One has to reflect on the nature of ecosystems specifically the current planetary one with the central element of human intervention. Clearly todays planetary ecosystem and summation of local ecosystems are/is in decline or localized failure. This points to succession as the now primary force in both human and natural realms. The reality is you can’t decouple these but for the sake of understanding they are often separated. “Advocate isolating half the planet to protect it from humans” definitely has merit but not complete realism. The realism is in regards to the nature of planetary succession preventing good conservation at these levels. The planet is affected by humans in overshoot but also humans are in a state of overshoot making this a quagmire for humans and nature alike. In this regard then the human/nature nexus has negative feedbacks that overwhelm human intervention plus degrade nature more. In fact, it is human intervention that is the problem so more intervention is a problem. I say this in respect to macro efforts at geoengineering and conservation which point to scaling issues policy which by definition have scaling issues.
Having scaling issues is not bad but it should be recognized. Alternatively, the starting point of action gets back to a scaling issue and action secondary. At a certain level when we engage in macro efforts, we are losing scale and balance. Yet, the reality is humans are out of scale so good action out of scale is required. Renewables fit this description. They are greener than fossil fuels but also very disruptive and damaging. There is an inevitability of human and planetary succession now. This is a self-organizing force which has already involved tipping points on multiple levels. This means there is a current of forces leading to a chain of events that point to a determined string of events ahead. This is critical to understand because we must get to the very core of the problem to be able to properly orientate behavior. The core of the problem is humans don’t scale in good or bad. The good and bad of human activity will continue regardless.
While you may say to this well you said nothing but then you are missing a key point. That point is there is a planetary gradient above and beyond human intervention or understanding. The point here is the idea of isolating nature from humans means trying to isolate nature from nature. Humans are part of this natural force which is above and beyond human control. Until human’s respect this it does not matter if human actions are good or bad there is still the problem of proper wisdom being missed. Does this matter then or is this point meaningless in regards to good human actions? My gut tells me humans real challenge is not saving nature but saving ourselves. If we can save ourselves nature will be saved albeit within the context of a gradient of decline of a planet in succession.
To save ourselves requires honesty so if these macro actions of good with geoengineering and conservation are not grounded in honesty to the true human existential situation they are ultimately doomed. Just like the greater good of green efforts has been taken hostage by fake green techno optimistic capitalism. Any human action is natural because it’s a unity issue. If we are going to reflect on what is happening then a requirement is honesty. This honesty of self-reflection ultimately must be individual. In a sense we need to isolate ourselves, our local, our significant others and our basis of meaning to be protected by human forces. This is not possible really as the virus is showing us all too well. In times of better human scale these forces could not be isolated. It is a function of the planet and its ecosystem first and humanity second. Living with this then should tell humans it is folly to play human games at the macro but it is also natural and inevitable. So basically, we get back to where we started which is the nature of the tensions of determinism and free will. Free will can be found locally but determinism rules the planet.