A friend of mine recently blamed climate change on capitalism, and it started me thinking about whether it's capitalism's fault or the opposite: i.e. nature being public property. I remember how in school they made us go around picking up garbage, trying to instill in us a sense of cleanliness when it comes to public property. Why isn't cleanliness a problem when it comes to private property? And why is it that the government needs to have hunting seasons otherwise the animals will go extinct, whereas if it's private property the animals tend to survive, even multiply? I searched what my favorite economist (in terms of how clearly he explains stuff) had to say about this, and found this passage in a book of his:
It is precisely those things which belong to "the people" which have historically been despoiled—
wild creatures, the air, and waterways being notable examples. This goes to the heart of why property rights are socially important in the first place. Property rights mean self-interested monitors. No owned creatures are in danger of extinction. No owned forests are in danger of being leveled. No one kills the goose that lays the golden eggs when it is his goose. Even chickens who lay ordinary eggs are in no danger of being killed before their replacements have been provided. No logging company is going to let its own forest become a mass of stumps, though it may do that on "public" land.
That's Thomas Sowell in his book Knowledge and Decisions (which I haven't read).
So I thought about this when reading your well-written post, about people basically destroying everything everywhere they go and the government having to step in to fix things.