Quotes about Conservation and the Environment
"Our task must be to free ourselves--by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
- Albert Einstein
"And we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors the same right as ourselves, to inhabit the land"
- Sitting Bull
"Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' "
- Luther Standing Bear (Oglala Sioux Chief)
"While there may be no "right" way to value a forest or a river, there is a wrong way, which is to give it no value at all. How do we decide the value of a 700-year-old tree? We need only to ask how much it would cost to make a new one, or a new river, or even a new atmosphere."
- Paul Hawken
"God has cared for these trees,saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools."
- Joan Muir
"... when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."
-C. W. Beebe
"I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain, it needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings would be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand. That little body is, I do believe, the greater weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but should confidently obey the eternal rhythm."
- (Zorba the Greek)
"This we know - the earth does not belong to man, but man belongs to the earth. This, also, we know - man did not sping the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. It is like the lifeblood that ties us all together. And, whatever man does to the web he does to himself."
- Chief Seathl, Duwamish tribe
"Wherever we go in the wilderness, we find more than we seek."
- John Muir
"The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to."
- Mark Twain
"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of the buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
- Crowfoot's last words (1821-1890)
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
- Baba Dioum, Senegal
"Don't stop to ask whether the animal or plant you meet deserves your sympathy, or how much it feels, or even whether it can feel at all: respect it and consider all life sacred."
- Albert Schweitzer
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
- Shakespeare (Troilus and Cresida. Act III. Scene 3)
"We are tired, never shaken, over-civilized people who are finding Nature is a necessity, that wilderness is freedom, that parks are fountains of life."
- John Muir
"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing and life would not be worth living."
- Jules Henri Poincaré, French mathematician
"The woods were made for the hunter of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of the pine
And thoughts in a flower bell curled;
And the thoughts that are blown with scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world."
- Sam Walter Foss (from Popular Quotations For All Uses, 1942)
"Time is simply natures way of keeping everything from happening at once."
"Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountain of life."
- John Muir (written in 1898)
"Those things are better which are perfected by nature than those which are finished by art."
- Cicero, Roman Statesman
"What is man without the beasts?
If all the beasts were gone, man would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to the man. All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth."
- Chief Seathl, Duwamish Tribe
"The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild: and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World."
- Henry David Thoreau ("Reform Papers")
"Wilderness complements and completes civilization. I might say that the existence of wilderness is also a complement to civilization. Any society that feels itself too poor to afford the preservation of wilderness is not worthy of the name of civilization."
- Edward Abbey
"The west of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends forth its fibers in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our ancestors were savages. The story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf is not a meaningless fable. The founders of every state which has risen to eminence have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar wild source. It was because the children of the Empire were not suckled by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the northern forests who were."
- Henry David Thoreau