Remember the last time you went into the Great Outdoors? Perhaps you went on a hike in a beautiful, serene meadow, or camped by a harmonic creek, or fished on the side of a magnificent lake. It sure was a nice experience. At the very least the nature shows and outdoor advertisements make it seem this way. Rousseau is present in many of these depictions.
Unfortunately, this picture of an uncorrupted, perfect environment is naive and wrong. The cute chirps you hear from birds in a forest are the sound of thousands of organisms desperate to get laid or hungry for food. Unbeknownst to you, your tent near the creek is also near the carcass of a dead squirrel infested with maggots. The fish you pulled from the water, regardless of whether you keep them, likely felt pain when hooked and likely felt immense fear as they struggled against the line in a futile attempt for escape.
Many people yearn to escape the noise and pollution of the "corrupted" modern world and get back to nature. In an almost pantheistic sense, these people see nature as something beautiful, good, spiritual.
But there is nothing beautiful, good, or spiritual about the savage gladiator arena of the natural world. There's a reason so much footage for nature shows are left on the cutting room floor. The pain of the prey outweighs the pleasure of the predator. Much of nature is brutal, inefficient, pointless and disgusting. In the words of Ligotti, it's malignantly useless.
Wild animal suffering in all likelihood outweighs the suffering of domesticated animals and even humans (another somewhat domesticated animal). Every single day, millions of animals are subjected to fear and pain as the environment and predators threaten their existences. You literally cannot look out the window on a sunny, cheerful day without looking at a state of affairs in which something is suffering, decaying, or dying.
Due to this extreme amount of suffering in the wild, do humans have any obligation to reduce or eliminate such suffering? Surely we have a duty to not bring harm upon animals, such as our domesticated pets or farm animals. But should we care what happens in the Wild? Or are we just too removed to be able to do anything about it?
One obvious answer is to oppose environmentalism for the sake of environmentalism. It only maintains the suffering.
In addition, are we able to access any sort of aesthetic appreciation of nature without ignoring or compartmentalizing away the horrible events that transpire every day?