Opinion: Our planet is dying, don’t make it about socialism
Movements to preserve the environment date back to the 19th century, when industrialism first began and pollution started to become noticed. It wasn’t until the 1960s that environmentalism took off and gained social momentum. In recent years, environmental protection and stopping the climate crisis are at the forefront of nearly every progressive agenda.
Every day, new reports come out that warn of our society’s impending demise. Wildfires are choking California, the Indies are being hit by more catastrophic storms than ever and it is going to get worse if action is not taken.
In the midst of this struggle, however, an increasingly popular idea that was once, and still is in many areas, stigmatized is attempting to interject itself into the issue: socialism.
It is no surprise that an issue as polarizing as the climate crisis would become intertwined with far-left ideologies like socialism. Capitalism, according to socialists, is a sickness that threatens to dismantle society. The danger that they suggest is similar to the one posed by the climate crisis.
But with a threat as great as the climate crisis, we cannot afford to abscond the only means that we have with which to defend ourselves.
Innovation and hard work are hallmarks of our capitalist society. Some of history’s greatest inventions have been created from the innovation our system has brought.
Additionally, renewable energy in its present form is insufficient to power our planet in its entirety. If we want to combat this crisis in the time that we have, we must not only use the clean energy resources presently available to us, but allow innovation to grow through market competition and individual growth.
Adopting socialism at this or any time would stall innovation indefinitely and leave our planet at the mercy of experimental methods that are only known to work on a small scale. It would also bring about a new level of suffering that was seen in India, Poland and Russia during the Cold War. In switching to a socialist state in the name of protecting our planet, we’d only be damning the people we are trying to protect to poverty and anguish.
Many people that identify as “ecosocialist” want to demolish capitalism for the preservation of the planet. But the planet and our country’s economic system are hardly related. Some people call industrialization and environmental destruction symptoms of capitalism. That statement is false. It is a result of human innovation and, particularly, existence. Whether the society is based on capitalism or socialism is irrelevant. The result was inevitable.
This planet is dying. We are running out of time to save it. And we cannot and must not make this about a perceived economic injustice.
Ryan Ellis is a junior English major and a member of the Executive Board for the university’s chapter of the Climate Reality Project. His opinions are his own and do not reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s staff. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.