Reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss for the Child in All of Us

Reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss for the Child in All of Us

I am an avid reader of books on climate change and nature. I enjoy turning to a children’s book for insights. Written in 1971, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a whimsical gem. The Lorax is desperately trying to stop the senseless cutting down of trees. As the story unfolds we learn about our magical connections with all living things and how we unknowingly harm them. This book is a gentle reminder to open our eyes to the impact of our actions and to make caring changes. 

I asked my niece, Joanna Henry – artist, musician, teacher, and all-around wonderful person, to read this story aloud for the OPL audience.

I invite you to enjoy this video and reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Please share it with all of the children and adults in your life.

Climate Change From Top-Down and Bottom-Up

Climate Change From Top-Down and Bottom-Up

If you read Greta Thunberg’s book, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, you’ll notice a common thread amongst the collection of speeches, which she’s delivered in front of audiences across the world, from Capitol Hill to the United Nations. 

Start treating the climate crisis like an actual crisis.

If your house was on fire, you wouldn’t be thinking about redecorating. You’d be panicking.

You’re stealing my future.

Greta Thunberg,

Teenage Activist, One of the World's Most Powerful Women (ForbesWomen, 12/2019)

Thunberg would rather not be giving speeches and repeating these messages ad nauseam; she’d rather be in school. But from the time she was eight years old, when she first heard about the climate crisis till now, at age 17, it was clear that the people in power across the globe did not care about her future. Now her message is clear.

Start treating the climate crisis as an actual crisis.

In addition to reducing her emissions, and those of her family – becoming vegan and stopping air travel altogether, she’s raised her voice to beg for action from world leaders.

Inspired by the response of students in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shootings, Thunberg refused to go to school and instead went to the Swedish parliament to demand answers and action.

Her speeches beseech lawmakers to unite behind the science: there is an irreversible chain reaction that threatens humanity if we don’t keep global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius. We need to be talking about stopping emissions rather than reducing them, and the commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement aren’t nearly drastic enough.

Thunberg has a strong message for her detractors too, to the people that tell her to stay in school – she doesn’t need to become a climate scientist – the science has already spoken, screaming at us to take action. And there isn’t enough time to wait for her generation to become the ones in charge – by then, that irreversible chain reaction will already have been set in motion. So she’s gone straight to the top, to the people that can bring about drastic change, if only they’ll listen.

To date, she has participated in climate strikes across Europe and continued to deliver speeches to governing bodies around the world, including the World Economic Forum. It’s simple – if you want Greta Thunberg to stop repeating herself and stay in school, start listening and stop stealing her future.

 

Like Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a very personal reason to champion reducing the effects of climate: it’s also her future that we’re stealing. She calls climate change the ‘World War II of millennials and gen Z.’ 

Her message echoes that of Thunberg: the effects of climate change will be irreversible unless carbon emissions are reined in; that the start of the end of the world could be as soon as 12 years from now; and describes climate change as ‘the single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization.’

A member of the House of Representatives for New York’s 14th district, and the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez is in the unique position of being able to fight that war, and create change to save her future, and that of coming generations as well.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Along with Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, she introduced the Green New Deal, an environmental plan that lays out the steps for tackling climate change in the United States. 

At a high level, the Green New Deal seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating new jobs in the clean energy industry. The plan is based on findings from the Fourth National Climate Assessment, produced by federal scientists for the United States, and falls in line with the findings of the International Panel on Climate Change. It outlines not only the devastating effects that climate change has had and will continue to have on the environment, such as drought and the record wildfires in California but also the economic effects – the net damage to the US Economy causing the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

The goal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – in other words, the atmosphere absorbs as much carbon as it releases – and asserts that this goal can only be achieved by solving social and economic inequality in addition to looking for clean energy solutions. In terms of infrastructure, the plan proposes to source 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources, upgrade buildings to be more energy-efficient, and overhaul our transportation system to focus more on high-speed rail and electric vehicles rather than air travel. At the socio-economic level, it calls on the government to provide job training to communities that are reliant on fossil fuel industries.

And though most Republican lawmakers strongly oppose the plan, the Green New Deal has strong bipartisan support among voters. The Yale Program for Climate Change conducted a survey in which they outlined the principles of the plan. They found that although 82% of respondents hadn’t heard anything about the Green New Deal at all when presented with its details, 81% said they either ‘strongly support’ or ‘somewhat support it.’ Notably, the description of the deal left out the fact that it was championed by Democratic congress members, indicating that most people agree with the plan’s policies in principle.

THE GREEN NEW DEAL

And although Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a long road ahead of her in a divided Congress, the Green New Deal presents a real solution to the climate change crisis, and begs the question – if this isn’t the solution, what is?

One Planet Life agrees it is time to start treating the climate crisis as an actual crisis. Achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is essential and requires big thinking and changes. We are focused on making small changes every day to make a difference from reducing emissions, eliminating single-use plastic, planting trees, and eating vegetarian meals more often. Let us know your thoughts on how the climate crisis is impacting you

What do you think is the solution? Please let a comment below.

Roadtrip to Meet the Longest Living Trees

Roadtrip to Meet the Longest Living Trees

We’re moving towards the peak of summer here in the United States, and what better way to celebrate the trees that provide us with so much than to take some time to see the oldest ones in the country? Although there are a couple of East Coast outliers rounding out the top ten, many of these ancient giants are out west, making for the perfect road trip.  If a road trip this year is not possible, these beauties are worth exploring in photos and planning the trip for next year.   

Start your journey in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah with a trip to see Pando, (Latin for “I spread out”) a clonal colony of quaking aspen. It is not only the oldest tree in the United States at 80,000 years old, but it is also one of the oldest and heaviest living organisms on earth! A clonal colony is a single root system that has multiple stems, so although the “trembling giant” appears like a forest of 40,000 + trees, it is a single organism.

Fishlake National Forest
Prometheous Stump Image

Next, head west to Nevada to see Prometheus. Formerly the oldest non-clonal organism at 4,862 years old, the Great Basin bristlecone pine was controversially cut down in 1964 by researchers who didn’t know of its world-record status, but visitors can still see Prometheus’ Stump in Wheeler Park.

Now, let’s head to California to see six more trees. First, stop in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County. There, you will find the Bennett Juniper, the largest known juniper tree in the United States. Although several attempts to determine its age have been inconclusive, the Bennett Juniper is estimated to be 3-6,000 years old.

Bennett Juniper Tree Image
Methuselah Image

Our next stop is Methuselah. Like Prometheus, Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine and has taken its place as the oldest non-clonal organism in the world at more than 4,800 years old. Its exact location is a secret, but the Methuselah Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is open to visitors.

Next up is a tree in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, which is the largest grove of giant sequoia trees in the world. Although the Grizzly Giant is more than 3,000 years old and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the grove, it has a volume of 34,010 cubic feet, which makes it only the 26th largest living giant sequoia.

Grizzly Giant Tree Image
Muir Snag Image

Continue on to the Converse Basin Grove, near King’s Canyon National Park to see Muir Snag. Although many of the giant sequoias in the grove have been lost to logging, the Muir Snag has remained. Though not living any longer, Muir Snag is thought to be the oldest sequoia tree in the world, at more than 3,500 years old when it died.

Next, travel to the Giant Forest Grove to see the remains of the Washington Tree. Damaged by a lightning strike which eventually led to its collapse in 2005, Washington was once the second-largest sequoia tree in the world, and is 2,850 years old. Despite the damage, scientists think the tree might still be alive, as it still has several significant branches.

Washington Tree Image
President Tree Image

Our next stop, also in the Giant Forest Grove is the President, named after President Warren G. Harding in 1923. It is currently the oldest known living giant sequoia tree, at around 3,200 years old. With a trunk volume of 45,000 cubic feet, it is the second-largest tree in the world, although it is not the tallest nor the widest.

Finally, head south to the Jurupa Mountains near Riverside, California. Like Pando, the Jurupa oak is a clonal colony that is estimated to be more than 13,000 years old. One of the only species in the surrounding area, the Jurupa Oak only grows after wildfires, when burned branches sprout new shoots.

Jurupa Mountains Image
That brings our road trip to a close. We are amazed at how trees can live long lives.  They connect us to the past and the future.  We hope we inspired you to visit these old beauties and to seek out the oldest trees in your area.  What is the oldest tree in your area, and have you been to see it? Please share your pictures and thoughts! #welovetrees