Everything in the world is part of one sacred unity. Our ancestors worshipped trees, rivers, birds and stones and connected to universal principles. This attitude and way of living went beyond utility or usefulness. It had to do with reverence for all of God's creation.
"I am the Self seated in the heart of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the very end of all beings". All beings have, therefore to be treated alike." – Bhagavad Gita, sloka 20, Chapter 10
“Earth, in which lie the sea, river and other waters, in which food and cornfields have come to be, in which lives all that breathes and moves, may she confer on us the finest of her yield. Earth, in which the waters, common to all, moving on all sides, flow unfailingly, day and night, may she pour on us milk in many streams, and endow us with lustre, May those born of thee,O Earth, be of our welfare, free from sickness and waste, wakeful through a long life, we shall become bearers of tribute to thee. Earth, my mother, set me securely with bliss in full accord with heaven, O wise one, uphold me in grace and splendour.” – excerpt from Atharva Veda, Hymn to Earth (Bhumi-Sukta), translation by Abinash Chandra Bose
"No religion, perhaps, lays as much emphasis on environmental ethics as does Hinduism. It believes in ecological responsibility and says like Native Americans that the Earth is our mother. It champions protection of animals, which it considers also have souls, and promotes vegetarianism. It has a strong tradition of non-violence or ahimsa. It believes that God is present in all nature, in all creatures, and in every human being regardless of their faith or lack of it." – David Frawley, vedic scholar & ayurveda practitioner