Is there a pragmatic argument for viewing ourselves as ‘adaptive extremophiles’ who move persistently to extricate ourselves as far as possible from dependency on resources that deplete or displace prime Natural habitat? How about this argument: The problem “in practice” is that anything less is negotiable. History shows that Humans always come first, and Nature second, when jobs and technological ambitions are in the balance. The only thing we can be sure of is that governments and policies will continue to change, so we need an understanding of Man’s relationship to Nature that takes into account Human caprice.
“Deciding”— and really this is something we can only do for the political moment — that ten percent, or even fifty percent of the planet should be set aside for rewilding is not good enough. It is simply not temporally practical for a fast-changing technological life-form to ‘negotiate a future’ with an authentically evolving wilderness of gene-regulated species. In fact it is my view that a believable future for both Humans and Nature depends on our quick acceptance of this long-emerging state of affairs.
And then, to put this in what might seem to be science fiction terms (and yet appropriate perhaps given our technology’s present and escalating power to transform the whole Earth and even it’s local orbital environment), I can imagine that future generations will one day be able to say: the realization that one hundred percent of our planet’s prime habitat belongs to ‘wilderness’ announced to the universe the beginning of our technological adulthood. Surely it is only with this acceptance of our adaptive extremophile natures that we can justify our interplanetary presence, and ultimately demonstrate that we have the right stuff to be truly cosmic citizens. For now, we just need to see this, because whether we reach our ultimate goal of complete non-interference in fifty years, or five-hundred years, is not the point; the point is that we must make a start, with this understanding being undeniably clear, both for the sake of Earth’s gene-regulated intelligence having a future and for the sake of humanity’s new and dangerous technological intelligence having a moral direction.