All Hail the Profit!

Money is not very smart. But it’s the boss. We can be sure of that.

That’s a bit of a no-brainer! Of course it’s not very smart. Neither is a box of nails. Money is an inanimate object, at best. But the way I see money, it’s a bit like a shepherd with a really low IQ. Money (the Shepard) doesn’t recognize that there is no need for it without us (the sheep).

Money and profit, without humans, can’t survive. But at the same time, money and profits are behind every environmentally-detrimental behavior and habit that humans have adopted. Without greed for profits, we would never knowingly and willfully destroy our own habitat, the only place we have to live. If we stay-the-course, we’ll be removing ourselves from the equation, which would leave no one left to pay for these profits…

…nor to spend them.

But how are we destroying our own home, our only habitat? The burning of fossil fuels, Biodiversity loss, Plastics, Deforestation, Toxins in our sea, land, and air, and lastly…the inherent divisiveness and social inequity that is fostered by corporate greed and its lust for money.

Burning fossil-fuels and coal for energy are our highest contributors to greenhouse gasses and their devastating effects on our environment. But why, with access to unlimited renewable energies, would we continue to pillage the planet? Because right now, it’s less profitable. We have had the means to ween ourselves from fossil fuels for decades. Yet, we need to profit from current technologies before we move forward due to our corporations’ “fiduciary duty to increase shareholder wealth.”

In a 2006 interview with retired General Motors board member Tom Everhart, he stated that GM “killed the EV1 (electric vehicle 1) to focus on more immediately profitable enterprises such as its Hummer and truck brands, instead of preparing for future challenges.” Check out the 2006 film (yes, 2006), “Who Killed the Electric Car.”

Biodiversity loss is caused primarily by deforestation (due to animal agriculture), ocean dead-zones (due to animal agriculture), and overfishing (or what I call simply call “fishing”). We don’t need animal agriculture. We don’t need to eat animals. But we like it, so there’s a lot of profit in it. How much profit? A quarter of a trillion dollars annually. But that’s not the half of it, literally. There’s an additional $414 Billion in externalized costs that we all pay…even those of us who don’t eat animals.

Plastic – The manufacturing of plastics releases deadly toxins and cancer-causing chemicals into our environment, contaminating the air, the water, the soil, and even the plants we eat. Adding insult to injury, National Geographic found that over 90% of all plastics produced throughout history have not been recycled. The manufacturing and use of plastics have created one of our lifetime’s most damaging environmental crises. Many plastics take up to 400 years to decompose. That’s 16 generations that we’re screwing up. Like so many other ecological issues, we’ll brush it under the rug and let future generations handle it. Why? ‘cuz we’re lazy. And when we’re lazy…there’s profit to be made.

Deforestation – We’re killing our lungs, the lungs of our Earth. Why? Why would we knowingly, aggressively destroy the three most immense jungles on Earth? So we can feed animals that taste good. Agriculture used to grow food for livestock (no, not for people) destroys our rainforests at a rate that’s more than double the rates of all other causes combined! We continue to undermine our health, destroy our futures, and betray future generations by cutting and burning these resource rich environments. Why? Because there’s a massive demand for meat, and with that demand…comes tons profit.

Pollution – Our lifestyles and our consumption of anything and everything has lead to unprecedented pollution. We have healthier means of production and mutually beneficial technologies that could really help pull down our pollution rates. But in the short run, investments into healthier production facilities cuts into profits. Even after landmark environmental victories in the courtrooms of America, corporations still refuse to fall in line. They continue to “invest” in fines levied against them rather than to invest in pollution reducing and eliminating technologies. Why? Because it would be more profitable to pay the penalties and move on than it would be to rebuild dated infrastructures. At the end of the day, our health is not on a balance sheet. There aren’t many entries on corporate ledgers that read, “Let’s leave a smaller footprint on the planet, and on our future generations.”

As if that isn’t enough, we can add Water Insecurity, Food Inequity, Urban Sprawl, Palm Oil production, Glyphosate, over 1,300 Toxic Superfund Sites in the US alone. And lastly, we can look at ourselves, our buying habits, that continue to directly fund the reprehensible behaviors of developed nations as they aggressively exploit emerging countries (and their resources) in the same way that corporate manufacturers exploit poor workers.

For decades, we’ve had the technologies necessary to rid the planet, our habitat, of these damaging policies and systems. But too many silver haired men in corner offices would lose their planes, yachts, and summer homes if we were to change.

So what should we do? What can we do? Educate ourselves. Be mindful. Empower ourselves by recognizing that these irresponsible corporations are literally at our beck and call. All they want, like a shark drawn to a bucket of chum, is our money. If we stop buying what they want us to buy and start buying what we know is best for our Earth, for our families, for our futures, they will, with absolute certainty, fall in line. Why? Corporate greed. We can always count on corporate greed.

Spend responsibly. Support smaller businesses. If you let your dollars speak on your behalf…they HAVE TO listen. Remember, it’s their fiduciary duty.

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