Words That Inspire: The Once-ler, from The Lorax with photos by Chris Jordan

Quote from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and images from Chris Jordan's stunning series on America's obsession with consumption, Intolerable Beauty, with a note to educators.
pdf icon
Download PDF Poster.

“I meant no harm. I most truly did not.

But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.

I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads.

I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads

of the Thneeds I shipped out. I was shipping them forth

to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North!

I went right on biggering ... selling more Thneeds.

And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.”


Cell phones #2, Atlanta (top) Car Junkyard, Vancouver, Washington (bottom). Photos by Chris Jordan PHOTO CAPTION: Cell phones #2, Atlanta (top) Car Junkyard, Vancouver, Washington (bottom). Photos by


Note to educators: Chris Jordan’s dazzling images of stacked throwaway cell phones and crushed cars make the statistics that describe the huge waste streams of our consumer culture visible. Taking the first line of the excerpt above, “I meant no harm. I most truly did not,” have your students be the Once-Ler and finish the apology to the Lorax in Dr. Seuss style.


  • : This photo essay shows recent works of Chris Jordan from his Running the Numbers and Intolerable Beauty series.
  • : Follow the journey of five media artists, led by photographer Chris Jordan, to Midway to witness the catastrophic effect of our disposable culture on some of the world’s most beautiful and symbolic creatures.
No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.