I'd like to recommend Verlyn Klinkenborg's excellent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times about our vanishing wildlife and its implications for us all. Here's a taste:
In our everyday economic behavior, we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. E.O. Wilson has argued eloquently and persuasively that we cannot, that who we are depends as much on the richness and diversity of the biological life around us as it does on any inherent quality in our genes. Environmentalists of every stripe argue that we must somehow begin to correlate our economic behavior — by which I mean every aspect of it: production, consumption, habitation — with the welfare of other species.
This is the premise of sustainability. But the very foundation of our economic interests is self-interest, and in the survival of other species we see way too little self to care.
The trouble with humans is that even the smallest changes in our behavior require an epiphany. And yet compared to the fixity of other species, the narrowness of their habitats, the strictness of their diets, the precision of the niches they occupy, we are flexibility itself.
We look around us, expecting the rest of the world’s occupants to adapt to the changes that we have caused, when, in fact, we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves.