In this 1970 lecture, Ayn Rand analyzes the arguments and underlying motivation of the emerging “ecology” movement, the forerunner of today’s environmentalism. Separating legitimate concerns about pollution from the movement’s deeper animus toward industrial civilization and technological progress, Rand explains her view of the proper relationship between human beings and their environment. Rand addresses such questions as:
- How did the technological progress that accompanied the Industrial Revolution affect the quality and length of human life?
- What results can we expect from attempting to “restrict” technology?
- What are the political implications of the ecology movement?
- What valid issues are raised by instances of industrial pollution?
- What are the underlying motives of the environmental crusaders?
Although aspects of the environmentalist movement have changed since the early 1970s, its ideological essence — its fundamental philosophical perspective on man’s relationship to nature — has not changed, leaving Rand’s analysis and critique as pertinent today as it was then.
Note: After this lecture was recorded in 1970, Rand expanded on her initial speech in an essay by the same name. This valuable addition appears near the end of the lecture in a new recording by a voiceover artist.