We are all members of humanity, and we all belong to the global biosphere. We are members of oikos, the house of earth, which is the Greek root of the word ‘ecology’, and as such we should behave as the other members of the house behave – the plants, animals and microorganisms that form the vast network of relationships that we call the web of life. The outstanding characteristic of the biosphere is her inherent ability to sustain life. It behoves us, as members of the global community of living beings, to behave in such a way that we do not interfere with this inherent ability.
As members of the human community, we should behave in a way that reflects respect for human dignity and basic human rights. The awareness of being connected with all of Nature is particularly strong in ecology. Connectedness, relationship and interdependence are fundamental concepts of ecology; and connectedness, relationship and belonging are also the essence of religious experience. When we look at the world around us, we find that behind the chaos and randomness, a great order, a grand symphony of life. Every molecule in our bodies was once a part of previous bodies – living or non-living – and will be a part of future bodies. In this sense, our bodies will not die but will live on, again and again, because life lives on. Moreover, we share with the rest of the living world not only life’s molecules, but also its basic principles of organisation. Indeed, we belong to the universe, and this experience of belonging can make our lives profoundly meaningful.