Updated: Jan 27, 2021
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? It’s a question we hear all too often, especially while we are in elementary school. To be honest, I had a lot of trouble coming up with one idea. There are a lot of things that could be changed in our world. There should be more access to education. We should treat our environment with more care. We can help stop crime, war, poverty, religious conflicts, cancer, climate change (it’s a real thing). There are multitudes of options. However, I want to look at the bigger picture. I want to look at what is the cause of our world’s problems. Then it suddenly hit me. It was our greed as human beings. If I could change one thing in our world, it would be to eliminate our greed. Greed is a normal thing for people like us, but is it a good thing? Not at all. Greed is like a newborn seed. Uncontrolled, it will grow into a poisonous vine, eventually controlling our every move without us even realizing it.
Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon
Now you’re probably asking, how does greed have anything to do with poverty or climate change? Hubristic desire does play a part in the main issues of the 21st century. For example, let’s discuss the issue of climate change. Decades ago, we refused to bring into perspective the repercussions of pollution. We wanted more and more goods made, so we built thousands of more factories. We wanted to cut down energy costs, so we pinpointed coal as a cheap and effective way of creating energy in our factories. Coal has now become the leading cause of toxic air pollution. We now realize the detrimental effects of the amount of pollution we are putting into the environment each day. In turn, this pollution leads to climate change and global warming, affecting us in the long run. Arguments may be made saying we didn’t have the technology needed in the early 2000s to decipher the adverse effects of pollution. But, there were many studies conducted during that time that say otherwise. For example, a study conducted by the American Association For The Advancement Of Science in the year 2000 says, “Urban and industrial air pollution can stifle rain and snowfall...because the pollution particles prevent cloud water from condensing into raindrops and snowflakes” (AAAS, March 14, 2000) Why is all of this happening? Our greed for the easiest and most profitable solutions.
Low-education rates are another example of the effects of greed. In 2016, 7.1% of high schoolers in the country were drop-outs, the reason being that they needed to get a job to feed their families or found college too expensive a road to take so they gave up. Let’s put this into perspective. Minimum wage full-time workers in my homes state of Missouri get paid an average of $17,800 per year. The average cost for a bachelor's degree in public universities is already $25,000 per year and $34,000 per year at private colleges. This is incomparable to the amount of money these students will have in savings, if any at all. Loans may be an option for these students, but the question is can they pay them off. Most work fields do not offer direct job opportunities, and even if there is an opportunity, there is no saying that these graduates will earn enough to pay off their debts and support a healthy lifestyle. So, my question is, why do colleges take advantage of the needs of education in our society? Why do they treat a necessity as a business? How is this benefiting the students? The idea of creating a college is so that students from all over the nation, and even all over the world, may come there to pursue their education and their career after that. Limiting the college enrollment to whoever has the fullest bank account by driving up the cost is morally wrong and full of greed.
Overall, greed can lead us to do things that we wouldn’t normally do if we were in our right minds. Greed isn’t a good thing. But you know what is? Being kind and generous towards others, lending a helping hand, making someone else’s day better of just focusing on ourselves. So, if I were to change one thing in the world, it would be to put an end to greed and simply just let people be happy with what they have.