I will not attempt to answer this question, as many have tried. To elucidate our reliance on the biodiversity and health of the Earth, I will talk about a medicinal discovery that has greatly helped humanity.
The idea of assigning a value to our environment’s health or biodiversity seems ridiculous. Have we become so disconnected from nature that we have forgotten the inherent meaningfulness and importance of the natural world and its functions to our very existence? Our society's disregard for biodiversity and the actions necessary to promote biodiversity make obvious the fact that we are not yet able to appreciate the environment that we are a part of. This disengagement creates an important function of the scientist: one who enlightens the lay community of their invaluable connection and relationship with their surrounding and global environment. Such a process of teaching requires that we shine light on viable interactions between humans and the natural world in a way that resounds within the individual.
As you go forth in your studies, and as the future generation of scientists - remember not to become too fascinated with the technology of society or overly assured of your cognizance of the natural world. For it can distract you from fully recognizing and appreciating the natural fruition of the Earth.
≥ Klingaman, Gerald. "Plant of the Week: Pacific Yew." Feb 20. 2004. <http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/plantoftheweek/articles/yew_pacific.htm>
≥ PubMed Health. "Paclitaxel Injection." <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000419/>
≥ Pacific Yew (picture). <http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/images/plantoftheweek/yew_pacific.jpg>
≥ Pacific Yew Range (picture). <http://ohioline.osu.edu/sc150/images/sc150_32.gif>
≥ Taxol (picture). <http://www.rinr.fsu.edu/fall2002/images/taxolbottle.jpg>