Sustainability Superheroes blog
Using Decision-making and Entrepreneurial Thinking
Dr. Seuss created the opinionated and lovable Lorax to remind us about the perils the earth faced if we didn't become good stewards of the environment. He wanted young readers to learn about the world and be curious about ways to keep the planet beautiful. The Seussville website offers some great activities that you can use with your students to celebrate Earth Day.
Check out the original movie that was based on the book, which closely follows the text of the story.
One of the ways we can teach our students to use entrepreneurial thinking is to create new endings for stories. At the end of the movie, ask the students what they would do if they were given the seed and asked to start over again. What would they do differently? Sustainable businesses consider not only the profit, but also the people and planet. What happened when the Once-ler used all of the resources, without thinking of the future? As a side note, think about the name Once-ler. Why do you think Dr. Seuss gave the character this name?
This is an example of Tragedy of the Commons, an idea discussed by Garrett Hardin in 1968. The common refers to resources that no one owns, where people act according to their self-interests and depleting some common resource. Check out this TedEd video about Tragedy of the Commons.
What are the commons in the world of the Lorax? In economics, there is another concept, called the Law of Unintended Consequences. What were the unintended consequences when the Once-ler cut down all of those Truffula trees?
Now, put on your entrepreneurial thinking cap. How could the Once-ler have created a more sustainable business?
Then, engage students in a sing-a-long with Let it Grow. Plant a seed in your classroom and let it grow! Make a pledge to plant trees, wildflowers, or veggies. Then sing about the progress.
For more ideas on how to help the earth, check out the How to Help the Earth by the Lorax:
We also have more activities on the Meet the Lorax page. In addition, check out some of the Lorax decision-making lessons we have created!
Fun Fact. What animal was the inspiration for the Lorax? Scientists recently took on the challenge! Check out what the Smithsonian Magazine had to say about the findings. What do you think?