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- If we recognise that every ecosystem can also be viewed as a food web, we can think of it as a circular, interlacing nexus of plant animal relationships (rather than a stratified pyramid with man at the apex)... Each species, be it a form of bacteria or deer, is knitted together in a network of interdependence, however indirect the links may be.
- Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom (1982).
- If we have been slow to develop the general concepts of ecology and conservation, we have been even more tardy in recognizing the facts of the ecology and conservation of man himself. We may hope that this will be the next major phase in the development of biology. Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man's future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.
- Rachel Carson, "Essay on the Biological Sciences" in Good Reading (1958).
- Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
- Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897
- We need to renegotiate our contract with nature. Ecology is a unifying force that can diminish intolerance and expand our empathy towards others—both human and animal.
- Gregory Colbert, "Peace and Harmony: The Message of Our Discovery" in Photo No. 427 (March 2006)
- The disruption of the world's ecological systems — from the rise of global warming and the consequent damage to our climate balance, to the loss of living species and the depletion of ocean fisheries and forest habitats — continues at a frightening rate. Practically every day, it becomes clearer to us that must act now to protect our Earth, while preserving and creating jobs for our people.
- The extinction of Partula is unfair to Partula. That is the conventional argument, and I do not challenge its primacy. But we need a humanistic ecology as well, both for the practical reason that people will always touch people more than snails do or can, and for the moral reason that humans are legitimately the measure of all ethical questions—for these are our issues, not nature's.
- Stephen Jay Gould,"Unenchanted Evening", (1993).
- The thing the ecologically illiterate don't realize about an ecosystem is that it's a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained miss the collapse until too late. That's why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.
- Ecology is a dirty seven-letter word to many people. They are like heavy sleepers refusing to be aroused. "Leave me alone! It's not time to get up yet!"
- Frank Herbert, "Introduction" to New World or No World (1970), an anthology of writing on environmentalism.
- I will clarify a distinction that I consider fundamental to political ecology. I shall distinguish the environment as commons from the environment as resource. On our ability to make this particular distinction depends not only the construction of a sound theoretical ecology, but also — and more importantly — effective ecological jurisprudence.
- Ivan Illich, Silence is a Commons (1982).
- That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949.
- If there are favourable habitats and favorable forms of association for animals and plants, as ecology demonstrates, why not for men? If each particular natural environment has has its own balance; is there not perhaps an equivalent of this in culture?
- Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities, Secker & Warburg, 1938.
- Even when the pioneer didn't rape Nature, he divorced her a little too easily: he missed the great lesson that both ecology and medicine teach - that Man's great mission is not to conquer nature by main force but to cooperate with her intelligently but lovingly for his own purposes.
- Lewis Mumford, "California and the Human Prospect", Sierra Club Bulletin, vol. 47, no. 9, 1962, pp. 45-6.
- A Healthy Ecology is the Basis for a Healthy Economy
- Claudine Schneider, U.S. Representative in The Green Lifestyle Handbook.
- To halt the decline of an ecosystem, it is necessary to think like an ecosystem.
- Douglas P. Wheeler, EPA Journal, September-October 1990
- In recent years it has become impossible to talk about man's relation to nature without referring to "ecology"...such leading scientists in this area as Rachel Carson, Barry Commoner, Eugene Odum, Paul Ehrlich and others, have become our new delphic voices...so influential has their branch of science become that our time might well be called the "Age of Ecology".
- Donald Worster, Nature's Economy, Cambridge University Press, 1994.