We rely on tweaking and engineering of institutions, rules, laws, and regulations to change the world. Yet, as long as human nature is as it is now, then greed, desire, pride, ambitious, and those other negative mental factors of ego will cause people to find a way around those well meaning rules, and laws. In another word, a more permanent, comprehensive change that deals with the problems at its root won't happen with changes in rules, laws, institutions, and more regulations. Instead, to change the world, we need to change human mind and heart. To do that, we must begin young in school.
I envision a planetary civilization in the future when Buddhist mind training in generation of compassion and wisdom is a standard curriculum; but this training doesn't have to carry a "Buddhist" label with it for we have to be sensitive to people of other faith. This training can be called "EQ training". In any case, the label itself doesn't matter. What matter is that in this planetary civilization, all school children who enter first grade will immediately be taught meditation, and Buddhist theory of mind, psychology, and cosmology. They will be grounded in the practice of Noble Eight Fold Path. They will be taught the Buddhist value of respect, compassion, love, and appreciation for all forms of lives (not just humans). By the time all kids graduate from high school, they will have practiced mindfulness and concentration meditation for 12 years; they will have developed a deep understanding of Buddhist ideas of emptiness; they will understand that everything is interconnected, and that the welling being of our planets depends on our human race acting responsibly; they will have developed a resilience from mind training which empowers the kids to deal with obstacles of life, overcome them, and reach for their dream to make the world a better place. Imagine the potential for all lives on this planet when Buddhist training becomes one of the standard education curriculum! When an entire generation of kids grow up firm Buddhist training takes helm of the planetary society, they will began to institute new rules, policies, and support innovative projects to dismantle the old and replace it with something new, better, and progressive. Renewable energy will become the main focus of energy technology research. Taxes will be levied on meat to incrementally transform human's dietary habit into vegetarianism. Green urban renewal transform cityscapes. War will stop and peace will reign. Sustainable development will truly take off on a global scale rather than just something to pay lip service to.
I think if Engaged Buddhism has any role to play in the well being of the planet, then it would be to germinate the seed which will eventually help transform education throughout the world.