A few weeks ago, we discovered a mushroom growing in the backyard, and went for a mushroom hunt around the house to see what else we could find. A colony of fungi were thriving around a drain pipe in our flower bed. When we discovered these mushrooms, my daughter expressed her intention to smush them. I said, "Why would you want to do that? Just let them be. How would you like to be smushed?"
Then yesterday we saw a remarkable butterfly, and she ordered me to "kill it." What the heck? We've got some work to do.
I've been thinking a lot about animals and the environment and the scope of respect. (I've also been on vacation and preparing for class; hence the slowdown here.) I'm attracted to the view that there is no outward limit on the extension of respect, in one form or another. Like Holmes Rolston III, I think we can, basically, get all the way to something like respecting dirt. Obviously, this will have a different (you might say) grammar than respect for persons, but the basic point would be: don't destroy things (where "destroy" means something like removing something of value without replacing it with something of equal or greater value). Respect--and similarly, love--are relevant here insofar as we come to see the point of such a principle when it is seen through the eyes of respect (and love): we don't destroy the things we love.