Sustainability refers to the ability of systems to “sustain” or endure over time. Since the 1980s, public and private entities throughout the world have adopted the path of ‘sustainable development’, where human systems advance in a way that meets the current and future needs of humanity. These efforts include balancing economic development with social development and environmental protection—a triple bottom-line approach. Unfortunately, progress towards sustainability over the last 30 years has been limited, due to capitalism’s unsustainable pursuit of profits, regardless of the social and environmental costs.
Sustainability can only be achieved by replacing capitalism with a more humane, holistic, environmentally sensitive, and dynamic socio-economic system. Prout addresses sustainability in these ways:
Adopts a universal value system, neo-humanism (or universalism), which is based on respect for all living beings, as well as the entire inanimate world.
Maximally utilizes material and human resources through knowledge and know-how, in order to meet the needs of a growing population while respecting the carrying capacity of the earth.
Decentralizes the economy so that communities can plan their economies in a way that is more responsive to local needs, appropriate resource utilization, and environmental protection.
Encourages the elevation of human pursuits from material satisfaction to mental expansion and spiritual realization. As humans evolve to subtler needs and interests, there will be less demand for limited physical resources.