Letters to the Editor: Our wealth and consumption are killing the planet. We must rethink capitalism

A city of Seal Beach worker removes trash from the beach as waves come in.
A city of Seal Beach worker removes trash from the beach Friday.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Times reporter Sammy Roth raises an important issue with respect to the role of capitalism in exacerbating the climate crisis.

Changing capitalism will require more time than our climate can afford, thus the profit motive will have to be, for the present, a driving force in any climate solution. However, in the long run our economic systems will have to change.

Having huge mansions and private jets as a measure of status is contradictory to having a sustainable future. The profit motive and economic expansion cannot continue to be the primary drivers of our society if we want to have lasting solutions to maintaining a livable Earth.

Christmas is a time to remind ourselves that Jesus’ status did not result from his material wealth.


Karl Reitz, San Clemente


To the editor: The free market has run amok with greed.

While the full price of a product is being paid, the seller is not telling the buyer what the full price is.

You are not told by the seller of plastic bags that they will eventually choke off all life in the sea. The oil companies are not telling you that you may die of lung disease if you use their product. Elon Musk is not telling you that the lithium he sells in his electric vehicle batteries causes destruction of the environment.

And economists are not telling you that our economy is based on an ever growing population and how that growth is not possible on a finite planet.

In order to cope with the myriad challenges we face, we need to create a new language just to understand the problems.

Gregg Ferry, Carlsbad



To the editor: It is so nice to see someone finally ask the right question in regard to climate change. How about using less?

“Affordable” isn’t very affordable if it continues to lead to habitat destruction and toxic trash when disposed of.

Sara Schmidhauser, Isla Vista, Calif.


To the editor: Thanks for keeping climate change front and center with this piece by Roth. But he falls into a common trap by presenting two sides of a debate without relevant facts that make one side more compelling.

Yes, endless economic growth isn’t sustainable, since our planet’s resources are finite. And there’s considerable overlap between the impacts of growth and those of rising temperatures. But the way to prioritize what we fix would be to evaluate how bad the impacts are.

A quote from the article aids the evaluation: “Green energy will save not the complex web of life on Earth but the particular way of life of one domineering species.”


That might be true, but failing to lower the Earth’s temperature with green energy could destroy both the complex web and the domineering species.

Our planet doesn’t differentiate between capitalist and non-capitalist carbon dioxide. Our priority should be to reduce it. Fast.

Edward Dignan, Long Beach


To the editor: Roth’s piece illustrates that environmentalism is cut from the same cloth as socialism and communism.

Environmentalism, socialism and communism are all strains of the same virus. The common denominators include hostility to private property, massive propaganda, coercion instead of freedom, austerity instead of prosperity, and vast shortages of the essentials and desirables of life.

Environmentalism is dominated by an elitist class that accuses the struggling productive class of living too well, and wants to cheat the productive class out of having nice things.


Steven Pedersen, Rancho Palos Verdes