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Supreme Evil
2012-08-21, 11:04 PM
I recently saw the new Lorax film and an issue that I had ever since I read the book as a child popped into my head: why did the Once-ler not just plant new tuffla trees as he went? Or hell, since he only wanted the stuff on top, not cut the trees down at all? One doesn't need to cut down an apple tree to harvest from it, after all. The way the Once-ler did things was ridiculous. Was he so ridiculously short-sighted that he really didn't see that such a business model could not be long maintained? The actual logging industry spends a considerable effort planting trees solely to make sure that they have stuff to cut down in the future. The moral I've always gotten out of it is "don't be a moron with a crappy business model" not "cutting down trees is bad".

Tebryn
2012-08-21, 11:12 PM
Because the intended moral was "Respect Nature."

Xondoure
2012-08-21, 11:33 PM
I recently saw the new Lorax film and an issue that I had ever since I read the book as a child popped into my head: why did the Once-ler not just plant new tuffla trees as he went? Or hell, since he only wanted the stuff on top, not cut the trees down at all? One doesn't need to cut down an apple tree to harvest from it, after all. The way the Once-ler did things was ridiculous. Was he so ridiculously short-sighted that he really didn't see that such a business model could not be long maintained? The actual logging industry spends a considerable effort planting trees solely to make sure that they have stuff to cut down in the future. The moral I've always gotten out of it is "don't be a moron with a crappy business model" not "cutting down trees is bad".

Because this kind of clear cutting happens all the time IRL historically and otherwise. Because while yes, there are better methods for more sustainable production, the short term profits are not as high.

A lot of lumber companies have been making the shift in some parts of the world out of current necessity.

In others, this is not the case.

Other than that, the book isn't just about the clear cutting but also the processing plants that polluted the air and the water supply, and the general attitude of the Onceler that his profit is more important than respect for nature.

Yanagi
2012-08-21, 11:38 PM
I recently saw the new Lorax film and an issue that I had ever since I read the book as a child popped into my head: why did the Once-ler not just plant new tuffla trees as he went? Or hell, since he only wanted the stuff on top, not cut the trees down at all? One doesn't need to cut down an apple tree to harvest from it, after all. The way the Once-ler did things was ridiculous. Was he so ridiculously short-sighted that he really didn't see that such a business model could not be long maintained? The actual logging industry spends a considerable effort planting trees solely to make sure that they have stuff to cut down in the future. The moral I've always gotten out of it is "don't be a moron with a crappy business model" not "cutting down trees is bad".

The entire point is that the Once-ler doesn't care and isn't planning for the future...at least, the future of that wooded area and the animals and people. His business plan is to maximize profit, and it blinds him.

And in the long term it bites him in the butt.

So your two morals are profoundly interconnected.

BTW: the "Lorax" scenario isn't that obscure or odd compared to actual industrial resource management issues.

Forestry resources tend to be depleted faster than they can be restocked...and in many cases, there's a depressing trend in which massive stands of old-growth wood have been completely removed over a few decades...but they took several centuries to develop. Worse, up until the last couple of decades there was little attempt to farm valuable species, or even to encourage natural recovery of native stocks: the business model was to harvest until failure, then sell off the land for agriculture or development.

Even when the let the land go back to nature...the good trees--the ones that have monetary, aesthetic, and functional value--don't tend to recover. Give an open space in a forest, pulpwood trees and scrub tend to gain dominance and choke out other species.

Tvtyrant
2012-08-21, 11:48 PM
I recently saw the new Lorax film and an issue that I had ever since I read the book as a child popped into my head: why did the Once-ler not just plant new tuffla trees as he went? Or hell, since he only wanted the stuff on top, not cut the trees down at all? One doesn't need to cut down an apple tree to harvest from it, after all. The way the Once-ler did things was ridiculous. Was he so ridiculously short-sighted that he really didn't see that such a business model could not be long maintained? The actual logging industry spends a considerable effort planting trees solely to make sure that they have stuff to cut down in the future. The moral I've always gotten out of it is "don't be a moron with a crappy business model" not "cutting down trees is bad".

Put into an RL perspective, this sort of thing not only is possible but is actually pretty common. Easter Island is the Ur example of a civilization that cut down almost every single tree on an isolated island, even though they depended heavily on them (or at least this is one interpretation, others differ). My own state of Oregon has landslides every year where logging leaves the hills barren, and it wipes out houses and roads below.

Supreme Evil
2012-08-22, 12:12 AM
The entire point is that the Once-ler doesn't care and isn't planning for the future...at least, the future of that wooded area and the animals and people. His business plan is to maximize profit, and it blinds him.

And in the long term it bites him in the butt.

So your two morals are profoundly interconnected.

BTW: the "Lorax" scenario isn't that obscure or odd compared to actual industrial resource management issues.

Forestry resources tend to be depleted faster than they can be restocked...and in many cases, there's a depressing trend in which massive stands of old-growth wood have been completely removed over a few decades...but they took several centuries to develop. Worse, up until the last couple of decades there was little attempt to farm valuable species, or even to encourage natural recovery of native stocks: the business model was to harvest until failure, then sell off the land for agriculture or development.

Even when the let the land go back to nature...the good trees--the ones that have monetary, aesthetic, and functional value--don't tend to recover. Give an open space in a forest, pulpwood trees and scrub tend to gain dominance and choke out other species.

I shouldn't have even brought up the logging industry. Because this isn't comparable. The Once-ler doesn't even want the wood. He wants the renewable stuff that grows on top of the trees. There is absolutely no point in cutting them down.

A better comparison would be one I have more intimate knowledge of. I have a family member who does farming. He owns a large orchard, with a couple thousand fruit-bearing trees. Like the Once-ler, he only wants the stuff off the top. Like the Once-ler, he only has regard for the trees insofar as they let him make money. Unlike the Once-ler, he doesn't chop them down for the hell of it. The Once-ler's actions are comparable to chopping down your own orchard to harvest apples: pointless and stupid.

erikun
2012-08-22, 12:13 AM
The Lorax is a 40-year old story, and back then, there really wasn't much concern about substanability. Heck, in some places today there still isn't. As mentioned by others, a lot of the attitudes you see in the Onceler were not uncommon in the 70's. It was controversial back then because there very much was the idea that there will always be another forest to move onto and that no matter how many trees are cut down, there will always be more available.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-08-22, 12:19 AM
OP I think you are failing to consider the age of the original book here. 1972 had both a different 'green' movement and corporate attitude then we have now. The point of an short-sighted villain was to raise awareness of the same percieved short-sightedness of the time.

And its granting a big assumption that the notion of replanting any kind of real answer to the issue... though that is a debate for a political board.

Really there's a political question at the heart of this. And not an avoidable or merely coincidental one like in a case like most cases.

Brother Oni
2012-08-22, 05:05 AM
I shouldn't have even brought up the logging industry. Because this isn't comparable. The Once-ler doesn't even want the wood. He wants the renewable stuff that grows on top of the trees. There is absolutely no point in cutting them down.

Except there is - speed of production. With a fad based product like the fleed(?) once the craze is over, you've missed your moment of opportunity. You only have to look at the hula hoop craze for a good example of that - by the time all the factories were geared up and ready to mass produce the things, nobody wanted them anymore.



The Once-ler's actions are comparable to chopping down your own orchard to harvest apples: pointless and stupid.

Let's take your apple harvesting example - on a commercial scale, you have hundreds of workers with ladders and large scale bins to collect the fruit, not to mention fruit that has been modified over centuries of selective breeding and grafting.
I'm also fairly sure that your family member didn't invent all this from scratch and bought the majority of their equipment from a catalogue.

The Once-ler doesn't have many workers, no ladders or other large scale commercial gear, or the benefits of other people's inventions to collect the tufts. All he has is an axe and a big basket.
True, there's a number of ways the Once-ler could have improved production other than chopping the tree down, but that's missing the point of the story -valuing short term profits over sustainability and the consequences of having such a crappy (by today's standards) business model.

Karoht
2012-08-22, 11:02 PM
I recently saw the new Lorax film and an issue that I had ever since I read the book as a child popped into my head: why did the Once-ler not just plant new tuffla trees as he went? Or hell, since he only wanted the stuff on top, not cut the trees down at all? One doesn't need to cut down an apple tree to harvest from it, after all. The way the Once-ler did things was ridiculous. Was he so ridiculously short-sighted that he really didn't see that such a business model could not be long maintained? The actual logging industry spends a considerable effort planting trees solely to make sure that they have stuff to cut down in the future. The moral I've always gotten out of it is "don't be a moron with a crappy business model" not "cutting down trees is bad".

The book itself was written at a time where not all logging companies were required by law to replant as they went along.

The attitude of the Once-ler can also be applied to the fishing industry. It was assumed for rather a long time that the ocean was essentially bottomless, and there would always be more fish. It actually took overfishing and entire industries being decimated in the late 80's and early 90's before limits and bans and other protection of stocks became widespread.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_fishing_in_Newfoundland#Fishing_methods_and_th e_fishery_collapse
Hopefully that link isn't too political, but it serves the point. It wasn't until the industry collapsed that anyone started thinking with a clear head. Just like the Once-ler who could not see the damage until it was far too late.


PSSSSSST. It's also a book for kids. Simplification for intended audience.
Much the same way the the series "The Story of Stuff" is simplified as opposed to being bogged down in specifics, in order to create a message that a wider target audience can understand.
In fact, after watching "The Story of Stuff" and it's criticism video replies, the simplification definitely opens the arguement to more of such nitpicking/semantical arguements, but ultimately does serve to hold the attention of kids and young adults/teens rather well.

Lord Seth
2012-08-22, 11:27 PM
PSSSSSST. It's also a book for kids. Simplification for intended audience.
Much the same way the the series "The Story of Stuff" is simplified as opposed to being bogged down in specifics, in order to create a message that a wider target audience can understand.
In fact, after watching "The Story of Stuff" and it's criticism video replies, the simplification definitely opens the arguement to more of such nitpicking/semantical arguements, but ultimately does serve to hold the attention of kids and young adults/teens rather well.Not to get political, but I think the criticisms to be made of The Story of Stuff go far beyond simple "nitpicking/semantical arguments."

I also can't help but notice how one-sided The Lorax is in its "simplificaiton"...

Karoht
2012-08-23, 12:09 AM
Not to get political, but I think the criticisms to be made of The Story of Stuff go far beyond simple "nitpicking/semantical arguments."

I also can't help but notice how one-sided The Lorax is in its "simplificaiton"...
And I will completely agree with you in regards to Story of Stuff. It's the kind of presentation where I get the point, but the logic is flawed, incomplete, or it's just a half-truth. Most of the logic is flawed or one-sided because of the simplification, must in the same way as the Lorax. The Once-ler is an idiot who has no idea about sustainability, or long term business model, or even basic horticulture, but that is mostly due to the simplification.

Xondoure
2012-08-23, 02:43 AM
I fell like pointing out that "Not to get too political but" is much the same thing as "No offense but." It's usually tacked on when a person knows they're going to offend but feels the need to say it anyways.

Lord Seth
2012-08-23, 02:48 AM
I fell like pointing out that "Not to get too political but" is much the same thing as "No offense but." It's usually tacked on when a person knows they're going to offend but feels the need to say it anyways.No offense but I find your post rather unnecessary.

The Succubus
2012-08-23, 03:58 AM
This was the problem with Cat In The Hat as well. The joy of reading the books is the delightfully silly and clever things the books do with language. They simply don't translate into films.*

*Excepting the rather delightful animated versions from many many moons ago.

Elemental
2012-08-23, 08:13 AM
Coming at this problem from a different, and likely unexpected angle...
Just bear with me, I haven't read The Lorax for too many years:

Everyone seems to be assuming that the trees in question, despite their visual differences, are similar to the trees most people are familiar with.
However, if one pays attention to their relatively thin trunk to height ratio, it may actually be unsafe to climb them to more efficiently harvest them. In my mind, they do not appear to be strong enough to hold the weight of a ladder, let alone a person climbing up.
So, The Once-ler may have partly had his safety in mind when he decided to just cut them down. They do say "safety first" after all...

Karoht
2012-08-23, 04:52 PM
Coming at this problem from a different, and likely unexpected angle...
Just bear with me, I haven't read The Lorax for too many years:

Everyone seems to be assuming that the trees in question, despite their visual differences, are similar to the trees most people are familiar with.
However, if one pays attention to their relatively thin trunk to height ratio, it may actually be unsafe to climb them to more efficiently harvest them. In my mind, they do not appear to be strong enough to hold the weight of a ladder, let alone a person climbing up.
So, The Once-ler may have partly had his safety in mind when he decided to just cut them down. They do say "safety first" after all...

Which still pegs the Once-ler as placing his safety or his well being over that of the ecosystem.
It's still a good explanation mind you.

INDYSTAR188
2012-08-23, 05:07 PM
Put into an RL perspective, this sort of thing not only is possible but is actually pretty common. Easter Island is the Ur example of a civilization that cut down almost every single tree on an isolated island, even though they depended heavily on them (or at least this is one interpretation, others differ). My own state of Oregon has landslides every year where logging leaves the hills barren, and it wipes out houses and roads below.

I was just in your state last week and its beautiful. It bums me out to think of such a wonderful place being depleted. I hope to move to Portland/Beaverton when I graduate.

Tvtyrant
2012-08-24, 12:48 AM
I was just in your state last week and its beautiful. It bums me out to think of such a wonderful place being depleted. I hope to move to Portland/Beaverton when I graduate.

It is a fantastic place! But I can't really feel too bad about forest use, because if it doesn't come from us, it comes from somewhere else.

http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/borneo-rainforest-clearcut-thomas-marent.jpg
The biggest thing for me is that forests be replanted as they are cut, and the last of the old growth is protected. Hopefully the restrictions will increase until silviculture can outcompete the cutting of wild forests.

Trixie
2012-08-24, 04:45 AM
I shouldn't have even brought up the logging industry. Because this isn't comparable. The Once-ler doesn't even want the wood. He wants the renewable stuff that grows on top of the trees. There is absolutely no point in cutting them down.

Take a look at this (http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/article/9/6/2/138962.jpg) or this (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jnaVuziQrvU/TnO5OrqDSFI/AAAAAAAABVw/SfsAe3BOwvA/s1600/Checkers2.jpg). This is what happens in the USA when states lease some parts of the forest so that is 'can pay for the upkeep of the rest' (known as checkerboarding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkerboarding_%28land%29)).

IMHO, it's even faster and less productive cutting destroying not only trees but whole ecosystems, in RL :smallannoyed:

Grytorm
2012-08-27, 12:31 PM
At least in the film when his company starts they do harvest only the tuft. Until his mother convinces him to pick up the pace.

Kinslayer
2012-08-27, 01:38 PM
or this (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jnaVuziQrvU/TnO5OrqDSFI/AAAAAAAABVw/SfsAe3BOwvA/s1600/Checkers2.jpg).

Okay, now that we've got a giant chessboard......

Talanic
2012-08-27, 11:12 PM
I recently came across articles about Dr. Seuss that surprised me. The Lorax is told from first-person perspective, as a tale from the Once-ler to someone else. The knowledge that Dr. Seuss, before writing children's books, made a living as one of the most successful advertisers for oil and insecticide companies which wound up committing flagrant abuses of the environment...couldn't have sat well with him.