Money Or Your Life?
Stupid Question, Or...?
By Clinton Callahan
How do you sleep at night knowing that you sell your child’s future for a phantom currency? What if you turned heretic against the religion of Profit, and redesigned your business so children could have hope?
There is one graphic in Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth that should stop capitalism dead in its tracks. It shows a large balance with two trays. In one tray hangs planet earth. In the other tray hangs a stack of gold bars. The gold does not represent actual gold, which is only a metal that comes from the earth. The bars represent the concept of profit, Western culture’s religion – the alter upon which we are about to sacrifice our lives.
Thinking that it is reasonable to weigh the well-being of earth against corporate profits reveals the height of our psychopathic insanity. What value is profit if the planet has been sterilized of complex life forms by climate change?
Yet, directors in both large and small companies, as well as leaders at all levels of government assume they make that choice daily.
And which choice do the vast majority of corporate and governmental leaders favor? Planet or profit? You don’t have to look far to find that answer. The results are in: Methane hydrates from Siberian tundra are melting five times faster than previously measured. Methane is a greenhouse gas, a heat collector 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Higher global temperatures have pushed the Arctic melt-rate to surpass even last year’s predictions. Cubic kilometers of melted Arctic ice dilute Gulf Stream ocean currents, upsetting weather patterns, causing increased draught across the world’s grain belts. The United Nations foresees unprecedented starvation, possibly in 2008. Three quarters of the world’s fishing grounds are collapsing due to profit-driven practices, threatening half the world’s protein supply. Industry-polluted oceans become more acidic, killing plankton, the world’s foremost carbon sink. Vanishing glaciers and irreplaceable groundwater pumped to irrigate agribusiness farms empty the world’s freshwater banks, and millions are faced with buying drinking water from corporations – if they can afford it! Corporate deforestation, the cattle industry and bio-fuel production exterminate species faster than the dinosaurs died. Corporations coerce governments to militarize, to invest the wealth of their people in dramatized resource wars, using genocidal nuclear-waste weapons (Depleted Uranium) to poison 8% of the world’s land surface with radioactivity forever. Governmental militarization profits the corporations rather than providing innovative and inspirational leadership to benefit humanity. How has all this come about? By the will of the god, Profit.
Attributing money in and of itself with value makes Profit our god. This god is purely cerebral and cannot grasp that human life occurs only within the delicately balanced bioweb of a living planet. Directing our human intelligence to serve the god Profit is making the earth inhospitable to the last man, woman and child. Think ahead. The Profit god assumes that if there are still black numbers clicking across computer screens, the result has been successful.
What makes this a kick-in-the-pants is that the god itself, the US Petro-Dollar that you have sacrificed so much to acquire, in which two thirds of the world’s cash assets are invested, is suddenly revealing its underlying nature to be smoke and mirrors.
What can you do? You can change your mind. You can make a new decision. You can take your personal dignity back as a man or woman, as a human being, and go heretical, rejecting the god Profit. Then you can use your position of power within an organization to dismantle or redirect that organization towards new objectives.
For example, let’s say you manage a company that mines coal, the main fuel used to generate electric power. This week you could call an extraordinary board of directors meeting and admit together that you are no longer willing to dedicate your lives to liberating massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You could decide that such a life is beneath your dignity. You could then change your corporate goals.
You could retrain your managers and your employees to use their intelligence, energy and equipment to rebuild towns from the ground up making them sustainable. Provide towns with geothermal and other alternative local power. Take them off the grid. Redesign towns around community meeting centers, gardens, bicycle and walking paths instead of around cars. Make driving unnecessary and food growing local, integrated into community life. Rebuild homes and buildings into passive houses, heated by solar and body heat alone. Recycle everything. Bring the town’s carbon footprint to zero. Can you feel the difference from serving this new purpose? Would it be something to get out of bed in the morning to accomplish? Could you do this?
Clinton Callahan, originator of Possibility Management, author of Radiant Joy Brilliant Love, founder of Callahan Academy, empowers responsible creative leadership through authentic personal development. www.just-stop.org