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Green Reading—One Leaf at a Time

2012 March 1

By Lina Younes

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Just recently I had the opportunity to read at my youngest daughter’s school. While I eagerly volunteered for the reading assignment, selecting the right book was not that easy. I went through several children books we had at home. At first glance, I didn’t find any one particular book that caught my eye. I was leaning toward a book about the Puerto Rican tree frog commonly known as the coquí which would allow me to talk about one of my favorite subjects. However, my daughter did not seem that enthused with the idea. Even though I was not issued any specific educational instructions for this reading opportunity, I knew I had to meet some other standards set by my daughter and her classmates: the book could not be “lame.” So then, I had an “aha moment” and thought of the perfect book to teach them about taking care of the environment: The Lorax.

Thanks to a colleague, I had a Lorax plush toy while I read the classic tale of this forest creature that spoke on behalf of the trees. I was pleased to see that the children listened attentively as I read the book. I even had time to spare to ask them questions about what they had heard and their thoughts on how we can all protect the environment. What were some of their recommendations? Many of the same actions that we encourage here at EPA:

  • Do not litter
  • Recycle
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room
  • Turn off the water faucet when you brush your teeth
  • Ride your bike
  • Plant a tree

These are all very good suggestions from these fourth graders! So, if you’re looking for some good reading material for your children, The Lorax is a good book to consider. If you are looking for some educational materials to use in the classroom or at home, there are some good tools inspired by this classic and the upcoming movie. And when spring officially starts, why not plant a tree?

Before I sign off, I’d like to leave you with some food for thought. Playing devil’s advocate here—do you think all the merchandising associated with the release of the new movie might actually go against the commercialization denounced in the original Lorax book? What are your thoughts? Would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as EPA’s Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Mark S. Quinones permalink
    March 1, 2012

    Thank you so much in putting together this post, so much appreciated because it has helped me in my research.

    family business

  2. Mike permalink
    March 2, 2012

    Nice, entertaining post. On your devil’s advocate question, unfortunately I think that all the merchandising associated with the release of the movie does go against the commercialization denounced in the Lorax book. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid that unless the movie was totally funded by a non-profit organization or something similar. In our consumer oriented society, whenever there’s an opportunity to make money someone will be there to market it.

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    March 2, 2012

    Thanks, Mike
    You’re right. I guess it’s part of our consumer oriented society. Yet, we should increase environmental awareness regardless. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Jon P permalink
    March 2, 2012

    Just to add on to the converstaion, I read last night that the Seuss Family had earnings of $9M in 2011. I hope they are putting some of it to good use.

  5. Prabhat Misra permalink
    March 2, 2012

    Dear Lina Younes, children are the BASIC UNITS of future. Giving environment education to them, will prepare A NEW GENERATION WHICH WILL BE COMPLETELY DEDICATED for environment protection. I am also running RED TAPE MOVEMENT to protect tree by awaring people at grass root level. Lina, thanks for a Good Article. Regards.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink
    March 2, 2012

    Thanks for your kind words. Keep up the good work.

  7. Lina-EPA permalink*
    March 5, 2012

    Saw the movie this weekend. Loved the Dr. Seuss quote at the end: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, noting is going to get better. It’s not.”

  8. Fla Dave permalink
    March 10, 2012

    Pixar/Illumination Entertainment/ Universal Studios – A few people making millions of dollars to support their anything but green life style of jetting all over the world, driving gas guzzling cars, trucks ans limos, living in energy sucking mega mansions, and using mega kilo watts of electricity to make films designed to brain wash children into feeling guilty about living. Did I miss anything? Questions for Lisa Jackson, Do you ride a bike to work, everyday? Do you live in a modest energy efficient home? What is YOUR carbon footprint Lisa? The elitist hypocrisy runneth over…. to the point that is becoming so obvious that is it laughable.

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