AUTHOR: Alain de Botton, writing at BBC News
CONTENTION: Human beings have certain responsibilities to the planet, and it's easy to lose sight of this, but we mustn't lose sight of it.
TAKE US TO ESCHATOLOGYVILLE: "There is nothing new for mankind about confronting the possibility of its own destruction. The feeling that the present order - the neat fields, the ordered laundry cupboards, the full granaries - might soon disappear would have been intensely familiar to any inhabitant of medieval Europe. You need only study the carvings on the sides of the cathedrals to see that our imaginations have for centuries been haunted by visions of Armageddon."
A GRIM THOUGHT: "We might do worse than to date our present ecological awareness to the moment when the two bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These weapons showed us not only that mankind was perishable (an old thought), but that it was perishable through human action (rather than because of disease-bearing rats). In other words, that we have acquired the power to commit species suicide."
SUNNY DAYS MEAN DEATH: "An unusually warm spring day cannot now be what it was for Chaucer and Wordsworth - a manifestation of the mystery and power of the non-human realm ... Nature used to terrify us, now we terrify ourselves. We are responsible for the early flowering of those Wordsworthian daffodils. Our fingerprints are all over the uncannily early return of the migratory birds."