Helping the Lorax Speak for the Trees

Ted Wells, a 2007 graduate of Bank Street’s Childhood General Education program, teaches 4th grade at the Park School in Brookline, MA, and his students are savoring a heady accomplishment: their petition campaign succeeded in getting an environmental education message onto the website for the hit animated movie, The Lorax.
“This was so empowering for them,” says Wells. “They learned a lot by doing this project. Now they are discussing what their next campaign on behalf of the environment might be.” 
Coming to the Rescue
The film is based on the beloved children’s book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. Wells’ students loved the book—especially the part where the Lorax “spoke for the trees”—and they believed, as Seuss did, that “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not.”
When they heard about the film, the students went to the movie website; to their dismay, they found nothing about the book’s environmental message to save the trees and help the planet.
“We had a class discussion about what we might do,” says Wells, “and chose to start a petition campaign asking Universal Studios to add an environmental message to its website and offering suggestions for how that could be done.”
“Being Role Models for Adults”
The class’ petition was posted on the website Change.org. After more than 57,000 people signed the petition, and celebrities began tweeting about it, Universal contacted Wells to say they had updated the website to be more green, but that this was part of their plan, and the class project

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