We have this tendency to divorce ourselves from nature, to consider what we do as unnatural, separate from Earth's ecosystem, and always 'wrong' in some way. When we expand our habitat, we're "destroying nature." When we interact with other organisms, "we're interfering." When we see a beached whale, it was probably "our wrongdoing" (as anything bad that happens to an animal must be our fault some way). But isn't there a slightly ironic arrogance to this?
Because to an alien observer, everything we do as humans would likely be seen as natural. We are simply another species on this planet going about our tendencies. Humans in a skyscraper would be no less part of nature than ants in an anthill, or an oil spill not unlike the spread of a disease or the eruption of a volcano.
However, even in our fiction, we often depict aliens as seeing us as the wrongdoers of our planet, something separate from it, something in the wrong, something to be stopped (e.g. aliens attempt to warn us or wipe us out in order to save Earth's other species). However, if they were true naturalists, they would simply leave us to it. They would likely see what we do as a natural process - just another extinction event to be studied. They wouldn't interfere, just as documentary makers wouldn't interfere when they see predators chasing fluffy animals, or ants destroying termite mounds. "We should leave humans and their habitats alone. Let nature be."
Even to other animals on this planet, we're probably perceived as being no different to the rest. A deer doesn't care if it's chased by a wolf or a human, because to the deer, we're both predators, both other animals interacting with it and trying to harm it. We don't have special status among them; we're just other creatures in their world doing what we do.
Bear in mind I'm not using this as an argument against environmentalism, just as a critique of how we see ourselves.
Those are my thoughts, anyway.
Are we separate from nature, or part of it?
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