In 21st Century America, college campuses seem like places where ideologies and opinions, rather than knowledge, are built. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in college environmental courses. These classes basically list becoming a Marxist as a course requirement. If you don’t worship the earth and demand a workers’ revolution, than you are a heartless bastard. Any audible defense of capitalism will not only damper your chances at getting an A in the class, but it will make you the resident jerk. In every environmental class I have taken, I am that guy. I am always the butt of the professors’ jokes and receive many an eye roll when I raise my hand. I won’t apologize, because defending capitalism is defending freedom. When you are a 20 year old idealistic college kid, it doesn’t seem fair that people own things and that some have to work harder than others to make ends meet. An Inconvenient Truth sounds convincing, and anyone who disagrees with Al Gore is cruel. Still, you love your Apple laptop and iPhone. Starbucks makes good coffee for which you have no problem paying $7. As you enjoy these luxuries, you ironically call for global socialization of business and wealth. Justice, right? As long as we save the earth, who cares what rights we have?

Reading the Marxist textbooks that are a staple of environmental education, you would conclude that prior to capitalism, environmental problems didn’t exist (Not true, Native American’s were guilty of deforestation before European contact). It was the evil Europeans that sold us down the polluted river with that terrible thing called the Industrial Revolution. According to academia, this disgusting age of greed created the haves and have-nots. Supposedly life was terrible, even though infant survival rates skyrocketed as did life expectancy. People of all classes could now own land with Europe having shed the shackles of Serfdom, but people also got rich, which is supposedly a bad thing. The Industrial Revolution, through unbridled capitalism, paved the way for the awesome standard of living we now enjoy. This is where I believe radical environmentalists err; they seem so willing to condemn the practices and institutions that allow us such a high standard of living. Sadly, I think that many environmental advocates think a green utopia is attainable.

As a realist, I do not subscribe to these immature ideologies. Capitalism is blamed for the proliferation of environmental issues, but what is a better solution? I don’t see any viable remedies. It seems as if many people advocate Wilsonian overhauls for global government and Marxist initiatives for limiting liberty and prosperity. College campuses paint pictures of “global solutions.” I don’t see how global solutions to environmental issues like oil dependence, climate change, and deforestation are possible without a global centralization of power. This will only ensure tyranny and perpetuate oppression. The visions of environmentalists may be well intentioned, and I agree with many of their wishes, but unfortunately human beings are not angels. We are inherently flawed, and that simple detail makes global environmental control an unattainable idea. Any formation of a global environmental government will ensure global tyranny, wealth destruction, a decline in standard of living, and green fascism.

I would love to become a catalyst for environmental solutions, but until we can deal with global green issues without global radicalism, my realist cynicism forces me to refrain. I love the environment. As an avid outdoorsman, I enjoy the ocean, the numerous wildlife refuges near my hometown, and the New Jersey Pine Barrens. On a local level, I am a staunch advocate for conservation and preserving the great outdoors. However, on a global scale, I still remain cynical. In college, cynicism of idealism is uncool, but cynicism of reality is cool. This is because a classroom is not in the real world, it is a shelter for pipe dreams and idealistic idiocy. Even if “global warming” (or is it climate change?) exists, it can not be solved with out global compliance, which is not possible. I don’t think Kim Jong Un or Ahmadinejad care very much about the environment. The only thing “Global Solutions” will get us is the economy of the New Stone Age and the politics of Medieval Serfdom.

Colin Snell | The College of New Jersey | @SnellColin