When I was younger, I loved to read. At one point, I basically devoured a book a day. By the time I was 8 years old, I was flipping through To Kill a Mockingbird. However, despite the plethora of novels I had at my fingertips, I still liked to read “the classics;” books by Shel Silverstein, Carolyn Keene, and Dr. Seuss.

For years, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss was at the top of my list of favorite books. The story tells the tale of the “Lorax,” a whimsical, environmentally-conscious creature who speaks out about how increasing industrialization has led to the destruction of nature. The book starts in a futuristic, treeless world where an industrious character known as the “Once-Ler” ruthlessly targeted “Truffula” trees in the pursuit of profit. By the time his mission was accomplished, the landscape of “Thneedville” was bare.

When I was young, I sorrowfully read the tale often, mourning over the destruction of nature while scoffing at the actions of “profit-hungry” capitalists like the “Once-Ler.” Every time I noticed a sawed-off tree stump, I looked around hoping The Lorax would appear to criticize the selfish person who had the audacity to chop down the poor, innocent tree. Once, I even tried to plant an acorn in my backyard after my father got rid of a dead tree in our yard. In 6th grade, I took a personality test in my history class and was the only one to receive a high score in the “#11” category. When I raised my hand and asked my teacher what that meant, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Amy, you’re a tree-hugger.”

Now that I’m older, I know better. Though I love nature and find it impossible to stay inside during the springtime, I’m not longer what most would call a “tree-hugger.” I believe that we have the right to protect nature and preserve its beauty, but I also believe in the value of capitalism. Think about it. Where else in the world do environmental movements have such freedom to flourish? It is our classically liberal system itself that supports the plurality of environmental perspectives. I’ve seen and read enough in the years since I escaped my hippie-tendencies to value the free market and entrepreneurship. In short, I’ve grown up.

The environmentalism movement rests on the bleeding heart love of nature that I once espoused. Let me be clear, a love of nature is not inherently evil. In fact, it’s admirable to love something so beautiful, complex, and pure. However, when that affection crowds out rationality and reality by allowing the propaganda of the “Green Movement” to guide your decisions politically and economically, it is nothing but destructive.

Perhaps no better example of this exists than the recent movie version of The Lorax. The 1971 book straddled the fine line between stewardship and radical environmentalism to be sure. Yet, now that the Dr. Seuss classic has hit the big screen, the latter ideology has triumphed. The movie version of The Lorax has been described as “highly environmentalist” and implies that capitalism and free enterprise are inherently evil. Start a business and you’re immediately heading down the inevitable path of universal environmental destruction.

This film is simply indicative of the growing influence of radical environmentalism in our nation. Many of the environmentalists today are a far-cry from the tree-hugger I was at 8 years old. Underneath the opposition to capitalism and entrepreneurship is a fundamental disrespect for humanity and life itself. The environmental movement perpetually places nature over people. In California, farmers have difficulty gaining additional irrigation because many environmentalists are concerned that an increase in water usage will affect the habitat of the 2-3 inch Delta Smelt. For crying out loud, we’re halting business for a tiny fish?

Isn’t it odd that many of the liberal environmentalists are the same people crying “Out of my uterus!” when it comes to abortion. Sure, they’ll invasively go out of their way to protect a fish, but when it comes to protecting life in the womb, all we hear is “it’s only tissue.” You know what? The Delta Smelt is “only tissue” too, and a soul-less tissue with a one-year life span at that. Environmentalists will cry foul every time someone “infringes” on the rights of something as small as a fish, but when it comes to the millions of children murdered yearly through abortion, they turn a blind eye. Although I love the earth and want to protect it more, this socialist movement is something I abhor. I believe in capitalism and freedom and unfortunately, the radical nature of tree-hugging environmentalism is no longer respectful of and compatible with these concepts.

Amy Lutz :: Saint Louis University :: Saint Louis, Missouri :: @AmyLutz4