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Quotations on the Environment and Nature

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)
We cannot think too highly of nature, nor too humbly of ourselves.

Elizabeth Goudge (1900-1984)
Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life.

Jon Wynne-Tyson
We must develop a better sense of responsibilty towards our total environment ...

Kahlil Gibran
Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.

Rachel Carson
If having endured much, we at last asserted our 'right to know' and if, knowing, 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 around and see what other course is open to us.

Stewart L. Udall
America today stands poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space, and of an over-all environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight.

Cyrano de Bergerac
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.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature never hurries: atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work. The lesson one learns from yachting or planting is the manners of Nature; patience with the delays of wind and sun, delays of the seasons, bad weather, excess or lack of water.

Richard Feynman
Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

Buckminster Fuller
Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.

Theodore Roosevelt
To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.

Henry David Thoreau
We need the tonic of wildness [and]...nature.

Aldo Leopold
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 useit with love and respect.

Marya Mannes
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.

The Light Party
Now Is the Time to Take a Stand... So The Majestic Trees Stand Forever... To allow the destruction of a primeval forest ecosystem in truth is to damage our national soul... To allow the forces of corruption, arrogance and greed to destroy that which is sacred and beautiful constitutes an abdication of responsibility to one's self, one's nation and to that which is eternal and sacred.

Empedocles 430 BC
There are forces in nature called Love and Hate. The force of Love causes elements to be attracted to each other and to be built up into some particular form or person, and the force of Hate causes the decomposition of things.

Albert Einstein
The joy of looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.

William Wordsworth
For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.

Robert Green Ingersoll
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—there are consequences.

Rene Dubos
Man shapes himself through decisions that shape his environment.

Every man is like the company he is wont to keep.

Orison Swett Marden
We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.

Charles Panati
We are the environment.

Joseph Chilton Pearce
We live in a web of ideas, a fabric of our own making.

W. Clement Stone
You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success -- or are they holding you back?

Lorraine Anderson
Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration,venture, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.

Nature always tends to act in the simplest way.

Bhagavad Gita
I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them.

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

James Carswell
Whenever man comes up with a better mousetrap, nature immediately comes up with a better mouse.

George Washington Carver
Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.

Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum
We do not ask what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens...The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.

Lydia M. Child
That man's best works should be such bungling imitations of Nature's infinite perfection, matters not much; but that he should make himself an imitation, this is the fact which Nature moans over, and deprecates beseechingly. Be spontaneous, be truthful, be free, and thus be individuals! is the song she sings through warbling birds, and whispering pines, and roaring waves, and screeching winds.

Albert Einstein
Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of hidden stuff.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws. She hums the old well-known air through innumerable variations.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature... She pardons no mistakes. Her yea is yea, and her nay, nay.

Richard P. Feynman
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Henry Fuseli
Nature is a collective idea, and, though its essence exist in each individual of the species, can never in its perfection inhabit a single object.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Nature goes her own way and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.

George Gordon
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes. By the deep sea, and music in its roars; I love not man the less, but nature more.

Werner Heisenberg
The exact sciences also start from the assumption that in the end it will always be possible to understand nature, even in every new field of experience, but that we may make no a priori assumptions about the meaning of the word understand.

Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) 
Nature never says one thing and wisdom another.

Johannes Kepler
Nature uses as little as possible of anything.

Nature is not human hearted.

William Law
All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor our precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature.

Eric Mackay
Lightning is the shorthand of a storm, and tells of chaos.

The law of nature is the strictest expression of necessity.

John Muir
The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

Guy Murchie
If winds are the spirit of the sky's ocean, the clouds are the texture. Their is easily the most uninhibited dominion of the earth. Nothing in physical shape is too fantastic for them. They can be round as apples or as fine as string, as dense as a jungle, as wispy as a whiff of down, as mild as puddle water or as potent as the belch of a volcano. Some are thunderous anvils formed by violent up drafts from the warm earth. Some are ragged coattails of storms that have passed. Some are stagnant blankets of warm air resting on cold. I have seen clouds in the dawn that looked like a pink Sultan with his pale harem maidens and a yellow slob of eunuch lolling impotent in the background.

Luigi Pirandello
Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.

Llewelyn Powys
No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky.

See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.

Gil Stern
Man is a complex being; he makes the deserts bloom and lakes die.

Mahatma Gandhi
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way animals are treated.

Maud Muller
For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been!"

Edward Everett Hale
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

Mary Frances Berry
"The time when you need to do something is when no one else is willing to do it, when people are saying that it can't be done."

Author Unknown
There are three levels of ignorance:
First level: We do not know the answer.
Second level: We do not know the question.
Third level: We do not know that there are questions.

Anatole France
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."

Wendell Berry
"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival."

Marshall McLuhan
"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."

"The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit - this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden."

Vaclav Havel
"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."

Dale Carnegie
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

"Wisdom begins in wonder."

"The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you angry."

Henry David Thoreau
"Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."

Abraham Lincoln
"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."

Paul A. Samuelson
"Good questions outrank easy answers."

Chinese Proverb
"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."

Aldous Huxley
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

Jeseph Joubert
"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."

Sydney Smith
"A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort."

Ricardo Levins Morales
If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me to fish, then you have fed me until the river is contaminated or the shore line is seized for development. But if you teach me to organize, then whatever the challenge, I can join together with my peers and we will fashion our own solution.

The Law locks up the hapless felon who steals the goose from off the common, but lets the greater felon loose who steals the common from the goose.

James Whitcomb Riley
The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.

P. D. Gollnick, Ph.D.
Facts remain facts, even if you choose to ignore them.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
Almost always the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.

Norman Cousins
If there is a conflict between the security of the sovereign state and the security of the human commonwealth, the human commonwealth comes first. If there is a conflict between the well-being of the nation and the well-being of humanity, the well-being of humanity comes first. If there is a conflict between the needs of this generation and the needs of all later generations, the needs of the later generations come first. If there is a conflict between public edict and private conscience, private conscience comes first. If there is a conflict between the easy drift of prosperity and the ordeal of peace, the ordeal of peace comes first.

Ethiopian Proverb
When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.

"Our posterity will wonder about our ignorance of things so plain."

Margaret Mead
"Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world—indeed it is the only thing that ever has!"

Rachel Carson
"I like to define biology as the history of the earth and all its life – past, present, and future."

Chief Seattle
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

All things are bound together … all things connect."

Fools Crow, Ceremonial Chief of the Teton Sioux
The survival of the world depends upon our sharing what we have and working together. if we don't, the whole world will die. First the planet, and next the people.

Qwatsinas [Hereditary Chief Edward Moody], Nuxalk Nation
"We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees."

Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux
"I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization."

"The elders were wise. They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."

Ancient Indian Proverb
"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Sioux Indian
Even sticks and stones have a spiritual essence, a manifestation of the mysterious power that fills the Universe.

Crazy Horse
"One does not sell the land people walk on."

Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux, 1868-1937
"The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged...."

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
"All men were made brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born free should be content when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases."

Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man, 1863-1950
"You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round..... The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours....

Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves."

Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."

Mourning Dove Salish, 1888-1936
"...... everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence."

Lone Man (Isna-la-wica), Teton Sioux
"... I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself."

Resolution of the Fifth Annual Meetings of the Traditional Elders Circle, 1980
"There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our common destiny as one with our Mother the Earth. It is this sharing that must be considered with great care by the Elders and the medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm may come to people through ignorance and misuse of these powerful forces."

Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker
"We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable energy for life."

Wintu Woman, 19th Century
"When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood."

Stephen McCluskey 1982
The Hopi have no real professional astronomers, instead they have elders, widely educated in the ritually transmitted wisdom of clan and tribe.

Some of the above quotations were compiled by The Cybernation Victory Quotations Homepage

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