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quotations about environment

When environment changes, there must be a corresponding change in life.

CHARLES LINDBERGH, The Wartime Journals

The dinosaurs disappeared because they could not adapt to their changing environment. We shall disappear if we cannot adapt to an environment that now contains spaceships, computers — and thermonuclear weapons.

ARTHUR C. CLARKE, forward, Collected Stories

I don't mean to imply that we are in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth - at least, not on account of global warming. But climate change does confront us with profound new realities. We face these new realities as a nation, as members of the world community, as consumers, as producers, and as investors. And unless we do a better job of adjusting to these new realities, we will pay a heavy price. We may not suffer the fate of the dinosaurs. But there will be a toll on our environment and on our economy, and the toll will rise higher with each new generation.

EILEEN CLAUSSEN, speech, July 17, 2002

The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, letter to state governors, Feb. 26, 1937

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, speech, Apr. 3, 2006

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease.


Perhaps catastrophe is the natural human environment, and even though we spend a good deal of energy trying to get away from it, we are programmed for survival amid catastrophe.

GERMAINE GREER, Sex and Destiny

Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.

OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

It is time for a sustainable energy policy which puts consumers, the environment, human health, and peace first.

DENNIS KUCINICH, speech, Sep. 27, 2005

For an introvert his environment is himself and can never be subject to startling or unforeseen change.

QUENTIN CRISP, The Naked Civil Servant

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.


The environment is the infrastructure of our communities. As a nation, as a civilization, it's our obligation to create communities for our children that provide them with opportunities for dignity and good health. When we destroy nature, we diminish ourselves and impoverish our children. We ignore that at our own peril.

BOBBY KENNEDY, O Magazine, Feb. 2007

Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you.

W. CLEMENT STONE, Paul Parsons' The Back Pain Chronicles

A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires. But a weak man is the victim of outside influences.

ORISON SWETT MARDEN, Progressive Business Man

I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself.

JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET, Meditations on Quixote

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, A Sand County Almanac

Man is the control experiment of heredity and environment; and since his heredity controls him, he tries to control his environment.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Is a park any better than a coal mine? What's a mountain got that a slag pile hasn't? What would you rather have in your garden--an almond tree or an oil well?

JEAN GIRAUDOUX, The Madwoman of Chaillot

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

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT, attributed, The Greatest Quotations of All Time

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.

GEORGE CARLIN, stand-up routine

When the last tree is cut and the last fish killed, the last river poisoned, then you will see that you can't eat money.

JOHN MAY, The Greenpeace Story

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.

MAHATMA GANDHI, attributed, Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests

The hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.

JOHN MUIR, My First Summer in the Sierra

All our efforts to defeat poverty and pursue sustainable development will be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resource depletion continue unabated.

KOFI ANNAN, 2005 report for the United Nations 60th anniversary summit

Just because we can't sell shares in nature doesn't mean it has no value.

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed ... We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.

WALLACE STEGNER, The Sound of Mountain Water

What a man can be is born with him; what he becomes is a result of his environment.


That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.


If you put good apples into a bad situation, you'll get bad apples.

PHILIP ZIMBARDO, "A Conversation with Philip G. Zimbardo: Finding Hope in Knowing the Universal Capacity for Evil", The New York Times, Apr. 3, 2007

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.

ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River

My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.

URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Dispossessed

When the well's dry, we know the worth of water.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanac


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