Gates is part of an effort to supplant the World of Nature with a world that we create. Such a world will be able, perhaps, to "withstand human influence" because it will be a world actually created by human beings.
It may be, given our current situation, that we now have nowhere else to go but to attempt this type of substitution, since our human civilization, and human lives, are are so utterly dependent on the Natural World, a world in which we appear as creatures, not creators.
Kolbert's latest article on "Unnatural Selection" is, like all her writings, well worth reading. She definitely gives Gates' "half-full" approach a more than fair hearing. Between the lines, however, I think I sense on Kolbert's part a significant doubt that we can really substitute a human-created world for the World of Nature that our actions are destroying.
The coral reefs in the oceans of the globe are only one example of what we are doing to the World of Nature upon which we ultimately depend for everything.