I present a thesis: the world's problems are caused by relationships. Ecological problems, i.e. environmental problems, arise from the fact that man's relationship with nature is broken, and social, i.e. societal problems, such as wars and poverty, from the fact that man's relationship with other people is broken. In the Bible, the relationship between God and man is often described as important. A bad relationship with nature and other people stems from a lack of appreciation and compassion and the idea of otherness, so the root cause of the problems is psychological. It can be said that the environmental crisis and social problems stem from a wrong way of seeing the world, from a wrong worldview.
Philosopher G.H. von Wright talked about how the postmodern era is characterized by a vacuum of values. Consumer society and greed prevail (von Wright). The great ideas of fascism, Nazism, extreme Islam and communism have also led to dystopias and oppression. Philosopher Krishnamurti describes this as man's blind faith in isms based on delusion. This often leads to violence. Often even those who mean well fall into wrongdoing, for example the French Revolution with its guillotines. Religions have caused wars and oppression throughout the dark pages of history. Blind ideas lead only to destruction, especially when combined with power. Mahatma Gandhi stated "An eye for an eye, and the whole world is blind." The Buddha taught that evil is ignorance of what leads to happiness and the good life. Jesus and Socrates said the same thing. Man is often blind, and the blind tolerate the blind, so that both eventually fall into the well. This is the diagnosis, based on that we can look for solutions.
I strongly believe in the objectivity and absoluteness of values. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant presents the so-called Kantian categorical imperative. Act so that the principle guiding your actions could be a general law, and that there is an inviolable human dignity that results from the fact that there are conscious subjects (Kant). In the ethics of duty, it is important to also take into account the situation and context, as well as following the best option. I believe that if you know everything about the situation, you can always arrive at the right solution.
A knife can be good or bad, depending on whether it fits in the hand and whether it is sharp. Von Wright suggests that we can linguistically make logical arguments for morality and that language mirrors reality (von Wright). By studying the world, we can inductively and deductively see that some things are good and others bad. Good things increase happiness, beauty, health, etc. Bad things cause suffering and destruction. It is therefore necessary to metaphysically demonstrate naturalistic good and evil. Hume's guillotine, that from the way things are one cannot determine how they should be, seems to work in a certain way at first, but when the fog of ignorance clears and we see the world behind it as it really is and the idealism springing from it as if emerging from a cave, Hume's guillotine does not no longer valid.
The Dalai Lama has said: "Every living being wants to be happy rather than unhappy." (Dalai Lama) For example, from this we can in principle derive the whole ethics naturalistically. The Dalai Lama presents compassion as a solution: "Compassion is my religion." Compassion combined with knowledge is an unbeatable combination. Then we have the greatest potential at our disposal. Boyle stated: "Knowledge is power." This is true for better or for worse. Information can be used for good and bad purposes. Greed or anger combined with knowledge is a dangerous combination. Many of the Nazis had a very high IQ, but a complete lack of compassion. I hope that compassion, brotherhood and sisterhood will prevail in the society of the future. This is the way out of a world of problems. Education and education are important here. Children and young people are the hope of society. They will change society for the better again and again, even if sometimes the world takes a back seat. In nature conservation, the best environmental education is certainly being in nature and enjoying it and exploring and wondering about it. It teaches to appreciate nature. The society of the future considers education, teaching and training important and encourages and nurtures creativity and empathy, compassion. The former rector of the University of Helsinki recently said: "The most important task of the university is to raise moral citizens."
I believe that the light of consciousness is the way to a better world. Because the root causes of the sustainability crisis and global social problems are psychological. Awareness creates the winds of appreciation and change. Awareness breaks the wall of stupidity, and nothing can extinguish it. Even the drumming of cannon fire will not silence the truth. When people act together, they bring about great changes, like Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, or Mahatma Gandhi's movement of nonviolent resistance, or Nelson Mandela in his time. Cooperation is extremely important, because the tactic of evil is often to divide and dominate. I would also like to see the global unification of the world. Travel, international cooperation, moving to another country to work or study... All of these increase people's encounters and create global citizenship and cooperation, as well as spread innovations. Just as gravity holds the universe together, sociability and cooperation hold human communities together.
Awareness leads to compassion, love, wisdom and justice. It leads to the other way of thinking, which has been talked about by e.g. Foucault, to demolition and disappearance. One hundred years from now, we hope there will be a world where complete equality prevails. There is no more racism, ableism, chauvinism or speciesism. Every person has equal human dignity. The society's activities and services are available to everyone. Accessibility, the fact that everyone gets the same services is very important. According to Toivo, in a hundred years, the UN Declaration of Human Rights will be fully respected globally. This requires increased awareness, cooperation, and institutions and regulation. I believe that the word of the law is the strongest protection for human rights and also for the rights of nature. It is very important for the realization of human rights to eliminate poverty completely, to provide good education and health care for everyone. These create equality of opportunity and give everyone fair well-being. Good development can be seen to be realized when human rights are realized, as well as the rights of nature.
If we look at Western science, its particular benefit has been to define the common shared values of humanity (Connell). In my opinion, the UN declaration of human rights is not colonialism and coercion. All reasonable people in the world support its principles. Cultural pluralism is a good and important thing, but no culture or tradition must violate human rights. For example, the rights of girls and women are seriously violated in many countries and cultures, e.g. circumcision of girls in many African countries and forcing them to wear burkha robes in Iran. Feminist theories have led to a broader understanding of the universal rights of girls and women. The West's greatest progress and gift to the world is Western science, both natural science and philosophy and humanism, which were born in their current form in Ancient Greece and refined during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. The 18th century Enlightenment, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, etc., has been absolutely important in the development of the current rule of law, equality and human rights. Nowhere else has science reached such a high level, although good innovations have been invented all over the world. A very good aspect of globalization is that good innovations spread everywhere. Cultural pluralism is a good and cherished thing.
Every culture can give something valuable, useful and beautiful to the global world village. A hundred years from now, in an ideal society, Western science and human rights thinking would prevail all over the world, the good innovations of different cultures would spread, but local distinctive culture would also be nurtured. Everything should not start to look the same as "in the West", but the own culture and lifestyle of the indigenous peoples should be preserved. There would be as much cooperation as possible between different peoples and groups. Pluralism makes society stronger and more resistant to threats, as biodiversity does for nature and ecosystem services.
Let's go back to the good just society: John Rawls introduced the idea of the veil of ignorance. If people could decide before the world was created what kind of world it would be, education, health care, social benefits, etc., and no one knew what position they would be born into, then what kind of world would we create. Everyone would like a fair and as equal as possible world, and from this can be derived the general principles of a good society, such as good health care, education, housing, human rights and social support for everyone (Rawls). A good solution would be to introduce a global basic income and a basic account, which would be based on our right to receive a dividend from the world's economy and income, on services to society that are invisible in the economy, such as housewifery and volunteer work, and on our equal human dignity and humanitarianism.
The world is constantly at war. The crisis in Ukraine is an indication of how conflicts are reflected throughout the world. The world is now heading towards an economic and energy crisis, possibly a third world war. From these ashes it is possible to rise a new good society. From the ashes of the Second World War arose the UN, which has led the world to progress, cooperation and humanitarian work. In his work Eternal Peace, Kant presented how there should be one world government. Kant's principles resemble the principles of the UN (Kant). I believe that a one world government would end wars and finally bring human rights and prosperity to the world. Without borders, there are no wars, refugee crisis, competition, etc. When building this new global world, the risk of dystopia would have to be seriously taken into account. We don't want a dictatorship or blind ideology or religion to lead the global world. Equality, openness, local democracy and freedom of speech are particularly important in preventing authoritarianism.
I think capitalism is coming to an end. Currently, those with capital rule, which is unequal and undemocratic. We live in the power of money, driven by greed. Because of capitalism, some have too much and others too little. People do not have equal opportunities to succeed. Poverty and discrimination close opportunities. Capitalism and consumer society and economic growth lead to increasing environmental problems. Big business exploits and practices colonialism. A sustainable economy would focus on increasing well-being and happiness without destroying nature.
We live in a Eurocentric world order, where mostly the prosperous European countries and the United States decide things, lead the world and get rich. The rest of the world is the global periphery, which is used as a raw material warehouse and workshops. The West owns almost all the world's wealth. Environmental problems and the ecological footprint are often outsourced to developing countries. In the economy, it would be important to understand the external effects that affect, for example, the people living around the mine. According to Ronald Coase's environmental economic theory, it would be important to determine the ownership rights of local people to their environment, clean water, air, etc. Currently, the activities of large companies, for example mines, oil companies and forest giants, leave a harsh mark, especially in the global south. Even in Western countries, potential environmental problems are mainly the burden of poor and discriminated people.
Agenda 2030 is an excellent program that all UN countries, i.e. almost all countries in the world, committed to in 2015. It has 17 different goals, such as eliminating hunger and poverty, clean water, education and health care for all, and a sustainable economy and a transition to fully sustainable agricultural production and renewable energy (Finnish UN-Liitto). These are excellent goals, and I sincerely hope that they will be realized during the 2030s. The war in Ukraine and the corona epidemic slowed down the process of social change and the realization of goals, but despite occasional setbacks, the world is mostly moving forward and progressing. In many ways, the world today is a much better place than it was 100 years ago or in the Middle Ages. Human rights have progressed, people are not lynched in markets, people's life spans have increased and their health has improved. In the Middle Ages, every fifth man died in war, now there are fewer wars thanks to integration and cooperation and globalization. However, the state of nature has taken a turn for the worse in many indicators. Planetary boundaries have been crossed in many areas: the air is polluted, as is the sea. Climate change poses a huge threat to all of humanity and nature as it is today. Forests are disappearing at an accelerating rate.
Fortunately, it has been partially awakened and the environmental movement and environmental awareness have grown, especially since the 1990s. We still have hope. One hundred years from now, according to the hope, electricity will be produced by wind power and solar power, cars will run on electricity and airplanes on hydrogen, and only organic and vegetarian food will be cultivated and trillions of trees will be planted. These technical innovations are necessary and crucial as we create a better future. They too are based on knowledge and the development of the natural sciences as well as enlightenment and education. A better world is not an unattainable utopia, we will get there one day.
Finnish UN Association. Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals.
Immanuel Kant. Critique of pure reason.
Immanuel Kant. To eternal peace.
Raewyn Connell. Southern Theory.
G. H. Von Wright. Variations of good.
John Rawls. A Theory of Justice.