The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


At the far end of town

where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows…
is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.
And deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say,
if you look deep enough you can still see, today,
where the Lorax once stood
just as long as it could
before somebody lifted the Lorax away.
What was the Lorax?
And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere
from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows?
The old Once-ler still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.
You won’t see the Once-ler.
Don’t knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own clothes
out of miff-muffered moof.
And on special dank midnights in August,
he peeks
out of the shutters
and sometimes he speaks
and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
He’ll tell you, perhaps…
if you’re willing to pay.

On the end of a rope
he lets down a tin pail
and you have to toss in fifteen cents
and a nail
and the shell of a great-great-great-
grandfather snail.
Then he pulls up the pail,
makes a most careful count
to see if you’ve paid him
the proper amount.
Then he hides what you paid him
away in his Snuvv,
his secret strange hole
in his gruvvulous glove.
Then he grunts, “I will call you by Whisper-ma-Phone,
for the secrets I tell you are for your ears alone.”
SLUPP!
Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear
and the old Once-ler’s whispers are not very clear,
since they have to come down
through a snergelly hose,
and he sounds
as if he had
smallish bees up his nose.
“Now I’ll tell you,”he says, with his teeth sounding gray,
“how the Lorax got lifted and taken away…
It all started way back…
such a long, long time back…
Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the pond was still wet
and the clouds were still clean,
and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space…
one morning, I came to this glorious place.
And I first saw the trees!
The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.
And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots
frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits
as they played in the shade and ate Truffula fruits.
From the rippulous pond
came the comfortable sound
of the Humming-Fish humming
while splashing around.


But those trees! Those trees!
Those Truffula Trees!
All my life I’d been searching
for trees such as these.
The touch of their tufts
was much softer than silk.
And they had the sweet smell
of fresh butterfly milk.
I felt a great leaping
of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I’d do!
I unloaded my cart.
In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed,
I took the soft tuft, and I knitted a Thneed!
The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I looked.
I saw something pop out of the stump
of the tree I’d chopped down. It was sort of a man.
Describe him?… That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.



He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.
“Mister!” he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I’m asking you, sir, at the top if my lungs”-
he was very upset as he shouted and puffed-
“What’s that THING you’ve made out of my Truffula tuft?”
“Look, Lorax,” I said.”There’s no cause for alarm.
I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm.
I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove, It’s a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!
Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!”
The Lorax said,
“Sir! You are crazy with greed.
There is no one on earth
who would buy that fool Thneed!”

But the very next minute I proved he was wrong.
For, just at that minute, a chap came along,
and he thought the Thneed I had knitted was great.
He happily bought it for three ninety-eight
I laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.”
“I repeat,” cried the Lorax,
“I speak for the trees!”
“I’m busy,” I told him.
“Shut up, if you please.”
I rushed ‘cross the room, and in no time at all,
built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call.
I called all my brothers and uncles and aunts
and I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance
for the whole Once-ler Family to get mighty rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch.
Turn left at Weehawken. Sharp right at South Stitch.”
And, in no time at all,
in the factory I built,
the whole Once-ler Family
was working full tilt.
We were all knitting Thneeds
just as busy as bees,
to the sound of the chopping
of Truffula Trees.

Then…
Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree
at a time
was too slow.
So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker
which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker.
We were making Thneeds
four times as fast as before!
And that Lorax?…
He didn’t show up any more.
But the next week
he knocked
on my new office door.
He snapped, “I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees
which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.
But I’m also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots
who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits
and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits.
“NOW… thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
there’s not enought Truffula Fruit to go ’round.
And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!
“They loved living here. But I can’t let them stay.
They’ll have to find food. And I hope that they may.
Good luck, boys,” he cried. And he sent them away.
I, the old Once-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
BUT…
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.

external image s_lorax5.jpg
external image s_lorax5.jpg

I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger.So bigger I got.
I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads.
I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads
of the Thneeds I shipped out. I was shipping them forth
to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North!
I went right on biggering… selling more Thneeds.
And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.
Then again he came back! I was fixing some pipes
when that old-nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes.
“I am the Lorax,” he coughed and he whiffed.
He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed.
“Once-ler!” he cried with a cruffulous croak.
“Once-ler! You’re making such smogulous smoke!
My poor Swomee-Swans… why, they can’t sing a note!
No one can sing who has smog in his throat.
“And so,” said the Lorax,
“-please pardon my cough-
they cannot live here.
So I’m sending them off.
“Where will they go?…
I don’t hopefully know.
They may have to fly for a month… or a year…
To escape from the smog you’ve smogged up around here.

“What’s more,” snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up.)
“Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp.
Your machine chugs on, day and night without stop
making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp.
And what do you do with this leftover goo?…
I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you!
“You’re glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!
No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed.
So I’m sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary.
They’ll walk on their fins and get woefully weary
in search of some water that isn’t so smeary.”
And then I got mad.
I got terribly mad.
I yelled at the Lorax, “Now listen here, Dad!
All you do is yap-yap and say, ‘Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!’
Well, I have my rights, sir, and I’m telling you
I intend to go on doing just what I do!
And, for your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering
On biggering
and BIGGERING
andBIGGERING
and BIGGERING,
turning MORE Truffula Trees into Thneeds
which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!”
And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack!
From outside in the fields came a sickening smack
of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall.
The very last Truffula Tree of them all!

No more trees. No more Thneeds. No more work to be done.
So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one,
all waved me good-bye. They jumped into my cars
and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars.
Now all that was left ‘neath the bad smelling-sky
was my big empty factory…
the Lorax…
and I.
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance…
just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance…
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I’ll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted himself and took leave of this place,
through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
was a small pile of rocks, with one word…
“UNLESS.”
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn’t guess.

That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I’ve sat here and worried
and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
I’ve worried about it
with all of my heart.
“But now,” says the Once-ler,
“Now that you’re here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.
“SO…
Catch!” calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
“It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula.Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”

Book or Kindle?

How Many Trees Will the Kindle Save?

The festive season during late 2011 could have been called the gadget season as tablet computer owners increased from 10% to 19% of the US population from mid December 2011 to early January 2012. The same figures applied to owners of eBook readers – Amazon don’t and won’t say exactly how many Kindles they sold. Some people bought both. An incredible 29% of people (up from 18%) now own at least a tablet or an eBook reader – that’s almost one in three of the entire population according to the figures from pewinternet.org.

So how many trees are being saved by Americans reading books on either their dedicated eBook reader or via software on their tablet computer?

How many trees to make a book?

There isn’t an easy mathematical equation to definitely show how many trees are needed to make a book because there are too many unknown figures in the equation. Trees vary in size both in height and width, even within the same species. Books vary in size in both size and length – number of pages, making it impossible to give a simple answer to the question, but some experts have taken averages into account to show some results.

How far does one cord go?

You may not have heard of the measurement cord, but one cord of dense hardwood, air-dried, produces 942 copies of a 100 page hardcover book. TAPPI, who provided the figures, based their results on roughly 15 trees with a 10 inch diameter to make up one cord. If you click on the link you will find out more about the tree to book making process.

Working backwards, that means each tree makes around 60 100-page books, but as the average novel appears to contain around 300 pages, each tree makes about 20 books. If you have been reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy concerning his heroine Lisbeth Salander, you will know that each tree will provide just over 3 sets of the trilogy. 65 million of you have bought the set so let us hope more now have it in the shape of an eBook file rather than downing a full forest to provide for the book’s paper.

The cost of maintaining a Kindle

The cost of books bought – mostly as paperbacks from your grocery store – is close to the cost of downloading an eBook from your favorite online store, be that for your iPad, your Kindle, your Nook or Sony reader. However, there has been a surge in books available in eBook format at anything from 99 cents to less than three dollars. Your local Wal-Mart won’t sell you a paperback at less than 4 dollars.

There has been a general encouragement to read more books because they are priced so cheaply in the electronic version. As eBook readers mostly store at least 1,000 books, it will be easier to take enough books on vacation without affecting the ever dwindling baggage allowances. Therefore, the eBook reader will save you money over the traditional paperback purchase in weight allowance alone. More importantly, your carryon baggage can be considerably lighter as each paperback weighs more than an eBook reader and most avid readers carry at least two in fear of having nothing to read.

The lowering of weight on the airplane per passenger will reduce the weight of the airplane which means they will gain more miles to the gallon of air fuel. You should not wait around to collect your cheaper ticker based on this assumption.

Your Kindle or other eBook reader still needs to be charged. That costs electricity even if you charge from your laptop computer. It may only be a trickle, but there are several million more trickles going out through the system since the festive season. However, this needs to be balanced against the costs of making a paperback which uses more energy than charging an eBook and the time spent online downloading a new book or two.

Who wins?

Even if you balance up the cost of making the eBook reader and the cost of charging the gadget, a lot less energy is being used compared to the process of making paperbacks. You will still buy paperbacks, but only if your choice of downloading provider doesn’t have the book in its store.

Demi Relf is a self-confessed bookworm but always felt guilty about the paper she was consuming. After a decade of reading only second hand books on her organic latex mattress, she can now read books without endangering a single tree.

So can’t we just pipe the oil to where we need it?

 

You can do whatever you want but you might want to step back and make sure it’s a good idea.

The US is probably going to build a pipeline from Canada down to the gulf of mexico.  As you can imagine this is a source of concern for people living anywhere near this pipe.  This seems reasonable because transporting large amounts of toxic liquid great distances is inherently dangerous.  Trucks crash, boats sink, rigs explode, and pipes leak.  It is included in the cost of doing business.

Proponents argue that the project will create jobs and decrease our reliance on foreign oil.  How many and how permanent these jobs will be is still under debate.  Also we will be relying on foreign oil until it runs out or we find a cheaper alternative so I wish people would stop using that phrase.

The pipeline will be the equivalent of building a giant highway across the country that no one can drive on and poisons the drinking water.  So as of right now we will have to wait for the 2012 elections because god knows politicians can’t do ANYTHING while they are trying trick people into voting for them.

Update from the Republic of Khakassia Abakan Siberia

The first session of working group concerning the lands protection and restoration

The Republican Development Council at the Head of the Republic of Khakassia was established in 2010 in order to assist the development of social and economic potential of our republic and to improve the well-being of citizens. The Head of the Republic of Khakassia is the Chairman of the Development Council. The pressing issues of various spheres of Khakass economy, industry, ecology and public life are being submitted for the Council Presidium’s consideration. The special working groups are created for studying these questions and developing the mechanisms of their solving. They consist of the representatives of various Khakass organizations and departments, public figures of our republic.

The problem of lands protection and restoration is one of the most serious problems, worrying not only the citizens of Khakassia, but also the heads of various levels. The research of this issue was entrusted to the Khakass Ecological “Live planet” Fund. The representatives of the Legacy Committee of the Republic of Khakasia, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Committee on the Khakass Fauna and Environment Protection, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Khakasia, the “Khakassky” State Natural Reserve and the Institute of Agrarian Problems of Khakasia were included in the working group on the question of lands protection and restoration.

The general questions of lands protection were discussed at the first session of working group; that is, the problems of ownerless lands, farmlands salification and desertification. The question of farmlands pollution with solid domestic wastes was raised on the proposal of the State Committee on the Khakass Fauna and Environment Protection. There is a large quantity of illegal dumps on the territory of farmlands. The size of them continues to increase as inhabitants of Khakasia have no place to throw out their garbage. There is only one legal refuse dump in Khakasia, while the area of the republic is 61 900 km2.

The low level of proficiency and ecological competence of farmland owners was also discussed. This problem caused a great concern of all the members of the working group. Since the ancient times the land was the main wealth of any state and a basis of the economic stability. In modern Russia farmlands are distributed to everyone who wants to be engaged in farming. Everyone has to pass the examination to obtain a driver’s license, but it is not necessary to take any examinations to obtain a license to rule the land. It means that everybody can be engaged in agriculture. Such management can result in the fertility decrease, soil exhaustion and desertification.

As a result of active discussions the working group defined three questions in order to search for the solution of them:

  1. The illegal dumps liquidation of the Khakass farmlands;

  2. The inventory and certification of the Khakass farmlands;

  3. The low skill level of Khakass farmland owners.

A great work on solving these problems should be carried out, as well-being of each person in his own hands. We shouldn’t forget – nothing exists by itself. The ecology of farmlands is inseparably connected with the ecology of the territories surrounding them, and the other way round. If any territory turns into a fruitless desert or a dead salty bog, the adjoining safe and protected territories will be under threat. Farming his own land, a person should raise his head and look around. Near by the farmlands, gardens and pastures the habitats of not only plants and animals, but also settlements of human beings are situated.

Elena Kim

Khakass Ecofund “Live Planet”

Green Vacation

Planning a Green Vacation

Everybody wants to do their part for the environment, but at the same time, we don’t want to stop living and doing the things we like and want to do out of fear of damaging the environment.

Travel is one particularly sensitive issue for anyone who is eco-friendly, because there are very few environmentally beneficial modes of travel available, and because, while traveling, there isn’t much we can control in the way of saving energy.

We are largely at the mercy of the options available to us, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. With a little bit of research, you can reduce the size of your travel’s carbon footprint, and feel good knowing that you are supporting the environment, even while living the dream.

Consider looking into the following things when planning your next trip:

  • Alternative modes of travel, part I: While every kind of travel is environmentally taxing, some kinds are far less damaging than others. Cars are generally better than planes, for example, and trains are even better than cars. If it is possible to take a train to your next destination, do that instead and you’ll be able to rest easier knowing you did what you could. It might take a little longer, but it will be worth it.
  • Stay at green hotels: As a rule, a hotel will never be as energy efficient as a house, simply because they are so large and have so much space to light and heat or cool, but similar to the tiers of transportation, some are better than others. There are websites that list eco-friendly lodgings, which should be a great help when trying to decide. Some of these sites are:
    • It’sAGreenWorld.com
    • Eco Green Hotel
    • Eco Hotels of the World
  • Alternative modes of travel, part II: Once you have arrived at your destination, you have the option of several different kinds of transportation. These should be more familiar to you, because they are basic city transit options: cars, buses, bicycles, walking, horse carriage, etc. I probably don’t have to say (but I will anyway) that walking, bicycling, or taking a horse ride or more eco-friendly than cars or even riding on the bus; if you can plan to take these methods of transportation while you are vacationing, instead of renting cars or taking cabs, you’ll be helping to save the environment, and saving some cash, too.
  • Sight-see green: Another big source of energy consumption on vacations is the activities you do while there (wherever “there” happens to be). Try to plan green activities, such as eco-tourism, while out, instead of high energy activities like theme parks or movie theaters.

It will take a little extra planning to get your vacation to green status, but it isn’t impossible, and every little bit helps. Just think how much good we could do if every person planned green vacations!

 

Two pronged attack Energy Efficiency and Conservation

The total energy efficiency of the United States is less than 50% and the total amount of energy produced by oil and coal together is almost 75%.

Now let’s pretend we would like to put less carbon into the atmosphere and as a given oil and coal happen to be the sources that put most of the carbon into the air. If we could increase the overall efficiency by a quarter, we could use a third less carbon fuel.

So I guess the question is what are the obstacles to not wasting more than half of the energy we produce? Are the costs associated with such an endeavor so high that it is really not worth the investment?

Doing some research on fuels and their various efficiencies,  wood can burned generating heat energy at above 90% efficiency in the right kind of fireplace.  The technology for burning wood has been developed since the beginning of mankind but I still think we could still waste less energy with other fuels as well.

Circa 1940

The first great depression


Cap and Trade Infographic

I have been meaning to write an article on cap and trade in the United States but it can be hard for people to understand and without other major polluting countries having similar programs, the whole thing seemed somewhat pointless.

In the US, however, the program will have an effect on our poor sad economy and thus should be addressed.  I still don’t want to write about though, so here is a great ideographic from the people at http://www.wellhome.com

 

 

Greenwashing

Everywhere we go recently it seems as though there is a brand new eco-friendly “green” versions of old products.  I have mentioned a few of these silly things like the 57 watt light bulb as a new energy efficient version of the 60 watt.

I have been coming across even more ludicrous examples, many of them outright lies.  Often you can see the absurdity just by looking at the contradictions in the advertising.  Phrases like “eco-friendly” and “contains mercury and lead” should not be on the same product.

I came across a good example the other day with a can of lithium grease.  The can is green of course and is pitched as a bio-based biodegradable lubricant.  If the warnings about calling poison control if ingested aren’t enough there is always the fact that Lithium is a metal and thus can not bio-degrade…ever.

This trend is a problem because in addition to claiming dangerous products are safe, overall the public believes things are changing for the better when in reality the packaging is just different. Consumers look around and things look like companies are being less wasteful but in the end it is just a marketing illusion.

Sky Farms

Sky farms – The new Green farm?

Sky farms are quite literally multilevel agricultural farms, much like
skyscrapers. These sky farms are springing up all over the world, and the
economics of sky farming are already showing positive results. Sky farming
is basically a form of hydroponic farming. It includes significant potential for
organic farming, and major improvements in water usage efficiency. Sky farms
to involve some logistics and infrastructure, notably provision of in-house water
management systems and electrical services, but these are actually far more
economic than traditional agricultural systems.

Sky farm basics

Sky farms are essentially high-rise buildings. They’re designed to achieve
maximum efficiency in the growth and harvesting of agricultural products of all
kinds.  They’ve already shown significant potential for commercial production.
Many growers are particularly interested in the fact that sky farms also provide
enclosed spaces, which naturally provide significant protection against the
elements, weeds, droughts and insect and fungal pests.

Sky farms and agricultural issues

Because sky farms provide a lot of vertical and cubic space, they can overcome
the limitations of the “two-dimensional” traditional farming environment. It’s
possible that the sky farms may be the solution to the increasing problems
of conflicting land use where urban land is displacing agricultural land and
agricultural land is destroying natural habitat and ecology.

The appalling condition of rural land around the world is a major issue
currently being raised at government and international levels regarding the
sustainability of future food production. Sky farms have the potential to
completely eliminate this problem. Theoretically they can grow more food in
far less space than traditional farming.

The economics of traditional rural land use can also be drastically improved by
sky farming. The fact is that it takes extraordinary amounts of water and soil to
produce basic agricultural products. That situation is definitely not sustainable,
and far more efficient means of food production are desperately required.

Because of the quasi-hydroponic nature of sky farming, water usage can be
improved by up to 200%. Soil degradation can be drastically decreased, due to
the fact that sky farm plants use significantly less soil in their growth media.

Organic growers concerned about the possibility of contamination and cross
pollination of their crops with genetically modified organisms have also
expressed interest in sky farms, which provide enclosed growing habitats for
their products. Sky farming could in fact be a particularly useful method of
ensuring agricultural and botanic genetic lines.

The future of sky farming

The big winners in sky farming will be farmers, consumers and the
environment. Sky farms have so far shown themselves to be very easy to
manage, logistically simpler to operate in terms of crop management, and to
have the potential for significant flexibility in choice of commercial crops.

It may be strange for a while for farmers when they realize that instead
of using a backhoe they’ll have to call an electrician, but the cost savings
and peace of mind may be the greatest breakthrough for farmers since the
Agricultural Revolution.

Sky farming is a very much more efficient, profitable approach to a serious
food supply situation which traditional commercial farming has so far shown
itself to be completely unable to address.

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