Greed threatens environment - Tutu

2011-05-03 14:30

Cape Town - Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu has warned that greed is a serious threat to attempts to make progress in protecting the environment.

"Our desire to consume everything of value, to extract every precious stone, every drop of oil and every creature from the sea knows no bounds," said Tutu.

He was speaking at the celebration to mark 50 years in conservation for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and said that companies threaten future generations with a rush for short-term profit that has created an "environmental disaster".

"This quest for profit subverts our present and our future. There are too many people who are getting better and better at exploiting the environmental heritage which belongs to us all. We are not heading for an environmental disaster - we have already created one."

Tutu, who won a Nobel prize for peace, lamented the inequalities of modern society, with an increasing population that results in environmental damage.

Population growth

"We are meant to live in a world which we share, and we are meant to live as members of one family. And yet whenever we look around, isn't it devastating to see the inequities and levels of poverty?

"Our population is increasing, environmental degradation is increasing. How do we resolve these inequities when all we are told is growth, growth, growth?" said Tutu.

Some commentators have suggested that curbing human population growth is the best way to avert climate change, arguing that competition for resources puts more strain on the environment, but Tutu said that the earth could sustain people, but not greed.

"There is enough for everyone - but not enough for our greed," he said. "There's enough for us all to live a full life - so why do we want to destroy the only home we have?"

The WWF was founded in 1961 and in 1986 changed its focus from wildlife to wider issues of the environment and has been a persistent campaigner for more informed, sustainable environmental practices.

Recently, the organisation suggested that South Africans were not paying the true cost of water and the country should aim for 100% renewable energy within a few decades.

"When WWF was founded there were no ministers of the environment and no environmental treaties. Today such ministries are found in governments worldwide, and treaties are increasingly used to govern and protect the environment," said WWF International President Yolanda Kakabdse.

The organisation has the support of the Swiss government.

"The protection and sustainable use of natural resources is one of the most pressing issues today. Thanks to WWF we have learnt we have to take a holistic approach to the environment," said Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey.

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  • Chris - 2011-05-03 14:47

    "There is enough for everyone - but not enough for our greed," he said. "There's enough for us all to live a full life - so why do we want to destroy the only home we have?" Because Tutu , you have idiots like your comrade Mugabe , and Malema in training that cannot wait to further destroy and rape the earth without giving anything back, but go ahead and blame it on the greedy West again nitwit..

      Isuru - 2011-09-10 16:45

      So chris, ur putting the blame of the entire 3rd world's vast amount of resources but poverty stricken people to a dictator and an uneducated political tool ??? If a company like wallmart has a higher gdp than south africa and within a so called succesful country like the U.S. where at the same time has an increase in unemployment.... it begs the question on tutu's remarks, are WE greedy? Don't point fingers mate when u can't see the bigger picture.

  • World Traveler - 2011-05-03 15:42

    The thing that threatens the environment most is over-population. Blaming greed is the easy option for do-gooders. Blame the real reason, too many babies! If it is your "culture" to have lots of babies do not drive a big, black 4X4, because that is not your culture!

  • Eric West - 2011-05-03 15:52

    How many times is this old fart going to retire from public life? Geez!

  • World Traveler - 2011-05-03 16:34

    The world is overpopulated. Period. Does Tutu want the world to look like Kolkata? Or some local squatter slum? Poverty must be fought on ALL FRONTS, not only the politically easy ones.

  • World Traveler - 2011-05-03 16:38

    If China did not have it's "one child" policy it would be swamped with BILLIONS of people by now. It is not swamped and it is the worlds fastest growing economies. Tutu, your politically easy theories will not work.

  • Lucky - 2011-05-03 16:50

    I agree!! Since the land owners rights to minerals are being taken away from them there is no protection in this regard as the lawfull owners do not have a leg to stand on when government issues permits to explore and mine land. This whole process should be re-visited and changed to provide the lawfull owners of land more rights to protect their land and especially the environment.

  • Doublepost - 2011-05-03 18:28

    OVER POPULATION! OVER POPULATION! How many times must one say this?! You cannot stop poverty if poverty is breeding out of control. Tutu, you have lost the plot, your brain isn't working as it should. The West isn't evil, it is what actually gave you South Africa. If not for the "Evil" West, nothing would have changed. However, the truth about the reasons for Apartheid are becoming more apparent with every passing day. A small minority of hard working Whites who pay for everything, cannot be expected to subject themselves to a Majority who despise them and want to kill them and a system of governance so unfair to them that they are literally Economic Slaves! STOP YOUR BREEDING WAR and start taking care of your own. Whites are not to blame any longer, it is you and yours that need to take a very hard look at themselves!

  • Isuru - 2011-09-10 16:53

    Nowhere did he mention race or blame anyone....? key word ladies and gentlemen, WE. But somehow there are some who feel the need to feel responsible or that he's pointing fingers.... why? insecurities maybe? guilt? lol seriously grow up, next time YOU (not ur domestic worker) takes the trash out... look carefully at the resources going to waste.

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