The environment was primarily seen by Marx as a medium for human labor. He felt that nature was to be used by humans for their production purposes. Though humanity was a part of nature, nature's destiny was to be shaped by human labor.
In the long run, history would witness the humanization of nature and the naturalization of humanity. The ultimate stage of Communism, from the environmental point of view, would mean that nature had been humanized to the greatest possible extent.
Through science and technology, Marx thought humanity would progress to develop greater control over nature. In doing so, people would free themselves from dependency on the environment, mastering it instead of being enslaved by it.
In present times, two schools of Marxist thought have emerged. The first is the "humanist" group, which draws its ideas from a younger Marx, and the second the "orthodox" branch, which takes its ideas from writings done by Marx when he was older.
The humanist eco-Marxists attempt to cover the current environmental crises in their analysis. This group contests Marx's view of technology, and says that some level of production may have to be forgone for the sake of the
environment. Merely overthrowing the capitalist class is insufficient according to this branch, the proletarian government must also limit its destruction of the environment.
Orthodox Marxism blames capitalism for environmental problems. This group would promote science and technological development for the sake of mastering nature. While this may harm nature, one major objective would certainly be to learn enough about the environment to save it and all of its inhabitants.