Say, in the case of the amiable elephant, or the peaceful yet terrifying gorilla, two animals that have been on the verge of extinction largely driven by caused human social problems.
Or for example, the destruction of millions of acres of land and environments that would be of good natural use. For example, with Brazil by removing trees annual flooding washes away the minerals and destroys much needed seeds and topsoil. With Haiti for example, it has led to a completely arid land with 93% of Haiti's trees being destroyed for cooking fuel.
Let's not stop there, we know the problem of hunting the noblest of all of North America's creatures, the Grey Wolf, out of its range and at some point near extinction due to sprawling farmlands and suburbs.
Does mankind have an obligation to not continue its path of development, which necessitates the destruction of natural landscapes and environments to sustain consumption? Sprawl for example, is a major killer, and I've seen towns where they've annihilated thousands of acres for a few hundred people to live in since people were opting for houses built in bundles of 50-100 distances apart, utterly ruining the wooded environment.
Continuing that. Do we have an obligation to also reintroduce and reconstruct environments that were once destroyed? The city of Toronto has perhaps one of the most unpleasant bayfronts, but the city plans to return part of it as a civilian park/provincial conservation area, which it once was maybe 150 years ago.
Or for example, the fact that we have thoroughly wiped out Tiger populations throughout the world. Though there are projects to reconstruct certain lineages of tiger subspecies, do we as humans, ought to extend this and recreate sustainable environments for the species we once hunted for sport?
So the three questions present itself.
Are we obliged to preserve nature given our current knowledge of it?
Second, are we obliged to reintroduce/reconstruct environments as best as possible, with reintroductions of species that might be extinct in the wild, or extirpated from certain areas?
Third. And a bit of a tangent. But what role, if any, does nature play for mankind? Does it play the role of a "commodity" needed for industrial and economic growth? Does it play the role of once being our containment, but now must be our responsibility? Does it play any role but what we wish to do with it, on the individual and group level?
I can only say that hopefully as mankind becomes more in root with his fundamentally natural and animal-based conception of himself via that which was initiated by Darwin, mankind can hopefully become more in tune to the values of natural role as well as the importance of some form of balance or sustainability, meaning adopting green and reuseable energies/industries.
This calls for rejecting arrogant fundamentalist ideas I've seen propogated around, originating from Genesis 1:29-30
This basis of thought is one of the reasons why conservatives do not care for the environment, since the idea is that nature being exhaustible, and a buff, heroic Jesus Christ returning on a white horse with sword in hand, there's no reason for environmental sustainability.Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
But to be fair though, sane religious people like the Catholic school board where I grew up had a very strong environmental initiative, and heavily broadcasted environmentalist slogans like "The meek shall inherit the earth, but we must preserve it" and etc.