I have a healthy regard for the mesmerizing power of an overscheduled, overpopulated, hyperstimulated existence. It’s designed to monopolize our attention, to sell us things, to speed us from one place to the next, to focus us on matters that appear to be vital, even when they’re not. It’s such an encompassing artificial environment that it can seem to be all there is.

Nature, by contrast, is slow-moving, undemanding, maybe underwhelming for many people. But if you never put yourself in the midst of nature–to understand that its essence is our essence–then you’re inclined to treat it as trivial. You become willing to abuse and destroy it through carelessness, not recognizing that to do so is wrong. Nature becomes the wallpaper of experience . . .

But what we do to nature we do to ourselves. The magnitude of environmental destruction is now on a scale few ever foresaw; the wounds [of nature] no longer simply heal themselves. We have to act affirmatively to stop the harm.

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 161.