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Q: How can I be sure my actions won’t hasten or cause the extinction of the very species I’m trying to save? How can I be sure my actions won’t result in hungry people killing every last wild animal in the area for food or cutting down every last tree for fuel?

Derrick Jensen: We can’t be absolutely certain of anything. The only thing we can be certain of is that if civilization continues, it will kill every last being on earth. But let’s take a reasonable worst-case scenario for a cataclysmic event. Chernobyl was a horrible disaster. Yet it has had a spectacularly positive ecological outcome: humans have been kept out of the area and wildlife is returning. Do you know what that means? The day-to-day workings of civilization are worse than a nuclear catastrophe. It would be hard to do worse than Chernobyl.

Yes, be smart and attend to those questions. But if we fail to act there will be nothing left. What the world needs is to be left alone. What the world needs is to have this culture—that is continuously cutting it, torturing it, murdering it—stopped.