Nature is purposeless, Nature simply is. We may find nature beautiful or terrible, but those feelings are human constructions. The relationship between nature and us is one-sided, there is no reciprocity. We should not be concerned about protecting our planet: Nature can survive far more than what we can do to it and is totally oblivious to whether homo sapiens lives or dies. Our concern should be about protecting ourselves: because we have only ourselves to protect us.
Nature is neither friend nor foe, neither malevolent nor benevolent.