The Best Planet Protectors in Literature

Posted by Sarah Fox

There are some people who value the earth so much that they're labeled “tree huggers.” There are others that love the earth so much that they are willing to kick butt for it. In honor of Earth Day, we will examine four characters who are willing to get a little aggressive when it comes to protecting Mother Nature.

The Ents from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Ents have the most bizarre job title ever: tree shepherds (try searching for that on Google the next time you're job hunting). Their duties include protecting them against evil forces. The Ents are so dedicated to the care of the trees that they began to look like them. When you start looking like the thing you love, you know that is true devotion. We think this might be why some people so closely resemble their pets.


The Lorax from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

While the Ents are shepherds of the trees, the Lorax is definitely a spokesman for them. We're not sure why they picked such an odd-looking fellow, but what he lacks in looks, he makes up for in aggression. The Once-ler is the embodiment of everything that people complain about when they refer to industrialism and “Corporate America”: he tears down trees, robs adorable creatures of resources, gives swans sore throats, and poisons fish in order to create Thneeds (something people apparently need). Despite all the Lorax’s angry protestations, the Once-ler destroys the environment, causing the Lorax to leave out of total frustration. Now the Once-ler is forced to live in a wasteland of his own making (that will probably inspire a post-Apocalyptic young adult trilogy).


Poison Ivy from Batman Comics

Okay, we know she's a comic book character, but we're still counting her in this list. You cannot get more dedicated to nature than when you are willing to go head-to-head with Batman in order to protect it. Poison Ivy is definitely one with the earth; her powers are all linked back to plants—she basically controls toxins. As if these powers are not enough for her eco-terroism, she can poison people with a kiss (taking “tree hugger” to another, more twisted level). She takes the whole “green thumb” thing to the extreme often being depicted with green skin.


Dawn from Dawn Saves the Planet by Ann M. Martin

If you want a lesson on the dangers and sacrifices of defending the earth, look no further than #57 of The Baby-Sitter’s Club series. Dawn, always the fan of ecology, decides that it is a good idea to start educating people about environmentalism (i.e. scolding people when they use Styrofoam cups and throwing a can into the trash). Dawn’s enthusiasm for conservation is not appreciated by her friends and peers, and, as a result, she gets in a huge fight with her friends and is not voted as the chair for the recycling center. In terms of adolescence, this kind of social ostracism is a high price to pay to ensure there is still a viable planet for future babysitters to live on. When Dawn moved from Stoneybrook to California, we hope she found a more sympathetic audience for her platform.


So go ahead and throw away a half-written piece of paper. You just might be risking the wrath of a green-tinted supervillain or a bossy babysitter. 

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at