The 21st century was marked by the continued decline of traditional religions, especially the active belief in an anthropomorphic god who intervened in human affairs. This was true even of Islam, especially after the loss of the Fourth Persian Gulf War and nuclear exchanges involving Islamic states. Their replacement was a new moral philosophy running counter to unfettered market forces treating human labour as just another commodity, which many felt to be morally wrong.
This philosophy was tied to the twin ideas of Humanism and Gaianism. It believed that, ultimately, humanity has no right to degrade the Earth purely to support large populations and resource-intensive styles of living. Further, humans as a species have no right to destroy other species or their ecosystems, or to exploit other humans and exercise power over them. It saw the planet as a self-restoring system in stable equilibrium that was more important than any component in it, including humans.
The unbridled exploitation of people and planet by free market economics, as represented by the transnats, was quietly resisted by Gaianists. Some of the smaller Transnats that came to control small states and which were headed by Gaianist bureaucracies took a longer view, that ultra-consumerism was ultimately self-defeating. Unfortunately this took something away from their competitive edge, which was only partially compensated for by their attraction of bright, dedicated staffers of Gaianist philosophy who were willing to work for lower salaries.
This philosophy was extended by Red Martian groups to Mars itself, who saw it as an aesthetically beautiful system that humans had no right to rework in Earth's image. This philosophy became fundamental to the way extra-solar colonists from Mars and to a lesser extent Earth-Luna approached colonisation of the stars in future centuries.
Other facets of the philosophy emphasised life extending itself beyond a single planet or a single solar system. These groups were especially active in colonisation, and were substantially more sympathetic to terraforming operations.
The future of Ad Astra