The Promise of a Better Future
The Bahá'ís believe that there are dual processes at work in the world: the one best characterized as spiritualizing, embryonic, and beneficial to humanity; the other is the decaying and destruction of institutions and ways of thinking that no longer serve an evolving worldwide civilization.
The Bahá'ís are optimistic that humanity will survive the serious environment challenges and development issues facing it. They believe that the covenant God made with Abraham and Noah and has renewed with every Messenger sent to humanity is evidence of the long-term viability of humanity. This does not, however, allow humanity to abdicate its stewardship responsibilities nor the huge commitment to persevere and make sacrifices and changes that will transform the world. Shoghi Effendi looked forward to this renewal of civilization:
In such a world society... [t]he economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, its markets will be coordinated and developed, and the distribution of its products will be equitably regulated ...The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of human inventions and technical development, to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of physical health, to the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the planet, to the prolongation of human life and to the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, the moral and spiritual life of the entire human race.
According to the Bahá'í International Community, it is the actions of governments, non-governmental organizations, the forces of capital, society in general, and significant individuals that will determine how quickly humanity arrives at a universal consensus for sustainable development. The onus is on every party to consciously and deliberately give a thorough evaluation to the meaning of the goals toward which they are working. This will ensure that all parties can be effective partners in progress. The Bahá'í International Community says that "clear goals, meaningful policies and standards, identified programs, and agreed upon indicators of progress are necessary if advancement toward humanity's common future is to be charted and regular corrections to that course determined and carried out."