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The Lorax Failed: Tree That Inspired Dr. Seuss Has Died


Dr. Seuss / Penguin Random House LLC.

Dr. Seuss once said: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened,” but it’s safe to say there’s not a dry eye among Dr. Seuss lovers. It’s been reported that the tree thought to have inspired The Lorax has died. The famed children’s author — known as Theodor Geisel outside of the cover of his kid’s books —wrote The Lorax in San Diego, California and It’s believed that one single Monterey Cypress in Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, inspired the “truffula tree.”

On Tuesday, multiple sources confirmed that the tree has fallen over, apparently dead. Officials aren’t exactly sure why the tree died since it was only 80-100 years into its 150 year life-span, but the city plans to memorialize the tree as well as plant another one in its place.

Dr. Seuss was known for sneakily (and not-so-sneakily) incorporating political stances into his stories, and The Lorax was no different. The book focuses on the title character’s mission to protect the Truffala trees from the greedy Once-ler who wants to chop them down. Unlike many children’s stories, The Lorax does not come to a happy resolution, as the Once-ler ultimately wins and destroys the trees.

Seuss fans far and wide are devastated to hear the news not only because of the connection to their childhoods, but because the themes of The Lorax still ring so true. With shows like Netflix’s Our Planet being produced left and right, it’s clear that the battle for environmental protection is on, and at higher stakes than ever.

If this isn’t a metaphor, we don’t know what is. Yikes.