Greed Eating Our Environment

It’s not really just that. As we live in an evolving complex world, there are perceptibly millions of factors that could contribute to nurturing a problem (billions more if we include the obvious), but these factors can sometimes be narrowed down to things relating to us; how we feel and behave. So that it may very well be just that.

Such as the problem with climate change. Dare I say it to be true? Wake up, people. The effect human beings have had on the environment is beyond obvious and in hindsight inevitable. The choices relating to progress (for the sake of progress) have over-consumed the earth’s resources and are directing it toward a potential path of no return. If you haven’t read The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Firgueres and Tom Rivett, the architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement, then I highly recommend adding a little clarity to the paths we are heading toward. Nevertheless, the choices we have made up to this point have hurt our planet. Using up earth’s seemingly unlimited resources to the point of destabilization. But what got us here? How come we (homo sapiens) are the ones to cause this potential extinction?

Looking beyond the obvious, beneath and below it. We see how things slowly developed. (With a broad overview) The agricultural revolution creating property, a systematized food source, labour, etc. Thus leading to a life of trade, bartering, and profit. The industrial revolution creating machines and systems to help further facilitate living developments, as well as the ability to capture and convert greater amounts of resources. This is the little two-step process that inevitably created the overuse of our planet. This little process allowed humans to fully capture their need for greed. Not all humans wanted to live like this, by the way. Native Americans, as well as many other cultures and tribes, had the utmost respect for mother earth. We were a part of nature, rather than us being separate – a path to self-righteousness. Living with the land, rather than from it. What would have happened if we lived as they did, rather than the Europeanized version. Would we be poorer? Richer? Happier? Who knows. But it’s fair to say that greed, at least not to the degree of us, was likely not in the vocabulary of people who got completely colonized by others arriving on boats.

We deal with greed every day. It is a constant battle to only take what you need and not what you want. Now those lines are more skewed than ever. I want a muffin for breakfast but I don’t need one. I want those shoes but I don’t need them. I want that house and business and car but I don’t need them. I want more, and more, but do you need it? Clearly, the latter has taken a backseat to the wants we crave. With the preceding revolutions helping facilitate nearly every want we could ever dream of. Some people are born greedier than others, sure, but the underlying issue is the disconnect we have with nature and the disconnect we have with ourselves. Haven’t you heard the expression ‘money can’t buy happiness’? Though we still act in ways that contradict that truth. It has become so ingrained in our way of thinking. Complete disconnection of who we are and ought to be. We’ve become so disconnected from mother earth that most people don’t even know the names of the trees in their lawn or local park, let alone how to grow one. With fleeting thrills taking over, our planet, our lives, and our happiness have been sacrificed. To save our home from ourselves we need to change the way we behave and look at things. We must go back to our roots, take what works and completely throw away what doesn’t. Because, to be frank, this is going to be an uphill battle. A battle against ourselves. Hopefully, the scientific and spiritual revolution can save us. But one thing’s for sure. If we don’t change ourselves, our values and traditions, dispelling greed with gratitude… then we are screwed.

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