Importance of Natural Resources

Tropical rainforest deforestation satire: Mr. Dodger’s Neighborhood


(thunder cracks) – Hi, I’m Kevin Schrandt.
Earth Day marks its 50th anniversary this year.
If you’re not familiar, Earth Day was the catalyst
for a lot of great initiatives such as the Environmental
Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act,
and the Clean Air Act, the latter two to curb pollution. For the past 30 years I’ve been involved with some type of Earth Day project, whether it’s working outside in the field or if it’s a music project,
preforming, or video project. One video project I want
to share with you is called “Planetary Update”,
and the premise is simple. Two intergalactic aliens
are looking down on the Earth, and they’re seeing
that the Earth managers, us humans, are not managing it very well from an environmental standpoint. So, they tap into the primary mode of communication, which is television, and they see programming that is very disturbing about
environmental issues. Mr. Dodger’s Neighborhood is one such clip that, within the
neighborhood, the animals, or the puppets are the ones that are “environmentally conscious”,
whereas Mr. Dodgers dodges the issues. Well,
here, just check it out. – [Mr. Dodger] It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a lovely day in the neigh– Well hello, neighbors! And how are we doing today? Boy, it sure was hot. That’s why I wore these sunglasses. I also wore my favorite
sweater just in case we got some early snows.
You know on real hot days like today, you
know what I like to do? I like to put my shoes
in a nice cool baby pool. Kind of a special feeling. Do you like to do that? Like
the sprinkle of water over my feet make them
nice and calm and smooth. Smooth. I like that word, smooth. Maybe we’ll do that
after our time together, huh neighbors? Good. You know neighbors? All this
sun makes me think of a lot of things, like lemonade, suntan
lotion, and perspiration. But you know it also makes me think of places where they got lots of trees and animals and where it’s very hot and steamy. You
know it makes me think of, of the jungle! Should we play make-believe, neighbors? (chime) If you know this song, neighbors, don’t be bashful, now, sing along! Fishies and birds and
little furry things– (giggle) Sorry! Fishies
and birds and little furry things, buzzards
and bees that bumble. Hummingbirds, sloths, and big kitty-cats, that’s what lives in the jungle! (ding) Now, wasn’t that fun? Phew! All this music sure tires me out! You know what I like when I’m tired? I like to have a big glass
of orange juice and a saltine cracker. Does
that sound good, neighbor? – [Jaguar] Mr. Dodger! Mr. Dodger! – [Mr. Dodger] Why, it’s Mr. Jaguar! Hello, Mr. Jaguar. You know, Mr. Jaguar lives in the jungle, too. – [Jaguar] Well, Mr. Dodger, you know it’s not really referred to as the jungle. It’s “tropical rainforest”, and yes, I live there for now. – [Mr. Dodger] Well,
thank you, Mr. Jaguar. Hmm. Tropical rainforest.
Can you say that? Well, Mr. Jaguar, you look
nervous. Did we have a complete, nutritious
breakfast this morning? – [Jaguar] Actually,
Mr. Dodger, I’m lucky to find any breakfast these
days. My habitat is so threatened that prey is scarce, and I’m constantly threatened by fire or human encroachment. – [Mr. Dodger] Well, Mr. Jaguar, that doesn’t sound very nice. We all have bad days, though. When I have a bad day, I like to put on my favorite sweater,
and my favorite shoes, and go out in the park,
and throw rocks at birds. – [Monkey] Quit dodging
the issue, Mr. Dodger. The reason that Mr.
Jaguar is so threatened by loss of habitat is
because farmers, loggers, and ranchers are destroying
acres and acres of tropical rainforest trees
for short-term profit. – [Mr. Dodger] Well, hello, Mr. Monkey! Yes, tropical rainforests
are full of trees, so full that the canopy of branches does not let any of the sun penetrate it. Penetrates. I like that word. The rainforest is dark
and green and scary, and– – [Monkey] In some places, but farmers, due to pressures from unequal distribution of wealth and government
incentives, come into the forest and burn or
chop sections of trees! – [Jaguar] Or bulldozers
come and raze the land so it can be converted
into pasture for cows, then various international
fast food chains purchase the Central American beef because it’s slightly cheaper. – [Mr. Dodger] We know
all about hamburgers, don’t we, neighbors? Barbecues, milkshakes, can you say all-American? – [Monkey] Can you say economic incentives for forest destruction?
You see, Mr. Dodger, this beef, or tropical
hardwood or cash crop, leaves the land a barren
desert in a few years! – [Frog] That’s right, Mr. Dodger. In a tropical rainforest,
most of the nutrients are held in the biomass, not in the soil. So, when the trees are gone, the soil gives out in just a few years. Then, massive erosion occurs, and the resulting silt destroys local watersheds. The damage can even extend to reefs offshore from the outlets
of silt-laden rivers. – [Mr. Dodger] Can you say big problem, neighbors? Why don’t we all have a glass of chocolate milk, and then maybe a very special, “I’m sorry”
from all the loggers, and all the consumers of tropical goods, and even government officials! – [Jaguar] Sorry? Mr.
Dodger, species are going extinct at a rate of over three a day, due partially to loss of rainforests! – [Monkey] Global climate is changing. The breadbasket of America is threatened, and might become a desert. – [Mr. Dodger] You mean no more homemade bread from Chef Purpletoes? – [Frog] Mr. Dodger,
only concerned citizens educating their neighbors, writing to their Congresspeople, and boycotting tropical hardwoods and
Central American beef can cease the madness. Ribbit! – [Jaguar] Can you say
grassroots activism? – [Mr. Dodger] Well… – [Monkey] Can you say global implications if the cutting isn’t stopped? – [Mr. Dodger] Can you
say beats me, neighbors? – [Frog] Can you say tropical
deforestation, Mr. Dodger? (tree cutting sounds) (ending music)


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