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 Est. 1998




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Quotations for Earth Day



Mother Earth is very near to man. From her we get food; upon her we lie down. We live and walk on her. We could not exist without Mother Earth. ~"Pawnee Beliefs," Myths and Legends of the Great Plains, selected and edited by Katharine Berry Judson," 1913


We each have a role to play in ensuring that we do not pass a world beyond repair on to our children. Everyone must do their part, and as long as we unite to protect the one planet we have, we can leave it in better shape for future generations. On Earth Day, let us all accept our individual responsibilities to care for the world we live in, and let us marshal our best efforts toward building a safer, more stable, and more sustainable world. ~Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation — Earth Day, 2016


I conceive that land belongs to a vast family, of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are yet unborn. ~African ruler, as quoted by E. D. Morel, 1919


      Every Day Is Earth Day for Geologists. As geologists who daily carry out our responsibilities in the subject defined as "the science of the earth," we were particularly pleased that our Nation finally saw fit to observe an Earth Day. It was long overdue that recognition and consideration be extended to the small sphere which is our home, our source of life and nourishment. My concern is that Earth Day should not have been a once and only occasion, nor a once a year affair which, like Mother's Day, is so conveniently disregarded the rest of the year by so many. We sincerely hope that Earth Day 1970 will have marked the formal beginning of a great public awakening to the problems and needs of wise use and effective management of our lithosphere, our hydrosphere, and our atmosphere — better known as our land, our water, and our air.
      For the most part the Earth Day meetings and pronouncements highlighted the pollution of our earth environments. Very properly it was pointed out that humanity faces calamity if the present rate of air and water pollution continue... [A]side from cleaning up, a determined program must be initiated which will prevent new pollution to our environment. This will require new equipment, new procedures, new regulations, and money to pay for it all. The extra cost will not be pleasant — extra costs never are — but the importance is so great and the stakes so high that the costs must be accepted. It is hoped that Earth Day may have helped to recognize and accept such responsibility. ~Arthur A. Socolow (1921–2013), "From the Desk of the State Geologist," Pennsylvania Geology, June 1970


For two hundred years we've been conquering Nature. Now we're beating it to death. ~Tom McMillan, 1989


      The indictment is long, too long. You could spend a lifetime discovering and enumerating man's ecological mistakes and still have only scratched the surface of the problem. There are detrimental practices going on now whose effects won't be known for generations. By the same token, the results of some reforms instituted now will not be known for generations.
      It is human nature to get tired of working for something when you don't see any results. So along with learning to conserve we will have to learn patience. It won't be easy... But there is one reason to believe concerted efforts to save the earth will succeed. Man's consumptive genius is matched only by his instinct for self-preservation. ~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, “22 april 1970earth day,” Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University


My troubles, although some arise from inside,
Are mostly from parasites perched on my hide,
Who squabble and bicker and kick up a din,
Or fire off their pop-guns and pepper my skin,
Or yelp at each other and threaten to fight;
My life very often has been far from bright,
But all things considered my chances are fair,
To see many happy returns of the year.
~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The Old Identity," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930 January 1st  [says Old Father Earth —tg]


There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew. ~Marshall McLuhan, 1960s


We do not inherit the Earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children. ~David R. Brower (1912–2000), browercenter.org, foe.org  [Per Brower, this is from an interview he did in a noisy North Carolina bar, while on his third martini. In his 1995 book Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run: A Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth he wrote that the words were too conservative for him. "We're not borrowing from our children, we're stealing from them — and it's not even considered to be a crime. Let that be my epitaph, when I need it." Garson O'Toole, The Quote Investigator, has done great research on this quotation to find similar previous statements by Oscar Wilde, 1882, and Wendell Berry, 1971. See: quoteinvestigator.com/2013/01/22/borrow-earth —tg]


      In the years since the Industrial Revolution, we humans have been partying pretty hard. We've ransacked most of the Earth for resources... We are living off the natural capital of the planet, the principal, and not the interest. The soil, the seas, the forests, the river, and the protective atmospheric cover — all are being depleted. It was a grand binge, but the hangover is now upon us, and it will soon be throbbing.
      To our unborn children, it will seem that we did, indeed, burn books to get light, burn furniture to run air-conditioning, and burn arbors to warm ourselves... The solution is simple: We must go back to the world's ravaged places and bind up the wounds we've inflicted. We must do our best to restore the natural world to something like it was 200 years ago, before we monkeywrenched nature. We must redesign our cities at the same time. Otherwise, we are out of here.
      I believe this to be the most important challenge we face on Earth. Old, tired, me-first thinking won't do it. There is still time for the contrivers in America to come up with a better answer before the harm becomes irreparable. ~David R. Brower (1912–2000), "CPR for the Earth: An Invitation," Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run: A Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth, 1995, browercenter.org, foe.org  [This book was printed on kenaf, an acid-free paper made entirely from the hibiscus plant. It was written with Steve Chapple. —tg]


I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~E. B. White, 1956


Till now, Man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature. ~Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future, 1963


Take Nothing But Pictures
Leave Nothing But Footprints
Kill Nothing But Time
~National Speleological Society, caves.org


On some issues, I'm a staunch Conservative — like curtailing greenhouse gas emissions so that we can Conserve the environment. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, @neiltyson, tweet, 2014


Humanity is on the march, earth itself is left behind. Great changes will occur. Although we cannot yet forecast them all, we know at least that Lady Luck and Mother Nature, the twin governesses of humanity's infancy, no longer will call the tune... Our destiny is in our own hands. ~David Ehrenfeld, "Myth," The Arrogance of Humanism, 1978





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Original post date 2000 Dec 22
1st major revision 2021 Jul 12
Last saved 2021 Sep 27 Mon 22:47 PDT
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