Someone Speak For The Trees


Protect Places One Can Find Their Soul And The God Who Created It

by Eric Elkin

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
    he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
— Psalm 148: 5-6

“I am a Lorax, I speak for the trees.

I speak for the trees because the trees have no tongues

and I am asking you sir at the top of my lungs…”

This morning, I am searching for my inner Lorax. Drawing the deepest breath into my lungs so my voice might create a sound loud enough to be heard. Someone needs to speak for the trees, for pristine waters and for the life which depends upon their health. The clock is ticking, and I do not know how to stop it. 

The news last week of efforts to open up copper ore mining in northern Minnesota left me speechlessly depressed. If you have never ventured into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), you are missing out on one of North America’s greatest treasures. The BWCA is 1.1 million acres of protected forest left relatively undisturbed by human hands. You can enter its boundaries and canoe for weeks without ever leaving it.

Why must we destroy every native habit on earth for our own short-sighted, self-interest? 

It is uncanny how The Lorax speaks directly to this current crisis. Dr. Seuss had a fantastic ability to look into the future and create an enduring character and story. Actually, there is nothing remarkable about it at all. The characters and story are so enduring because we have spent 150 years repeating it.

Every generation has its share of Oncelers. A Onceler is a capitalist whose endless pursuit of a raw commodity destroys the environment around it. John D. Rockefeller was a Onceler. His drive to create an oil monopoly led to the Cuyahoga River catching on fire. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich and Charles Goodyear were wonderful Oncelers. Their development of rubber made Akron, Ohio one of America’s most pristine cities. Not to mention the positive impact of rubber production on rain forests.

Joys come from simple and natural things; mist over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water. Even rain and wind and stormy clouds bring joy.
— Sigurd F. Olson

The Lorax is a voice easily drowned out by capitalists. His words are childish and simple. The only people repeating them are tree-hugging, hippie environmentalists. They make the Lorax a character to be laughed at, not a voice to be heard. Perhaps if you visited Centralia, Pennsylvania, your ears would be opened. Maybe if you saw beautiful mountain streams flowing with bright orange sulfur water, your eyes would be to see better. The message of the Lorax is truthful and real. 

Psalm 148 reminds us that the earth belongs to the Creator. It is designed to sing praise to the Almighty. Creation and its creatures have fixed boundaries which should not be passed. When its boundaries are not respected, life-giving water can become dangerous to those who drink it. Air, necessary for life, can become toxic and deadly if we are not careful about how we treat it.

Creation is not for the taking, but the giving. We should receive this gift in such a way that allows the earth to continue to sing praise. We must act as good stewards of God’s gifts, not as robbers and thieves of it. Speak for the trees, clean water, and air. Speak to protect those wilderness places where people can go to find their soul and the breath of the Creator.


Click to read Psalm 148

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you engage with Creation?

  • What type of created environment sings to your soul?

  • What is the harm of natural areas being destroyed?

  • How can we protect and still grow?

Like it? Take a moment to support Ordinary Voices on Patreon.


More for you . . .

From the blog . . .