From the 2011 Support Team by Renee Leeuwner – Two Oceans Aquarium


I was asked to write down my thoughts and feeling about taking part in the Penguin Promises Waddle for a week. Well, I’ve decided to rather tell you someone elses’ story. Hopefully, this story will make people realise that our environmental problem isn’t a new one, neither are the solutions. As a matter of fact the solutions originated in ancient times. Times before cars and computers, tinned food and shopping malls, plastic and vinyl. The best solution is you and me – US.

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss was first published in 1971. The story starts off with a boy going to find the Once-ler. Now the Once-ler lives in a tower, hidden away in the most desolate part of town. When the boy finds the Once-ler, the Once-ler starts telling him about the Good Old days. When the Once-ler arrived in the area there were many Bar-ba-loots (bear-like creatures),  Swomee Swans and Humming fish.  But the thing that was the most wondrous of all to the Once-ler were the Truffula trees. Very soon the Once-ler found a need for the Truffula trees. He started making Thneeds from the Truffula foliage. Odd-looking as they were, the Once-ler insisted that everyone needs a Thneed! As the first tree falls, a little creatures emerges from the stump and says to the Once-ler: “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees as the trees have no tongues.”  The Once-ler ignores the Loraxs pleas to save the trees and very soon the Bar-ba-loots have to leave the area, cause they no longer have enough food (the Truffula tree berries and seeds) to eat.
And so the story goes. The Once-ler pulls in the rest of his family to make the Thneed industry grow, grow and grow. Soon the Swomee Swans leave and the Humming fish die because their ponds are all contaminated by the goop the Once-lers factory is putting into them. Then one day, the Once-ler chops down the lasts Truffula tree and one last time the Lorax makes his appearance. This time, he says nothing. He just disappears and leaves one word etched into the tree stump UNLESS.
Back to the boy visiting the Once-ler. The Once-ler says the following to the boy (something I have learned off by heart quite some time ago):
“Now that you’re here.
The word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
Its not”
With that the Once-ler hands the boy the very last Truffula tree seed. With THAT the Once-ler hands the boy the future of the environment. The future of the area. The future of the community, the Earth – The Boy.

Are we really going to wait till the last rhino walks this earth? The last frog sings his song? The last African penguin waddles out onto the beach? Can we really sit back and wait for someone else to do something to save our fauna and flora. Can we really afford to leave it to others to do all the work and walk all the way? Can we really sleep easy knowing that we will all be ok? I certainly dont think so and that is why I loved taking part in the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week. I didnt walk, but I did make sure that everyone was safe. I checked for rain and fielded the media calls that flooded in. I drove the support vehicle and handed out the Powerade, and the First Aid. I might not have walked the distance, but I have certainly seen how that distance can change ones life. It certainly has changed mine! It was and experience that brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion and it made me realise that there is a lot of work to be done, but there are many hands to do it.
Waddlers, I salute you. I salute your cause and I stand with you every step of the way, including next year and all the years to follow. I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, the penguins, the frogs, the rhinos, the plants, the whales, the deer, the people.
Waddle you do?
Rene

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