Environmental Quotes

List of environmental quotes and sayings by famous people and people who campaign for the environment. All green/environment quotes are listed by category.

Animals

Climate Change

Environmental (general)

Future Generations

Greed

Land
Nature

Overpopulation

Political

Pollution

Transport

Trees


ANIMALS:

If we continue to address the issue of the environment where we live as though we're the only species that lives here, we'll create a disaster for ourselves.

~ Gaylord Nelson, politician, founder of Earth Day

Research has shown that a barren environment is much more damaging to baby animals than it is to adult animals. It does not hurt the adult animals the same way it damages babies.

~ Temple Grandin, Doctor of Animal Science

As you may know, some of the stereotyped behaviors exhibited by autistic children are also found in zoo animals who are raised in a barren environment.

~ Temple Grandin, Doctor of Animal Science

Each one (of the Earth's 5 million invertebrate species) plays a role in its ecosystem. It's like we're tearing the cogs out of a great machine. The machine might work after you tear out ten cogs, but what happens when you tear out a hundred?

~ Scott Black, author

Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. But teach a man how to fish, and he'll be dead of mercury poisoning inside of three years.

~ Charles Haas, writer

Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.

~ Edwin Way Teale, naturalist

The animals of the planet are in desperate peril... Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.

~ Alice Walker, author and poet

Each one (of the Earths 5 million invertebrate species) plays a role in its ecosystem. It's like we're tearing the cogs out of a great machine. The machine might work after you tear out ten cogs, but what happens when you tear out a hundred?

~ Scott C Black, lawyer

The difference between animals and humans is that animals change themselves for the environment, but humans change the environment for themselves.

~ Ayn Rand, novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

~ Edward O. Wilson, biologist, researcher and naturalist

People are becoming more environmentally aware and caring more for animals and really wanting to improve their health.

~ Heather Mills, campaigner

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.

~ Marya Mannes, author and critic

Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning?

~ Frank N. Ikard, United States Representative from Texas

The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there's a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.

~ David Attenborough, naturalist

For me, going vegan was an ethical and environmental decision. I'm doing the right thing by the animals.

~ Alexandra Paul, actress

The real cure for our environmental problems is to understand that our job is to salvage Mother Nature. We are facing a formidable enemy in this field. It is the hunters... and to convince them to leave their guns on the wall is going to be very difficult.

~ Jacques Yves Cousteau, naval officer, ecologist and author

I don’t consider you green if you eat meat.

~ Christian Serratos, actress

I think if everyone chilled out on eating animals and the way they treat them it would help global warming, people would be incredibly healthy.

~ Constance Marie, actress

How many people have hybrids in this town, how many people recycle? Being vegetarian is so much more eco-conscious. And it’s lovely to know that when you are eating it’s ethical and nothing had to die.

~ Owain Yeoman, actor

"It's not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere."

~ James Cameron, film producer

"You can't be an environmentalist, you can't be an ocean steward, without truly walking the walk". "And you can't walk the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant-based diet."

~ James Cameron, film producer

CLIMATE CHANGE:

We can debate this or that aspect of climate change, but the reality is that most people now accept our climate is indeed subject to change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

~ Tony Blair, former Prime Minister

All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.

~ Barack Obama, US President

Today we're seeing that climate change is about more than a few unseasonably mild winters or hot summers. It's about the chain of natural catastrophes and devastating weather patterns that global warming is beginning to set off around the world.. the frequency and intensity of which are breaking records thousands of years old.

~ Barack Obama, US President

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we're contributing to the warming of the earth's atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.

~ Barack Obama, US President

Global warming is one of those things, not like an earthquake where there's a big bang and you say, 'Oh, my God, this is really, has hit us.' It creeps up on you. Half a degree temperature difference from one year to the next, a little bit of rise of the ocean, a little bit of melting of the glaciers, and then all of a sudden it is too late to do something about it.

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor

What's now urgently needed (to stop environmental disaster) is the international political commitment to take action to avoid dangerous climate change.

~ David Miliband, politician

We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing - in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

~ Timothy Wirth, former US Senator

Climate change is and will be a significant threat to our national security, and in a larger sense to life on earth as we know it to be.

~ Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, retired former U.S. Army Chief of Staff

Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose.

~ Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The good news is we know what to do. The good news is, we have everything we need now to respond to the challenge of global warming. We have all the technologies we need; more are being developed. And as they become available and become more affordable when produced in scale, they will make it easier to respond. But we should not wait, we cannot wait, we must not wait.

~ Al Gore, environmental activist

Yet, despite our many advances, our environment is still threatened by a range of problems, including global climate change, energy dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels, and loss of biodiversity.

~ Dan Lipinski, politician

I have long been something of a climate change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the artic. ~ Michael Hanlon, science writer

ENVIRONMENTAL (general):

Address these environmental issues and you will address every issue known to man. And we keep dabbling in things that aren't really that important in the long term.

~ Ted Danson, actor

But reducing harmful emissions, abating our dependence on foreign oil and developing alternative renewable energy sources have benefits that go beyond environmental health, they improve personal health, enhance national security and encourage our nation's economic viability.

~ Jim Clyburn, politician

Earth Day 1970 was irrefutable evidence that the American people understood the environmental threat and wanted action to resolve it.

~ Barry Commoner, biologist

In every case, the environmental hazards were made known only by independent scientists, who were often bitterly opposed by the corporations responsible for the hazards.

~ Barry Commoner, biologist

The environmental crisis arises from a fundamental fault: our systems of production - in industry, agriculture, energy and transportation - essential as they are, make people sick and die.

~ Barry Commoner, biologist

The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only global action will resolve it.

~ Barry Commoner, biologist

Franklin Roosevelt was very concerned about environmental issues.

~ Gaylord Nelson, politician and founder of Earth Day

I am on the board of corporations who contribute both to environmental problems and their solutions. And I am on the NGO side: the Earth Council and other organizations.

~ Maurice Strong, entrepreneur

Moral codes adjust themselves to environmental conditions.

~ Will Durant, historian and philosopher

More than ever before, there is a global understanding that long term social, economic, and environmental development would be impossible without healthy families, communities, and countries.

~ Gro Harlem Brundtland, politician and physician

There are a tremendous amount of environmental issues that are on the table.

~ Ed Rendell, politician

We won't have a society if we destroy the environment.

~ Margaret Mead, anthropologist

In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.

~ Wangari Maathai, political activist

What we've proven is that you can protect the environment, use it wisely and grow the economy and that there is no conflict between the two.

~ Bruce Babbitt, politician

I think the greatest challenge in environmentalism and the most rewarding challenge is trying to figure out how humans can meet their needs while protecting the environment.

~ Gale Norton, politician

FUTURE GENERATIONS:

We must conserve our environment and pass it on to our children in as good or better condition than it was passed to us.

~ Mark Kennedy, politician

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us.

~ Henrik Tikkanen, author

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

~ Native American Proverb

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.

~ Marya Mannes, author and critic

Our children may save us if they are taught to care properly for the planet; but if not, it may be back to the Ice Age or the caves from where we first emerged. Then we'll have to view the universe above from a cold, dark place. No more jet skis, nuclear weapons, plastic crap, broken pay phones, drugs, cars, waffle irons, or television. Come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea.

~ Jimmy Buffet, singer, songwriter, author

Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible - or even sinful - that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes!

~ Paul B. MacCready Jr, aeronautical engineer

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

~ Native American Wisdom

My efforts in Congress are guided by the belief that environmental preservation and restoration are a critical part of the legacy we leave to future generations.

~ Sue Kelly, politician

If we intend to provide a better life, and a better world, for future generations, we can't ignore the quality of the environment we leave them.

~ John Kasich, politician

GREED:

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values.... God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.

~ Charles A. Lindbergh, aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.

~ William Ruckelshaus, attorney and civil servant

The control man has secured over nature has far outrun his control over himself.

~ Ernest Jones, neurologist

Our environmental problems originate in the hubris of imagining ourselves as the central nervous system or the brain of nature. We're not the brain, we are a cancer on nature.

~ Dave Foreman, environmentalist

There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.

~ Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.

~ Henry Havelock Ellis, physician

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance.

~ Buddha, spiritual teacher

LAND:

In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops.

~ Paul Brooks, film producer

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

~ Aldo Leopold, ecologist

I am the earth. You are the earth. The Earth is dying. You and I are murderers.

~ Author Unknown

Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress.

~ John Clapham, historian

When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.

~ David Orr, politician

I'm not an environmentalist. I'm an Earth warrior.

~ Darryl Cherney, author

There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.

~ Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader

You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, writer and composer

NATURE:

Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.

~ Michel de Montaigne, writer

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.

~ Thomas Fuller, churchman and historian

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

~ John Muir, author

The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men's apples and head their cabbages.

~ Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, dramatist

Nature always strikes back. It takes all the running we can do to remain in the same place.

~ Rene Dubos, microbiologist

Drive Nature forth by force, she'll turn and rout The false refinements that would keep her out.

~ Horace, poet

Nature favours those organisms which leave the environment in better shape for their progeny to survive.

~ James Lovelock, scientist

The more we exploit nature, The more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival.

~ Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation

A margin of life is developed by Nature for all living things - including man. All life forms obey Nature's demands - except man, who has found ways of ignoring them.

~ Eugene M. Poirot, author

The magnificence of mountains, the serenity of nature - nothing is safe from the idiot marks of man's passing.

~ Loudon Wainwright, author

Understanding the laws of nature does not mean that we are immune to their operations.

~ David Gerrold, author

Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.

~ Luther Burbank, botanist and horticulturist

It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.

~ Henry David Thoreau, poet and historian

The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.

~ E.F. Schumacher, economic thinker

This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile. Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages. But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature had proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself. We've got to be stopped.

~ Michael L. Fischer, author

OVERPOPULATION:

The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children.

~ Paul Ehrlich, scientist

Man will survive as a species for one reason: He can adapt to the destructive effects of our power-intoxicated technology and of our ungoverned population growth, to the dirt, pollution and noise of a New York or Tokyo. And that is the tragedy. It is not man the ecological crisis threatens to destroy but the quality of human life.

~ René Dubos, microbiologist

The hungry world cannot be fed until and unless the growth of its resources and the growth of its population come into balance. Each man and woman—and each nation—must make decisions of conscience and policy in the face of this great problem.

~ Lyndon B. Johnson, former President of the US

The world population 60 years ago was just over 2 billion and it's now more than 6 billion. This huge increase - an explosion really - has probably done more harm to the environment than anything else.

~ Prince Philip

Living in the midst of abundance we have the greatest difficulty in seeing that the supply of natural wealth is limited and that the constant increase of population is destined to reduce the American standard of living unless we deal more sanely with our resources.

~ W.H. Carothers, chemist

The human overpopulation issue is the topic I see as the most vital to solve if our children and grandchildren are to have a good quality of life.

Alexandra Paul, actress

POLITICAL:

We should restore a proper balance in environmental regulation and energy production that is based on common sense, not political agendas.

~ Mac Thornberry, politician

We have fought for social justice. We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for environmental justice. We have fought for criminal justice. Now we must add a new fight - the fight for electoral justice.

~ Barbara Boxer, US Senator

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.

~ Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and author

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.

~ Ansel Adams, photographer>

We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.

~ Wangari Maathai, political activist

It's time we stopped ignoring the environment. Let's not let another election go by without making this a high priority.

~ David Suzuki, science broadcaster

We decided that the environment was an integral part of our policies and the political thrust of our government. We gave it the priority and we sustained it with the money required to make it happen.

~ Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada

I think the government has to reposition environment on top of their national and international priorities.

~ Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada

POLLUTION:

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.

~ Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States

There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all.

~ Robert Orben, magician

One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England.

~ Glenn T. Seaborg, scientist

For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.

~ Rachel Carson, marine biologist and writer

Man will survive as a species for one reason: He can adapt to the destructive effects of our power-intoxicated technology and of our ungoverned population growth, to the dirt, pollution and noise of a New York or Tokyo. And that is the tragedy. It is not man the ecological crisis threatens to destroy but the quality of human life.>/i>

~ René Dubos, microbiologist and environmentalist

One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England.

~ Glenn T. Seaborg, scientist

We must not be forced to explore the universe in search of a new home because we have made the Earth inhospitable, even uninhabitable. For if we do not solve the environmental and related social problems that beset us on Earth - pollution, toxic contamination, resource depletion, prejudice, poverty, hunger - those problems will surely accompany us to other worlds.

~ Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, authors

If we have concluded that we are being asked to take senseless and frightening risks, then we should no longer accept the counsel of those who tell us that we must fill our world with poisonous chemicals; we should look about and see what other course is open to us.

~ Rachel Carson, marine biologist and author

The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—the very nature of its life.

~ Rachel Carson, marine biologist and author

Just as there's garbage that pollutes the Potomac river, there is garbage polluting our culture. We need an Environmental Protection Agency to clean it up.

~ Patrick Buchanan, politician and broadcaster

TRANSPORT:

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.

~ Henry David Thoreau, author

Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible - or even sinful - that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes!

~ Paul MacCready, Jr. engineer

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.

~ Marshall McLuhan, philosopher

The automobile has not merely taken over the street, it has dissolved the living tissue of the city ... Gas-filled, noisy and hazardous, our streets have become the most inhumane landscape in the world.

~ James M. Fitch, author

You make so much more of a green statement with our fork than what you drive.

~ Carol Leifer, comedian, writer and producer

TREES:

The American reading his Sunday paper in a state of lazy collapse is perhaps the most perfect symbol of the triumph of quantity over quality.... Whole forests are being ground into pulp daily to minister to our triviality.

~ Irving Babbitt, academic and literary critic

They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.

~ James G. Watt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.

~ Bill Vaughan, author

A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.

~ Hal Borland, author

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.

~ Franklin Roosevelt, former President of the US

Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris.

~ Edward Abbey, author

A virgin forest is where the hand of man has never set foot.

~ Author Unknown

Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning?

~ Frank N. Ikard, United States Representative from Texas

It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water - and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood.

~ Bernard DeVoto, historian and author

We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved.

Author Unknown

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.

~ Anton Chekhov, writer and physician


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