Mar 7 2012

Caring “A Whole Awful Lot”

Last night my wife, mother and I went to see “The Lorax,” the new movie based on the book of the same title by Dr. Seuss.  It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I loved it. In a fun and good-natured way it drives home many lessons related to Creation Care.  Perhaps its strongest message is that one person can make a difference.  It also stresses the fact that until a person truly cares about something, he or she is not likely to make a difference.  In both the movie and the book you’ll find the words: “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

From what I’ve read “The Lorax” has done exceptionally well at the box office.  I find that encouraging.   I’ve even seen on Facebook where people have said after watching the movie they wanted to go plant a tree.  (For the uninitated, the movie and book imagine a world where all the real trees have been destroyed.) Wouldn’t it be great if lots of people did just that?  I’d like to think that this presentation of Dr. Seuss’ book will cause people not typically receptive to environmental issues to be more open to them.  It certainly has that potential.

Unless one wants to read something into the fact that the Lorax descends and ascends from the heavens, there’s really no religious emphasis in the movie.  Since the movie is based on the book I didn’t expect there to be.  Still, one can read (or watch) between the lines and see an affirmation of Creation.  It stresses that it is the natural world, and not the artificial one, that is life-giving.

I especially liked the song “Let It Grow” in the movie.  It comes at the climax of the film when the people of Thneedville choose to let the last truffula seed grow.  As the song filled the theatre I found myself wishing this sentiment would spread to the masses.  God’s Creation is good and should be both nurtured and preserved.  And it should be nurtured and preserved, as I’ve stated numerous times at this site, not just because it sustains us and is beautiful but because it was created to bring glory to God.

I still think that in the end this is the greatest reason for us to care about nature and the environment.  The other reasons are no doubt important, too, and lead me to be concerned, but it is the God-connection that makes me care “a whole awful lot.” If more Christians would choose to care a whole awful lot things would get better.  Wouldn’t they not?

–Chuck

(I took the top image of giant sequoias in California’s Sequoia National Park.  I photographed the forest scene shown in the second picture in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest.)