Humanity’s rampant destruction of ecosystems isn’t just ugly and toxic in the short term, it threatens the long-term viability of the human race.
What happens the day that dust storms choke our overheated, drought-ridden cities? That entire watersheds dry up or are rendered undrinkable by leaching toxins or pipeline leaks? That blights wipe out hundreds of miles’ worth of a monoculture crop in a single season? As the saying goes, civilization is always only ever nine meals away from anarchy.
Understanding, respecting, and conserving balance in the world’s ecosystems isn’t a question of setting aside a few gardens for pleasure and pristine parks in which to hike and camp.
It’s not even a question of acknowledging that other animals have as much of a right to life as we do and protecting their natural habitats alongside our urban sprawl.
It’s recognizing that we humans are ourselves animals within the ecosystem. We are not a species apart, capable of engineering our way out of every crisis simply because we’re armed with a certain degree of scientific understanding. Our living bodies evolved from the natural world and remain deeply dependent on its delicate cycles. Oxygen, water, food: we cannot conjure these vital ingredients for all of humankind; they must come from the ecosystem.
Our survival depends on the health of the land.