Spiritual Foundations for an Ecologically Sustainable Society

How to Cite

White, R. “Spiritual Foundations for an Ecologically Sustainable Society”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, Sept. 2022, doi:10.31581/jbs-7.2.494(1995).


This article takes a broad macroevolutionary approach to our changing relationship to Nature in the light of the teachings or the Bahá’í Faith. It suggests that humanity is in a process of evolving consciousness leading to the development of a new planetary culture based on spiritual principles. In an ecological sense, humanity has in many respects appeared to be a delinquent species running out of control. Within a larger vision of humanity’s spiritual and social evolution, however, the present environmental crisis and the race’s reaction to it can be seen as portending a momentous transformation. The process of evolving consciousness that can be discerned in emerging knowledge in physics, ecology, psychology, and other fields of science is leading to the possibility of a mature cooperative relationship between humanity and the ecosphere which gave it birth. After a brief overview of the current range of responses to environmental issues and the view of Nature on which they are based, this article will explore the basic attitudes to Nature contained within the Bahá’í writings. The second part of the article examines how the emergence of an ecologically sustainable social order is linked to basic principles of the Bahá’í Faith. Implicit throughout is the Bahá’í view of the balance and cohesion of material and spiritual realities.

* An earlier version of this article appeared in the Journal of Bahá’í Studies 2.1 (1989): 33–57. A special pamphlet version was co-published with the Bahá’í International Community–Office of the Environment and was distributed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. The updated version in this issue was prepared for Bahá’í World Yearbook 1992-93.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 1995 Robert A. White