While ants exist in just the right numbers for the rest of the living world, humans have become too numerous. If we were to vanish today, the land environment would return to the fertile balance that existed before the human population explosion. Only a dozen or so species, among which are the crab louse and a mite that lives in the oil glands of our foreheads, depend on us entirely. But if ants were to disappear, tens of thousands of other plants and animal species would perish also, simplifying and weakening land ecosystems almost everywhere.
Now when you cut a forest, an ancient forest in particular, you are not just removing a lot of big trees and a few birds fluttering around in the canopy. You are drastically imperiling a vast array of species within a few square miles of you. The number of these species may go to tens of thousands. ... Many of them are still unknown to science, and science has not yet discovered the key role undoubtedly played in the maintenance of that ecosystem, as in the case of fungi, microorganisms, and many of the insects.
The naturalist is a civilized hunter. He goes alone into the field or woodland and closes his mind to everything but that time and place, so that life around him presses in on all the senses and small details grow in significance. He begins the scanning search for which cognition was engineered. His mind becomes unfocused, it focuses on everything, no longer directed toward any ordinary task or social pleasantry
If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem would be soon solved. If there is any moral precept shared by people of all beliefs, it is that we owe ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment.
People yearn to be in one of the best--a combat marine regiment, an elite college, the executive committee of a company, a religious sect, a fraternity, a garden club--any collectivity that can be compared favorably with other, competing groups.
I think we will make it. Because one quality people have - certainly Americans have it - is that they can adapt when they see necessity staring them in the face. What to avoid is what someone once called the definition of hell: truth realized too late.