A friend on Facebook wrote on his status that the the oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reminded him of a quote he had read a long time ago:
"MAN HAS BEEN ENDOWED WITH REASON; WITH THE POWER TO CREATE SO THAT HE CAN ADD TO WHAT HE'S BEEN GIVEN...BUT UP TO NOW, HE HASN'T BEEN A CREATOR, ONLY A DESTROYER. FORESTS KEEP DISAPPEARING, RIVERS DRY UP, WILDLIFE HAS BECOME EXTINCT, THE CLIMATE IS RUINED AND THE LAND GROWS POORER AND UGLIER EVERY DAY." ANTON CHEKHOV (1860 - 1904)
Reading this quote reminded me of a another quote, this one from the character Agent Smith in the movie "The Matrix."
Agent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.
As I was researching the above quotes to get the wording right, I found another that I think bears repeating:
It wasn't the Exxon Valdez captain's driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours. ~Greenpeace advertisement, New York Times, 25 February 1990
I think we can do better that we've been doing. We really don't have a choice if we plan to continue to live on this planet. So far, it's the only one we have. We don't need to be a destroyer. We don't need to be a virus. We can use our reason and our power to create in order to develop a natural equilibrium with our environment. We just have to make the choice.