Steps towards a Vibrant Ecosystem
Most of the environmental degradation that occurs on our planet is due to the misuse of resources. Large economic players, whether individuals or corporations, are driven by the rationale of turning a profit while ignoring social and environmental costs. The result is inefficiencies that generate greater wastage of our collective wealth and deterioration of our ecosystem. Environmental activists try to address these problems through reforms and regulations but progress with this approach is often inadequate and too prolonged. Progressive utilization fundamentally shifts our economy away from profits and towards satisfying our core human needs, material and non-material. Its goal is to meet human needs for the greatest number of people for the longest period of time possible. It applies the principle of maximum utilization, which represents the most efficient and sustainable use of material and human resources. To accomplish this, it incorporates intensive application of technology, extensive recycling, and increased scope for the development of human potential.
Progressive utilization also recognizes that human fulfillment encompasses a wide range of needs–from the basic minimum necessities of life to those of the mind and spirit, which offer us a deeper sense of accomplishment, purpose, and happiness. By gradually increasing the availability of non-material resources, it progressively creates more opportunities for all people to develop their intellectual, artistic, and subtler potentialities. In this way, over time, the frenzy to consume greater amounts of physical resources subsides as our interest in more refined learning and development increases. This reduces stresses on the environment, which benefits not only our society but all living beings.
Right to Exist
Scientific exploration has helped us understand that the entire planet is composed of interconnected ecosystems that help sustain life, including ours. Unfortunately, our attitude towards the natural world remains limited to only viewing its utility value—how it can be exploited and consumed for our benefit alone. We have not been able to understand nature’s existential value and therefore have put our own lives, and the lives of all living beings, at risk. We must change our worldview and the ways that we interact with the environment that sustains us.
All living beings want to live and thrive. Prout’s principle of cosmic inheritance affirms that the universe belongs to all of us and its resources are meant to sustain all life. There is a fundamental purpose for every entity in this creation which should be recognized and respected. Unless we accept the right to exist of all living beings, it will not be possible to protect and support them. There are already efforts around the globe to include Rights of Nature amendments in national constitutions. We should encourage all countries to adopt such laws as well as mechanisms to enforce them. However, these legal protections are often insufficient. We also need to change our patterns of consumption, including what we eat, in order to protect the lives of our non-human neighbors on this planet.
Welfare of all Beings
With humanity struggling to take care of its own, it’s hard to imagine a society dedicated to the welfare of all beings on this planet. But these two challenges are not independent of each other. We have been walking down a divisive and exploitative path for a long time, where the idea of “us” and “them” dominates our mentality, resulting in continuous conflicts over limited resources. We need a completely different understanding of ourselves and our role in this world. For Prout, this worldview is called neohumanism, based on a new vision and set of values. Neohumanism helps humanity overcome its divisions as well as embrace nature as part of one universal family. It is based on the realization that all beings are united in spirit and connected by a higher consciousness. It inspires us with the idea that we are capable of thriving together in a mutually beneficial way.
Endowed with great intelligence, ingenuity, and compassion, human beings could serve this world by developing thriving ecosystems capable of supporting the progress of each and every specie. However, to fulfill this role, we must transform ourselves, our economy, and our society. Once we have built institutions based on tolerance, justice, and the spirit of service, a sustainable world will not be far away.
Learn about Prout’s approach to Society and the Economy