green.

It would not be the first time pro-logging interests tried to ban the Lorax.

4 Comments

  1. I own this book and read it to my boys. It provides great opportunities to discuss why we need foresters: to make sure we are not cutting too many trees, to plant new ones, to manage forests for wildlife & fish habitat, as well as for the products that we all use every day. In that sense, it may not be a bad thing for the agency to partner with Universal Pictures on a movie version.

    If I was the Forest Service representative partnering with Universal, I would be greatly concerned with how Universal translates the book to the big screen. I have seen several family movies that make the forestry & logging community out to be pure evil, greedily and thoughtlessly destroying the earth for profit. Is that the impression of forestry that the movie/agency will promote? I sure hope not.

    The Lorax is definitely a cautionary tale. The Onceler (not sure of the spelling) clearly makes mistakes, doesn’t provide for regeneration, causes air & water pollution, drives creatures from their habitat. But the Onceler comes to realize some of his mistakes and makes an effort to warn others (for a price) and also provides a seed for a new tree. One of the key messages is that we (society at large and those that manage forests) need to care about the impacts we have on forests, air, water, and wildlife. And unless we care, bad things can happen.

    That being said, “The Lorax” is not a forest management, wildlife biology, or forest ecology text book. It does not present an accurate or well-rounded view of forestry, animals, natural resource businesses, or environmentalists. It is a fictional picture book with rhyming text for children.

    I think too many folks from both the environmental and the wood products camps have made too much of it. I doubt that controversy will go away with the new movie version, but I will still probably see the movie and discuss it with my boys.

  2. Well said, Todd! As kids get older, they should learn more formal forestry basics, with exposure to Doctors Pyne, Covington and Bonnicksen. One of my old Ranger Districts used to have a “Teach the Teachers” day, where a field trip is organized to show what controls are in place, and what good forestry looks like. Teachers were allowed to ask any question, and get understandable answers.

    Yes, trees are good. VERY good. However, more trees aren’t always better.

  3. Re: Mr. Bonnicksen

    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/oct/21/local/me-bonnicksen21

    Snip from article:

    “[Bonnicksen's] always introduced as the leading expert on forest recovery, and he’s just not. There’s nothing in his record other than just talking and hand-waving,” said UCLA ecology professor Philip Rundel, one of several academics who issued an open letter to the media this week questioning Bonnicksen’s credentials. “I don’t care if people print his stuff or not. But he needs to be identified for what he is … a lobbyist.” The letter, signed by two other UC faculty members and the founding dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, accused Bonnicksen of having misrepresented scientific facts, and advancing views that “fall far outside the mainstream of scientific opinion.””

    • He IS a REAL PHD, with peer-reviewed papers, books and such. Just because some “chapparal huggers” are opposed to his views on forest fires, should we bother? Anyone find it odd that they could only find TWO professors, who hate Bonnicksen’s clients, more than his work? Besides, scientists accuse each other of similar things all the time!!! I tend to think his work on atmospheric carbon from wildfires is very important information needed to make land management choices. Of course, the LA Times also likes to take things out of context to support their intense hatred of the Forest Service, and forest sciences.

      AND, by all means Matt, show us those views that “fall far outside the mainstream of scientific opinion.” Also, Bonnicksen seems to agree with Covington and Pyne about a great many things in ecology. Can we also exclude every other “scientist” who has ever “lobbied” in Congress, as well?!? Yes, please show us where all three Doctors are wrong, while you are at it!!

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