“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Bible, Timothy 6:10
This is a bible verse that many Christians, either Evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, or Born Again Christians know very well. Similar quotes from other faiths also share the same principle. For example,
“Earning a thousand, a greedy person runs after a hundred thousand. Satisfaction is not achieved by chasing after wealth” Sikhism, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 279.
“Our greed, craving, and thirst affects each of us on a personal and global level. Our greed is an endless and pernicious cycle that only brings suffering and unhappiness in its wake.” Buddhism, Sunyata Buddhist Center
“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.” Cree Native American Proverb – credited to Alanis Obomsawin
These four quotes come from various different faiths and religions from many different places around the world and at different times in our history. The Timothy 6:10 quote comes form the bible written well over 1,000 years ago, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was finalized by Guru Gobind Singh as the eternal 11th guru upon his death in 1706 – over 300 years ago. The Quote from the Sunyata Buddhist center was from 2015 and the quote from Alanis Obomsawin was from a Cree Proverb more than likely told for decades, if not centuries as well.
If we look at all these quotes together, there are a few common themes: greed leads to sorrow and unhappiness, greed has us yearning for more yet never satisfied, greed leads us down a path of blind mass consumption. Why should we continue to chase the dollar if it never truly satisfies us?
What is Greed?
According to the world happiness report on the U.S.A., citizens of the United States have been feeling less happy. While sharing happiness is very important in growing and sharing happiness within and with one another, we have grown to a point where the love of money this world has made many people dependent on it, as if it was God itself, and has caused havoc to the world in correlation to a decrease in faith in God/The Higher Power.
Greed is defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. In my perspective, Greed is these things; however, I would like to add that Greed also has people blinded from God/The Higher Power, their faiths and/or religions, and utter respect of all life around them – trees, animals, plant life, and so on. The Root of all evil not only blinds us, as humans, from the harm we do but it has us hold a ball of fire in our hands that spit in every direction, burning down every beautiful thing in its path out of our own desires.
Greed and the love of money, as we see it today, has us massively consume fossil fuels, emit megatons of carbon emissions, keep thousands of animals and livestock tightly in cages, just so we can eat to our hearts content while we drive to the mall to buy the latest trend in clothes or entertainment made out of materials and plastics that do more harm to the earth than good.
Similarly in our discussion on why we still need God/The Higher Power, the above graph from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that, between 1960 and 2013, there has been a steady and consistent increase of waste generated each year. In 2013, the graph shows the United States generated 254.1 million tons in waste. In conjunction to the numbers from a Gallup Poll on Religion where faith in God has Decreased in a similar time span, this leads me to find that greed and the love of money has pushed us to levels of waste that is unfathomable.
Granted, the level of recycling has increased in a similar time frame from 1960 to 1963, as shown in the above graph provided by the EPA; however, let’s do some math: 6.4% recycling in 1960 resulted in 5.6 million tons of waste recycled, leaving 82.5 million tons in 1960 left to sit as waste. in 2013, 87.2 million tons were recycled at 34.3%, which is quite a feet; however, this leaves 166.9 million tones still generated in 2013, doubling the amount generated in 1960 excluding recycling. Shockingly as well, plastic recycling is below 10%.
Referencing back to the four quotes on greed provided earlier in this post, the love of money only causes sorrow and unhappiness. How happy can we be when we are growing trash at such an alarming rate and just building on top of trash that was disposed of decades ago? These millions of tons of trash did not just disappear after they were disposed of, they were left sitting and more trash, growing at a steady rate year over year, just built on top of this trash.
In conjunction with the massive amounts of deforestation, animals kept in cages for the sake of our food, and this massive trash build up can all be linked to greed and the love of money as the root of all evil. Surely, there are many other reasons for this that are concentrated to respective businesses, consumer levels, and what have you; however, greed is very connected to each and every one of these.
If you look mass consumption in an operations and supply chain perspective, finding effective ways to cut down trees is profitable for timber farms, keeping animals in cages is a profitable way to ensure the product grows fat and populate at astounding rates, and keeping trash levels is profitable for waste management companies.
I find that a new way of living is needed to tackle greed and treating Money like God.
What Can We, as Humans, Do?
While taking care of our individuality, as humans, is important for the greater whole of our society as in ensuring our health is good, our relationships are good, and what have you, the whole is beyond humanity. The whole of life includes understanding we inhabit this world with other species that have been created by God/The Higher Power and the Earth.
While there are sects of people and organizations working diligently to make a difference in minimizing trash, minimizing our effects on the Earth, and what have you, sadly I do not find that this work by these sects of people and organization can stand alone in bettering our relationship with the Earth. While one organization works to plant more trees, another organization works to cut down trees for the profit of the company and tax revenue for a nation – it’s a cycle of sorrow in my mind.
The same process goes for trash. As more people try and recycle, more people would rather throw away trash and cause more harm to our planet. According to EPA on the impact of trash, “[this] debris harms physical habitats, transports chemical pollutants, threatens aquatic life, and interferes with human uses of river, marine and coastal environments”
So, with this in mind, what can we, as humans, do?
To answer this question, I would like to coin a few questions to everyone reading this:
- How is money more important than the well being of ourselves, life around us, God, and Earth?
- If mass consumption is leading us to throw away excessively which can harm the waters and life that we depend on to survive, why are we more focused on the money to continue this lifestyle when it will be more detrimental to humanity, in the long run?
- What can you do to better your relationship with the Higher Power, all Life around you, and the Earth?
Money is not That Important
Money is a creation of man and is reliant on humanity to survive. If Humans were gone tomorrow, money will not flow and would cease to exist on Earth. We are more reliant on the Earth than we think. The Earth does not need us to continue providing for life – we are in need of the Earth to continue providing us life; however, if we continue to trash the planet and massively consume, there will be nothing left for humanity to rely on to survive.
I find that if we begin backing away from our reliance on money and greed, we can see the world differently and as something we can live mutually symbiotic with, not live on the Earth like a parasite.
The love of money that humanity has, relying on the root of all evil, does not only blind us to our actions, but it rages like an uncontrollable forest fire and eats away at all that we rely on.
Another step humanity should take is the consideration of the cycle of creation, destruction, and recreation, or the law of conservation. In science, matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only change in form. Similarly, the ancient religion of Hinduism has Brhama as the creator, Vishnu as the preserver, and Shiva as the destroyer/transformer. If you put the law of conservation and the Hindu cycle together, they tell a very similar, if not the same, cycle of creation, preservation, destruction/transformation.
This is also in line with the Cree Proverb earlier in this post by Alanis Obomsawin. Similarly, the creation stories of the world, particularly in monotheistic faiths and religions of the world, also hold that God is the Alpha and the Omega, creator and destroyer in one. We humans have been on a path of creating our own tools and resources via mass consumption, then destroying it by using the resource and throwing it away; however, we are missing a key element: transformation/recreation.
If we apply the laws of conservation in our own actions with our use of resources, we could perhaps reuse what was thrown away for more beneficial means. Perhaps, Greed is blinding us from finding ways to transform and recreate what has been used. There are many great ideas on reusing trash readily available, such as Plastics Make it Possible, and perhaps we can see more than 10% plastic recycling rate increase and less trash thrown away.
Money is not the most important concept in the world, the most important concept to consider is how we obtain resources and how we use resources to the benefit of not just Humanity, but to all Life, the Higher Power, and the Earth in our connection to everything. Humans have the choice to decide what path we go. In my mind, the longevity of not just Humanity, but all life and the Earth is at risk if we continue on this path of mass consumption. Stepping away from our love of money, allowing the Higher Power back into our lives, and finding a way for all humanity to see and understand our relationship with the Earth and all Life is a path I find we should further look into.