The thought of humanity being a threat to other civilizations may seem implausible given the likelihood of our technological inferiority relative to other civilizations. However, this inferiority may be a temporary phenomenon. Perhaps ETI observe our rapid and destructive expansion on Earth and become concerned of our civilizational trajectory. In light of the Sustainability Solution to the Fermi paradox, perhaps ETI believe that rapid expansion is threatening on a galactic scale. Rapidly (maximally) expansive civilizations may have a tendency to destroy other civilizations in the process, just as humanity has already destroyed many species on Earth. ETI that place intrinsic value on civilizations may ideally wish that our civilization changes its ways, so we can survive along with all the other civilizations. But if ETI doubt that our course can be changed, then they may seek to preemptively destroy our civilization in order to protect other civilizations from us. A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. via greenhouse gas emissions), which therefore changes the spectral signature of Earth. While it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of this scenario, it should at a minimum give us pause as we evaluate our expansive tendencies. [emphasis mine]
I am a frequent visitor to State College, the home of Penn State. Next time I'm on campus, I think I'll drink bottled water. There may be something wrong with theirs.