As a metaphor for better understanding the relationship between humanity and nature, some people have used the image of a lifeboat. A more appropriate one is that of a submarine. It captures the complexity of our surroundings, as well as the real danger that messing around with critical systems in an unenlightened way will have dire consequences. Right now, humanity is in the process of setting fires that test the air filtration capabilities of the machine, altering the gas mixture in ways likely to produce unexpected results, and banging away at the outer hull with wrenches, based on the unthinking assumption that our ignorant pounding won’t produce critical leaks.
When one looks at the state of our resource, pollution, and climate policies and actions, one is left with little hope that the future will be a long or pleasant one for humanity. This is not a matter of protecting endangered species or pristine areas of forest; it is about not compromising the basic physical and biological systems that provide the fundamental requirements of human prosperity and existence.