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Memorable Green Eco-Quotes / Eco-Quotations

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
-- T.S. Elliot

"In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but what we refuse to destroy." -- John C. Sawhill, Nature Conservancy

"We are already well into a new geological era, the Anthropocene, where human interference is the dominant factor in nearly every planetary ecosystem, to the detriment of perhaps all of them." -- Mark Lynas, Six Degrees

"Most people walking around in a mall or on a college campus are carrying on them better technology than the entire U.S. government had when it put a man on the moon. Each one of us is a walking technological superpower.... Given the capacities available to us, our wildest dreams and biggest hopes are probably too small." -- Van Jones, The Green Collar Economy

"In 'Laudato Si', I call for a courageous and responsible effort to 'redirect our steps', and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play." -- Pope Francis, Speech to the U.S. Congress, Sept 2015


/ A & B

“I wanted to know, given what’s going on with this looming environmental crisis, what could we do about it? That’s the basic question... Historically, our society and our civilization have looked at nature as an object and as a physical resource,” Ausubel explains. “The shift that’s happening now is instead to look at nature as a mentor and a model and a teacher. That really became the underlying epiphany for me around Bioneers: Just like our bodies, the Earth has a profound capacity for healing, for self-repair, that we barely understand. Our role, in a way, is to work with nature to heal nature — to help Nature heal itself. And that became the most fundamental premise.” -- Kenny Ausubel, Bioneers Conference

"Cette beauté est faite de nuances subtiles, d'un équilibre miraculeux de teintes resplendissantes et douces. Seul un enfant dans son innocence pourrait appréhender la pureté et la splendeur de cette vision." (This beauty consists of subtle nuances, as in the miraculous balance of soft and brilliant hues. Only a child in its innocence could apprehend the purity and splendor of this vision.) -- Astronaut Patrick Baudry describing the Earth from space

“Economy and environment are the same thing. That is the rule of nature.” -- Mollie Beattie NYT Obit Running w/ Wolves & Bears

“No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” -- Wendell Berry

“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. -- Wendell Berry

"The arms race is actually killing people without the arms being used. -- Willie Brandt, 1986 (Postscript: The arms are being used with increasing frequency, people are dying around the globe as crisis spreads region to region, exacerbated by factors and linkages tied to poverty, extremism, war and environmental collapse)

“The ancient trees are the deep earth's language for speaking to the universe. The earth communicates through trees to the animals and to the birds living above - and to the very heavens. The trees draw the earth's water up from the ground. Then breathing, they return it to the air for the clouds and the blessed rain that falls to begin the cycle anew. She thinks of the thin layer of living things as a fragile space between earth's molten rock core and the frozen outer universe of stars. The thin layer is like her own life here - precious, finite.” -- J.J. Brown

"The gap between what we need to do to protect our environmental support systems and what we are doing is widening. Unless we redefine security, recognizing that the principal threats to our future come less from the relationship of nation to nation and more from the deteriorating relationship between ourselves and the natural systems and resources on which we depend, then the human prospect could be a bleak one. If we do not act quick, there is a risk that environmental deterioration and social disintegration could begin to feed on each other." -- Lester Brown (Redefining National Security, Worldwatch Institute, 1977)

"People stand themselves next to the righteous
They believe the things they say are true
They speak in terms of what divides us
To justify the violence they do
But it is one, it is one
One world spinning 'round the sun
Wherever it is you call home
Whatever country you come from
It is one"
-- Jackson Browne, musician, "It is One"

“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?” -- Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.” -- Jimmy Carter

/ C & D

"There are no boundaries in the real Planet Earth. No United States, no Russia, no China, no Taiwan. Rivers flow unimpeded across the swaths of continents. The persistent tides, the pulse of the sea do not discriminate; they push against all the varied shores on Earth." --Jacques-Yves Cousteau, oceanographer

"Wealthy people in much of the world are insulated from the consequences of their actions.” -- Jared Diamond

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Leonardo DiCaprio, our Bioneers friend, takes an Oscar and speaks out...

"Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It's the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.

"We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this. For our children's children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed, I thank you all for this amazing award tonight.

"Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so much."

Leo's Oscar Speech 2016 m.png

/ E

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

/ F

"We are going to have to find ways of organizing ourselves cooperatively, sanely, scientifically, harmonically and in regenerative spontaneity with the rest of humanity around the earth.... We are not going to be able to operate our spaceship earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common." -- Buckminster Fuller

/ G

"I am part and parcel of the whole and cannot find God apart from the rest of humanity." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!" -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

/ H & I

“In spite of the string of magazine covers announcing the contrary, we all know that ten simple things will not save the earth. There are, rather, three thousand impossible things that all of us must do, and changing our light bulbs, while necessary, is the barest beginning. We are being called upon to act against a prevailing culture, to undermine our own entrenched tendency to accumulate and to consume, and to refuse to define our individuality by our presumed ability to do whatever we want.” -- Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness and Urban Bestiary

"How can we fret and stew sub specie aeternitatis - under the calm gaze of ancient Tao? The salt of the sea is in our blood; the calcium of the rocks is in our bones; the genes of ten thousand generations of stalwart progenitors are in our cells. The sun shines and we smile. The winds rage and we bend before them. The blossoms open and we rejoice. Earth is our long home." -- Stewart W. Holmes

"A beheading is worse than a sunburn." -- Mike Huckabee, in a May 2017 interview on Fox News, touting President Trump’s priorities as combating terrorism and the "historic" arms deals with Saudi Arabia instead of addressing climate change.

/ J & K

“When all the trees have been cut down and all the animals have been hunted to extinction, when all the waters are polluted and the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” -- Sherilynn Kenyon

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined non-conformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been non-conformists." -- Martin Luther King Jr

“Right now, in the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed. No other creature has ever managed this and it will, unfortunately, be our most enduring legacy.” -- Elizabeth Kolbert

"After an orange cloud -- formed as a result of a dust storm over the Sahara and caught up by air currents -- reached the Philippines and settled there with rain, I understood that we are all sailing in the same boat." -- Astronaut Vladimir Kovalyonok

"I think we're in a new era where the advancing tide is towards human unity, where people all around the world want to come together. The United States is in a position where it can lead the way towards that and it can do it in practical ways by affirming the power of the United Nations so that the international process makes decisions on international security." --Dennis Kucinich, former US Congress representative

/ L

"Aristippus said that a wise man's country was the world." -- Diogenes Laertius, 13 xiii, Circa 200 A.D.

“We got rich by violating one of the central tenets of economics: thou shall not sell off your capital and call it income. And yet over the past 40 years we have clear-cut the forests, fished rivers and oceans to the brink of extinction and siphoned oil from the earth as if it possessed an infinite supply. We've sold off our planet's natural capital and called it income. And now the earth, like the economy, is stripped.” -- Kalle Lasn, Adbusters

"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view…" -- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac with Other Essays on Conservation from Round River -

Wolf eyes.png

/ M & N

“There is a tendency at every important but difficult crossroad to pretend that it's not really there.” -- Bill McKibben, The End of Nature

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." -- Herman Melville

"In outer space you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch." -- Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

“Governments are deemed to succeed or fail by how well they make money go round, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose. They regard it as a sacred duty to encourage the country’s most revolting spectacle: the annual feeding frenzy in which shoppers queue all night, then stampede into the shops, elbow, trample and sometimes fight to be the first to carry off some designer junk which will go into landfill before the sales next year. The madder the orgy, the greater the triumph of economic management.” -- George Monbiot

“A tree is alive, and thus it is always more than you can see. Roots to leaves, yes-those you can, in part, see. But it is more-it is the lichens and moss and ferns that grow on its bark, the life too small to see that lives among its roots, a community we know of, but do not think on. It is every fly and bee and beetle that uses it for shelter or food, every bird that nests in its branches. Every one an individual, and yet every one part of the tree, and the tree part of every one.” -- Elizabeth Moon

"When we try to pick anything out by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." -- John Muir

“Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward — We’re not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.” -- Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget director, March 17, 2017

"We’re running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.”

"The greater the change to the chemical composition of the physical, chemical makeup of the oceans and atmosphere [due to increased carbon emissions], the greater the long-term effect will be... [W]hy would you run this crazy experiment to see how bad it'll be? We know it's at least some bad, and the overwhelming scientific consensus is that it'll be 'really bad'."
"As far as Earth is concerned, I think the biggest problem that humanity faces is one of sustainable energy. If we don’t solve that problem this century, independent of any environmental concerns, we will face economic collapse… This is obvious." -- Elon Musk

"Security concerns can no longer be confined to traditional ideas of soldiers and tanks, bombs and missiles. Increasingly they include environmental resources that underpin our material welfare. These resources include soil, water, forests, and climate, all prime components of a nation's environmental foundations." -- Norman Myers, Ultimate Security: The Environmental Basis of Political Stability

“For me, walking in a hard Dakota wind can be like staring at the ocean: humbled before its immensity, I also have a sense of being at home on this planet, my blood so like the sea in chemical composition, my every cell partaking of air. I live about as far from the sea as is possible in North America, yet I walk in a turbulent ocean. Maybe that child was right when he told me that the world is upside-down here, and this is where angels drown.” -- Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

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Bill Mollison quotes --- Permaculture

Bill Mollison quotes.png

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/ O & P

"The greatest discovery of the past century... (or more accurately the rediscovery) was of an ancient premonition -- that we are part of a vast web of life, one large evolving system that has many of the characteristics of a living organism. We live, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once described, in the lap of great intelligence. We are kith and kin to all that was, all there is, and all that will ever be. For all of our puffed up self-importance, we are only upstart primates occupying one small booth on the outskirts of a vast, turbulent, ongoing bazaar of living, evolving sentience located on a minuscule planet attached to a third-rate star somewhere in a backwater galaxy in a sea of billions of other galaxies speeding toward some unknown destination." -- David Orr

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." -- Thomas Paine

“No matter how many toys we amass we leave them behind when we die, just as we leave a broken environment, an economy that only benefits the richest, and a legacy of empowering greed over goodness. It is now time to commit to following a new path.” -- John Perkins

/ Q & R

"Our goals are the same as those of the U.N.'s founders, who sought to replace a world at war with one where the rule of law would prevail, where human rights were honored, where development would blossom, where conflict would give way to freedom from violence." -- Ronald Reagan, Address by the US President to the UN General Assembly

/ S

"Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together--surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

“Quand on a terminé sa toilette du matin, il faut faire soigneusement la toilette de la planète.” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

"The reality is that much of the extinction in our era is of the small species, the lesser known, unknown and unconsidered species, whether in the rich biospheres of the rainforest or the oceans, the micro-organisms are at risk and in peril of collapse. -- Steven Schmidt, Extinction

"We are beginning to realize the extent of an existential experiment humanity is conducting in the atmosphere of the planet. The Anthropocene era is a gathering storm that is changing 'nature' as nature used to be... Our challenge is to use our native intelligence to make decisions that sustain and benefit life, today and for future generations." -- Steven Schmidt

"When I listen with my heart, I am pierced with an empathic awareness that calls me into action beyond what any amount of learning, reading or mental understanding can prompt." -- Nina Simons, Shifting Guidance from Head to Heart, #‎bioneers15‬

“David had been photographing endangered species in the Hawaiian rainforest and elsewhere for years, and his collections of photographs and Suzie's tarot cards seemed somehow related. Because species disappear when their habitat does, he photographed them against the nowhere of a black backdrop (which sometimes meant propping up a black velvet cloth in the most unlikely places and discouraging climates), and so each creature, each plant, stood as though for a formal portrait alone against the darkness. The photographs looked like cards too, card from the deck of the world in which each creature describes a history, a way of being in the world, a set of possibilities, a deck from which cards are being thrown away, one after another. Plants and animals are a language.... Like cards, flora and fauna could be read again and again, not only alone but in combination, in the endlessly shifting combinations of a nature that tells its own stories and colors ours, a nature we are losing without even knowing the extent of that loss.” -- Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

"There are really only two questions for activists: what do you want to achieve? And who do you want to be? And those two questions are deeply entwined. Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style. That is the small ongoing victory on which great victories can be built, and you do want victories, don't you?" -- Rebecca Solnit, July 4, 2016

"Cultivating the habit of thinking relationally -- because physical reality is more profoundly interrelated than we can ever grasp -- changes the way we experience and shape life in the modern world. Alive to the actual relational, dynamic nature of life in the Earth Community, we become aware of endless possibilities." -- Charlene Spretnak, Relational Reality

Relational Reality.jpg

"We in the fast-paced, hypermodern societies do not have all the answers. We can barely form the questions anymore. It seems self-evident, at least, that productive activity should reflect the larger and deeper relational values of a culture. The concept of 'the economy' in isolation is a pathetic reduction. Seeing 'the economy' as operating on top of nature is delusional. Allowing 'the economy' to rule all else is madness." -- Charlene Spretnak, Relational Reality

"Viewing the Earth from space, you see a singleness and unity to it all that we never perceive in the press of daily life. It seems such a vivid unity that surely it must be rooted some reality, and you wonder why this unity isn't more the reality of everyday human life on earth. You wonder if it could ever be so unified, and you return determined to do whatever you can to make it so - even a bit." -- Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan

/ T & U

"The evolution of the Western mind has been driven by a heroic impulse to forge an autonomous rational human self, by separating it from the primordial unity with nature. To do this, the masculine mind has repressed the feminine... [and] all which the masculine has identified as the other. The crisis of modern man is essentially a masculine crisis. This is the great challenge of our time, the evolutionary imperative for the masculine to choose to enter into a fundamentally new relationship of mutuality with the feminine in all its forms. An epochal shifting is taking place in the contemporary psyche: a sacred marriage between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine, and the long-suppressed but now ascending feminine." Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind

"What good is a house, if you haven't got a decent planet to put it on?" -- Henry David Thoreau

"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

/ V, W, X, Y, Z

“Humanity is a biological species, living in a biological environment, because like all species, we are exquisitely adapted in everything: from our behavior, to our genetics, to our physiology, to that particular environment in which we live. The earth is our home. Unless we preserve the rest of life, as a sacred duty, we will be endangering ourselves by destroying the home in which we evolved, and on which we completely depend.” -- Edward O. Wilson

"Humankind faces two great threats. The first is that of a nuclear exchange. Let us hope it remains no more than a diminishing prospect for the future. The second is that of environmental ruin worldwide — and far from being a prospect for the future, it is a fact right now." -- "Our Common Future", World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987

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