The theme of environmentalism within Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, while sometimes underlying, is an ever-present background to the characters and actions of Middle-Earth.The hero’s movements through nature contrasted with the criminal destruction of nature by the villains presents two clear perspectives about the treatment of nature, but Tolkien also inserts his perspective through the inclusion of Tree characters, like Ents. Trees and tree characters are an essential part of Tolkien's legendarium that help to illuminate the author's claims about environmentalism and the impacts of progress on the world. How characters interact with nature inform their ethics and point to Tolkien's thoughts regarding nature and the importance of one's relationship to it. The interaction of nature with forces like time and industry reveals Tolkien's claim about the importance of stewardship over nature and the consequences of neglecting or destroying it. Through character interaction with nature and industry to show the link between environmentalism and morality, as well as the messaging about stewardship and the consequences of neglect and industrialization, we can clearly see Tolkien’s environmental ethic and melancholic view of progress.
Butler, Sophie, "Environmentalism in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings" (2022). 4610 English: Individual Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien. 29.