As long as we see nature, animals, trees, minerals, lakes, rivers and oceans as something apart from us, we will believe that we can dominate it, survive without it and spoil it without consequences.
Only when we understand deeply that we are literally made of water, air, sun and minerals, we will begin to behave with respect, humbleness and admiration towards nature and forget about our ignorant and destructive way of thinking, seeing ourselves as the crown of the creation, something not related, independent and apart.
Why? because if we are aware that we are water, air, sun and mineral we will see clearly that we can not survive without these elements: we are 70 % water, can't stay without oxygen more than 2 minutes, would die in a short time without the warmth of the sun and get ill very fast if we don't keep the correct balance of minerals in our body. It means that we are made of these elements and we also need them to manifest during our lifetime.
In his book "Awakening of the Heart", Thich Nhat Hanh says:
"...We often forget that the human being is a creature that evolved from animals, plants, and minerals and that humans appeared only recently in the evolution of life on Earth. When we think we have the right to do anything we want, and that other animals, plants, and minerals are only the means for us to get what we want, then we have a very wrong notion about what it is to be a human being. We haven't understood that humans are made of non-human elements; that is the true nature of the human being. We need to remove the barrier between human beings and the non-human elements: animals , plants, and minerals. We know that human beings cannot survive without animals, plants, and minerals, yet we continue to discriminate and destroy them, the elements of our environment."
"...In our daily lives, we can practice mindfulness in order to understand the relationship between the human and non-human. If we can protect the non-human elements, including the non-living beings, then we protect ourselves. We think of living beings as having feelings, perceptions, and so on, and that in this way they are different from non-living beings-of plants and minerals. We need to live our daily lives in a way that nourishes our understanding of the relationship between living and non-living beings. As human are made of non-human elements, so living beings are made of non- living beings."
"To think only on human beings is a little bit limited.
The fact of considering that all the sensitive beings of the universe
have been in a certain occasion our mother,
opens a space for compassion."
The Dalai Lama