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Environmentalism is a concern for the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment, such as the conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and certain land use actions.


  • The one factor that you can’t find on a spreadsheet is the willingness of the people in government to lead change, And in Denmark every single one of them is engaged and willing to do whatever it takes to get Denmark to be a leader in electric vehicles.
  • All our efforts to defeat poverty and pursue sustainable development will be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resource depletion continue unabated.
    • Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, "In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all", 2005 report for the United Nations sixtieth anniversary summit
  • Every American expects and deserves clean air, and then we act on that belief, then we will set an example for the rest of the world to follow.
  • In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops.
    • Paul Brooks, The Pursuit of Wilderness, 1971
  • It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.
  • "The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe around us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."
  • We will look upon the earth and her sister planets as being with us, not for us.
  • I've often thought that if our zoning boards could be put in charge of botanists, of zoologists and geologists, and people who know about the earth, we would have much more wisdom in such planning than we have when we leave it to the engineers.
    • William O. Douglas, remarks at conference sponsored by the American Histadrut Cultural Exchange Institute, Harriman, New York (February 17–19, 1967); reported in Judd L. Teller, ed., Government and the Democratic Process; A Symposium by American and Israeli Experts (1969), p. 16.
  • The weight of our civilization has become so great, it now ranks as a global force and a significant wild card in the human future along with the Ice Ages and other vicissitudes of a volatile and changeable planetary system
    • Dianne Dumanoski, Rethinking Environmentalism, December 13, 1998
  • Humanity is on the march, earth itself is left behind.
    • David Ehrenfeld, The Arrogance of Humanism, 1978
  • Sanctimonious slogans have a way of lulling well-meaning people, and at the same time providing self-seekers with means to frustrate the very controls that are most needed. Take, for example, a report entitled, “The Engineer’s Responsibility in Environmental Pollution Control,” submitted in 1971 to the government’s Council of Environmental Quality by the National Industrial Pollution Control Council. The report is an amorphous collection of noble generalities. It conjures up a vision of a crusading army of engineers, thousands abreast, marching in unison. The banner of this army is “cooperation.” Its mission is to “coordinate,” “unify,” “interact,” “centralize efforts,” and “pool resources.” Its weapons are “shared objectives,” “common goals,” “interdisciplinary concepts and techniques.” The cloud of pieties serves, not to enlighten, but to obscure the real truth, which is that environmental pollution control can never be achieved by the worthy sentiments of industrial spokesmen, but only by government regulation.
    • Samuel Florman, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering (1976), p. 27
  • Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.
  • While the farmer holds the title to the land, actually, it belongs to all the people because civilization itself rests upon the soil.
  • The Supreme Reality of Our Time is...the Vulnerability of our Planet
    • John F. Kennedy, Speech to a joint session of the Dail and the Seanad, Dublin, Ireland June 28, 1963.
  • The creator is angry. Everyone is going to be sorry for what they have done. A day of reckoning is coming. And it's going to be for everyone on the planet. It will make no distinction for religion or creed. Something is going to happen.
    • Chief Al Lameman, Alberta Cree. He is commenting here on the effects of oil extraction from the opencast tar-sand mines of the forests of Alberta, Canada. From, 'Armageddon', an article in the Mail on Sunday magazine, June 10 2012. Report by Jonathan Green.
  • We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
  • The Environmental movement is, you might say, a movement of repressed Romantics.
    • Charles E. Little, A Town Is Saved, 1973
  • Environmentalists have long been fond of saying that the sun is the only safe nuclear reactor, situated as it is some ninety-three million miles away.
    • Stephanie Mills ed., In Praise of Nature, 1990
  • 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.
  • We do not have to adapt to the environment. We will change the environment to suit us.
  • We still have too much air and water pollution and we still need to work to reduce it. But we also need to put the problem of pollution into a historical as well as scientific perspective...
    • Ronald Reagan, quoted in Charles D. Hobbs' Ronald Reagan's Call to Action
  • We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
  • The Truly Healthy environment is not merely safe but stimulating.
  • It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)[edit]

  • You could cover the whole world with asphalt, but sooner or later green grass would break through.
    • Attributed to Ilya Ehrenburg; reported in The New York Times Book Review (October 22, 1967), p. 1. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). Patricia Blake, author of the book review, obtained this quotation from the late Max Hayward, who may have gotten it directly from Ehrenburg.
  • We have come tardily to the tremendous task of cleaning up our environment. We should have moved with similar zeal at least a decade ago. But no purpose is served by post-mortems. With visionary zeal but the greatest realism, we must now address ourselves to the vast problems that confront us.
    • Gerald R. Ford, Earth Day address, Grand Rapids, Michigan (April 22, 1970); in Michael V. Doyle, ed., Gerald R. Ford, Selected Speeches (1973), p. 84.
  • In the last few decades entire new categories of waste have come to plague and menace the American scene…. Pollution is growing at a rapid rate…. Pollution destroys beauty and menaces health. It cuts down on efficiency, reduces property values and raises taxes…. Almost all these wastes and pollutions are the result of activities carried on for the benefit of man. A prime national goal must be an environment that is pleasing to the senses and healthy to live in. Our Government is already doing much in this field. We have made significant progress. But more must be done.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, special message to the Congress on conservation and restoration of natural beauty, February 8, 1965. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, book 1, p. 161–62.
  • Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world—or to make it the last.
    • John F. Kennedy, address before the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York City, September 20, 1963. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 696.

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