A hard pill to swallow

While some may believe that a perfectly content life is as straightforward as “shelter, food, and a reason to be alive” like the tinkerer from “Lost and Found,” what happens when that doesn’t become enough? What happens when the tinkerer wakes up one day wanting more than just tinkering to his life? This is caused by something all humans have; greed. In “What causes greed?” Laura E. Alexander writes that greed is a coping mechanism from human’s fear of dying by “grasp[ing] at whatever means of security seem within their reach, such as knowledge, material goods or prestige.” Therefore, humans tend to seek excessive materialistic items in hopes to substitute their feelings of anxiety with temporary joy from these objects. Consequently, this avarice has led to excessive human consumption, which contaminates the Earth and affects the environment greatly.

Humans are naturally greedy, and it is in our nature to want more than what we currently possess. We tend to never be satisfied with what we have and always strive for something better. These may be materialistic items, our romantic relationships, and almost with every aspect in life. This is apparent in the film, Spirited Away, when the greedy animals try to please “No Face,” who turns out to be a terrible beast, into giving them gold. The greediest of them all ends up getting eaten by the monster, and it truly depicts the metaphor that one can be so preoccupied with what they want that it “swallows them whole.”

Spirited Away scene on Makeagif

This metaphor is profoundly accurate for our society today. Like the characters from Spirited Away, too many citizens spend their time trying to become wealthy that people are often plagued by this idea. This is especially true for consumers who are obsessed with getting the latest new products. Because of this avarice, our environment is on the verge of collapse. Suzanne Goldenberg, an environmental correspondent, reports that the “average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, fuelling a global culture of excess that is emerging as the biggest threat to the planet” (“US cult of greed”). This excessive spending towards unnecessary items is the main cause of climate change and pollution. Recently, people are immersed in obtaining the latest technology, from cars to electronic devices. These all produce carbon emissions to manufacture and to utilize, which is harmful for the environment. Because of people’s materialistic greed in purchasing technology that they don’t necessarily need, they are polluting the environment and accelerating global warming.

Our humanity is not only contaminating the earth now, but for future generations. Instead of preserving the ecosystem, people are greedily using up all the available resources. This is depicted in the short film, “Scavengers,” where the humans were experimenting and altering the environment for their own benefit. The man and the woman in the short film were killing animals on the planet and pursuing their curiosity, even if it damaged the species that were sacrificed. After many killings, the two were finally able to reach their goal, which was an ideal hometown. This illustrates how a human’s greed and curiosity can lead to exploitation and harming the environment to pursue their interest. Looking ahead, the Earth will not last long with its limited resources, and future generations will not have access to those resources that we have now. This affects our biological fitness, or how much genetic material is passed on for future offspring. The less available materials there are, there will be less offspring that will be able to survive and pass on their genes. Because of humanity’s selfish ways of the present, this damages the success of future generations.

“Scavengers” on Vimeo.

Greed is the world’s greatest enemy. It manipulates our lives and harms the ecosystem; therefore, it is crucial that people start to become more aware of their actions, and be more considerate towards the environment. This may be a hard pill to swallow but if we fail to do so, Earth will eventually become inhabitable with depleted sources, all because we couldn’t take better care of our environment. So, I hope that the next time you want to purchase the latest iPhone, you pause and take a second to consider if you really need it.

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