The maturation of the human race requires an organic change in the structure of society, which will fully reflect the interdependence of all its elements, as well as its reciprocal relationship with the natural world that sustains it. Such a change must go hand in hand with a widespread change in the attitudes and behaviour of human beings. “The inward life of man as well as his outward environment have to be reshaped if human salvation is to be secured.”1
Material resources will always be required to sustain civilization. Humanity, observed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, will be “constantly taking out of nature’s laboratory new and wonderful things.”2 As consciousness of the oneness of humankind increases, so too does the recognition that the wealth and wonders of the earth are the common heritage of all people, who deserve just and equitable access to its resources. During this turbulent period of its history, however, humanity’s actions are not yet tempered by the wisdom and judgment that come with maturity.
It is undeniable that the current world order has failed to protect the environment from ruinous damage. Society attaches absolute value to expansion, acquisition and the constant creation and gratification of wants. Clearly, such goals are not, by themselves, realistic guides to policy. Yet, goals based on a romantic deification of nature are also inadequate.
Among the many pressing questions now facing humanity as it moves towards maturity are such practical issues as: how to appropriately use the world’s natural resources; how to make best use of the land and develop technology that serves the community in an appropriate way; and how to produce and distribute goods and services equitably.
Adversarial political systems and structures are unable to provide answers to these questions and prove incapable of promoting systems required to respect the earth and to organize and fully utilize its raw materials. Bahá’u’lláh envisaged that one fruit of the unification of the human race will be the emergence of a federated, integrated system of global governance that will be able to coordinate the just distribution of the planet’s resources and enact laws that ensure universal well-being.