The struggle for the natural world has always pitted the left against the right, now it’s become a battle for survival, argues Sarah Ensor
In the 19th century some scientists tried to understand the work of the ‘creator’, while others wanted knowledge to improve people’s lives. Chemist Justus von Liebig was trying to solve capitalism’s developing crisis of soil fertility in farming. His research into nitrates and chemical interactions in soil began to show that declining soil fertility was caused by the processes of capitalism, and was not natural. This work was deeply influential on Marx and Engels’s ecological thinking in relation to metabolic rift and the dialectics of nature.