A Victory for Cute Kids, Civic Engagement, and the Trees

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris1051/403042739/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Chris1051</a>/Flickr

You have to hand it to the enterprising students of Ted Wells’ fourth grade class. On Wednesday, I wrote about the kids’ Change.org campaign to get Universal Pictures to include more environmental education in the promotional materials for the film version of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. On Thursday, Wells and Change.org announced that Universal has added a huge green icon to the movie site that takes visitors to a page full of information and tips on protecting the environment.

The “Lorax Project” page includes educational materials about trees around the world and ideas about what young people can do to protect them. Wells found out that Universal had updated its site when a representative from the company gave him a call on Wednesday afternoon. I spoke to Wells on the phone Thursday evening, after the class celebrated at their Brookline, Mass. school.

“I need to teach my students a lot in a year, but if I can teach them that they can make a difference, that it feels really good to be part of something bigger than themselves … those are life lessons,” Wells said. “I am pleased kids can have those experiences at 9 or 10.”

Wells also sent some great quotes from his students via email. “We’re going to be on earth longer than adults will,” said one student in the class, Sophia. “By the time we’re adults, it might not look as good as it does now UNLESS people start caring.”

“Even though we might be very little we can still make a lot of change in anything we work hard at,” said another student, Georgia.

The class petition got more than 57,000 signatures at Change.org. Wells said the class had a dance party during their snack break on Thursday to celebrate the victory.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.