The Need For Thneed?

The Lorax was the first movie I took Miss Logical to see at the cinema and it has since become one of our all time favourites.

It is based on the Dr Seuss book ‘The Lorax’ (of which we own the eco-edition – released at the same time as the movie on 100% recycled paper – how cool is that!) and I think of this book as my bible for slowing down, taking your time and not forgetting to care.

Both the book and the movie remind us of the delicate balance between consumerism and the environment with thought provoking lines such as,

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

This movie is lots of fun for all ages with colorful songs reinforcing The Lorax’s subtle (or not so subtle) message.

The standout moment in the movie for me is the song ‘How bad can I be?’ with The Once-ler, whose Thneed (it’s a thing you need) empire represents big corporation and mass overproduction, singing,

“How bad can I be, just look at me patting this puppy? How bad can I be? A portion of proceeds go to charity!”

This song and the movie as a whole puts into words something I have always struggled with.

Do we forgive the troubling practices undertaken by some large corporations if they also do good things?

I can’t help but wonder, who have they stepped on or squeezed out of the market to get to a point of being able to make considerable profit, yet also advertise a measure of goodwill.

For example, if a large corporation changed the market by making, I don’t know, let’s say milk, an unreasonably low price thereby forcing local farmers into unsustainable business practice (or out of business), should we all then sigh a collective ‘awww’ when they recycle plastic products, turn them into outdoor furniture for Primary Schools and Kindergartens and claim to be community focussed? (All hypothetical of course…)

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

What do you think?

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