Previous Quotes and Sources

Here are past quotes with their sources, listing the most recent first:


“One of the mechanisms that works best when you are faced with a life-threatening situation is a song”.
Harry Belafonate
“I give you the bullets from my weapon because I know they will never be used.  What you did with song and what Dr. King did with words showed me the gun is not the way and I will resign from such a role and find something to do with my life that will make a difference”.
Letter given to Belafonte (along with 6 bullets) by the trooper who arrested him after hearing civil rights marchers singing in jail.
–quoted in David Crosby and David Bender, Stand Up and Be Counted2016

“The thoughts of the earth are my thoughts.
The voice of the earth is my voice.
All that belongs to the earth belongs to me.
All that surrounds the earth surrounds me.
It is lovely indeed, it is lovely indeed.”

There are several versions of this prayer/song in Navajo oral tradition.

“My people have been fishing here forever. You have to honor this–honor the salmon with your spirit and do your best as human beings to make things right, because this is alive and if you don’t take care of it, it will bite back.
What are we going to have left for our future generations if we don’t start managing and watching where we’re at and the direction we’re going in?”
Jim Kelly, Lummi tribal member

“Together we can inspire people in America and across the globe to honor each other and the earth we hold sacred.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault ll

“Today [in the wake of election results], we pledge to stand by the communities in our society that are under attack. We stand by our Muslim friends. Our black friends. Our trans friends. Our disabled friends. Our immigrant friends. Our LGBTQ friends. Our Native friends.

Let us learn from the the indigenous community at Standing Rock in North Dakota, people whose way of life has been under attack for centuries and yet still they come together to protect all that the creator has given.  They are generous and loving. They are doing their inner work on their righteous anger. They are seeking to move toward forgiveness. They are in prayer together. They live in gratitude. They are loving and protecting Mother Earth. CODEPINK will be with them to cook a feast of Thanks on Thanksgiving day and to learn from their example.

By digging deeper into our potential for love and gratitude, our capacity for compassion, we will find our way from despair to action.”

–Today we Rise in Love”, email from the women of CODE PINK


Even though a honeybee swarm’s process of choosing a new home site “ends with consensus, the bees do not minimize conflict to reach that consensus. There is no suppression of dissenting views.  Instead, each bee makes her own independent decision based on her own personal evaluation of a site, not on how others judge it. The bees steer clear of one of the greatest pitfalls to good group  decision-making: a dominating leader who advocates a particular outcome and thereby inhibits the group from taking a broad and deep look at its options.  Some have said that honeybees show us how we ought to live in sweetness and in beauty and in peacefulness.”
Thomas Seeley, Honeybee Democracy

“This place, right here, where we are, is where my people have lived for thousands of years and each and every member of this tribe, we’re all proud Quinault tribal members, proud Native Americans. I don’t ever want to leave this place but if the ocean keeps rising we’re going to have to.'”
–Quinault tribal member David Underwood in Ashley Ahearn, “A Washington Tribe Confronts Climate Change”.

“The hypothesis that all matter is sentient to some degree is terribly appealing for its elegance, simplicity, and logical coherence.  Consciousness… is in the air we breathe, the soil we tread on, the bacteria that colonize our intestines, and the brain that enables us to think.”
Christof Koch, cited in Marjorie Woolacott, Infinite Awareness: The Awakening of a Scientific Mind

“We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat  inequalities  within  and  among  countries;  to  build  peaceful,  just  and inclusive  societies; to protect  human rights  and  promote  gender  equality  and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and  its  natural  resources.”
UN statement on sustainable development, New York, September 2015

“So-called at- risk students who have not had much contact with nature show a marked improvement in science test scores when they learn in a week long residential outdoor program. They also show enhanced cooperation and conflict resolution skills, gains in self-esteem and in problem-solving, motivation to learn, and classroom behavior.” (Results are controlled for socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic background).”

Richard Louv,The Nature Principle

“At present, it is virtually impossible to know the history or ecological costs of products we buy. When there is no competent knowledge of these, we cannot live lives that are  economically and ecologically responsible.”

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

“What we must remember: the Older Culture view:
— We are a part of the world.
— It is our destiny to cooperate with the rest of creation.”
Thom Hartman, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.
Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all His children.
Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.
In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.
Cory Booker, US Senator (New Jersey)

“Plants and animals, including humans, are not autonomous individuals but are holobionts: biomolecular networks that consist of visible hosts plus millions of invisible microbes, recent microbiological research has shown.
Abstract, “Will the Pronoun I Become Obsolete: A Biological Perspective”

“‘Autonomy’ is an illusory condition… little more than a jargon term for indifference to the opinions and feelings of other people. There is, in practice, no such thing as autonomy.  Practically, there is only a distinction between responsible and irresponsible dependencies.”
Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

“[According to] microbiologist Mae-Wan Ho and evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris…life has learned over billions of years the advantages of cooperative, locally rooted self-organization in which each individual organism is continually balancing individual and group interests. Perhaps humans might be capable of doing the same.”

David Korten, The Great Turning, From Enterprise to Earth Community

“We are all more than we seem.Many things do not wear their true nature on their sleeve.  What you see and touch about an acorn, in color, in weight, in hardness, length, and width will never hint at the secret of its ;potential. ”
Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings

“Internally, plants rapidly exchange detailed environmental information between different organs. A consequence of this integral communication system is that plants also recognize themselves as integrated beings. This phenomenon of self recognition, and its existence in plant species is being remarkably demonstrated by experimental evidence.”

Matthew Hall, Plants as Persons

“It is not possible to devalue the body and value the soul”.

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

“May the cry of the excluded be heard in Latin America and throughout the world.

Do we realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?

Do we realize that something is wrong where so many senseless wars are being fought and acts of fratricidal violence are taking place on our very doorstep? Do we realize something is wrong when the soil, water, air and living creatures of our world are under constant threat?

So let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change.

Pope Francis’ Speech on Poor and Indigenous Peoples

“There is a tendency to believe that every increase in [technological] power means an increase of progress itself.. as if goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such.  The fact is that contemporary humans have not been trained to use power well, because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values, and conscience.”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home

“Nothing in this world is indifferent to us… If we approach nature and the environment without openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on our immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, sobriety and care will well up spontaneously [in a] refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home

“We think of defoliating insects as pests, but they play extremely critical roles in the health of the forest… they prune shaded and weakened branches.  Once removed by these defoliaters, the branches not only no longer parasitize resources from the tree, but no longer present an accessible offering of ready fuel to a fire moving along the ground.  The fact that defoiliators strip away the lower branches that could serve as fuel ladders for fire is one of the reasons old-growth Douglas firs are so fire-tolerant.”
Tim Schowalter, insect ecologist quoted in Jon Luoma’s The Hidden Forest

“While food production  increased on green revolution lands, hunger persisted.  Indeed, hunger and malnutrition increased precisely in these areas.  The new seeds were not ‘neutral’.  They did not grow as well for the poor farmers as for the richer ones. High yields required fertilizer and irrigation. Pests found the uniformity of new varieties appetizing, which necessitated the use of insecticides. Farmers lacking capital to buy these items were simply left in the dust.”
Cary Fowler and Pat Mooney, Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity

“Intelligence is a property of life. something every single-celled organism must possess. Every living being is continually called upon to solve problems that are not so different from the ones we face. Without intelligence, there can be no life.”

Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola, Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence

“A great nation is like a great man;
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.”
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

[In California] people need to understand water contamination [from] agricultural practices. If you have good water quality, you’re very privileged, because that’s not the reality of many Californians. Areas that have safe drinking water need to support areas that don’t. Water is essential for life, and it’s finite. We don’t have this resource forever.
No human being can live without water. We cannot ignore the fact that our farmworkers are hit the hardest and sustain our agricultural industry. We have to look at this from a holistic perspective. Everything’s connected. Big changes are going to have to happen, to be created collectively. Everyone’s going to be affected, and if it means that we’re not going to have certain crops grown, it means that. If it means we can’t wash our cars, that’s what it means. If it means we don’t have grass lawns, then we have to get rid of grass.”
Susana de Anda, “Want the Best Solution for California’s Epic Drought?  Ask a Farmworker.”

“The day that we succeed in holding Dow Chemical liable for the continuing disaster in Bhopal will be good news for ordinary people all over the world. From that day on, chemical corporations will think twice before peddling poisons, and putting profits before the lives and health of people. We are not expendable.  We are not flowers to be offered at the altar of profit and power. We are dancing flames committed to conquering darkness. We are challenging those who threaten the survival of the planet and the magic and mystery of life.”
Rashida Bee, Bhopal survivor and Goldman prize winner

“Predictions of doom all have one key assumption: that we will simply keep on doing things as we always have, without any regard for what we now know. That’s kind of like being a train operator and seeing a school bus stalled on the tracks, knowing you can stop in time if you pull the brake lever hard now, but deciding what the heck, let’s not bother. We’ve shown that we can be smarter than that when it comes to preventing extinction.”
Anthony Barnosky, Dodging Extinction

“The greatest danger we face, climate change, is no accident. It’s what happens when everything goes the way it’s supposed to go. It’s not a function of a bad technology; it’s a function of a bad business model: of the fact that Exxon Mobile and BP and Peabody Coal are allowed to use the atmosphere, free of charge, as an open sewer, for the inevitable waste from their products.”
Bill McKibben, Eaarth. Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“The best way to understand daily action is to remember Emerson’s moral botany: corn seeds produce corn; justice creates justice; and kindness fosters generosity. How do we sow our seeds when large institutions and intolerant ideologies that purport to be our salvation cause so much damage? One sure way is through smallness, grace, and locality. Individuals start where they are, and in Antonio Machado’s poetic dictum, make the road by walking.”
–Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest

“With maturity, humans will experience joy when other life forms experience joy and sorrow when other life forms experience sorrow. Not only will we feel sad when our brother, or a dog or a cat feels sad, but we will grieve when living beings, including landscapes, are destroyed.”
Arne Naess, quoted in Bill Devall and George Sessions, Deep Ecology

“The more we know of other forms of life, the more we enjoy and respect ourselves.  Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life.”
Edmund Wilson, Biophilia

“Nutrition may play an important role in the inexplicable and intolerable honeybee hive loses in the last five years. The nutritional problem facing bees is easy to cure. Make meadows, not lawns.  Lawns are green deserts, plied of pesticides and devoid of flowers. But in untamed, unsprayed meadows– meadows where flowers flourish all summer in ever-replenishing weedy bloom– lies the salvation of the bee.”
Hannah Nordhaus, The Beekeeper’s Lament

“Our commitment to pesticide-based pest management has led to an escalation of pests on our farms, in our forests, and throughout our homes and businesses, owing to pest resistance and the elimination of natural predators. It has also resulted in environmental contamination and numerous human health problems. Chemical pesticides should be the last method used for pest control, not the first.”
Mark Winston, Nature Wars, People vs. Pests

“The belief in racial supremacy and human supremacy stem from the same ancient illusion that nature is a collection of unrelated life-forms”.

Roger Fouts, Next of Kin

 “Peasant farmers may not wear white coats or use fancy equipment but they engage in the basic activities of their plant breeder counterparts in the North.  The difference is that, in industrialized countries, the “inventor” gets patent protection. The Third World system of innovation is more informal and communal. Thus the contributions of farmers go unrecognized, unrewarded, unprotected– even denigrated. ”
Cary Fowler and Pat Mooney, in Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity

“That the world is small, that its so-called “resources” are not a boundless economic bonanza but finite parts of a fragile and holy web of life, that humanity is part of the same web, that the web’s health and ours are as closely connected as a child’s life and its heartbeat—these godgiven links and limits will, I feel certain, be the scalding revelations of coming decades.  Because they will scald, I pray for other revelations that soothe like love and water—and I believe we’ll get them.  As wrongheaded and deadly as humans can be, we haven’t eradicated love or water yet.”
David James Duncan, The River Why, An Afterward

“From the beginning, an environmental movement had to be an environmental justice movement, and an environmental justice movement was a social justice movement. Concerns about worker health, living wages, equity, education, and basic human rights are inseparable from concerns about water, climate, soil, and biodiversity. Life is the most fundamental human right and the conditions for life include livelihood, food, security, peace, a stable environment and freedom from external tyranny. Whenever and wherever that right is violated, human beings rise up. Today, they are rising up in record numbers, and in a collective body often as not more sophisticated than the corporate and governmental institutions they address.”
Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest

“A specific aspect of the Mora  County (New Mexico) anti-fracking ordinance refers to the values of place and interdependence. It evokes the Spanish tradition of querencia as protection for the inherent indigenous rights of all the country’s inhabitants– humans, plants, and animals.  Querencia, as it is used in the ordinance, means both a respect and love of place and a safe haven from which one draws strength.”
Nina Bunker Ruiz, “Where Big Oil and Gas are the Outlaws”

“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.“
T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

“There is vitality, a life force, an energy, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. There is a divine dissatisfaction that keeps us marching, a blessed unrest that makes us more alive.”
Martha Graham, quoted in Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being.

“We are not measured so much by how we change, but what we mend.”
Tim Whitsell, “Daddy’s Grace”, Fishtrap Anthology, 1995, quoted in Mary Dodds Schlick, Coming to Stay.

“For Stanford to remain invested in oil and gas companies presents us with a paradox: if a university seeks to educate extraordinary youth so they may achieve the brightest possible future, what does it mean for that university simultaneously to invest in the destruction of that future? Given that the university has signalled its awareness of the dangers posed by fossil fuels, what are the implications of Stanford’s making only a partial confrontation with this danger?”
“Stanford Professors Urge Withdrawal from Fossil Fuel Investments”

“Whereas the utopia of equality contains positive goals of social change, the utopia of the risk society remains peculiarly negative and defensive. Basically, one is no longer concerned with attaining something ‘good’, but rather with preventing the worst.

The dream of the old society is that everyone wants and ought to have a share of the pie. The utopia of the risk society is that everyone should be spared from poisoning.”

Ulrich Beck, 1944-2015, in Risk Society


“Natural selection does not require competition; on the contrary, it discourages it. Survival generally demands that individuals work with rather than against each other–and this includes others of the same species as well as those from different species.”

Alfie Kohn, No Contest

“To pay attention, that is our endless and proper work.”
–Mary Oliver

“Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” –Rainier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 “No national leader in the history of humanity has ever faced this question, will we survive or will we disappear under the sea. I ask you to think what it is like to be in my shoes, and pause and ask what would you do?”
-Tuvalu president Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, at Lima Climate Change Summit 12.9.2014

“All humans have needs for food, clothing, shelter, and energy, but nature also has an equal need to survive. Like the Native American sacred bundle, the partnership ethic recognizes the interdependence of these two spheres, is grounded in relation and mutual obligation.”
Carolyn Merchant, “Fish First! The Changing Ethics of Ecosystem Management”, in Northwest Lands, Northwest Peoples, ed, Dale Goble and Paul Hirt

“The United Nations announced that the world’s agricultural needs can be met with localized organic farms. We do not need giant monocultures that spray and coat our produce with massive amounts of poisons, while decimating pollinators and harming human health. We do not need genetically modified foods to feed the world.”
Maryann Henein, “United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming”

“Two people can keep each other
sane. Three people are a wedge.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity…
It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you act,
when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.”
Marge Piercy, From “The Low Road”

“The truth, seldom mentioned but there for anyone to see, is that nature is not so easily molded.  By a process of genetic selection, insects are developing resistant strains, but the broader problem is that our chemical attack is weakening defenses inherent in the environment itself. ”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“Interjecting the Indian voice, reflecting the centrality of land in the Indian worldview, lends beauty, humanity, and spirituality to what can be gray, technocratic processes.”
Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle   

“Before you are useful, make sure you are harmless”.


“The chemical weed killers are a bright new toy. They give a giddy sense of power over nature to those who wield them… but were the true costs entered, the wholesale broadcasting of chemicals would be seen to be more costly in dollars as well as  infinitely damaging to the long-range health of the landscape and to all the varied interests that depend on it.”

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“The word for stone, asin, is animate. Stones are called grandfathers and grandmothers and are extremely important in Ojibwe philosophy. Once I began to think of stones as animate, I started to wonder whether I was picking up a stone or it was putting itself into my  hand. Stones are not the same to me as they were in English. I can’t write about a stone without considering it in Ojibwe and acknowledging that the Aninshinabe began with a conversation between stones”

Louise Erdrich, quoted by Charles Wilkinson in Blood Struggle

“Our survival depends on this: we must become as much at home on the land as the black-capped chickadee and the red squirrel. No true native leaves the land in worse condition at the end of his life than at the beginning; And no true native, loving deeply her own home, makes choices that harm the homes of others. We will not achieve this in one generation or several; it is a project of centuries, but we must get started. ”
Jeff Bickart, “Crafting Nativeness”

“It was the elderly women who caused the roots to flourish… who retained the botanical information, who knew the edible roots, leaves, mushrooms, berries, and stems. They also held a vast knowledge of pharmacology—of which barks and roots to use for which disease. Elderly women were also master burn ecologists, knowing which part of a forest to burn for an abundant return of huckleberries. They were sometimes psychiatrists and priests. They were definitely historians, whose wisdom and knowledge were held in high regard.”

George W. Aguilar Sr., When the River Ran Wild! Indian Traditions on the Mid-Columbia

“What can a person do to bring back the world?

We have to watch it and then look at each other;

Together we hold it close and carefully

save it like a bubble that can disappear

if we don’t watch out.

Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world

Hold out your hands to it. When morning and evenings

roll along, watch how they open and close, how they

invite you to the long party that your life is.”

From William Stafford, “A Valley Like This”

“Climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year from shifting patterns of disease, from extreme weather events, such as heat-waves and floods, and from the degradation of water supplies, sanitation, and impacts on agriculture.”
World Health Organization, August 2014 conference

“Instead of asking if we can afford to act, we should be asking what is stopping us, who is stopping us, and why? Let us join forces to push back against skeptics and entrenched interests. Let us support the scientists, economists, entrepreneurs and investors who can persuade government leaders and policy-makers that now is the time for action.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on upcoming (Sept 23) UN Climate Change Conference

The above two quotes  were cited in an editorial on the David Suzuki Foundation’s site.

We are like a sack of quinoa. It is blown away only by the wind. We are like the grass of the paramo that is pulled up and returns to grow again, and it is from the grass of the paramo that we will plant a new world.”
Dolores Cacuango, Quecha (Ecuador) in Women’s Committee of the South and Meso-American Information Center, Daughters of Abya Yala

“Neither the country nor the society we [Euroamericans] built out of it can be healthy until we stop raiding and running and acquire the sense not of ownership but of belonging. Only in the act of submission is the sense of place realized and a sustainable relationship between people and earth established.”
Wallace Stegner, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs

“Who has decided– who has the right to decide–for the countless legions of people who were not consulted that the supreme value is a world without insects, even though it be also a sterile world ungraced by the curving wing of a bird in flight? The decision is that of an authoritarian entrusted with power, made during a moment of inattention by millions to whom beauty and the ordered world of nature still have a meaning that is deep and imperative.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“When you destroy the earth, you destroy yourself. While indigenous cultures differ widely from one another, what they collectively present is an alternative relationship– to the earth, to its resources  and to each other– a relationship based not on domination but on reciprocity. This is the common thread among indigenous people all over the world. ”
Kristin Moe, “Global Awakening: Mother Earth at the Heart of It”, in YES magazine summer 2013

“We are disgusted and outraged by blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.
We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

Statement of Jewish Survivors of the Nazi Genocide

“The notion that man is destined to dominate nature is by no means universal. The concept evolved very slowly from a social development: the increasing domination of human by human.”
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom

“To justify Indian dispossession from the land, Euro-Americans denigrated indigenous agricultural systems and set their own systems of cultivation as the standards of judgement.  [But] evidence suggest that Indian cultivation in the New World dates to 7000 BC.  Nearly 50 per cent of native groups cultivated domesticants at contact, producing 25 to 75 per cent of their total subsistence needs.”
David Rich Lewis, Neither Wolf nor Dog: American Indians, Environment, and Agrarian Change 

“A scientific study that identified serious health impacts of ‘Roundup ready’ GMO maize has been republished [with rigorous peer review] following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure. Toxic effects [on the liver and kidney] were found from the GM maize tested alone, as well as from Roundup tested alone and together with the maize. Additional unexpected findings were higher rates of large tumours and mortality in most treatment groups.”
Oliver Tickell, “Seralini Republished: Round Up-Ready GMO Maize Causes Serious Health Damage”, in The Ecologist

“The bedrock of pessimism about our engagement with the rest of nature is our assumption that for us to wrest whatever we need or want from nature—food, energy, pleasure—nature must be diminished. Yet there are counter examples. For thousands of years we grew food by depleting soil carbon and, in the last hundred or so, the carbon in fossil fuel as well. But now we know how to grow even more food while at the same time returning carbon and fertility and water to the soil– [and thus taking the carbon out of the atmosphere that is causing climate change]. ”
Michael Pollen, Foreword to Grass, Soil, Hope by Courtney White

“This breakdown between the body and mind in the Euroamerican, the rejection of this relationship which contains the key to continuity and unity within the self and among the sexes, the generations, community and world, appears to be the demise of the urban individual who has chosen to live largely inside his or her head.”
Duane Niatum, “History, Nature, Family, Dream” in Jeanette Armstrong, ed., Looking at the Words of Our People: First Nations Analysis of Literature

“Our way of walking on earth has a great influence on animals and plants.  Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world.  The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet.  We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.”
Thich Nhat Hannh, “The Bells of Mindfulness”, in Spiritual Ecology, ed. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

“Why should you take by force that which you can have from us by love? Why should you destroy us who supply you with food?”
Wahunsenacawh (Powhatan) in 1609 to European pioneers, quoted in Joseph Bruchac, Lasting Echoes, An Oral History of Native American People

“From the very beginning, the relationship between people and forests in Northern Europe was symbiotic.  Until recently, people could not survive without woodland, and woodland thrives under good human management– coppicing, for example, increases the amount of light that reaches the depths of the forest, and so encourages biodiversity. This was no wild wood that had to be ‘tamed’, but an infinite resource, rich, generous and mysterious. Their inhabitants knew intimately the value and beauty  of their woods.  But from the perspective of an absentee landlord woodlands are non-economic: grubbing out old trees and bringing the land under plow was a way to increase rental income.”
Sara Maitland, From the Forest

“We are talking only to ourselves.  We are not talking to the rivers, we are  not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation.  By breaking that conversation, we have shattered the universe.  All the disasters happening now are a consequence of that spiritual autism.”
Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

“I order that all bread be flavored with tenderness, that joy will be our town’s banner and love its only armament…and all money will carry an expiration date so that no one can accumulate it to buy power over others.”
Facundo Cabral, traditional Argentine story of the wise leader, in What Does it Mean to be Human? ed. Frederick Franck, Janis Roze, and Richard Connolly

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

Eugene V. Debs

“Despite what government agencies and corporations tell you, pesticide products currently on the market are not safe, even when they are used legally. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, more than 70 ingredients known to cause cancer in animal tests are allowed for use. Further, although industry tests for a wide range of environmental and health impacts, the vast majority of pesticides currently on the market have not been fully tested.”
Michelle Noehren, “Tips for a Toxic-Free Spring/Summer”

“The earth remains our first and last love. Our brothers are breathing under the same sky as we; justice is a living thing.”

–Albert Camus, The Rebel

“Woman! You are the future. You must guard it, protect it, and nurture it. When tomorrow comes, we won’t be unsung heroes”.
Vweta Ariemugbovbe (Nigeria), “Unsung Sheros”

“It does not show much love for reason to define it as the privilege of a Western elite released of all responsibility toward the rest of the world.”
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Humanism and Terror

“The future of history belongs to the poor and exploited. True liberation will be the work of the oppressed.”
Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation

“It seems, looking back, that these [colonial] invasions amounted to a hatred of life itself, of fertility and generation. The conquerors and looters refused to participate in a reciprocal and balanced exchange with life. They were unable to receive the best gifts of the land, not gold or pearls or ownership, but a welcome acceptance of what is offered. They did not understand that the earth is generous and that encounters with the land might have been sustaining, or that their meetings with other humans could have led to an enriched confluence of ways.”
Linda Hogan, Dwellings

“Research now indicates that with little or no reliance on synthetic agricultural chemicals, farmers in and out of the tropics can attain high levels of productivity without excessive pest losses and with improved soils and resource protection. The combination of traditional techniques and new research can lead the way out of chemical dependence.”

Angus Wright,The Death of Ramón Gonzáles: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma

“The stereotypes girls have absorbed all their lives limit their choices as adults. We have to make sure those stereotypes are defanged–and the remedies that we devise are not too little, too late. In a 2007 study, not surprisingly, middle school girls told that boys do better on tests measuring visual-spatial abilities did poorly.  When they were told there were no gender differences, the girls did better.  But here’s the surprise.  When the girls were given no information about which sex performed better, they also did poorly.  Here we find evidence that stereotype threat operates even in girls who deny the negative gender stereotype.”
Carly River and Rosalind Barnett, The New Soft War on Women

“The current crisis of civilization is a naive belief in the omnipotence of man. a belief that there is no limit to his abilities and his pretensions over nature. We are paying the price of human pride. All too often, the idea of development, of progress, conflicts with the need to preserve our planet. Life as such is the greatest moral value. Today it is not enough to say, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Ecological education implies, above all, respect and love for every living thing. The beauty and uniqueness of life have as their foundation unity in diversity. The philosophy of survival rests on the philosophical of diversity.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, Address to the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders, Kyoto, Japan

“Ultimately, environmentally destructive behaviour is the result of a failure to recognize that human beings are an inseparable part of nature and that we cannot damage it without severely damaging ourselves.”
“Harmony with Nature”, Report of the Secretary General of the United Nations

“It is not just humans that have coevolutionary bacterial partners, but all plant, insect, and animal life. Failing to understand bacteria as our kin, the loss of biophilia in this one area, has not created a disease-free life with the major cause of death extreme old age, but an ecosystem in disarray and pathogenic bacteria more virulent and powerful than ever before.”
Stephen Buhner, The Lost Language of Plants

“Hope is like fertility [in the soil]. It comes out of life naturally, like warmth or a sweet smell.  We don’t make hope. We cooperate with it.  Hope isn’t invented or imagined. It does not require poof or respond to moods.  It’s there all the time.  It simply requires watering.  Nothing lives without hope, Every second we’re alive, hope is there in our steadily beating hearts.”
Vicki Robin, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us

“We’re beyond debating the existence of climate change. Impacts we’re seeing now should compel us to reduce emissions further and start planning in earnest. It’s time to quit dithering.”
By Jane Lubchenco and Thomas E. Lovejoy, “The Climate Change Era is Already Upon Us”

“A corporation, far more wonderful in its abilities to execute a plan than any of us individuals, is nonetheless uncomplicated. It doesn’t care much about the past and can’t think very far into the future. …Given the power of speech like a human, it will not use it to reflect, to check itself, or to think about the larger good. It will simply put its new power to work on its single-minded goal of amassing wealth…unconcerned that its tar sands investments are threatening the planet… If your goal is to efficiently tap the tar sands, you need a corporation. But to decide if tapping the tar sands is a good idea, you need to keep corporations out of it. Their relentless simplicity will combine with their wealth to overwhelm reason, science, love. ”
Bill McKibben, Oil and Honey

“The animals have an independent life… they are not made for food, but willingly become food as a sacrifice for their friends. This is a far cry from the perspective of the white colonial hunter… The theme [in traditional Mi’kmaq stories] is one of [human] dependence, not dominion..

Aboriginal women claim authority over our oral traditions.  In doing so, we recognize that our oral culture is not fixed in time and space, but is adaptable to our needs, to the needs of our animal siblings, and to the land. ”

Margaret Robinson, “Veganism and Mi’kmaq Legends”, in The Canadian Journal of Native Studies I (2013).

“The powers that be can break up any big thing they want. They can attack it from the outside. They can infiltrate it and corrupt it from the inside – or co-opt it. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They don’t know where to start. Break up three of them and four more like it start up.”
Pete Seeger,  CBS tribute t0 Seeger on “Ideas”   

“The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people… Extreme economic inequality is morally questionable; it can have negative impacts on economic growth and poverty reduction; and it can multiply social problems. It compounds inequalities between women and men. Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise. As US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, ‘We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.'”

Oxfam Report, “Working for the Few”

“Over the vastness of geological time Gaia’s housekeeping has put every element in place. Carbon has been withdrawn from the atmosphere by plants and geological processes, until just a few parts per ten thousand remain. Iron has been stripped by hungry plankton from the seas, as have mercury, lead, zinc, uranium, and others, all of which have been safety sequestered deep in Earth’s rocks. But now the human burrowers in the Earth have arrived, and, as we tunnel into those buried troves, we undo the work of aeons.”
Tim Flannery, Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet

“That anyone is really separate from anyone else or anything else that is happening in the world is an illusion. This is true for all the kingdoms of nature, as well as for humanity.  Every time a tree is felled in the Amazon, a tree in Africa responds.”
Carol Schaefer, Grandmothers Counsel the World

“Plants speak in a tongue that every breathing thing can understand. Plants teach in a universal language: food.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

“We the people, have the power to fashion for this earth a climate where every man and every woman can live freely without crippling fear. We must confess that we are the possible, the miraculous, the true wonder of this world. ”
– Maya Angelou, A Brave and Startling Truth


“Our relationships to one another as Lakota are defined by our relationship to the earth.  Until we get back on track in our relationship to the earth, we cannot straighten out any of our relationships to ourselves, to other people.”
Gerald Clifford, Chair of the Black Hills Steering Committee, quoted in a Braid of Feathers

“When they arrested me and some soldiers started to beat me because I’m handicapped and I cannot protect myself, I discovered that the power of muscles , the power of weapons, is not the only power. We have the power of mind. We have the power of imagination. We have the most important power of humanity… We Palestinians and Israelis are as if in a boat in the middle of the sea. We can [only] reach the beach if we feel deeply our humanity, if we believe that we have to live together and we both have the same right to be alive.”
–Mustafa Samha, in Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to Israeli Occupation

“The selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.”
David Dobbs, “Why It’s Time to Lay the Selfish Gene to Rest”

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal I hope to live for and to see realised. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela (statement during trial for treason against Apartheid in South Africa).

“There is no such thing as sustainable technology or economic development without sustainable human development to match.”
Paolo Lugari, quoted in Alan Weisman, Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World

“You are a body of water. If you knew this, would you protect yourself? The water in your body is part of the water cycle and connected to every other body of water. If you knew this, would you want to protect all the bodies of water on this planet?”
Jourdan Keith, “Human Estuaries” in YES magazine, Fall 2012

“The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.”
Naderev “Yeb” Saño, lead negotiator for the Philippines at the current UN climate talks in Warsaw, quoted in John Upton, “Philippines Blames Climate Change for Monster Typhoon”.  Saño is currently (November 15.2013) on a hunger strike to spur action on climate justice in Warsaw.

There are ways to support both emergency relief for the Philippines and climate justice to help prevent future catastrophes here.

“The animacy of the world is something we already know, but the language of animacy teeters on extinction– not just for Native peoples, but for everyone.  When we [say] that the tree is not a who, but an it, we make the maple an object; we put a barrier between us, absolving ourselves of moral responsibility and opening the door to exploitation.  If a maple is an it, we can take up the chain saw. If it is a she, we think twice.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

“[Some scholars] simply ignore the notion that the overexploitation of land and life could be the direct effect of a culture’s value systems… However, some currently existing cultures contend that the way one …cares for the land has everything to do with the spiritual life of the community. Certain Native American villages are exemplary of this worldview, for their clans have tended the same fields and gardens for centuries without exhausting their fertility or plant diversity.”
Gary Nabhan, Enduring Seeds, Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation

“Living and holistic nature cannot be dissected into its parts. Once broken down, it dies. Those who break off a piece of nature lay hold of something dead: [but] unaware that what they are examining is no longer what they think it to be, claim to understand nature. ”
Manasobu Fukuoka, The Natural Way of Farming: The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy

“Those who learn to listen to the world that sustains them can hear the message brought forth by the salmon. The message is the same as it has always been—respect Mother Earth and Father Sky and they will continue to sustain you, and your children, forever. Pursue a vision of harmony, rather than bow to greed for short-term gains at the expense of long-term well being, and your descendants will inherit a world filled with beauty and sustenance.”
Billy Frank, Jr., “Listen to the Salmon”

“Climate change costs us all. Government picked up most of the tab: $1100 per taxpayer per year. Roughly 1500 power plants emit some 2.4 billions of carbon pollution each year. Astonishingly, there are no federal limits on the amount of such pollution these plants can emit.”
Bob Dean, “Climate Change is Too Expensive”, ONEARTH, fall, 2013

“It seems that the larger society tends to focus on the outer self while we are taught from a young age to focus on the inner self. There is an unhealthy emphasis on ownership, control, every “man” for himself. I realize many people are searching for who they really are and where they belong or what they are supposed to be doing in their lives. They don’t have a sense of identity, belonging, continuity. For example, thousands of women and men resort to surgery to enhance their outer self, but the most attractive people I have ever met are elders who have grown into beautiful souls.”
— Joanne Shenandoah, Every Day is a Good Day, Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women, ed. Wilma Mankiller

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, A Lifetime of Peace (courtesy of my student Kimberlee Harrison)

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.”
—Thomas Merton: Letter to Dorothy Day, quoted in Catholic Voices in a World on Fire (2005) by Stephen Hand

“Blood lead levels in children living near airports are alarmingly high.  Children are more vulnerable because of their higher metabolism rate.  If you and your child were exposed to the same amount of lead, your child would uptake five times as much.”
Marie Miranda, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, quoted in “”Something in the Air”

“Nationwide more than three million children attend a school in close proximity to airports where argos [leaded airplane fuel] is burned. ”
Michael Begar, “Something in the Air”

“The main difference between our people and the world around us is our thankfulness and respect for the Earth, our environment, and the natural world. In our way, every day is a good day.”
Audrey Shenandoah, Onondoga, in Wilma Mankiller, editor, Every Day is a Good Day, Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.

“The Bushmen could name hundreds of plants and tell you their properties and who ate them.  They knew every amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal they encountered; also most invertebrates; also their tracks and their habits., None of us would be on earth today if our Bushman ancestors did not have that kind of knowledge.”

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, A Million Years with You

“If I define my neighbor as the one I must go out to look for, on the highways and byways, in the factories and slums, on the farms and in the mines, then my world changes.”
Gustavo Gutiérez, Peruvian founder of Liberation Theology

“The majority of climate scientists have now reached a consensus that the increasing number of extreme weather events is the by-product of a warming planet. All the more urgent, then, is the broader engagement of the scientific and nonscientific [citizen] community alike in addressing how to reduce energy consumption, limit carbon emissions, manage natural resources and develop renewable energy resources.”
Akiko Busch, The Incidental Steward, Reflections on Citizen Science

“In some cases (the Cherokees in the early 19th century) native women struggled valiantly for the preservation of tribal lands.  In others (the fur-trading tribes of the Upper Great Lakes) they helped to create a middle ground on which native people could try to hold their own, at lest for a time.  In still others (the Puebloans, in the 20th century) they initiated a cultural revival by recovering he craft traditions of remote ancestors.  It is certain, too, that in the privacy of countless Indian households old cultural ways were remembered and valued– and passed on, across the generations–by individual mothers and their children.” –John Demos, The Tried and the True, Native American Woman Confronting Colonialism

“We must rethink all our basic values, the structure and functioning of our entire cultural tradition…This is undoubtedly the most awesome moment for rethinking our situation since the beginning of the Western civilizational enterprise some five thousand years ago.”
Thomas Berry, “Foreword”, in Fritz Hull, editor,  Earth and Spirit

“A 25 by 45 foot lawn can drink 10,000 gallons of water in a summer.  Lawn care accounts for 70 million pounds of pesticides applied in the US each year–10 times more than what what is used in farming… [Thus] many gardeners.. are replacing grass with… plants that can again provide wildlife with food, clean water, shelter, and places to nest… Scientists are finding proof that even small habitats can make a big difference”.
— Rene Ebersole, in “Food Network”, Audubon, July-August 2013 (this essay is only available in print).

“Everything is made possible through stories”.
Hugh Yellowman, Navajo, quoted by Barre Toelken, in The Anguish of Snails.

“99% of the world’s cotton farmers live and work in the developing world… Between 27 and 77 million agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning with 1 million requiring hospitalization each year… [These] developing world farmers are responsible for 75% of global cotton production.
[However],. the majority of cotton products are sold to consumers in the developed world, with North America responsible for 25%..and Europe accounting for another 20%.”
–Environmental Justice Fund report, “The Deadly Chemicals in Cotton”

“If we had acted on what has long been known about the industrial and environmental causes of cancer at least a million and a half lives could have been spared, a casualty rate that those who have managed the war on cancer must answer for.”
–Devra Davis, The Secret History of the War on Cancer

“If we recognize our limitations, staunch our arrogance, and realize that we are not the master of nature (but her servant), just one species among millions of other beguiling species [and]…use human ingenuity to keep the earth alive rather than just to make our lives easier– then the earth can recover, the great beasts endure, and we will not face the prospect of dying of a great loneliness of spirit.”
Roger Payne, Among Whales

“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

““This (struggle against a destructive mining operation) gives us not just nourishment for the body but a moral strength, that we are our own masters, we control and produce our own wealth…Our power is nature’s power.”
Chamundeyi, Nahi-Kala (East Indian) village woman, quoted by Vandana Shiva, in Ecofeminism

“The great harvest of salmon began in June, when mature salmon returned from the shores of Alaska and began their 704 mile journey from the mouth of the Columbia to Kettle Falls.  The Sin-Aikst bands moved to the banks of the river and caught salmon that were not strong enough to clear the falls. This method of fishing ensured that only the strongest went on to spawn.”
Lawney Reyes, White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy

“The bricks of Hiroshima were formed of clay from these mountains, and so their walls of houses and shops held the dormant trumpet flower seeds.  After one group of humans killed another with the explosive power of life’s smallest elements split wide apart, the mountain flowers began to grow.  What a horrible beauty, the world going its own way, growing without us. But perhaps this, too, speaks of survival, of hope beyond our time. ”
Linda Hogan, Dwellings

“As far as I could see in every direction, a dark green sea of untouched forest rolled out . This is how the world once was, without our outsized dreams and dominion. The Mayan ways and reverences have endured like stone where farmers named Carmen and Don Domingo rule, in a reign that allows no poison and holds it breath for the moon and smiles at the sweet nightsong of an owl. Human and beast persist together in this place as they have always done.”
— Barbara Kingsolver, “A Forest’s Last Stand”

“In the forest, I still know how to become one with a landscape rich with a thousand mysteries. The forest permits me to capture the secrets of the invisible, of which we are the trustees.”
Bernadette Rebienot, Omyene elder, Gabon, Africa, quoted in
Carol Schaefer, Grandmothers Counsel the World

“Ecological feminisms recognize the intrinsic worth of all species, the intelligence of all life, and the self-organizational capacities of beings. They also recognize there is no justification in the hierarchy [that divides] knowledge and practice, theory and activism, academic thought and everyday life.”
Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest

“Sex in advertising is more about disconnection and distance than connection and closeness.. about power than passion, about violence than violins. Men conquer and women ensnare, always with the essential aid of a product.”
Jean Kilbourne, Deadly Persuasion

“The old folks used to admonish us to leave things the way they are, not to disturb the natural world or her creatures because this would disrupt and endanger everything, including us humans.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, The Turquoise Ledge

“Feminists have revealed the violence inherent in the heroic paradigm and the secret contempt of patriarchs for all things feminine. Ecologists denounce the hero’s dream of conquering nature  and his habit of ravaging the earth.  Minorities and ethic groups rise up against the patriarch and his insistence on one law, one culture, one doctrine for everyone… a feminine influence is needed for men to move from conquest to communion.”
Allan Chinen, Beyond the Hero

“We must never forget the human meaning of lives diminished  by false arguments– we must expose the fallacies of science misused. We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life; few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope by a limit imposed from without [by science misused]..”
Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man

“”Imagine a world where the life of the Earth and of the human spirit could go on, evolving, diversifying, adapting, changing, surprising, fearlessly: if it can be imagined, it can come to be.  If it can be recalled, it can be restored.”
Stephanie Mills, In the Service of the Wild

“There is no question that the environmental movement is critical to our survival. Our house is literally burning, … but…the only way we are going to put out the fire is to get on the social justice bus and heal our wounds, because in the end there is only one bus.  What will guide us is a living intelligence that creates miracles every second. ”
Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest

“Letting Shell do top-hole drilling in the Arctic when they are clearly not ready to respond to an oil spill is like telling a drunk driver that as long as he stays off the freeway everything should be OK.”
Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director. Center for Biological Diversity

“Shamans say they learn from the plant’s sounds. Maybe they are attuned to things we don’t pay attention to. It’s really fascinating. We might have lost that connection and science is ready to rediscover it.”
Monica Gagliano quoted In Becky Oskin, “Sound Garden: Can Plants Actually Talk and Hear”?

“Percentage by which a US male college graduate’s hourly wage was higher than a  female’s in 1979:  11.
Percentage by which a US male college graduate’s hourly wage was higher than a female’s in 2011:  24.”
Quoted in YES magazine, spring 2013 (data from Economic Policy Institute, 2012)

“A team of Finnish ecologists, allergy specialists, molecular biologists, and immunologists found that those who lived in houses surrounded by a greater diversity of life {rather than just cement and grass] were themselves covered with different kinds of microbes. They were also less likely to show the telltale immunological signs of allergies.”
Rob Dunn, “Letting Biodiversity Get Under Our Skin”.

“As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we could make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.”
Kelly Brownell, quoted in “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”

“Policies that require premarket safety testing, reduce industry influence on regulations, and control the importation of toxic chemicals and products, are necessary to prevent cancer. The …burden of cancer from environmental factors has been underestimated.”
 “Breast Cancer and the Environment– Prioritizing Prevention”, Report of the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Co-ordinating Committee, US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, February 2013

“It is the primary duty of the victim to heal. That is the way to defeat oppression.. But you cannot heal from wounds you do not remember. That is why I film.”
Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, Five Broken Cameras (on the non-violent resistance to protect traditional land in Bil’in)

“In a handful of wild seeds taken from any one natural community, , there is the distillation of millions of years of coevolution of plants and animals, of their coming together, coexisting, partitioning various resources. In a handful of crop seeds taken from the fields of Native American farmers, we have the living reverberations of the human sense of taste, color, proportion, and fitness in a particular environment. We also have the germ that generates many stories, many ceremonies, many blessings.”
–Gary Nabhan, Enduring Seeds, Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.  The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.  That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

President Barack Obama, 2013 Inaugural Address

“Ultimately, environmentally destructive behavior is the result of  failure to recognize that human beings are an inseparable part of nature and that we cannot damage it without severely damaging ourselves.”
— Vandana Shiva, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest”, YES Magazine, Winter 2013

“God loves all creatures equally and fills them with divine being. And we should lovingly meet all creatures in the same way.”
Meister Eckhardt, quoted in Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation.

“Our decisions about managing pests tell us much about ourselves, about how we view nature, and about the problems that develop as we attempt to fit the earth into a mold that is of increasingly human design. We may need to conduct particular battles against pests, but our battles have lately escalated into a costly war on nature itself, and in the end it is a war that we are bound to lose.”

Mark Winston, Nature Wars, People vs. Pests


“The soil is the condition for the regeneration of nature’s and society’s life. The renewal of society entails preserving the soil’s integrity; it entails treating the soil as sacred.”
— Vandana Shiva, Ecofeminism

‘Never use the words higher and lower. ”

— Charles Darwin, notebooks

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

“Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) was a Japanese farmer and philosopher [whose] natural farming technique requires no machinery or fossil fuel, no chemicals, no prepared compost, and very little weeding. And yet, Mr. Fukuoka got yields comparable to or higher than the most productive farms in Japan. His method created no pollution and the fertility of his fields improved each season. His back-to-nature philosophy  is one of  vision and hope. ”
Larry Korn, introduction, Masanobu Fukuoka, Sewing Seeds in the Desert

“We are so close to the Earth that we often forget—it is alive. And the language of its aliveness is what we call nature. The vast Earth has carried us our whole lives. Can we thank it? It has held up and endured everything for thousands of years. Can we ask it how?”
––Mark Nepo, “A Conversation with the Elements”, PARABOLA, Winter 2012, “Science & Spirit.”

“An education in ecological responsibility is urgent: responsibility for oneself, for others, and for the earth..
The fruits of the earth are for the benefit of all. Today, the dramatic threat of ecological breakdown is teaching us the extent to which greed and selfishness– both individual and collective– are contrary to the order of creation, which is characterized by mutual interdependence.

Respect for life, and above all for the dignity of the human person, is the ultimate guiding norm for any sound economic, industrial or scientific progress.

Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power. Even cities can have a beauty all their own, one that ought to motivate people to care for their surroundings. Good urban planning is an important part of environmental protection, and respect for the the natural contours of the land is an indispensable prerequisite for sound development.”
Pope John Paul II, “Peace with the Creator and Peace with All of Creation ” 1 January 1990

“Everything is connected to everything else.
Everything must go somewhere.
Nature knows best.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Barry Commoner (1917-2012).  Four rules of ecology

“Today is not the end of our campaign to secure our fundamental right to know what’s in our food. It is a strong beginning, and we thank the millions of Californians who stood with us. We are proud of our grassroots movement, our 10,000 hardworking volunteers, and the diverse coalition of health, faith, labor and consumer groups that stood with us. We will keep fighting for consumer choice, fairness and transparency in our food system.”
California Right to Know Campaign

“Civilization rests on the confidence that an individual’s basic human rights will be respected by his or her fellow citizens and by the government, including the ‘right to know.’ The Food and Drug Administration’s [gmo] testing program is voluntary. Our experience with other well-studied consumer products (tobacco, asbestos, bisphenol A, phthalates) demonstrates that …typically, evidence of harm has only emerged when testing has been conducted independently of those who benefit from the product or practice. Unfortunately, …those with a vested interest…continue to slow public health decisions that rightfully should be based solely on science.”
Patricia Hunt and 20 other scientists in supporting statement for California Prop 37

“It is generally accepted among environmental geographers that there is no such thing as a natural disaster. In every phase and aspect of a disaster – causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction – the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.”

Neil Smith, ” There is no such thing as a natural disaster”

For additional etailed analysis on this issue, see Chester Harman and Gregory Squires:  There is no Such Thing as a Natural Disaster.

“Warm oceans are jet fuel for hurricanes, so it’s fair to say that these warmer temperatures are revving Sandy’s engine.”
UK Guardian Environment Blog, Oct. 30, 2012

.“Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”
Munich Re Insurance Report, “Severe Weather Patterns in North America”.  17 Oct 2012

“Industrial farms erode precious topsoil  64 tons per acre are being lost every year in some spots in our heartland. They suck up huge amounts of water – a lot of it from deep underground – essentially irreplaceable. And they use millions of pounds of antibiotics – a practice that leads to dangerous new bacteria. They also produce toxic run-off that pollutes our rivers, our oceans, and us!  The average American already has at least 13 pesticides in our bodies. And thanks to chemicals in the field, farmers and farm-workers have higher rates of many cancers.
[But] sustainable….farms produce as well [as industrial farms]… and in drought years even better.  Small farmers already grow 70 percent of the world’s food – to increase production they don’t have to follow the chemical path.”
Anna Lappe, “Hunger and Food Security”

“The question is not, ‘How do we change human nature?’ . The question is, ‘How do we use human nature?’– just as we ask how to use the tides and the winds and the rivers…  Maybe we can be guided not just by the desire for ease but also by the older ideas of sacrifice, of renewed work …and wildness. Maybe we can move beyond an engineer’s dream of straight lines. This does not mean we should deny our engineers entirely; we should just suggest that they work with the world and not against it.”
David Gessner,  in “Free the Mississippi” in Onearth, spring 2011.

“The essential cause of our present world crisis is that we humans do not feel at home. We do not feel we belong with the rest of creation; not the way the trees and the rivers do, not like the birds and the animals.. Real presence has to be about learning to relate in a new way to all the things around us; the mountains, rivers, trees, plants and animals that the prevailing worldview tells us are either dead matter, or of a lesser nature, and simply there for our use.”
Daniel Martin, “The Joining of Human, Earth, and Spirit”, in Fritz Hull, ed. Earth and Spirit, The Spiritual Dimension of the Environmental Crisis

“In a landmark case for the Rights of Nature, officials in New Zealand recently granted the Whanganui, the nation’s third-longest river, legal personhood. The decision follows a long court battle for the river’s personhood initiated by the Whanganui River iwi, an indigenous community with strong cultural ties to the waterway.”
-Stephen Messenger

“Today’s agreement which recognises the status of the river as Te Awa Tupua (an integrated, living whole) and the inextricable relationship of iwi with the river is a major step towards the resolution of the historical grievances of Whanganui iwi and is important nationally.
Christopher Finlayson, quoted in “Agreement Entitles River to Legal Identity” by Kate Shuttleworth, in the New Zealand Herald.

“Behind awe-inspiring landscapes [of indigenous California] were native gardeners. They tended the land in ways that often mimicked nature– similar to the changes caused by floods, fire, gopher, activity and tree windfalls. Native Americans skillfully gathered plants over long periods in different habitats without  depleting their populations to the point of extinction. This required intimate knowledge of each species.
Through interacting with nature for millennia, Native Americans left their signature in the vegetation.”
M. Kat Anderson, Micheal G. Barbour, and Valeria Whitworth, ” A World of Balance and Plenty,” in Contested Eden.

“When people see a green tree, they all think that green trees are beautiful. Go to a lake, and one feels the spirit of the water. Go to a place where nature has been disturbed and I doubt that anything but disturbed emotions will arise.”
Masanobu Fukuoka, The Road Back to Nature

“From an evolutionary standpoint tend and befriend is a plausible account of female responses to stress.”
Shelley E. Taylor, The Tending Instinct

“Do you really think humans invented the wheel out of their big brains alone, or fire, or baskets, or tools? Stones rolled downhill: bolts of fire shot from the sky and out of the earth; birds wove and probed and pounded, as did apes and elephants.”
James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

“What is named ‘wilderness’ in today’s popular imagination and on current topographic maps actually harbored human gathering and hunting sites, burial grounds, work sites, trails and village sites. Today’s wilderness was then human homeland. Native American manipulations in California were conducted in a manner that allowed certain plants to regenerate so completely that virtually every Euro-American explorer, gold miner, and missionary was fooled into thinking the land was a wilderness– unaffected by humans.”
–M. Kat Anderson, Michaell G. Barbour, and Valerie Whitworth, “A World of Balance and Plenty”, in Contested Eden, ed. Ramón A. Gutiérrez and Richard J. Orsi.

“The human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred community or we will both perish.”
Thomas Berry, lecture given at the “Spirit of the Earth” conference, Rye, NY, 1991.

“Violence removes us from the body of the world, because it removes us from our own bodies. That’s the journey that we’re embarking on now: how we return to the consciousness of our bodies, which means returning to the Earth.”
Eve Ensler, “Why Freedom Starts with a ‘V’, interview in YES Magazine, Fall 2012

“Knowledge, feeling, and choice are essentially eternal and one in all sentient beings.  Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you.”
— Erwin Shrodinger, Nobel Laureate, Quantum Mechanics, cited in Quantum Questions:  Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Ken Wilbur.

Native peoples of Washington state “harvested selectively, replanted immature roots, spread seeds, fertilized, and set fires. They were able to continually adapt and create a relative balance with the land for 10,000 years without making drastic large-scale changes. “
Ed Whitesall, Defending Wild Washington

“Our grandfathers and grandmothers have taught us, water is medicine. Whenever we are sick or sad in spirit, water can help give us strength. Water has power to help us, but we need to take care of the power by being respectful in whatever we do on the land.”
George Krise, Squaxin Island Tribe, at the Water Ceremony, “Paddle to Squaxin 2012”, Daily Olympian Insert, July 2012

“The Creator said He made everything good, and it’s still the same way. It is just man that thinks, “That plant is no good, that animal is no good.’ There is a reason for Him creating it.  There is a reason for snakes, for flies. We say spray the heck out of it, but I found that if you talk to them they won’t bother you any more.”
—Grandma Bertha Grove, Ute healer  in Plant Spirit Medicine  

“Cotton cultivation is fertilizer-, herbicide-, and pesticide-intensive, endangering both the environment and agricultural workers.  The crop comprises 3 per cent of global acreage,but accounts for 25 per cent of world insecticide use.”
Juliet Schor, “Cleaning the Closet: Toward a New Fashion Ethic in Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-First Century.

“It would seem as if Descartes, with his theory that animals have no souls and are mere machines, has bewitched all of modern philosophy. We might say that philosophy has played a piano of which a whole series of keys were considered untouchable.”
Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life the Words of Albert Schweitzer, ed. Harold Robles.

“A 10 decibel higher level of road traffic noise was associated with a 12 % higher risk for heart attack after adjustment for various risk factors including exposure to nitrous oxide from exhaust.”
Mette Sørensen and colleagues, in a six year Danish study of over 57,000 people.

“If a person kills a tree before its time, it is like having murdered a soul.”.
Rebe Nachman of Bratislav, 18th century, quoted in Roger Gottleib, ed. This Sacred Earth, Religion, Nature, Environmentalism

“Small languages, more than large ones, provide keys to unlock the secrets of nature, because their speakers tend to live in proximity to the animals and plants around them.”
Russ Rymer, “Vanishing Voices”, National Geographic July 2012

“If you look at children that grow up under war torn conditions, genocide or terrorism, you see children fundamentally crippled physically and psychically. We need full employment, we need equity and justice and freedom from war, terror, and genocide. If you don’t have that kind of society, you cannot have a sustainable environment.”
David Suzuki, Rio+20 meeting, June 2012

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.”
–Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

“Property rights as share had existed in parts of South India since at least the tenth century, with some fields cultivated for nearly a thousand years.  Individual private property in land was introduced under British rule in the early nineteenth century and in less than a century rice-growing lands were exhausted and ecologically played out. This decline may be traced in part to the removal of the communal element which had acted as a check on the overexploitation of the soil.”
— Prasamnan Parthasarathi. “Toward Property as Share: Ownership, Community, and the Environment”, in Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-First Century.

“As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future historian on another planet to say about us: ‘With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas’.”
UN Secretary General U Thant, address to the 7th general assembly, New York, 1970

“Our cultural principles include the defense of the right to a dignified life, the respect for Mother Earth and the environment.  These are essential and sacred elements that we should leave as an inheritance to our children, grandchildren and their descendents.”
–Valerio Grefa (Ecuador), statement urging Occidental Oil’s withdrawal from  traditional U’wa lands quoted in Janet Lloyd, Atossa Soltani, and Kevin Koenig, “Infrastructure Development in the South American Amazon”, in Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Globalization.

“There’s love here.  You come in here and sit down, don’t you feel comfortable with us? Don’t you feel you’re free to be you? Do you feel happy here?  Don’t you feel we’re not going to judge you because you’re a different color or because you’re a male?  Don’t you feel like my dad’s your dad?”
Classie Parker, co-founder,  Five Star Garden, Harlem, quoted by Peter Forbes, “Another Way of Being Human”, in Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-First Century.”

“At some point, every society finds itself confronted by forces that the reigning worldview cannot successfully address. It is at this point that societies rise or fall, [based on the ability of] grasping the significance of such moments and making the deep shifts in thinking, perception and behavior required to succeed.”
— Bob Dopplet, in The Power of Sustainable Thinking

“Most people have forgotten how to live with living creatures, with living systems and that, in turn, is the reason why man, whenever he comes into contact with nature, threatens to kill the natural system in which and from which he lives.”

–Konrad Lorenz

“At the Land Institute, we joke, ‘If you’re working on something you can finish in your lifetime, you’re not asking the right questions.’ If we make the commitment to long-term research, we will have a whole different way of looking at the land. Virtually all of nature’s systems are based on perennials.”
–Wes Jackson, “The Seeds of a Perennial Revolution” in YES magazine, winter 2012

“Polling consistently shows that African Americans and Hispanics put a higher priority on protecting the environment than non-minority voters. And no wonder. Study after study has shown that racial minorities disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution…three out of every five Latinos and African-Americans live in a community with one or more toxic waste sites. The Latino south side of Tucson is exposed to twenty times the acceptable levels of trichloroethylene, and rates of cancer, birth defects, and genetic mutations in that neighborhood far outpace the national average.”
–Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, “In Search of Justice” in Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty- First Century.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, quoted on Matthew Hall’s website “One touch of nature.”

“Environmental injury is deficit spending- loading the costs of pollution-based prosperity onto the backs of the next generation.”
–Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Crimes Against Nature

“As long as there is respect and acknowledge of connections, things continue working. When that stops, we all die.”
Joy Harjo, award-winning Mvskoke/Creek poet, quoted by Mary Pipher, “In Praise of Hometowns” in Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-
First Century.

“Two centuries of constant planting, tending, and harvesting structured the forest. Mixing together African and native techniques, escaped slave communities in the Amazon created landscapes lush enough to be mistaken for untouched wilderness.”
Charles Mann and Susanna Hecht, “Where Slaves Ruled”, in National Geographic, April 2012

“The California landscapes that early explorers, settlers and missionaries found so remarkably rich were in part shaped, and regularly renewed, by the land management practices employed by native peoples”.
M. Kat Anderson, Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and Management of California’s Natural Resources

“Show me any civilization that believes reality exists only because man can perceive it, that man is exclusively divine, and I will predict the nature of his cities and landscapes, the sterile core, the mined and ravaged countrysides.”
–Ian L. McHarg, in Multiply and Subdue the Earth

“A lot of people have come to the conclusion that leaders are not going to lead. They’re not going to take action, and it’s up to the citizens to make them do what is right.”
–Ben Gotschall, 4th generation rancher and lead organizer for Bold Nebraska,  an anti-pipeline citizens’ group, quoted in Madeline Ostrander, “A Bold Win against Big Oil”, in YES magazine, spring 2012

“The understanding that plants are active, self-directed, even intelligent beings can be shown by science, but it must be realized through working with plants in collaborative projects of mutual benefit. The practical recognition of plants as persons puts forward the view that nature is a communion of  subjective, collaborative beings that organize and experience their own lives.”
–Matthew Hall, in Plants as Persons, A Philosophical Botany

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker, quoted in YES magazine.

“Before the Europeans arrived, the peoples of Kenya did not look at trees as timber, or at elephants and see commercial ivory stock, or at cheetahs and see beautiful skins for sale.  But when Kenya was colonized– we converted our values into a cash economy.  As we were to learn, if you can sell it, you can forget about protecting it. Thus we integrated the question of culture into our (Green Belt) seminars.  Culture was a missing link in Africa’s development.”
Wangari Maathai   in Unbowed

“In a society where girls seem as useful as boys and children die infrequently, reason dictates one or two kids. In this pocket of India (Kerala) people have fewer children because life is safer, fairer, more decent.”
Bill McKibben, in Hope, Human and Wild

“Kerala is one of the the cash-poorest regions of India, but through state policy, it has become one of the richest and most socially wealthy regions in the world. Kerala has done a remarkable job of feeding its population of more than thirty million people through local food systems. Although the per capita income is around $350 per year, the life expectancy, birth rate, and overall quality of life rivals some of the richest nations on earth.”
Mark Ritchie, “Be a Local Hero”, in Sustainable Planet, Solutions for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Juliet Schor and Betsy Taylor

“The botanical knowledge of the Ju’ wasi could not be evaluated by the outside world. While many Kalahari plants had been named by Western botanists, the Ju’ wasi seemed to have named all of them, and while the properties of some plants were not understood by Western science, the properties of hundreds of plants were entirely familiar to the Ju’ wasi.”
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, inThe Old Way.

“Real economy deals with real needs…Real economy is the soil, the water, seeds, housing, the fiber of our clothes, the fuel for heating our homes.”
Helena Norberg-Hodge, in Grandmothers Counsel the World

“Humans can use natural resources to meet their needs without destroying those resources.  California Indians found it possible to be both users and benefactors of plant and animal populations.”
M. Kat Anderson, Tending the Wild


Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone, To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

David Whyte From Everything is Waiting for You

“At the end of the day, everyone would like to go to bed knowing that there isn’t one person suffering, or child ill, because I had a Big Mac today.”
Kathy Martin, quoted in Stephanie Paige Ogburn,  “A Citizen Activist Forces New Mexico’s Dairies to Clean Up Their Act”,  High County News

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”
— from Animal Dreams (Barbara Kingsolver)

“Believe that the world can change and commit to your part of the solution. Look at the world with clear eyes, but remain hopeful, and celebrate!  When you feel challenged, reach out and reach in.”.
May Boeve, organizer of Step it Up  in response to climate change. quoted in YES magazine, winter 2012

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~ From “When I Am Among the Trees”

“When the gold of a single yellow plant explodes in the sand our eyes are bound to the soil. Dust we are and to dust return.  In the end, we are neither air, nor fire, nor water, just dirt—and maybe some yellow flowers.”
Pablo Neruda, from “Ode to some yellow flowers”

“It has become increasingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Albert Einstein

“If you eat, the soil is your business.  Learn what good soil look, feels, and smells like.  Take a piece of land or a garden that has been abused and  rebuilt it; discover how to grow soil while growing food for yourself and your family. Believe in yourself.  You are only two or three generations removed from the land.”
Michael Ableman, On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.” –Rachel Carson (courtesy of Kimberlee Harrison)

“There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”Wangari Maathai (cited in Parabola newletter, 9.30.2011)

“Wangari Matthaai (1940-2011) was a true visionary whose work and life served as a powerful example to women everywhere. She showed us that the eradication of poverty, the empowerment of women, and a sustainable future for our planet are all essential building blocks of a more just and peaceful world.”
Nobel Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Mairead Maguire

“Despite a growing wealth gap among the races, minority voters are more willing to pay for a cleaner planet. 81% of voters of color support federal investment in conservation, compared with 54% of whites.”
— Barry Yeoman, “Facing the Future” in Audubon, Sept.-Oct. 2011

“The world gets better. It also gets worse. The time it will take you to address this is exactly equal to your lifetime.”
— Rebecca Solnit, “Hope in the Dark”, in Transforming Terror

“When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupt motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth’s resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we define huge sections of the [global] population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble.  And we get it.”
–John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“The effect of the Rockefeller Program [industrializing agriculture as the “Green Revolution”] was to eliminate the system of security and stability built into agriculture by thousands of years of peasant technology.”

–Angus Wright,The Death of Ramón Gonzáles: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma


“At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.”

–Chico Mendes


“Where the health of large numbers of people is at stake and the harm is potentially irreversible, it is far better to err on the side of caution. We accept this [precautionary] principle in many areas of public life. We do not wait for buildings to fall down or bridges to collapse before inspecting them for safety; we do not wait for boats to sink before requiring that they carry life jackets. ”
–Devra Davis, When Smoke Ran Like Water


“Just as a grain of sand does not rule over an entire beach, humans do not rule or control nature.”
–Michael Sturman (OSU student)

“We recognize that we are related to everything. We have a relationship here, human being to human being. And I’m also related to the animals, to the plants, even the micro-organism. Somehow, industrialized society has not caught up with itself to really appreciate and respect what indigenous peoples have to offer, but it’s something that’s very important, I think, that’s going to save the planet.”
—Tom Goldtooth, executive director, Indigenous Environmental Network

When the wind blows, a cloud of coal ash rises from the Reid Gardner plant and blankets the nearby homes of Moapa Paiute Indians with arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxic elements.

“We are tired just sitting here and taking pollution from the plant [for energy we never even use].  So we’re gonna go ahead and do something about it. To have a solar project is to say, ‘Hey, there are alternative ways”.
William Anderson, tribal chairman of the Moapa Paiute Band

“I just feel like the Indian people are here for a reason. Maybe it’s to help do what we can to preserve the environment.”
Vickie Simmons,. Moapa resident and solar worker

Chris Jordan, An Ill Wind Blows in Moapa“,  Earthjustice 7.21.11

“Say you switched from a normal car to a big sport “ute” and drove it for one year. The extra energy you use would be the equivalent of leaving the door to the fridge open for six years. If you drive an SUV, then you’re “driving” global warming. If you care about the people in this world living closest to the margins, then you need to do everything in your power to slow the rate at which the planet warms, for they are the most vulnerable. I was naked and you did not clothe me. I was hungry and you drowned me with your Ford Explorer.”
Bill McKibben, “Driving Global Warming”, Religion Online.

“You should take a picture of this place and show it to people driving big cars in your country.  Tell them it’s a preview of what south Florida will look like in 40 years”.
Samir Rangan Gayen, Bangladesh, quoted in “The Coming Storm”, National Geographic, May 2011.

“Today, among the fourth generation of children exposed in the womb, one in three children and one in two minority children will develop diabetes; one in six children is born with neurological damage; one in 100 children has an autism spectrum disorder and among boys the occurrence is one in 58. Just this week a new study found that environmental factors play a much bigger role in causing autism spectrum disorders than previously thought.”

CNN report on a new Senate bill allowing the banning of dangerous chemicals.

“Coexistence between transgenic seed and organic seed is impossible. Soon after transgenic seed for canola was introduced, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of transgenic seed contamination. Organic corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa now face the same fate.”

Organic Seed Growers v. Monsanto, filed in federal court on June 1, 2011

“Life in the oceans is at imminent risk of the worst spate of extinctions in millions of years due to threats such as climate change and over-fishing.”

Rueters summary   of article  in Science News. 6.21.2011

“God said the earth was the mother of mankind; that nature was the law; that the animals, and fish, and plants obeyed nature, and that man only was sinful one.”

Smohalla, nineteenth century Wanapum (Columbia Plateau) “Dreamer”, quoted in Wayne Moquin ed., Great Documents in American Indian History

“You look at Taiwan today and think it must have always looked like this. All those cars and pollution and millions of people. But my grandmother tells me when the first Portuguese sailors saw Taiwan, they called it Ilha Formoa– “Beautiful Island”. Now it is a vast network of industrial roads and half of the island slopes like baggage falling off a donkey’s back. We in Taiwan feel it is our solemn duty to warn the Third World of the horror story behind our economic miracle”.

— Words of aboriginal and other Taiwanese environmentalists speaking with Diane Wilson, whom they invited for a visit after they heard of her work opposing the Formosa Corporation’s pollution in the Gulf of Mexico ( quoted in An Unreasonable Woman).

“The blithe industrial  eradication of salmon is a disaster not only for the Pacific Northwest’s tribes, but for all traditional salmon people. Medieval Christian songs and poems revere salmon as embodiments of Christ-likeness. Pre-Christian Scandinavian, Celtic, Russian, British, Central European, Alaskan, Inuit, and Icelandic myths and legends revering salmon are as ancient as the cultures themselves.”

David James Duncan, My Story as Told by Water.

“Of the 82,000 synthetic chemicals that have come into production to date, nobody is sure which ones are harmful. That is because nobody ever asked chemists to consider the question. Teachers, architects, doctors– all need to have a set of requirements for practicing responsibly.  But chemists– who design products we eat, breathe and absorb through our skin– have no such responsibility.”

–Excepted from Laura Wright Treadway, “Pure Chemistry”, ONEARTH (summer 2011)

” Defiant Gardens by Kenneth Helphand recounts the story of gardens created improbably in the midst of the viciousness of war. These gardeners do not align themselves on the same side; they might even be sworn enemies. Yet, they are all human, they all hunger for flowers and fruit, they all ache to keep alive a hint that something will grow in spite of the surrounding night of destruction.

When despair visits me, I hold on to the image of the garden. A garden that grows like memories should. A garden that grows as justice should. A garden that grows like true reconciliation should.”

Airel Dorfman, “Gardens of Hope Amidst the Darkness of Despair”‘ excerpted on Kenneth Helphand’s site, Defiant Gardens, which contains updates and additional examples of “defiant gardens” since the publication of his book.

“The U.S. National Research Council identified numerous examples of innovative farming systems that contribute to multiple sustainability goals.The slow expansion of such innovative farming systems is as much a policy and market problem as a science and technology problem. Incentives for appropriate markets, reform of U.S. farm-related policies, and reorientation of publicly funded agricultural science are needed to hasten implementation of more sustainable agricultural systems.”

SCIENCE “Transforming US Agriculture”,  5/6/11

“Many historical events, hitherto explained solely in terms of human enterprise, were actually biotic interactions between people and the land. The characteristics of the land determined the facts quite as potently as did the characteristics of the men who lived on it”.

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac.

“Despite cheap, readily available alternatives, most American sportsmen are still using lead ammunition and fishing tackle. When lead projectiles hit large mammals, they shatter, impregnating swaths of soft tissue as wide as three feet with toxic fragments; just one the size of a BB can fatally poison an eagle.”

Ted Williams, “Bad Shot”, Audubon May-June 2011

“I saw for myself that it is possible to live in a way that is truly sustainable and truly peaceful and joyous, when people are free to develop according to their own values and their own needs.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge, on her experience in Ladakh; quoted in Grandmothers Counsel the World.

“It’s time for every citizen with a good idea to get to work, to trust yourself, to start. Who’s going to fix things if it isn’t us?”

Colin Beavan, “Advice from an Accidental Activist”, YES Magazine Spring 2011.

“Natural farming methods have shown exceptional results, especially under rain-fed conditions. Natural farming increases water retention in the soil, and helps rain-fed crops that tend to be vulnerable to dry weather conditions if soil moisture is also low.” Natural farming also protects crops from pest damage.

Shirley Varghese, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy,  (Report on Women Farmers) February 2011.

“A plan awaiting approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would dramatically increase permissible radioactive releases in drinking water, food and soil after “radiological incidents” is drawing vigorous objections from agency experts, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At issue is the acceptable level of public health risk following a radiation release, whether an accidental spill or a “dirty bomb” attack.”

PEER News Release 4.5.2011

“A handful of corporations and of powerful countries seeks to control the earth’s resources and transform the planet into a supermarket in which everything is for sale. They want to sell our water, genes, cells, organs, knowledge, cultures and future.”

Vandana Shiva. “Time to End the War against the Earth”

“The top U.S. nuclear regulator (Greg Jaczko) said today there’s no meaningful difference in safety between submerging spent nuclear fuel in water and encasing it in concrete casks.”

Press story (3.31.2011)

“The most clear-cut example of an area where additional safety margins can be gained involves additional efforts to move spent nuclear fuel from pools to dry cask storage.”

Greg Jaczko (2008)

“On Monday March 28, the radiation level of water from the Unit 2 reactor at Fukishima was high enough that an hour-long exposure would give someone a radiation dose sufficient to cause acute radiation syndrome. At an April 2 press conference Japanese officials said that this highly contaminated water is leaking into the ocean.”

David Wright, “All Things Nuclear”, Union of Concerned Scientists

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should order all aged spent fuel in the U.S. to be moved from pools to hardened dry storage. It should suspend all licensing and relicensing proceedings until long-term safety review is complete. It is lamentable that the NRC extended the license of the Vermont Yankee reactor, which is the same design as the stricken Fukushima units, while the Japanese crisis is still going on and there has been no time to learn its lessons. ”

Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

“It may seem absurd to believe that a ‘primitive’ culture in the Himalayas has anything to teach our industrialized society.  But our search for a future that works keeps spiraling back to an ancient connection between ourselves and the earth, an interconnectedness that ancient cultures have never abandoned.”

–Helen Norberg-Hodge (Quoted in Three Cups of Tea)

“Between 1993 and mid-1996, the American oil and gas industry gave $10.3 million to political campaigns and received $4 billion in tax breaks. This represents a benefit–cost ratio of about 400 to 1. Given these kinds of returns, it is little wonder that so many perverse subsidies exist.”

Robert Costanza  Bioscience May 2001

“Among 42 women who breathed the highest levels of PBO (major ingredient in RAID)– around 4 parts per trillion — nearly half had a baby with a lower-than-normal mental development score.”

Journal of Pediatrics

“For these toxic chemicals, there’s probably no such thing as a safe level during pregnancy,”

Dr. Philip Landrigan, Director, Children’s Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

“The vast majority of industrial chemicals in use today have not undergone health and safety testing. As a result, we are all treated like random guinea pigs.”

Carl Cranor, Environmental Health News, February 2011

“It is human beings who empower other human beings, and so it is women who empower other women. We can be as strong as anyone in the world; the only thing we need is unity.”

Mursal Hamraz, Afghani student

“People’s need for food and water can be met only if nature’s capacity to provide food and water is protected. Dead soils and dead rivers cannot give food and water.

Defending the rights of Mother Earth is therefore the most important human rights and social justice struggle. It is the broadest peace movement of our times.”

–Vandana Shiva, “Time to End War Against the Earth”, in National Times ( 11/4/2010

“We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers

The mountains and the endless plain —

All, all the stretch of these great green states —

And make America again!”

Langston Hughes

-“The land determines the values of the human landscape.  The hard lands of the prairie helped to make the Lakota tribal communities austere and generous, where giving and sharing were first principles. The people needed the land and each other too much to permit wanton accumulation and ecological impairment to the sources of nourishment.”

Frank Pommersheim,   Braid of Feathers: American Indian Law and Contemporary Tribal Life

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Feeling uprooted and disconnected can cause a desire to conquer or dominate others to establish self-worth and a sense of belonging. This includes attempting to dominate the physical world by over-consuming material goods when we lose a meaningful and fulfilling kinship with Earth and each other.”

— Osprey Oreille Lake, Uprisings for the Earth

“So far, the world has always managed to meet the challenge of food productivity. In fact, today we have 25% oversupply measured in calories after losses. The challenge is to provide access to food for the poor. The strategy of ecological-intensification using organic principles and practices is a new paradigm to feed the world while empowering the poor and mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss.”

-Anne English, The Financial Times’ Food Security Briefing, October 14, 2010


“[T]he affection that comes from those whom we do not know,…who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our danger and weaknesses…is something… that widens the boundaries of our being and unites all living things.” [i]

–Pablo Neruda

“ Learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing… If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. “ (Interview in YES magazine)

–Pete Seeger

“If the success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be?  What would I do?”

–R. Buckminster Fuller

“I don’t believe in magic. I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same thing.”

–Billy Frank, Nisqually (Message from Frank’s Landing)

“Someday the land will be our eyes and skin again”.

–Lizzie Pitt, Warm Springs Indian Reservation (Faces of a Reservation)

“Human have turned the atmosphere, biosphere, and the briny deep into something that, until now, only volcanoes and colliding continental plates have been able to achieve…by tapping the Carboniferous Formation and spewing it up into the sky, we’ve become a volcano that hasn’t  stopped erupting since the 1700s. ”

Alan Weisman (The World Without Us)

“The language of life won’t be silenced”.

—  Linda Hogan (Dwellings)

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

“While so much seems to be going wrong in this world, so much is also going right.  Let us recognize and link up with the vast, diverse, and joyful movement for change that is all around us and rowing ever more creative, spontaneous and courageous. ”

— Paul Hawken (Blessed Unrest)

“Yes…is the only word a tree knows”.

— Naomi Shihab Nye  (The Words Under the Words)

“I travel to a lot of different lands being a voice for hte voiceless. All things created need a voice”.

–Takelma Siletz Grandma Agnes Pilgrim Baker (Taowhywee)

“A man is rich in proportion to the things he can do without”.

— Henry David Thoreau

“If you wanted to create global pandemics, you’d build as many of these factory farms as possible. That’s why the development of swine flu isn’t a surprise to those in the public health community. In 2003, the American Public Health Association–the oldest and largest in world–called for a moratorium of factory farming because they saw something like this would happen. It may take something as serious as a pandemic to make us realize the real cost of factory farming.”

Dr. Michael Greger, Humane Society of the U.S.

“Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.”

Paul Hawken (2009 University of Portland commencement address )

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

— Maya Angelou

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…and see if I could not learn what it had to teach [so that I would] not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”


“Abundance comes not from stuff.  In fact, stuff is an indication of non-abundance. Abundance is in the sacred; it’s in the connection of love.  We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other.”

–Rebecca Adamson, founder of the First Nations Development Institute (interviewed in YES magazine, summer 2009).

“It is quite a thrill to discover that the birds you are studying are not simply specimens of the species Larus argentatus but that they are personal acquaintances…individuals that you know personally. Somehow, you feel, you are at home, you are taking part in their lives, and their adventure becomes part of your own life.”

— Niko Tinbergen  (The Herring Gull’s World)

“The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.”

Thomas Berry (1914-2009)

“On the return trip home, gazing though 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, and harmonious.  My view of the planet was a glimpse of divinity.”  Edgar Mitchell, US astronaut

each pond with its blazing lilies/

is a prayer heard and answered/

lavishly, /

every morning, /

whether or not/

you have ever dared to be happy, /

whether or not/

you have ever dared to pray. /

From Mary Oliver’s “Morning Poem”

“The evidence is in: Climate change is real, it’s causing changes in our own backyard…Being in this job has only reinforced the importance of communicating scientific information in a way that is understandable and relevant …all too many scientists assume that everybody knows what they know.”

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( in Yale e360).

“The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependent upon what is wrong. But that is the addict’s excuse, and we know that it will not do. ”

-Wendell Berry

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

Mary Oliver

“Those of us who came from this land can see before our eyes and in our own bodies that what has happened to this land and the animals is the same thing as what has happened to us.”

Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature)

“The infamous potato famine or Southern Corn Leaf Blight catastrophe could happen again any day now, in any place where people are once again foolish enough, or poor enough to be coerced (as was the case in Ireland), to plant an entire country in a single genetic strain of a food crop.”

Barbara Kingsolver (Small Wonder)

“When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.”

Henry Beston (The Outermost House).

“We sing the song of our home because we are animals, and an animal is no better or wiser or safer than its habitat and its food chain.  Among the greatest of all gifts is to know our place.”

Barbara Kingsolver (Small Wonder)

“The opposite of war is not peace, it’s creation.” Jonathan Larson (In the musical, Rent)

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

Senator Ted Kennedy

“Today the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the immigrant movement and the gay communities have lost a friend. Our friend and a great American hero, Sen. Ted Kennedy, has left us…

Like so many of my generation, my life is full of memories of the Kennedy brothers, John, Bobby and Teddy. When I think about these brothers, I cannot help but return to that day 46 years ago when I stood with my mother in the parking lot across from the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, as President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy came out to the crowd anxiously awaiting to see them. When we left the parking lot that morning—my mother, to catch her bus so that she could get to her job as a domestic worker, and me, to my spelling class at I.M. Terrell Jr. High School—we would have never dreamed that, by the time my mother would be halfway through her domestic duties of that day and me through three class periods, President Kennedy would be assassinated in Dallas. On that day, for my mother and our family, our spirits were darkened, and at that moment, the hope for the promise that President Kennedy symbolized was diminished. We mourned, we cried and we remembered the lessons of our faith; faith is the evidence of things hoped for and not yet seen. We would soon see the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

As a high school student in 1968, I once again was full of hope and promise. We had the dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke of America as he hoped it one day would be—and there was another Kennedy, Bobby, who would run for president and renew the hope of Camelot. Little would I know that 1968 would have such an impact on me. My father died in a car accident on March 9, 1968; April 4, 1968, would be the day the Dreamer would be killed and June 6, 1968, Bobby, like his brother, would lose his life as the result of an assassin’s bullet. Once again, hopes and dreams crushed…

On Sept. 21, 2007, when I became executive vice president of the AFL‑CIO, Sen. Kennedy called me at home that evening and congratulated me. After some small talk and a Kennedy joke, we spoke about workers’ rights and health care…Ted Kennedy will always be in my heart—and today I mourn him but, unlike 1963 and 1968, I am not hopeless. On this day, I am filled with hope and a fighting determination to see Sen. Kennedy’s dream of health care reform become America’s reality.”

Arelene Holt

“We can no longer accept the old a priori distinction between scientific and ethical values.”

Nobel prize winning physicist Ilya Prigogine and chemist Isabel Stengers (Order out of Chaos)

“Wildness puts us in our place.  It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully.”

Barbara Kingsolver  (Small Wonder)

“Either all the earth is holy or none of it is.  Either every square foot of it deserves our respect or none does…It is possible to love a small acreage in Kansas as much as John Muir loved the entire Sierra Nevada.  This is fortunate, for the wilderness of the Sierra will disappear unless little pieces of nonwilderness become intensely loved by people. In other words, Harlem and East Saint Louis and Iowa and Kansas and the rest of the world where wilderness has been destroyed must come to be loved by enough of us, or wilderness too is doomed.”

Wes Jackson (Becoming Native to this Place).

It is only an “arrogant belief that the world is merely a puzzle to be solved, a machine with instructions for use waiting to be discovered, a body of information to be put into a computer with the hope that, sooner or later, it will spit out a universal solution.”

Vaclav Havel

“We know it is important to take care of nature, because we understand that nature is life. To know this is the beginning of understanding God.”

Tomas Aguilar (Cabescar people, Costa Rica, quoted in Shadowcatchers)

“To commit to a particular place…is to signal one’s faith that it harbours the sources of life…This means not only greening its streets and open spaces, providing habitat for a variety of nonhuman species and growing food for local people; it also means discovering the power of the place — harnessing its potential sources of energy, such as sunlight, wind and compost, rather than relying on external sources, or ‘power plants’, for one’s needs.”

Freya Mathews, “Becoming Native”  (In Worldviews: Culture, Environment, Religion, v.3:3)

“The world as we know it has only been possible because  of …climatic grace…our dangerous disruption of the Earth system, most notably by our burning of coal and oil, is bringing it to an end. We could lose far more than coastal cities and cultural treasures to extreme weather and rising seas; the ultimate stakes in this planetary gamble is the stable climate that has made civilization possible.”

Dianne Dumanoski (Daily Climate)

“The earth wants peace…Nothing wants to suffer. The wind does not want to carry the stories of death.”

Linda Hogan (Dwellings)

“We have inherited and developed a …worldview based on the assumption that we can accumulate enough knowledge to bend nature pliantly and to run the world.”

Wes Jackson (Becoming Native to this Place)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ”

Mary Oliver (“The Summer Day”)

“The first law is to understand and to live in balance with the natural world”.

(From We Get Our Living Like Milk from the Land, Okanagan traditions)

“We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to ‘free-market’ fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice .”

Vandana Shiva, “The Poor are Burdened Twice”, New Statesman, Sept. 2009

“We are now creating all that is to come”

Ysaye Barnwell, In Unity

“There are plenty of superstitious people in the world, but they live in agricultural and industrial societies, removed from the natural world and afraid of it. In contrast, the hunter-gatherers of the Old Way accepted the natural world as it was. The Ju/Wasi (Kalahari Bushmen) knew almost everything that was observable, and knew so well how to manage themselves that there was nothing about the natural world that seemed disturbing.”

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Old Way.

“The New World Gardens of Eden, mindlessly exploited by the European conquerors, were the product of the wisdom, hard work, and perseverance of millions of Native Americans, caring for a “sacred Earth” and an interconnected web of life. In a similar manner, an organic and healthy life for present and future generations will require the dedicated work and perseverance of millions. We will either stop the deadly assaults on our biodiversity, our food chain, our health, and our climate, or else the biological carrying capacity of the Earth will collapse, along with “modern civilization” as we know it.”

Organic Bytes 11/26/2009

“The question isn’t whether we have the off-the-shelf technologies, the proven policies, the funds and the social stability to avert disastrous climate change– we have all that. The question is whether we can overcome the power of corporations and anti-government ideologues to mobilize ourselves and our elected officials in time”.

Sarah van Gelder, YES Magazine (winter 2010: special issue on climate action)

“Conservation of wildlife communities is not possible in the long term without simultaneously meeting the basic needs of local human communities.”

Hammer Simwinga (Zambian winner of the Goldman Prize).

“Simwinga has recognised that women are the backbone of a community. By empowering them, he has helped villages grow strong…Empowered villages do not breed poachers.”

– Alexandra Fuller, Zambian author

“The biggest culprit in the massive mistreatment of the earth by humankind is business and industry, which happens to be where I have spent the last 52 years. Thanks to Interface Carpet I have become a recovering plunderer. I once told Fortune magazine that someday people like me would go to jail [since] theft of our children’s future is a crime. Tomorrow’s child has spoken to me with this message: ‘We are each and everyone a part of the web of life and we have a choice to make on our brief visit to this beautiful blue and green living planet. To hurt it or to help it.”

Ray Anderson (CEO of Interface Carpet in his TED talk)

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When property rights and profit motives are considered more important than persons, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Martin Luther King

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

— Albert Einstein

“These fragile spheres of nature are the holy realms, the spirit regions. The seeds of our source seem to dwell here.  Regions where the trees talk to men, and animals are symbols of the inner journey.  The mysteries of our ancient psyches dwell in these places and once destroyed, they never return.”

James Stephenson, The Language of the Land: Living among the Hadzabe in Africa.

“American Indians today are still teaching America to solve perplexing problems of land-use, education, government and human relations, problems to which Europe never did find adequate answers”.

Felix Cohen, “Americanizing the White Man“.

“Tending to others is as natural, as biologically based, as searching for food or sleeping, and its origins lie deep in our social nature.”

Shelly Taylor, The Tending Instinct

“How is it possible that suffering that is neither my own nor of my concern should affect me as though it were my own, and with such force that it moves me to action?  My own true inner being actually exists in every living creature.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, “On the Basis of Morality

“The advertising industry and the public relations industry have now become specialists at tapping into the emotional core that drives people. So the open question right now is whether or not human beings are ever going to get to that stage where we will be able to save ourselves and the planet before our economic models destroy the environment, or our weapons and wars destroy everything. This, I think, is the great question of the 21st century: Can we save ourselves from unprecedented dangers in the face of unprecedented propaganda bombardments that keep us numb and uninformed?”

Sut Jhally, Media Education Foundation

“if you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Aboriginal activist group, Queensland, Australia

“You can’t have survival of the fittest when the definition of ‘fittest’ keeps changing, based on fluctuations in the climate.  I prefer to think of human evolution as ‘survival of the versatile”.

Rick Potts, Director, Human Origins Program, Museum of Natural History in Smithsonian, March 2010.

“This life is my windfall. That it happens to be a human life is the one chance in a trillion to be able to realize That Which Matters.”

Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing

“There is no such thing as reforestation; a forest cannot be replanted tree by tree.  A forest is a society.  Only a forest can give birth to a forest.”

W.S. Merwin

(In response to a query about his work to restore native forest on Maui at a reading at the Eugene Public Library 2010).

“The only true disability is a broken spirit.”

Aimee Mullins

“It is time we recognize that traditional agricultural methods can make strong contributions to biodiversity conservation. We should encourage it and value it as a way to produce healthy foods that conserve and care for the environment.”

Jesús León Santos, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize

“In order to survive, help others to survive.”

Motto of Hayrettin Karaca, Turkish environmental leader

“Young people everywhere are entitled to environmental justice, no matter what their color or socioeconomic status. My sister died when I was nine and a half, and that is when I started Children for a Safe Environment. Ten years later, with a lot of victories behind us, we still fight the same fight every day: environmental justice.”

Kory Johnson

“In his later years, Darwin himself seems to have become convinced that love (or altruism) was a stronger force than the survival instinct. Groups of animals learned long ago that working together in cooperation greatly increases their long-term chances for survival.”

Ross Conrad, Natural Beekeeping

“We have no right to use GMOs until we understand the possible adverse effects, not only to ourselves but to future generations as well. We definitely need fully detailed studies to clarify this. Any type of contamination has to be tested before we consume it, and GMO is just one of them.”

Alex Surov, commenting on a forthcoming study he conducted in which hamsters fed Monsanto’s genetically engineered soy for three generations lost their ability to reproduce.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is by far the biggest funder of work on childhood obesity, and it’s now spending $100 million a year on the problem. The food industry spends that much every year by January 4th to market unhealthy food to children.  There is no way the government can compete with that just through education.

If parents ate every meal with their children, that would amount to 1,000 teaching opportunities per year.  Yet the average child sees 10,000 food ads each year.

I don’t think we have much of a chance of succeeding with the obesity problem unless the marketing of unhealthy foods is curtailed.”

Kelly Brownell, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University (interview in Nutrition Action  Newsletter May 2010).

“For excellence, the presence of others is always required.”

Hannah Arendt

“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.  The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures. The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.”

–Letter to the President, President’s Cancer Panel Report, April 2010

“”Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to crippling of the social consciousness of individuals. This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism.”

Albert Einstein, Monthly Review:  thanks for Molly Saranpaa for sharing this article with me.

“In setting standards that everyone must follow, regulations level the playing field. While they can and do add additional expenses to businesses that are in the business of generating the most pollution, they provide fertile ground for the growth of new “greener” companies whose growth will improve our economy – even in the short term.”

Jeffrey Hollender, Chairman, Seventh Generation, in “Regulate Me, Please.”

“It is a wonderful truth that things we want most in life — a sense of purpose, happiness and hope — are most easily attained by giving them to others.”

Isabel Allende

“I’m not in blanket opposition to the use of pesticides, but methyl iodide alarms me. When we come across a compound that is known to be neurotoxic, as well as developmentally toxic and an endocrine disruptor, it would seem prudent to err on the side of caution, instead of putting it into use, in which case the test animals will be the children of the state of California.”

Theodore A. Slotkin, professor of pharmacology and cancer biology, Duke University Medical Center, testimony before the California State Senate Food and Agriculture Committee

“It can take five times more water to supply 10 grams of protein from beef than from rice.  If all US residents reduced their consumption of animal products by half, the nation’s total dietary water requirement in 2025 would drop by a savings equal to the annual flow of fourteen Colorado Rivers.”

Sandra Postel, “Will There be Enough?  How to Change our Habits to Make Water Last”, Yes Magazine, summer 2012

“Slavery is alive and well in our modern-day world, and it isn’t hidden away in distant locales. There is a good chance that slavery is a part of your daily life, in the things you buy, or the services you receive. An estimated 12 to 27 million people are victims of slavery and other forms of forced labor around the world.”

Verité Report: “Help Wanted: Hiring, Human Trafficking, and Modern-Day Slavery in the Global Economy” from the website of the Well Made Initiative.

“You are, at best, only ten per cent human.”

Bonnie Bassler, “Listening to Bacteria”, Smithsonian(July/August 2010)

“Perhaps now we can put the manufactured controversy known as Climategate behind us and turn to the task of actually doing something about global warming.”

New York Times, “A Climate Change Corrective”

“In civilized societies, government is the voice and hand of the people. When business says it wants less ‘intrusion,’ it’s really saying it wants less democracy and more oligarchy. Regulations, when used and designed properly, are simply the tool we the people use to rein in corporate power, private wealth, and the influence they buy in order to ensure a level playing field and a fair game.”

Jeffrey Hollender (Chair, Seventh Generation), “Regulations I’d Love to See.”

“Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.”

  • James Joyce

“Much of the evidence gives compelling insights into the difficulty in establishing the safety of modern biotechnologies in agriculture, medicine, and animal husbandry. “

Submission from Norway to the Third World Biosafety Network: “Risks of GMOs to Biodiversity and Human Health.

“The Creator and Creation cannot be separated. Thus, what destroys, degrades or enhances one does the same to the other.”

Robert Sperry, Nobel Prize winning neurobiologist: “Changed Concepts of Brain and Consciousness: Some Value Implications”, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 20:1 (1985), p. 26.

“A strong body of evidence from Europe demonstrates that antibiotic use in animals is linked with antibiotic resistance in humans. We have thoroughly reviewed these studies and have found them to be well-designed and rigorous, and to establish a clear link between antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic resistance in humans.”

Thomas R. Frieden, Director, Center for Disease Control

“The placenta, which does such an admirable job at keeping bacteria and viruses out of the womb’s watery habitat, is ill-equipped to serve as a barrier to toxic chemicals. Pesticides that are made up of smaller molecules are afforded free passage. Pesticides made of bigger, heavier molecules are partially broken down by the placenta’s enzymes before they pass though.  But, ironically, this transformation often renders them more toxic.”

Sandra Steingraber, The Organic Manifesto

“The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes designated 92,000 acres as wilderness in 1979.  Earlier, three grandmother elders, or yayas, appeared at a tribal council meeting. They straightened their scarves, spoke of their concern for generations to come, and refused to leave until the council banned logging.”

Charles Bowden, in “Reviving Native Lands”, in National Geographic, August 2010.

“Ordinary taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for excessive executive compensation. And yet a variety of tax and accounting loopholes that encourage excessive pay add up to a cost of more than $20 billion per year in foregone revenue.”

Sarah Anderson, “Executive Pay and Social Responsibility

“We humans are awakening to the reality that we are living beings and that life, by its nature, can exist only in community. Our future depends on getting with the program and organizing our economics in ways that mimic healthy living systems.”

David Korten, Agenda for a New Economy

“Most people who go to bed hungry, both in rich and in poor countries, do so in places where markets are filled with food that they cannot have.

The problem is unequal access to food, land, and wealth, and any discussion must begin not from fantasies of massive yield increases, but from the truth that the hunger of the poor is in part a choice of the rich.

Inequity and politics, not food shortages, were at the root of almost all famines in the 20th century.”

Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton, from A Nation of Farmers, Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil  (excerpted in the Utne Reader)

“I don’t feel the bear has to live with us; we have to learn to live with the bear”,

–third generation rancher Karl Rappols, stating how “proud he that was, that except for the buffalo, his land is still home to all the species present when Lewis and Clark passed through this area.”

Quoted in “Yukon to Yellowstone” exhibit, UO Museum of Natural History (on loan from the Burke Museum at the University of Washington).

“Since the biggest cause of climate change is industrial emissions from coal-fired power plants and large manufacturing facilities, the essential step is a cap—a mandatory, declining limit on the amount of global warming pollution we send into the skies. Imposing a cap would put a price on carbon, thus making dirty energy more expensive and clean energy more economically viable. That would unleash a flood of private investment in alternative energy technologies, and speed the path to a clean energy economy.”

Eric Pooley, The Climate War

“In recent years, scientists who work for and advise the federal government have seen their work manipulated, suppressed, and distorted, while agencies have systematically limited public and policy maker access to critical scientific information.”

Union of Concerned Scientists:  The A to Z guide to Political Interference in Science.

“Exposures to toxic chemicals produce a tremendous drag on the U.S. economy. Exposures linked to cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health and fertility problems, and asthma lower worker productivity. raise corporate health care costs, and weaken consumer confidence.”

–Investor Environmental Health Network (representing 51 organizations managing $35 billion in assets, in a press release supporting S.3209 (Safe Chemicals Act) and HR 5820 (Toxic Chemicals Safety Act).

“Governments have sent a strong message that protecting the health of the planet has a place in international politics, and countries are ready to join forces to save life on Earth.”

Jim Leape, WWF Director, on the global agreement reached 10.30.2010 by the UN Convention of Biodiversity.

“As in measures of general intelligence, groups better at one task perform better on other tasks as well. Group performance is not correlated with either the average intelligence of group members or the intelligence of a group’s smartest member, but to three other group characteristics: the average social sensitivity of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group”.

Anita Wolley (podcast interveiw) “Evidence for a Collective Intelligence”,  October 2010 Science.

“Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so, learn about yourself.”–Japanese proverb

(courtesy of Sayed Husaini)

“For years, humans have tried to conquer nature, but in doing so, they themselves became conquered. They lost their connection with the earth. They destroyed the land they were tilling. In Buddhist belief, there are no pesticides, no bad insects, no good ones. There is only imbalance in the world. We must restore that balance.”

-Han Guojie, water-quality engineer turned farmer, quoted in “Sowing Seeds for an Organic Revolution,” by William Wan in the Washington Post, November 2, 2010 (quoted in Organic Bytes, #249, November 4,2010)

“The world is a gift”.

Frank LaPena, Wintu artist

If we had only one prayer and it was ‘thank you’, it would be enough.”

Master Eckhardt (Medieval Christian mystic)

“Care for the trees like they are your family, and they will pray for you and give you fruits and shade”.

Syed Kazmi, traditional Pakistani farmer (quote courtesy of Khurram Kazmi)

“No electorate ever voted to split atoms or splice genes; no legislature ever authorized the iPod or the internet. Our civilization, consequently, is caught in a profound paradox: we glorify freedom and choice, but submit to the transformation of our culture by technoscience as a virtual fate.”

David Cayley, interview with Brian Wynne in CBC’s “How to Think About Science” series.

“Dear plant, do not think you are alone.

This stream of water comes from the Earth and sky,

This water is the Earth.

We are together for countless lives.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh, excerpt from “Earth Gathas

(Courtesy of Joanna Lee)

“The land is our life. You can’t sell your life.”

Bernadette Bedor, Palau, in Reclaim the Earth, Women Speak out for Life on Earth, Leonie Caldecott and Stephanie Leland, eds.,

“In 1997 and 1998, Palau lost at least one-third of its coral reefs due to climate change related weather patterns. We also lost most of our agricultural production due to drought and extreme high tides. Please do no tell us that these were theoretical scientific losses. They were the losses of our resources and our livelihoods… our destinies may very well be the window to your own future and the future of our planet. Listen to us – hear our alarm. We are under attack – not by our enemies, but by our friends. We do not blame you. We only seek your assistance, for your own good as well as ours.”

Former President Remengesau, Jr., Palau

“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

[i] Robert Bly, ed., Neruda and Vallejo:  Selected Poems (Boston:  Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 12-13.

When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.

2 Responses

  1. The cycle of a plastic bag:
    1. Plastic bag goes into the ocean.
    2. Plastic bag is broken down into small partials.
    3. Plastic bag partials are consumed by small fish.
    4. Larger fish consume the small fish.
    5. Large fish is caught in a fishing net.
    6. Large fish is now served on your dinner plate.

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