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 The Challenge of the 21st Century
The Ecological Balance of the World 
Interview with the the Master –, through Benjamin Creme
by Patricia Pitchon

Discussion of the factors involved in environmental degradation, and the steps needed to save the planet.

The great challenges of the next few decades, according to British historian Paul Kennedy, are: a population explosion, environ-mental hazards, and technology-driven change. The way these three factors could interact and their possible effects are examined in his book Preparing for the Twenty-First Century (Random House, New York, 1993).

Currently we are facing population explosions in countries which can least afford them. As more people cut down more trees for firewood in rural areas, for example, soil erosion caused by this deforestation leads to increasing desertification. People who cannot make a living in the countryside head for the cities, where the pressure on resources such as transport, housing, health care, water and electricity leads to partial collapse and in some areas total collapse of services. This is the picture in many Third World cities today.

As a country becomes more urbanized the population stabilizes, but that time is not yet for many poor countries. Sweeping technological changes are often poorly coordinated and throw hundreds of thousands out of work. Additionally, environmental hazards affect the entire globe. Great challenges require great changes, not least in the economic sphere.

Benjamin Creme’s Master kindly agreed to answer questions on these topics.

Patricia Pitchon: Is the demographic analysis made in Paul Kennedy’s book Preparing for the Twenty-First Century accurate? 

The Master: Yes and no. If nothing were done it would be accurate. But, as seen by Hierarchy, the changes planned, if implemented, would to a large extent prove these assumptions false, and happily so for humanity.

PP: Could you give an indication of the changes required?

The Master: The main assumption in these forecasts is that the population will inevitably grow and this is not the case. It is true that many nations are expanding their populations to an alarming degree. This is a temporary situation (in the current political and economic climate) and is, paradoxically, the result both of poverty and of growing prosperity. This is the case in Egypt, for ex-ample, which is seeing the growth of richness within a basically poor nation.

The major change in population growth will come as a result of the sharing of world resources. When implemented, this will change the perceptions for many millions of people. The old notion that children are guarantors of security for people in their old age will change. A new sense of well-being and prosperity will create the conditions in which the world population will drop dramatically, as is proved time after time in movements from underdeveloped to developed nations.

This is not to say that there will not continue to be a crisis in the ecological balance of the world, which itself threatens the well-being of even a reduced population, and it is this imbalance which must be tackled as a priority. With ecological equilibrium and a sane goal of living standards this planet can comfortably sustain roughly 3-3.5 billion people. The current population is about 5.5 billion. This assumes the use of the world’s resources at a sustainable rate.

PP: What are the major hazards now?

The Master: Pollution of the air, seas and soil. This is the number one hazard for humanity and is responsible for the ill health of millions and the premature deaths of countless thousands. A slow poisoning of the world’s population is taking place throughout the world and only the extraordinary resilience of the human biosystem allows humanity to sustain itself even at the present level. Secondly there is the decimation of the forests of the world. The results of desertification are well-documented. This has a major effect. Desertification is adding to the problem of pollution because with every tree that is lost oxygen is lost to the atmosphere. The third hazard is the warming up of the atmosphere, the so-called greenhouse effect. This will have short-term and long-term effects on the quality of life, including climate. The main factor is the increase of deserts in the world. As the climatic changes take place they affect the forests, and would require movements of large sections of the population from one area to another in a very short period of time.

PP: What are the main steps to limit this greenhouse effect?

The Master: The realization that this is truly a global problem and must be tackled not independently but as one affecting all peoples without exception, and therefore requiring UN Assembly recognition of the importance of the threat to humanity. Every nation must contribute.

PP: Was the Rio Summit a step on the way?

The Master: Yes, but with the obvious exception of lack of cooperation of some of the major nations who refused to back resolutions which would have begun to tackle these problems in a realistic way. Some of these nations, moreover, are the worst offenders.

A second urgent step is a drastic reduction of the waste of the resources of the planet, which means a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world as we know it today.

This will be possible only when the nations as a whole accept the just redistribution of resources, thus implementing the principle of sharing. Then it will be found that the true needs of all — albeit for a simpler lifestyle — can be met without the continued reduction of the planet’s viability. This itself can lead to the reduction of the world’s population and so to a sustainable level of the world’s ecological base.

PP: Is any of this likely to happen without the emergence of Maitreya?

The Master: To be realistic, no. Humanity at the present time is too selfish, too divided and too narrow in its outlook for these changes to be accepted. But more and more, the climate of perception is changing as the ecological threat is borne home on the nations. The problem today is that powerful vested interests, together with the complacency of humanity in general, prevent the political will for change being exercised. An educational programme is required which will face humanity with the horrors which would inevitably ensue were the present practices allowed to continue.

That education, it must be admitted, would require a powerful voice and only Maitreya, accepted and honoured as a World Teacher, would have the requisite authority and persuasion. Under His guidance, the nations will begin the task, firstly of amelioration (thus providing a breathing space), and then of cure for the present ill health of planet earth. A simpler and saner lifestyle is the key to this cure. The present profligate misuse of resources cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

When humanity truly realizes this, the necessary steps will be taken to reduce the consumption of resources and so lead to a regeneration and stabilization of the globe.

The volatility of the stock market has been noted. The 24-hour-a-day trading is essentially a transnational force over which sovereign nations have less and less control. Daily foreign exchange flows amount to one trillion dollars. By the late 1980s more than 90 per cent of this trading in the world’s foreign exchanges was unrelated to trade or capital investment. Millions of investors, companies and banks speculate in currencies. Nowadays countries are afraid to make the necessary changes which “alarm international investors”, even though raising funds for local needs is a priority. As historian Paul Kennedy puts it in his book: “The market per se is accountable to no one,” and since the controls are inadequate, “financial melt-down” is always possible.

PP:  Is the shock of a stock-market crash likely to jolt the consciousness of humanity because of the hardship that will ensue? 

The Master: Verily, verily! Humanity has for long suffered from the disease of speculation. The symptoms of this disease are world poverty, crime, drug abuse, violence and war. The basic cause is age-old human greed based on separation and fear. Under the leadership of the Christ (the Lord Maitreya) the Masters will help humanity to see this and evoke from them a greater sense of their interdependence. The very presence of Maitreya, known to all, will go far to make this transformation possible.

When humanity gains that sense of interdependence it will lose its fear and thus its greed. Naturally this will not take place over-night but nor will it be too long delayed. The economic collapse and the transformation which will ensue will prove a potent teacher. The relative strictures of a transformed economy will bring to humanity a new sense of reality, and in this way the changes will be logical and acceptable.

PP: The countries of the former Soviet Union, since the collapse of Communism, now face a variety of localized ethnic conflicts, internal movements of refugee populations arising from these conflicts, ageing and dangerous nuclear reactors, heavy air and water pollution in many areas, disrupted trade flows, collapsing health services, inadequate food distribution networks and rising unemployment. Are these countries going to be affected also if there is a stock-market crash?

The Master: The major impact will be on the developed nations of the world. The stock market is not developed extensively in the countries of the former Soviet Union so they will be much less affected.

However, the overall effects in the world will affect these countries. There is, here, a paradox: despite the collapse of the system which held them together as a nation, if they can avoid ethnic conflicts they are in an advantageous situation in relation to the new dispensation. They have inbuilt in their consciousness (even if not fully implemented in practice) the concept of justice, and the transition to a world in which that divine aspect becomes paramount they will find no difficulty in accepting.

What kinds of steps can they take now to mitigate ethnic conflict? The Master: Many forces are at work in the world which lead large groups of people to seek to enforce their self-identity. This is a transitional phase. However painful it may be in the short term, it will lead to a new sense of cultural individuality which enriches the many-coloured tapestry of humanity. It is only in the short term that the nationalistic element is uppermost in the minds of the people — this under the influence of certain ambitious and power-hungry leaders. The same problem can be seen working out in former Yugoslavia, in parts of Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.

PP: What are the major issues the United States should be con-fronting right now?

The Master: The major task for the United States at the present time is to discover its soul, and with it its need to serve, rather than dominate, the world. So focused today is the United States in its personality expression that little of true service is demonstrated in its decisions. Separatism, selfishness and greed still condition much of the action of that great country. The demise of the Soviet Union as a rival in world affairs has only contributed to these glamours (illusions). The way forward for the United States is to put its manifold resources, talents and energies at the disposal of the world community and so lead the nations into the creation of a new and more viable world. The world waits for such a consummation of purpose. However, it is not unlikely that this much-to-be- desired action will await the appearance and the acceptance of the Christ.

PP: What can we do at the present time to further the awareness of the presence of Maitreya?

The Master: Use every channel open to you. Many know and speak not. Many are afraid of the laughter of others, but nothing is to be gained by holding back this precious and most welcome news. See it as a gift and a privilege of service to make known to all who will listen that the great teacher walks once more among his brothers, ready to guide and to sustain all those who love the world.

From the September 1993 issue of Share International

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005