Land Ownership for Pure Untouched Nature Preserves

Letter 1

From: N

Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2019 11:29 PM


Subject: Land Ownership and Environmentalism

Hello, my name’s N, I am a libertarian, but I’m confused on a point.

I’m familiar with the basic argument for free market environmentalism which says that people can preserve what they want to preserve by buying the species, forest, etc and privately caring for it – but if you’re starting as Rothbard would that land and natural resources are by default unowned until someone mixes their labor with it how is it possible that someone can buy land for the sake of preserving it, when the very act of legitimately claiming it changes its natural state? I know Rothbard wasn’t particularly interested in environmentalism so is there a different basis for this?

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon,


Letter 2

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019, 10:22 AM Walter Block <> wrote:

Dear N:

“Rothbard wasn’t particularly interested in environmentalism?” Well, that  is indeed sort of true. A very small proportion of his writings were on that subject. However, this one article more than makes up for this “oversight” of his:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1982. “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution.”  The Cato Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring, pp. 55-99.  Reprinted in The Logic of Action Two: Applications and Criticism from the Austrian School.  Glos, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 1997, pp. 121-170.; reprinted in Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, Walter E. Block , ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1990;;

In my view, this is by far THE BEST publication ever written on air pollution:

As for your question as to how to reconcile Murray’s view on homesteading with ownership of land for an untouched nature preserve, read this:

Block, Walter E. and Michael R. Edelstein. 2012. “Popsicle sticks and homesteading land for nature preserves.” Romanian Economic and Business Review. Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring, pp. 7-13;

Best regards,


Letter 3

From: N

Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2019 9:40 AM

To: Walter Block <>

Subject: Re: Land Ownership and Environmentalism

Thank you so much! Your article was exactly what I was looking for. I guess the concept is to intervene in the area without essentially changing it. Hypothetically someone who wants to make a nature preserve could even make minor, park ranger type interventions without changing the “wild” feeling and still commercially market it as a “nature preserve” although that wouldn’t satisfy the purists. Appreciate it!


2:43 am on November 27, 2019