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In real life and in fictional worlds, both past and present, we encounter questions of mass environmental destruction on many levels, even to total extinction of civilization. In the short film The Lorax, the land of the Truffula trees is a flourishing paradise filled with happy animals. In the pre-human real land of Easter Island, we find a similar paradise. All is well until the human species is thrown into the mix.
The Lorax discusses the rapid decline of a fictional ecosystem. The Onceler, the main antagonist, begins his destruction by cutting down a single Truffula tree. He finds that he can use the material from the tree to make his beloved product, the Thneed. This single action turns into a money-hungry empire run by the Onceler. The other main character, the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, tries desperately to stop the Onceler’s careless greed. In the end, when the resources run out and the environment has been exhausted, the Onceler sees his carelessness first hand. The animals and trees are all gone, but with the right person they can all come back.
The article Easter’s End by Jared Diamond discusses the decline of a real civilization. Unlike in The Lorax, Easter Island’s demise was a combination of the human and their rat stowaways. The first human settlers found a paradise unlike another and rather than develop a destructive greed for money, they developed a destructive greed for resources. They used their abundance of resources to live life comfortably. The people of Easter Island depleted every last resource to the point of extinction. Rats contributed to the decimation of the trees as they chewed down roots and trunks. But the inhabitants of Easter Island weren’t nearly as lucky as the people, animals, and environment in The Lorax, for once everything was gone, it was forever gone.
Even though The Lorax and Easter’s End had different key issues, they both are meant to share the same purpose. On a broader scale, they both contain the topics of the overuse of resources, pollution, and overpopulation. Also, both show that somethings can’t be sustainable on large, fast-moving scales. And finally, in each instance, both show that human carelessness is a major problem.
So whether it be real or fake, we owe the environment our care because we can very easily become the problem. We, as an entire humanity, could be the next “Easter Island”. We shouldn’t let greed over money or resources lead to such a devastating decline. It could be the industrialization found in The Lorax or the survival situation found in Easter’s End, but one thing’s for sure, unlike in a fictional candy-coated end, reality won’t give us or our environment a second chance. For once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
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