(Taken from Ven. S. Dhammika, Good Question Good Answer, p25)
Buddhists try to develop a compassion that is undiscriminating and all-embracing. We see the world as a unified whole where each thing and creature has its place and function. We believe that before we destroy or upset nature’s delicate balance, we should be very careful. Where emphasis has been on exploiting nature to the full, squeezing every last drop out of it without putting anything back, conquering and subduing it, nature has revolted. The air is becoming poisoned, the rivers polluted and dead, so many animals and plants are heading for extinction, the slopes of the mountains are barren and eroded. Even the climate is changing. If people were a little less anxious to crush, destroy and kill, this terrible situation might not have arisen. We should strive to develop a little more respect for all life. And this is what the First Precept is about.