A good conservation quote can really move you to action. A lot of wise people throughout time have said a few things about conservation and the environment. World leaders, philosophers, actors, and even our favorite gun-toting 70's musician have their share of nature quotes (I'm looking at you, Ted Nugent). Below are some of our favorites, let us know in the comments if we missed anything!
"If we wait for the meek to inherit the earth there won’t be anything left to inherit”
—Bob Hunter, founder of GreenPeace
"Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.”
— Jane Goodall
“The cure for anything is salt: water - tears, sweat, or the sea. ” —Isak Dinesen
"Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.”
— Tim O'Reilly
“Facts alone can't save the world. Hearts can. Hearts must. We're working to make sure that hearts do.” — Carl Safina
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
—Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by George Gordon Byron
"And I dream of the vast deserts, the forests, and all of the wilderness of our continent, wild places that we should protect as a precious heritage for our children and for our children's children. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment."
— Nelson Mandela.
"If you are not an environmentalist, you are either selfish or ignorant"
—Andwar Bundini M.D. physician and philosopher
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
"As we progress into the twenty-first century, anyone who considers themselves a realist will have to make the environment a top priority."
"The good news is that real-world hands-on conservation is alive and well and catching on across the America I travel."
“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."—Albert Einstein
“I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
“If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.
— Seneca,Letters from a Stoic”
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
"The more civilized man becomes, the more he needs and craves a great background of forest wildness, to which he may return like a contrite prodigal from the husks of an artificial life".
—Ellen Burns Sherman
"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements".
—Henry David Thoreau
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
"If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you."
"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, compete with each other and co-operate with each other. The competitions are as much a part of the inner workings as the co-operations. You can regulate them—cautiously—but not abolish them."
— Aldo Leopold
"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
— Albert Einstein
"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before,
the old phrase has a literal meaning: We are all in the same boat."
They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.
—D. H. Lawrence
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.”
—Henry David Thoreau
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Men argue. Nature acts." - Voltaire
“I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively, instead of skeptically and dictatorially.”
― E.B. White
“One man cannot destroy our progress. One man can’t stop our clean energy revolution.”
—Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding Donald Trump
"When the last tree has been cut down,
the last fish caught, the last river poisoned,
only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."
—American Indian proverb
"The environment is everything that isn't me"
"A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children." — John James Audubon
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, '"This is what it is to be happy.'” — Sylvia Plath
“How sad to think that nature speaks and mankind doesn’t listen.” — Victor Hugo
“…I have spent all my time on something I consider worthwhile. In so doing you meet a lot of opposition.“
-Charles C. Deam
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
“Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment. We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit.” – Dalai Lama
"But there must be the look ahead, there must be a realization of the fact that to waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its' usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed."
— Theodore Roosevelt
"Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives." - Albert Schweitzer
“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: "Look at this Godawful mess.”
― Art Buchwald
“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” - Aldo Leopold
“We need a national political leader to step forward, an environmental Churchill, to rally the world around this effort.”
– Lester R. Brown
“If conservation of natural resources goes wrong, nothing else will go right.”
— M. S. Swaminathan
A good nature quote can inspire you, calm you, and really build your spirits and make you feel that there is indeed hope for the environment.