EcoLit Quotes

“I hold one share in the corporate earth and am uneasy about the management.”
— E.B. White

“Surely a better time must be drawing nigh when godlike human beings will become truly humane and learn to put their fellow animal mortals in their hearts instead of on their backs or in their dinners.”
— John Muir

“Whenever people say, ‘We mustn’t be sentimental,’ you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, ‘We must be realistic,’ they mean they are going to make money out of it.”
Brigid Brophy

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
you will not know them, and what you do not know
you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”
—Dan George

“A Herring Gull gliding overhead is as beautiful as any idea perfected. Their abundance tends to render them invisible; it’s to everyday miracles that we’re most blind.”
—Carl Safina, The View From Lazy Point

“We don’t inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
—Unknown author

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.”
—Buddhist proverb

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
—Leo Tolstoy

“Nothing will benefit health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as the evolution of a vegetarian diet.”
—Albert Einstein

“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature, the more that it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”
—Leonardo Da Vinci

“Let your food be your medicine.”

“If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”
—Alan Watts

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”
—David Attenborough

“Nature is the one place where miracles not only happen, but they happen all the time.”
—Thomas Wolfe

“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, Whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.”
—John Muir

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore?”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
—John Muir

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
—Rachel Carson

“I lived the life of my friend the tiger. The jungle that kills did not have me, it spared me because I loved it
fervently, because I owed it everything, because it taught me to be free.”
—Jean Galmot

“And there at the camp, we had around us the elemental world of water and light, and earth and air. We felt the presences of the wild creatures, the river, the trees, the stars. Though we had our troubles, we had them in a true perspective. The universe, as we could see any night, is unimaginably large, and mostly dark. We knew we needed to be together more than we needed to be apart.”
—Wendell Berry

“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

“Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”
—Helen Keller

“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect”
—Aldo Leopold

“People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we desire it. We need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at a pace of [speciation and] glaciers. To be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives as much as we do ours; and none of which could possibly care less about our economic status or our running day calendar. Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our own 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. Looking out on a clean plank of planet earth, we can get shaken right down to the bone by the bronze-eyed possibility of lives that are not our own.”
—Barbara Kingsolver

“Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature.”
—Dennis Gabor

“In a sense, the first (if not necessarily the prime) function of a novelist, of ANY artist, is to entertain. If the poem, painting, play or novel does not immediately engage one’s surface interest then it has failed. Whatever else it may or may not be, art is also entertainment. Bad art fails to entertain. Good art does something in addition.”
Brigid Brophy, Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without

“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
― Albert Schweitzer

“I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”
― Upton Sinclair

Have a quote to add to the list? Just email us.

CREDITS: Thanks to Martha Gies, Donna Mulvenna and Carolyn Ragan for their contributions.

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