Can We Leave Our Thneed Culture Behind, Post-Pandemic?
Paul Greenberg in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On
Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic, political, and technological issues being discussed in the news, right now.
On today’s episode, Andrew Keen talks with Paul Greenberg about his new book, The Climate Diet.
From the episode:
Andrew Keen: Erin Brockovich’s book, Superman Isn’t Coming, quotes Dr. Seuss’ Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” And you suggest that The Lorax is not really a helpful guide for climate activism. What’s wrong with The Lorax, Paul?
Paul Greenberg: Well, The Lorax is—you know, he’s always been an inspiration to me. One of the things I always teed off on The Lorax is, do you remember the Thneed in The Lorax? Do you remember, the Once-lers all come to the Truffula trees, these beautiful forests, and they cut them down to make this thing called a Thneed, which is this useless garment that you can’t even imagine how you would put it on. It was funny because, as we’ve seen with COVID, the purpose of in-person retail, commuting, and all those things start to be more and more apparent to us. You look around and you realize that we have an entire Thneed society. You alluded at the top of the interview my-op ed that I did with Carl Safina about needing an infrastructure for nature. Well, we have this old ancient infrastructure that we no longer need. If we’re going to truly work from home, if we’re truly going to online shop, why do we need to rebuild the crumbling roads? Why do we need to have all this infrastructure in place, when making it go away and letting it go away might be the best thing for us and for the planet?
Paul Greenberg is the author of the James Beard Award-winning bestseller Four Fish, American Catch, and The Omega Principle, and a regular contributor to The New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, and many other publications. He has been a correspondent for PBS’s Frontline and lectured widely on ocean issues at institutions ranging from TED to Google to the U.S. Senate. He lives in New York.