How to care for the environment is a difficult issue and it is certainly easy to imagine how “capitalism” would be problematic. Wouldn’t corporations look to short-term profit rather than long-term stewardship? Perhaps, but government management isn’t always better.
Consider the case of Ravenna Park in Seattle. It opened in “1887 as a privately operated destination called Ravenna Springs Park. It featured nature trails and mineral springs touted for their supposed healthful qualities. Over the following decades, owners William and Louise Beck (1860-1928) promoted the park under various names including Big Tree Park” to highlight its giant old-growth Douglas Firs. “By 1902 it had become so popular that 10,000 visitors reportedly paid the 25-cent admission fee.” The owners continued to upgrade trails and add amenities and attractions and the park was featured in the 1909 world’s fair.
In 1910 the city of Seattle condemned the 60-acre park and diverted Ravenna creek (with its once bountiful fish runs) into a sewer line. In 1913 the Seattle Parks Superintendent profited by privately selling a few otherwise health old-growth Douglas Firs for firewood. Sadly, “within a few years all the old-growth giants were gone” and none of that size remain anywhere in the world.
Would the same fate have befallen the trees under private ownership? Maybe, but it seems unlikely that it would have happened as quickly!