When God created the world, and nature, He intended that humans become an integral part of it. In fact in Genesis 1:11-30, it is clear that God created other biological communities (biota) to be “humans’ food” only; and not for humans to change or destroy what He created, and “saw that it was good”, for other needs.
He created ecosystems consisting of the biological communities, and the physical and chemical factors that make up its non-living or abiotic environment. He created ecosystems on land, below the soil surface, in water, and in the air. Examples of ecosystems on the earth’s surface include a pond, a forest, an estuary, grassland, a river, a wetland, and a lake.
He created biota that comprises single-cell organisms, bees, humans, plants, insects, mammals, turtles, crocodiles, birds, snails, bivalves, sea stars (starfish), sea urchins, salamanders, frogs and other many others. He created plants and made them the basic energy source for all animals, including humans. He made plants to source their energy directly from the sun.
The ecosystem that He created on the earth’s surface has a spatial relationship to the atmosphere, which must contain gases also arranged in a particular relationship – not too much carbon dioxide, plenty of nitrogen and oxygen, only minute amounts of other gases.
He made all life forms to need water, which is in fact a relationship between hydrogen and oxygen. Water is found primarily on top of the earth’s crust, only a short distance beneath it, or in the atmosphere above it.
But humans have seriously disturbed the spatial configuration of each component. They have continued operating as if the earth’s environment is a subset of the human needs, and that the earth belongs to them; but the scientific reality is that human culture and its economic goals are a subset of the earth’s environment and resources, and humanity is only one of millions of species that depend on them.
The human race have consistently refused to integrate. They have become overly dependent on burning fossil fuels, building up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and taking heavy metals from under the earth’s surface and scattering them throughout the surface environment. They have continued to dispose waste uncontrollably. They have contaminated lakes and forests; destroyed natural habitats; increased pollution of air, water and soil; and, endangered animals and plants, including bees, because of greed and the excuse of modern industrialization.
Humans are consuming renewable resources such as soil, forests, and fish at a rate faster than they can be replenished, and making greenhouse gas emissions increasing dangerous in the atmosphere; and this has compromised the ability of the earth to maintain life’s abundance.
The results are now well known: climate change, overpopulation, loss of topsoil and fresh water, increasing rates of species extinction, deforestation, imperiled coral reefs, unstoppable invasive species, toxic chemicals that remain for ages in the environment, and persistent human poverty and hunger. The list is endless.
It is ironic that humans have created separateness with the natural world and they expect that they can control nature to prevent it from going astray and destroying them. They have forgotten that they are part of nature; nature produces them and nature can easily find a way out to exist without them. Nature has its own way of clearing itself. That is why many species are endangered, such dinosaurs were approximately 66 million years ago, and the cause of their extinction included climatic extremes, diseases, changing plant communities, and geologic events which interrupted the dinosaurs’ food supply, causing food chain imbalances that led to their starvation. That is why whole ancient communities and cities are buried underground in many parts of the world.
Arising from the above, humans must, at both a personal and a collective level, agree that they share evolutionary heritage and destiny with other life forms. Humans must re-orient themselves on how to coexist with, and nurture, nature; on how to relate to each other and to the earth’s wonders and adopt the right way of living on this finite, life-giving planet.
Humans must stop pollution; they must stop the massive land destruction; they must learn to live with the wide variations of climates; and, they must stop the over-bleeding to meet basic needs.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, resilience, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise”, said conservation biologist Aldo Leopold in the 1940s.
So humans must shift from greed and unquestioned growth to a situation where they have the right relationship with the ecosystem; a relationship of mutual respect, common features, fair sharing, and interdependence with the entire community of living beings on the earth.
The actions of each individual person affect the entire ecosystem, however small the result might be. Humans are in the position where they can have far greater impact on nature than most of the other life forms with which they share the planet.
Humans should, therefore, have the responsibility and privilege to consider other beings and ecosystems, and their actions must embody an ethic of appreciating, husbanding, and sharing the earth’s bounty. They must revert to God’s original intention that humans be an integral part of the world that He created and, “saw it was good”.