People has always been selfish. In fact, self-preservation is our most primary motivation to whatever we do. It helped us prevail in battle against nature, and we sort of came out as winners. The problem is, there are two types of self-preservation - smart, and dumb.
Smart self-preservation is, well, smart, because in this case the entity in question tries to preserve itself in a way that is feasible in the long run. For example, take mushrooms. Just plain wild forest mushrooms. They are symbiotic organisms, meaning that when they attach to, say, a tree, they don't kill it. They don't eat up all the resources the tree has. Instead, they take some and give something back. Almost all the plants on earth are symbiotic in a sense that they, while certainly consuming oxygen and producing CO2, on the other hand use sunlight to consume CO2 and produce far more oxygen than they consume in their normal breathing process.
In other words, nature, for the most part, is symbiotic. It preserves itself. All the elements are interdependent, and, more importantly, serve a common goal of smart, long-term self-preservation. Even when an animal, or a tree, or whatever else dies, it becomes food for other surroundings. Everything is recycled, everything is highly sustainable and efficient.
In case of dumb self-preservation, however, the entity in question behaves more like parasite. It enjoys itself while it lasts, grabbing everything it can and can't handle, and is not concerned about long-term benefits, putting short-sighted parasitic self-preservation ahead of everything else. What is self-preservation in the short term becomes self-destruction in long-term, because killing your own habitat, your source of life force is not the smartest thing to do.
And no, this isn't another environmentalist rant, i hate environmentalists no less than politicians. This isn't about environment. This is about us. People.
Very few of us engage in self-preservation in a way that is even somewhat sustainable in the long run. And i'm not talking about nature, no. I'm talking about how we treat each other. We lie. We cheat. We steal. We destroy. We squeeze out every single drop of whatever we need, exhaust and move elsewhere to do the same.
Why is this such a big deal? After all, we've been doing this for milleniums, and somehow we're still alive. What's the problem?
Well, the problem is that while people don't change, our possibilities do. We can do more than we could do fifty years ago, hundred years ago, thousand years ago. Now, with modern technologies, globalized economics and weapons of mass destruction, we can cheat, steal and destroy on a much bigger scale than we ever could dream of just a couple of decades ago.
Bank crisis in USA crushed global economy. Just think about it - the whole fucking world has crashed into oblivion because some dumbass bank executives made whole lot of short-sighted decisions that are beneficial in short-term, but disastrous in long-term. European industry is dying because a few assholes thought that it's cheaper to outsource everything to China or India. Yes, it was cheaper in short term, but in the long run it killed what was left of European industry. Neither Europe, nor USA are major goods manufacturers anymore - all we "manufacture" is intellectual property, which while being a good thing is absolutely useless as a long-term investment. You can't build a spaceship with a bunch of software patents.
The problem is that we are moving towards our own self-destruction, disregarding both our past, and our future. All that matters for most people is now. And that's really sad, because they don't seem to understand that "now" once was the future. If we continue doing things as we do them now, in a few decades there might be no "now" anymore. It is such a shame that we're given so much power, and we waste it on useless bullshit and to take advantage of each other.