My philosophy is simple: there is a universe to which we belong, from which we came, to which we return. This universe is a living and evolving being and we are members of it, roughly parallel to the way in which billion of cells make up the being that is me. Our existence is small in scope, but magnificent in significance because what we do has the potential to influence what others do, and what the universe does, in ways that we may never know. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to learn about ourselves and the world, to develop skillfulness so that we do the good we intend and not cause the suffering we hope to minimize.
All of the animals on earth share much more with each other as beings than we have features that distinguish us, one species from another. Therefore relating closely and intentionally to other animals of various kinds increases our knowledge and capacity as members of the community of life on Earth, which is a community of Life in the cosmos.
This simple strengthening of relationship and of understanding from within the living of a community of life has the power to correct the disastrous ecological existence that we humans are currently engaged in, because it is motivated at the level of feeling or affect—from where, in fact, all animal behavior is motivated. Our thinking may help us to be strategic, but it cannot motivate our behavior because that is a function of feeling.
Further, every life matters, every encounter matters, because every life and every encounter contribute to the shape of the whole. This is in sharp contrast to utilitarian philosophies that take their meaning and message from measures of the greatest number influenced by a given event or decision. Living is not a function, but a complete experience in which the qualitative dimension is vastly significant, as demonstrated by the fact that our very animal brains are programmed by evolution to behave on the basis of qualitative aspects of living—which is to say that what it feels like to this one, and to this one, and to this one, matters a very great deal.