Eco-spirituality encapsulates this loving relationship between the nature and humans, and offers us the foundation for a new kind of ecological justice: of inclusion, integrity, equilibrium. Eco-spirituality is a modern expression of a timeless tradition found across all continents of the earth.
The underlying thrust of this piece is that the vocation of each human being is to be pro-human and pro-earth at the same time. The poet Rabindranath Tagore attempted to capture this spirt when he wrote:
Those who are close to the spirit of
the earth, those who are made and
shaped by her, and who will find
their rest in her, of them I am
the friend, I am the poet.
Poverty, industrial pollution, climate change, acute water scarcity, population explosion, religious conflict, and the commercialisation of values- these are the major challenges of the 21st century. Where do we find the vision and the political will to deal with these awesome tasks! As our secular ideologies appear to flounder there are many who believe that the earth, from whom we have evolved, is likely to give us the strength to deal with our many afflictions.
There is an anticipatory dimension to futures thinking which lies at the heart of any engagement with social and personal possibilities. Anticipation covers both our preferences and our fears. The word evokes a sense of promise, and this is important to any futures practice, as to see the future as only a place of dark foreboding diminishes our ability to respond proactively and with the necessary mixture of courage and imagination. Yet we also need to have the real fear of collapse and decline to goad us into both personal and collective action. Thus anticipatory futures offers us both the carrot and the stick. Both are woven into the fabric of the possible and both invite us to consider how best to engage with the question of sustainable futures as a praxis grounded in local realities yet striving for a beyond that will remain forever unattainable; offering a universalisable possibility of sustainability that is always just out of reach, yet always calling us forth to action. In this way sustainability acts as both a utopia and a utopic1 as it is both an unrealisable goal and a set of processes grounded in the aspirations, imaginations and needs of people.
M.K.Gandhi delivered an instructive lecture on 'Does economic progress clash with real progress?' at a meeting of the Muir Central College Economic Society, held at Allahabad, on Friday, 22nd December 1916 in the physical Science theatre. The Hon. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya presided. There was a good gathering of ladies and gentlemen, European and Indian, besides a large number of students.
... Before I take you to the filed of my experiences and experiments, it is perhaps best to have a mutual understanding about the title of this evening's address: Does economic progress clash with real progress? By economic progress, I take it, we mean material advancement without limit, and by real progress we mean moral progress, 'which again is the same thing as progress of the permanent element in us. The subject may therefore be stated thus ; Does not moral progress increase in the same proportion as material progress?