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Dr Seuss: Turning over in his grave …

January 25th, 2010 · 2 Comments

There are few people more beloved by generations of America’s parents and America’s youth than Dr Seuss, the (One indicator: search Dr Seuss and there are only 3.6 million web hits.)

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) had a real passion on the environment. From the bio at,

On a broader spectrum, however, Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers, business, and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax … weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong. … Ted remained true to the Seussian style, but still managed to shame the current generation and challenge the next generation by demonstrating the pitfalls of progress … “unless”

While far from the only environmental theme amid his writing, theoretically a children’s book, The Lorax remains one of the strongest pieces of literature highlighting the serious necessity to understand the implications of our actions on the complex systems-of-systems in which we live.

With this in mind, it is rather shocking to learn that this iconic statement of environmental values and morality is being associated with a commercial activity that is far from the standards that a 21st century Dr Seuss would apply to judging ‘environmentally friendly’ activity.

LoraxAg is planning to build plants to convert coal to fertilizer. Coal is far from what The Lorax would value yet this linkage is quite direct.

“The Lorax is the protector of the truffula trees,” [company president Mike Farina] said. “We think this is the greenest use of coal.

Coal as clean? Where have we heard that greenwashing mendacity before?

Now, even assuming that this is a zero-pollution activity post mining, there is that issue of mining.

And, well, it is hard to see that The Lorax would strongly endorse industrial farming supported by large-scale fertilizer activities.

Now, with more detail in hand, is it possible that the coal gasification approach to reducing natural gas requirements for agricultural fertilizer demand could, actually, make sense as part of the path toward an Energy Smart future? Perhaps … perhaps.

Even so, does it seem likely that Dr Seuss and The Lorax would endorse this product?

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Tags: coal · greenwashing

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