I love the book The Lorax. It is poignant and haunting, quite different than most of Dr. Seuss’s works. I watched the 2012 movie version of The Lorax, and found it significantly more disappointing than the original book, but it did have an interesting aspect that piqued my interest: the bottled air. Because the Once-ler had killed all of the trees, people were being forced to purchase bottled air in order to breathe. It seems like an extremely silly concept–bottling air and selling it to people–but what if that was what had to happen in order for people to breathe?
In fact, it already has happened. In China, where the pollution is rampant, entrepreneurs sold bottled air to tourists. One artist sold French bottled air on auction for $860. (See the NPR link here). And scientists have discovered a way to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen (see link here), which potentially means that oxygen could be created on demand.
These links may be a year old, but they are no less relevant. Deforestation and pollution are still very real problems. If it does come to the point where we need bottled air to survive, who will own the monopoly on it? Will we have to create a law saying that fresh air is a basic human right? It’s certainly food (or breath) for thought.