Thinking about pollution of the oceans, the dying of the Great Barrier Reef, scarcity of resources many people talk about greed of the rich.
Of course, with wealth comes more pollution, but with some wealth also comes sustainability.
The main reason(s) behind our reckless dealing with our environment(s) is (are) a specific kind of conditioning poverty, which we in Germany call: "Wohlstandsarmut" - wealth-poverty, and the structural conflicts and couplings related to it.
To most poor people on the planet wealth-poverty is wealth. In Germany it means that you have an apartment, you can buy your daily meals, you can pay for electricity and heat, for new clothing is cared for on regular basis, you can even buy a computer, a mobile phone and contact people all over the world through the internet, and your kids will have a halfway decent education.
But this kind of poverty comes with the price of structural suppression of the human mind - a suppression implemented by conditioning of social behavior and aligned thinking we find everywhere and which manifests itself especially there where needs and money are involved: it is a systemic phenomenon with severe global consequences. Structural suppressed people suffer inevitably from mental stress and while living in a consumerist society one way to relieve some of the stress is by eating, by buying things: by consumerism. This applies all the more when luxury is a status symbol.
Can you imagine what will happen when most of those countries we call “Third World countries” establish consumerism and adopt the conditioning methods of – for example – Germany? Have you ever seen how much waste average poor US Americans produce, how much junk-food they consume and how much cheap, partly useless and resources consuming things they buy?
Today the wealth of the First World countries and their welfare-programs are a model to many Second and Third World countries. Why this will become a problem is easily understood the moment we realize what will happen when 2/3 of mankind join in industrialization, digitalization and globalization with a similar mindset people in First World countries have. Imagine China, India, Africa, wide parts of Central and South-America are closing the ranks of consumerism and waste-production to Europe, Great Britain and the US. Why should they control themselves where we haven't? Why should they not enjoy the pleasures coming with growing wealth? Do we really believe that there will be emergent thinking in those countries?
These problems we can not solve by criticizing the authorities, some laws, social injustice or the people. People are people and poor people have the right to join us in wealth. On the contrary it is smart to work against poverty all over the world because in the end statistic shows, when Wohlstandsarmut also is transcended, consciousness will rise that pollution and climate change will have a catastrophic impact on us all and that we have to do something about it, and people start becoming aware of their own contribution.
These problems coming with Wohlstandsarmut are called “structural” because they are systemically implemented into the structures of the systems and this is one of the many reasons why systems and systemic thinking is so important. Through systemic thinking we comprehend that structural suppression isn't something implemented by the rich or by some governments. It is something conditioned by us all and conditioning us all.
Systemic thinking allows us to change our perspectives, to implement a broader view and to understand structural conflicts and structural couplings more deeply and with higher differentiation. Wohlstandsarmut conditions a way of thinking which conflicts with all our environments: socially, psychologically, physiologically, ecologically and in the end economically. People suppressed in Wohlstandsarmut are not healthy. They might have a better surviving rate than the very poor in our world but their life-style is a problem to us all. This isn't something we should call “greed”. People can not change significantly as long as the systems don't change.
Concerning this topic we can understand through systemic thinking that we have to think about systemic solutions for world-wide structural change.