Conclusion

The next few decades offer our best and last remaining chance to shepherd appreciable biodiversity through the current global extinction crisis. This monumentally important task should be at the forefront of societal consciousness and action not only because nature offers vast economic and material benefits to humanity, enriches our lives both aesthetically and intellectually, and provides bountiful scientific opportunities to understand the biological context of our existence. More basically, we should cherish nature because it is the ethically proper thing to do. Protecting what remains of nature must become our collective moral imperative. If it does not, we will lose not just nature herself, but also a deeply basic element of our humanity. We must come to value nature for nature's sake (as well as our own), instill that fundamental ethos in our children, and bequeath to future generations a planet that is no less biodiverse than the one into which we were born.

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