X
X
Top

Greed of homosapiens and the road to hell

Greed of homosapiens and the road to hell
x

Greed of homosapiens and the road to hell

Highlights

Animals too have self interest. But their self interest is confined to food and sex. Ever since man became intelligent and started creating wealth, the greed of man has taken wings .Now nothing on the Earth is beyond the reach of human greed.

Animals too have self interest. But their self interest is confined to food and sex. Ever since man became intelligent and started creating wealth, the greed of man has taken wings .Now nothing on the Earth is beyond the reach of human greed. We are usurping all things that are meant for other living creatures. Eighty percent of Earth's land animals and plants live in forests. Forests cover 31 percent of land area but they are being deforested at an alarming rate .

According to the 2020 report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Organisation ,the area of primary forests decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990.Between 2015 and 2020 the rate of deforestation is estimated at 10 million hectares per year. Apart from the 80 percent of the terrestrial animals, forests shelter various forms of micro organisms. When forests are destroyed for raising crops and other human needs, the ecosystem based on inter- dependence of species is cruelly cut. It is silent decimation of species


Good and bad, right and wrong, legal and illegal, moral and immoral are in a general sense two sides of the same coin representing human greed. If somebody steals money from another person, we will call it a bad act, a wrong act, an illegal act and an immoral act. If greed is completely absent from a person's life and that person's actions are all directed to benefit other people, he becomes a saint. He is revered as a great man. Buddha, Gandhi and Mother Teresa belong to this category. The vast majority of people have greed and act in their self-interest .Some people while acting in their self interest may forego a little of their self- interest and act altruistically.

Animals too have self interest. But their self interest is confined to food and sex. Ever since man became intelligent and started creating wealth, the greed of man has taken wings .Now nothing on the Earth is beyond the reach of human greed. We are usurping all things that are meant for other living creatures. Eighty percent of Earth's land animals and plants live in forests. Forests cover 31 percent of land area but they are being deforested at an alarming rate .

According to the 2020 report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Organisation ,the area of primary forests decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990.Between 2015 and 2020 the rate of deforestation is estimated at 10 million hectares per year. Apart from the 80 percent of the terrestrial animals, forests shelter various forms of micro organisms. When forests are destroyed for raising crops and other human needs, the ecosystem based on inter- dependence of species is cruelly cut. It is silent decimation of species.

Man's greed is not limited to land. The burning of fossil fuels is increasing the Co2 levels in the atmosphere leading to abnormal warming of the earth temperature. As the volume of Co2 increases in the atmosphere, it is absorbed by the sea water to form carbonic acid. The acidification of sea water reduces the amount of carbonate which is a key building material of marine creatures to form their shells and skeletons. When you make life difficult to form some forms of life in sea, the story does not end there. As on earth life of marine creatures is interdependent and the whole web of life in oceans is affected. Added to the above, indiscriminate fishing in oceans and dumping of all waste of our industrial activities in seas is endangering marine life in an unprecedented way.

Man is one of the many living creatures on earth. Like man all the creatures have a natural right to live on earth. By grabbing what is due of other creatures and decimating other forms of life man is committing immoral acts.

When a man commits an immoral act how does he redeem himself? All major religions say that a sinner has to go to hell to pay for his misdeeds. Man doesn't have to wait to go to hell. We are turning the earth into hell. The accumulation of Co2 and consequent rise in atmospheric temperature along with loss of biodiversity is altering the climate and making life miserable. It is estimated that if average global temperature rises by four degrees from the current levels ,large part of the earth will become uninhabitable leading to mass migration and misery.

Gordon Gekko in the 1987 American movie 'Wall street' said that "Greed for lack of better word is good ".The point that Michael Douglas acting as Gordon Gekko is making is that greed is driving human progress. The economic theory of Adam Smith, the father of Economics, supports the above view. Adam Smith posited "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own self-interest "

Greed in a limited way may be essential for human survival and progress.But untrammelled greed can't be sustained on our planet that has finite resources. We can't live without other forms of life .Life on earth is interdependent on each species performing it's niche duty in the web of life.Some people believe that human intelligence and technology will solve all our problems of climate change forgetting the fact that technology throws unintended side effects.

Nuclear power was thought as the panacea for our energy issue. But nuclear power gave rise to nuclear arms and difficult to dispose of nuclear waste material. Information technology is creating cyber crime, hacking of information systems and cyber warfare. The mother of all technological hubris is the belief that when it comes to the worst, we can all migrate to another earth like planet. Leaving aside the technological challenge of lifting mass of human beings into space, if we ever colonise another planet, life there won't be human as we experience here .

What is the solution to our greedy actions and how do we redeem ourselves from our sins? Technology may help in a limited way. Solar power may free us from our dependence on fossil fuels and may help us in arresting runaway temperature.But what about loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources.Our redemption lies in altering our behaviour.

According to David Attenborough, the British natural historian, we have to act with nature and not against it. The one single act of switching from animal based food to plant based food will free up farmland and encourage growth of natural forests and biodiversity. Long back Mahatma Gandhi said 'The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs but not for every man's greed' His words ring so true today. We have to cut our greed if we have to survive on this beautiful and unique home called Earth.

(The author is a retired IAS officer from Telangana cadre)

Show Full Article
Print Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
Next Story
More Stories