Dr Seuss And The Carbon Tax

Either Dr. Seuss knew something was up with the environment in 1971 when he released ‘The Lorax’, or he’s a time lord that was sent back to warn us of our impending doom. Here is a modern adapted version of Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’.

In old Canberra town
Where the greener grass grows
And the wind often changes, to suit where it blows
And no birds ever sing excepting old crows
Is the street of the lifted Carbon Tax.
And deep in the green grass some people say,
If you look deep enough you can still see, today,
Where the carbon tax stood,
Just as long as it could
Before somebody lifted the tax away.
What was the Carbon Tax?
And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere
Far from the end of town where the greener grass grows?
The old Prime Minister still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.
You won’t see the Prime Minister
Don’t knock at his door.
He stays in his lodge staring at the floor
He lurks in his lodge, above his glass roof
Where he makes his own policy
Based on pish-posh proof
And on special dank midnights in August,
He peeks
Out of the shutters
And sometimes he speaks
And tells how the Carbon Tax was lifted away
He’ll tell you, perhaps…
If you’re willing to pay.

On the end of a rope
He lets down a tin pail
And you have to toss in smoke
a mirror and a veil
and the whispers of an old wives’ tale.
Then he pulls up the pail,
Makes a most careful count
To see if you’ve paid him
The proper amount.
Then he hides what you’ve paid him
Away in his pouch
A strange secret hole
Made by the grouchiest grouch.
Then he grunts, “I’ll call you by Whisper-ma-Phone
For these secrets are gospel, and for your ears alone.”
Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear
But the Prime Minister’s whispers are not very clear,
Since they have to come down
Through a twisted hose,
And he sounds
As if he had
Bees in his bonnet and up in his nose.
“Now I’ll tell you,” he says, with his teeth sounding gray,
“how the Carbon Tax got lifted and taken away…

It all started way back
Such a long, long time back
Way back in the days when the grass was still green
And the ocean still wet
And the clouds were still clean,
And the song of the Bristlebird rang out in space..
One September morning, I came to this place.
And first I saw the trees!
The electricitrees!
Below the Earth and above the sea.
And, amongst the trees, I saw brown Koala bears
Frisking about in their Koala bear hair
As the played in the shade without a Koala bear scared.
From the glimmering ocean
Came the comfortable sound
Of the reef-life humming
While splashing around.

But those trees! Those trees!
Those electricitrees!
All my life I’d been searching
For trees such as these.
The fruit they produced
Was more precious than gold
It wouldn’t sell cheap
So I was told.
I felt a great leaping
Of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I’d do!
I unloaded my cart.
In no time at all, I had built a small ministry
Then I plucked a clump from the electricitree
And with so-so skill in great speedy speed,
I took the black clump, and made energy.
The instant I’d finished, I heard a thwack!
I looked.
I saw something pop out from the crack
That the tree had made. It was sort of a plan.
Describe it? That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.

It was longish. And newish.
And greenish. And glossy.
And it spoke with a voice
That was sharpish and bossy.
“Mister!” It said with a smoggy wheeze
“I am the Carbon Tax. I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I’m asking you, sir, at the tip top of my lungs”-
He was very upset as he shouted and tooted
“What’s this THING you’ve made out of my electricitree root!”
“Look, Carbon Tax,” I said. “There’s no cause for alarm.
I’ve got just a smidge. I am doing no harm.
I’m being quite useful. This thing is energy.
Energy: I’ll sell it. You’ll see.
It’s light. It’s power. It’s warmth. It’s cold.
But it has other uses, you treacherous troll.
You can use it for cars. For planes! For boats!
Or even to share funny cat jokes.”
The Carbon Tax said,
“Sir! You are crazy with greed.
There is no one Earth
Who wants so much need.

But the very next minute I proved he was wrong.
For, just at that minute, a chap came along,
And he thought the energy I’d made was great.
He didn’t ask where it came from and bought in litres for 1.98.
I laughed at The Carbon Tax, “you poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.”
“I repeat,” cried the Carbon Tax,
“I speak for the trees!”
“I’m busy,” I told him.
“Shut up, if you please.”
I rushed cross the room, and in no time at all.
Built a node system, and sent out a call.
I called all my ministers, investors and co
And I said, “Listen here! Eat the bone that I throw
This is our chance to grow rich from a ditch!
Get over here fast! Take the east-west road.
Turn right at the fork; bring your baggage in toe.
And, in no time at all,
In the factory I built,
A brand new ministry
Was working full tilt.
We were drilling up energy
Just as busy as bees,
To the sound of the slurping
From the steel electrictrees.

Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, using just one tree
At a time
Was too slow.
So I quickly commissioned more to be slurped
More clumps to pull up from the water and dirt.
We were making more energy
Four times as much as before!
And that Carbon Tax?
It didn’t show up any more.
But the next week
It knocked
On my new office door.
It snapped, “I am the Carbon Tax who speaks for the trees
Which you seem to be harvesting as fast as you please.
But I’m also in charge of the brown Koala Bears
Who played in the shade in their Koala bear hair
And happily, lived without a koala bear care.
NOW… thanks to your drilling from below the ground,
There’s not enough shade from the sun to go round.
And my poor Koala Bears are all getting the crummies
Because all this heat has got to their tummies!
They loved living here. But I can’t let them stay.
They have to get cool. And I hope that they may.
Good luck boys,” it cried. And he sent them away.
I, the Prime Minister, felt sad
As I watched them all go.
Business is business!
And business must grow!
Regardless of sick koala bears you know.

I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.
I biggered my margins. I biggered my roads.
I biggered my Treasurer. I biggered the loads
Of the energy I sourced. I was sourcing them forth
from the south! From the East! From the west! From the north!
I went right on biggering… selling more energy.
And I biggered our money, which everyone needs.
Then again he came back! I was fixing some pipes
When that nuisance Carbon Tax came back with more gripes.
“I am the Carbon Tax,” it coughed and it wheezed.
It sniffled and snuffled. It let out a sneeze.
“Prime Minister!” It cried with fierce disposition.
“Prime Minister! You’re making carbon emissions!
My poor Bristlebird.. Why they can’t sing a note!
No one can sing who has smog in his throat.”
“And so,” said the Carbon Tax
“Please pardon my cough-
they cannot live here.
So I’m sending them off.
Where will they go?…
I don’t hopefully know.
They may have to fly for a month.. or a year..
To escape from the smog you’ve smogged up around here.

“What’s more,” snapped the Carbon Tax (no want for brief)
“Let me say a few words about my poor reef.
Your machines chug on, day and night without stop
Making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp.
And what do you do with this left over goo?
I’ll show you. You dirty old Prime Minister, you!
You’re polluting the ocean where the reef life hummed
No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed.
So I’m sending them off. Oh, their reef is now dreary.
They’ll walk on their fins and get woefully weary
In search of some water that isn’t so smeary.”
And then I got mad.
I got terribly mad.
I yelled at the Tax, “Now listen here, Dad!
All you do is yap-yap and say, ‘Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!’
Well, I have my rights, sir, and I’m telling you
I intend to go on doing just what I do!
And, for your information, you Tax, I’m figgering
On biggering
Turning more clumps into energy
Which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!”
And at that very moment, we heard a loud crack!
From outside in the farms came a sickening frack
Of a drill through a rock. Then we heard nothing at all.
The very last electricitree had nothing, not small.

No more electrictrees. No more energy. No more work to be done.
So, in time, my allies and friends, every one,
All waved me good-bye from their band wagon.
And drove away with their coat tails a ‘draggin.
Now all that left ‘neath the bad smelling sky
Was my big empty ministry
The Carbon Tax
And I.
The Carbon Tax said nothing. Just gave me a glance
No double or nothing, no second chance
As he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I’ll never forget the grim look on it’s face
When it floated and flapped and took leave of this place
Through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Carbon Tax left here in this mess
Was a small pile of rocks, with one word…
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn’t guess.

That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I’ve sat here and worried
And worried away.
Through the years, while the Earth
Has fallen apart,
I’ve worried about it
With all of my heart.
“But now,” says the Prime Minister,
“Now that you’re here,
the word of the Carbon Tax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.”
Catch!” calls the Prime Minister.
He lets something fall.
“It’s a seed of change
It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the changeling seeds.
And hope for change is what everyone needs.
Plant the new seed. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest of change, free from doubt and attack.
Then the Carbon Tax
And all of his friends
May come back.”


If you have a story that you'd like to share, please submit it here.