The Lorax Extra Credit

Choose 2: (Watch movie)


Sustainable development is an important (and complicated) idea for all human beings to understand. SD is the current worldwide attempt by planners, leaders, and scientists to conduct human activities in such a way that the environment is preserved. Although there is still much confusion and discussion, there appear to be four basic parts of SD - human needs, technology needs, economics needs, and environmental needs. Let's consider each of these new definitions.

"Human needs" refers to the basics of human life. The primary needs include income, shelter, food, water, safety, and health. Certainly, others might argue that educational and spiritual components should be included. And certainly there are differences between regions, nations, and continents. Individuals living in developed, industrialized countries have, for the most part, greater opportunities to meet basic needs than individuals living in developing or underdeveloped countries.

"Economic needs" refers to monetary systems used by human beings in their activities. With the exception of primitive tribes, few humans in today's world can themselves meet all their basic needs. Rather, they specialize in a particular good and/or serviced by others. For example, bakers make bread; ranchers raise cattle; truckers transport bread, cattle and other goods. These goods and/or services that are needed by others are then bartered (i.e. traded) or exchanged for money. Money is a symbol of the value humans place on goods and/or services. Then, the bakers, ranchers, and others buy other goods and/or services they need. Thus, over time the exchange of goods and services for money has developed into complicated economic systems, the discussion of which is far beyond the scope of The LORAX. The important idea is that in today's world, individuals and nations operate within a complicated system based on the exchange of money for resources, goods, knowledge, and/or services. Further, most individuals (and nations) seek to improve their economic status, increasing their incomes in order that more goods and/or services can be bought.

"Technology needs" refers to the tools, methods, and/or systems used by humans. These include energy production, the use of natural resources, manufacturing, communication, transportation, and others. Humans use technologies to help them meet their economic needs. For example, bakers need ingredients and ovens; truckers need fuel, trucks and highways. Technology assists by saving labor and/or time, increasing production, or increasing health and safety. Unfortunately, the use of technology can sometimes have negative environmental consequences. For example, the mechanical plow led to both increased agricultural production and to increased soil erosion. Many experts now believe that new "environmentally-friendly" technologies must be developed. These technologies should be pollution-free and use renewable energy and natural resources.

"Environmental needs" refers to the protection, preservation, and conservation of biotic and abiotic resources in the natural world. Man's modern history is that of technological development without adequate consideration of environmental effects. Many of the current environmental problems stem from side-effects of inappropriate technology use, e.g., pollution, habitat destruction, resource depletion. Many humans now believe that preservation of the environment must be an important part of all future human activity.

You can see that sustainable development is a tricky idea. It suggests that humans "sustain" the environment by preserving, protecting, and conserving. Yet, economic development is still necessary in all countries, regardless of their current economic status. Many experts believe that this apparent conflict between outcomes is the key to the quality of future human life on the planet and that economic development using environmentally-friendly technology can help promote economic development that sustains the environment. The central SD focus is to balance quality of life with quality of the environment.

After you and your classmates have read The LORAX, please complete 2 of the activities below and complete the task within the "Process"s link.

Choose two of the following activities:

Imagine you are a reporter for a national magazine. Your assignment is to investigate and provide background information on the events and circumstances represented in the book for a feature article. Be creative! Write an “interview” with a character or characters in the book. Create “sidebar” information as lists or notes, as well as the article itself.

Why does the Lorax speak for the trees? Why is it important to speak up for others? Have you ever spoken up for someone else? Has someone else ever spoken up for you?

Continue the story for a few more years. Write it from the point of view of one of the characters. What happened next?

The issues of environmentalism and development are featured in the book . Describe the impacts of development in the land of the Lorax; and specifically its impact on native animals. Research environmental activism. Do you think the think the tactics employed by activists are appropriate? Do you think the characters in the book were right to do what they did? Why or why not?

5.How does the Once-ler's Thneed business hurt the land of the Lorax? What happens to the Swomee-swans, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, and the Humming-fish? How could things have been different if the Once-ler listened to the Lorax?

6.The Once-ler says, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." What does the Once-ler mean? Can one person make a difference? Can you? What are some things you can do to better your own environment?

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