Video: Statue of Homeless Jesus that Exemplifies Life in the United States 

Thank you for the good you do! Odds are, you work very hard. I'm here to tell you that as the economy continues to grow, making and spending money do more and more harm to life on Earth, including people. Please use your cleverness to find ways to fix the problem. After all, you are part of a species so powerful that its activities are destroying the habitability of an entire planet for a million species, including our own!

Pope Francis says that "Nature is screaming, 'Stop!'... The people have wisdom. ... And scientists are backing them up..."

Scientists say that we are in a global polycrisis. The number of economists who agree can be expected to increase with time.

Let's try to figure things out by reasoning about God, as people have done since the beginning. If God is love and God is everywhere, we can draw conclusions about God by looking at the living beings God inhabits.

We all know that rich people are spiritually impoverished, just as poor people are materially impoverished. No rich person could be spiritually whole while anyone wants for the necessities of life. It seems to me that both problems can be solved in a single step: The rich can give most of their wealth to the poor. I'm not the first to make this suggestion.

Rich people can be helped to do this by pointing out to them that their lives are endangered by poverty. Excessive wealth disparity destabilizes societies. Furthermore, since 2019, it has been a mainstream scientific view that the climate catastrophe may generate so many refugees on this planet that our global technological civilization could be in the midst of collapse by 2050. The great majority of all people, including wealthy ones, will die if that happens.

If God is love and God is everywhere, God suffuses all life. By continuing to pursue economic growth, humanity is crowding out other life. We need all life on this planet, not just life we assign economic value. Recall that Noah brought unclean animals on the ark. The solution to the biodiversity crisis is the same as the solution to the climate crisis, because the two are intertwined: Reduce total economic activity. In wealthy countries, degrow to the steady state economy. In poor countries, grow to the point at which all can live well.

Humanity is living beyond its means, beyond what the planet can sustainably provide, depleting soil vitality and groundwater. We are in the throes of the catastrophe of unlimited success. We were warned allegorically of this in the story of the Tower of Babel, because the catastrophe of unlimited success has happened repeatedly. Civilizations fall under their own weight, despite having no shortage of clever folk.

To live well with less economic activity, we would do well to be fewer. Let’s stop encouraging people to have children. There will never be a shortage of parents. Furthermore, just as we rightly honor those who have the courage and generosity to create children, let's also honor those who have the discipline and generosity to refrain from creating children. Childfree people leave more resources for the children of others and for wildlife, which we all need for our own survival. Of course, anyone who raises children well is to be praised, but people who don’t raise children have their own contributions to make for the benefit of all, including children.

Our peril comes down to an orgy of original sin. We sin in our origins because as a species, we know that each of us crowds out some amount of other life, an amount that increases with our consumption of resources. Originating is a sin for humans because, unlike other life, we know what we cost. We ate of the fruit of a certain tree by becoming intelligent.

It is good that we exist. It is bad that we ignore the cost of our existence.

All our problems would be solved if we respected less powerful beings, both human and nonhuman.

To save ourselves, we must save God, because God is poor.