In the name of avoiding all the sentimental trash over children and animals and future generations and so on, I tend towards an eco-socialist position, but with the following qualifications:
a) Capitalism and the natural environment are inextricably linked with one another. This means that the simplistic point that the economy relies on nature needs to be dumped (in the recycling bin). Instead, in the same way that capitalism relies on the transformation of nature for its own continuance, so also does nature as we now know it rely on the perpetual transformation of capitalism.
b) This means that the end of capitalism will have significant environmental effects, especially in terms of agriculture but also for those zones ‘protected’ from intervention. Remove one partner from a symbiotic relationship and the other suffers.
c) However, the ‘end’ of nature will also have a deep impact on capitalism. This is where we face a second tension within the workings of capitalism (the first being the conflict between the forces and relations of production): unlimited capital on a limited planet:
i. capitalism requires ‘growth’ by definition. Note the effects of the recent economic ‘crisis’, in which most world economies went backwards – unemployment, loss of revenue, social stress etc. Only Australia avoided a recession. How? By selling environmentally destructive products to the Asian region, products that are deeply ‘natural’ such as coal (a further contradiction).
ii. However, it is impossible to grow indefinitely when you have ultimately limited resources.
iii. So at some point this contradiction, which has sustained capitalism for a few centuries now, must lead to its undoing.
d) All of which means that ‘green’ capitalism (apart from the green of money) is an oxymoron.