Today was the birthday of the marvelous Theodor Geisel. As a man who brought the world so many wonderful children’s books under the name Dr. Seuss, it is of course, one of those days that is frequently celebrated in schools across the country. Children and teachers dress up as their favorite characters and the cafeterias serve green eggs and ham. These events are not limited to schools as March 2nd is often a day for adults to share their childhood with the youth of today. Everywhere there are people reading to children and getting lost in the rhythm of Dr. Seuss. Even Melania spent some time reading Oh the Places You’ll Go to a group of children at a New York City hospital.
My personal choice to read today was The Lorax. It has always been a favorite of mine and admittedly I would have read either of these books today. These two books both have powerful messages. The first addresses the need to dream and to reach for more in everything you do. The second reminds people of the importance of looking after the world we live upon.
For anyone who has been watching the developments as they unfurl in the capital, I am sure you can guess where my mind went as I wove my way through the familiar cadence, the words popping from my lips in a steady beat. The world of the Once-ler and the mess he created sprawled out on the pages before me, carrying my mind to the actions that seem to be happening in rapid succession in Washington. The focus, as of late, is to deregulate the businesses. Let them do whatever they want, however they want, because it should all be about profit. Regulations designed to protect the environment are on the chopping block and we are all going to pay the price.
Recently there have been articles appearing all over the internet that claim to show pictures of what the United States looked like before we started to step up and take care of the environment. While I am not sure of the legitimacy of all of the pictures that are included, I can attest to the fact that we were doing a lot of damage. Businesses were dumping first and avoiding questions later. Waste wasn’t processed and the pollution was immense. Why else would a children’s author be inspired in 1971 to write a book about the destruction of the environment for the sake of profit?
As someone who was born at the start of the 70’s and grew up in Southern California, I remember all too well the appearance of the smog as it hung in the air on a hot summer day. I remember when McD’s stopped using Styrofoam and moved toward paper based wrapping. I also recall when recycling started to be more of an expectation instead of a nice idea.
At this very moment there is a man running the EPA who does not believe that it needs to exist. He has a history of siding with businesses and helping them to skirt regulations as they try to maximize their profit. This entire administration does not see value in leaving an inhabitable planet for the future as long as they can make a fortune today.
In a very short time the repugnants have shown that they are going to focus on maximizing the outcomes for businesses as they strive to get “biggered and biggered.” I find myself wondering if they even have paused a moment to consider the impact their choices are going to have on the entirety of the planet? The world is all interconnected. There are no giant domes that keep what happens in the United States only in the U.S. If we pollute the water we are messing with the entire planets limited resource. When we add gases and chemicals to the air we are adding it to the air of everyone. There is no closed system that shuts off from everyone else what we do here.
Of course, the response will be, from some, well they are doing it over in such and such country. That argument didn’t work in kindergarten and it sure as hell doesn’t work here. We are supposed to be grown-ups who realize that our actions are all interconnected. Nothing is done on this planet in isolation. There is no one place on this planet that is more important than another, despite the ra-ra make us great rhetoric that is spewing from the mouths of those who are desperate. Desperate to elevate themselves upon the backs of others and willing to do any old immoral thing to pull it off.
So today as I flipped through the pages of the very familiar book I started to think, what would my avoidance driven representative think of these simple rhymes? Would he get the importance of a message near 50 years old? With everything that is developing in the halls of congress, could they not stand a simple yet treasured refresher course on the concept of “unless?”
Tomorrow, an order I will place. Five copies will be sent: a representative, two senators, the EPA, and a President. As they return to pages written in their youth, they will be perhaps guided to the truth. Perhaps for just a moment they will see and decide to set the planet free. Who knows what the outcome will be?