Message from The Lion King – Its Time to Face Reality, Humanity Is No Different from The Hyenas

Published on by Nika Zobec

The 2019 remade version of The Lion King released 25 years after the original animation production, brought back a feeling of nostalgia and childhood memories to many viewers; however, the film also brought tears to a few.

Apart from enjoying the story in 3D graphics, different people took away different messages from this film; that’s one of the factors that made it so successful. Some people saw courage and revenge, some saw growth and responsibility, and some saw family, friendship and love. Reviewing this film after many years, what I saw was respect for nature and balance, and what touched me the most was the conversation between the Simba and his father:

Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

Simba: But, dad, don’t we eat the antelope?

Mufasa: Yes Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelopes eat the grass; so we are all connected in the great circle of life.

But after Scar set a trap that killed Mufasa, he seized the throne and began his ruthless domination over the land and went on a massive hunting spree with the hyenas to feed their greed.

When Simba finally returned to his native land from his carefree jungle life, standing at the highland viewing the devastated kingdom his father once ruled, his eyes filled with sorrow.

Does this story sound familiar?

This is exactly what is happening on our planet Earth right now. Humans with their insatiable appetites are committing much greater atrocities than Scar and his pack of hyenas – our endless consumption is destroying animal habitats, causing the extinction of thousands of species.

Shocking impacts of climate change includes extensive melting of polar ice in the recent years. Over 40% of Greenland experienced melting on June 13th, with total ice loss estimated to be more than 2 gigatons (equal to 2 billion tons) on just that day alone……

The melting polar ice has left hardly enough food for polar bears to survive. Within the same week, an emaciated polar bear travelled 1,500km from the Arctic Ocean ended up in an industrial northern Russian town ‘barely able to move’ after walking hundreds of miles and starving for days…

Not to mention thousands of posts highlighting the fact that marine animals are tortured by one of man’s greatest inventions, plastics.

It is estimated that around 100 million marine animals are killed by plastics each year.

34% of all dead leatherback sea turtles are found to have ingested plastic due to the stark resemblance of plastic bags and jellyfish, causing in excess of 1,000 deaths per year.

Rainforests are being cut down in order to feed livestock with grains; eventually meeting our demands for meat.

Now about 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years, where the production of beef is without question the biggest cause.

Brazil alone has 24 to 25 million hectares devoted to the production of soy, 80 percent of which would end up as animal feed……

Maybe we feel that these heartbreaking facts are too far away from us. After all, when most of us sing Hakuna Matata and enjoy the convenience brought about by advanced technology in our reinforced concrete world; we wait for someone else to come by and take care of the environment.

In the movie, with Simba’s return, he confronted Scar and won back his kingdom. The jungle life returned back to its original form and the story ended with everyone living happily ever after. The fairy tale world is always so wonderful!

But what about reality? We do not have a lion king who will come and save the world of all its current environment problems; but I do believe that we all have a Simba, a Scar, and a hyena living in our hearts. Who shall be king, only we can make that decision for ourselves.

We don't have to go out and wage war against Scar and his hyena followers. All we need to do is to wake up the ‘Simba’ in our hearts when we make small choice in our daily lives.

Choices such as whether to drive or to take public transportations? Do we really need to buy new clothes? Do we really need to follow the trend and get the latest phone? Can we order less take-out and find other replacements for single-use plastics?

These choices which may seem insignificant and are often ignored, makes us wonder if our miniscule efforts would ever make a difference. But it is exactly the accretion of these small acts by each one of us individuals, that has turned our Earth into this current disastrous state of affairs.

In reality, there is no superman or lion king to help us save our planet; it is only through our willingness to change and to wake up the ‘Simba’ within us can we move towards the balance in nature – the circle of life.

About the Author

Fiona Zhao
A passionate expert in marketing, communications and social media. An environmentalist at heart and a nature & animal lover, she spends her spare time volunteering for Green Initiatives, handling digital media content and strategy. She currently works at Hult International Business School as their China Marketing Manager.