The tree that inspired children’s author Dr. Seuss to write the famed book The Lorax has reportedly died after falling over in San Diego.
The author, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote the book about a fictional character who protected trees and was reportedly inspired by a Monterey Cypress tree that he could see from outside the window of his San Diego home. As CNN reported, the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department announced that the tree had fallen, though they did not give a reason for it.
The tree was estimated to have been between 80- and 100-years-old. Pictures from the scene showed that the tree had been uprooted and appeared mangled.
The Lorax was published in 1971, highlighting a character who spoke on behalf of trees and confronts those who harm the environment.
There are other ideas about what inspired Dr. Seuss to write The Lorax. As Mashable reported, the famed children’s author wanted to write a story that helped children better understand the importance of environmental conservation, but he was suffering from writer’s block. However, a trip to Kenya allowed the author to see patas monkeys in the wild, inspiring him to create the titular character in the book.
A study published in the academic journal Nature noted that the plot of The Lorax is close to the real-life environment of the monkeys, which are reliant on trees in the same way the Lorax needs the fictional Truffula trees to survive.
The study’s authors noted that the real-life environment of the monkeys in Kenya ended up in trouble because of a lack of conservation, making the book prophetic.
“Such findings suggest that we are witnessing a prophetic example of life imitating art imitating life,” the authors wrote.
The book became one of the most famous from the Dr. Seuss collection for its message of environmental protection at a time when there was a growing movement to practice better conservation. President Richard Nixon had just created the Environmental Protection Agency, and there was a burgeoning movement to cut down on harmful pollution.
The book was turned into a television special the year after it was published and later made into a 2012 movie featuring the voices of Danny DeVito and Taylor Swift.
The tree thought to have inspired Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" has fallen https://t.co/g1HzWdcip9— CNN (@CNN) June 17, 2019
Officials in San Diego said they hope to salvage the trunk of the Monterey Cypress tree so it can have another us, and will likely plant a replacement tree.