Words of wisdom for Earth Day, and every day

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Words can change the world, but only when they lead to action.
Earth Day is a great time to remember this. Here are some of my favorite words. Share them at work, at school, and at the dinner table.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use our natural resources, but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or rob by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“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

“We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet, and every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate. But we are also the only species which, when it chooses to do so, will go to great effort to save what it might destroy.”
– Wallace Stegner

“God bless America. Let’s save some of it.”
– Edward Abbey

Greatest good. “The purpose of conservation: T greatest good to the greatest number of people for the longest time.”
– Gifford Pinchot

“We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein

“To keep every cog and every wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
– Aldo Leopold

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.”
– Rachel Carson

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”
– Ghandi.

“The long fight to save wild beauty represents democracy at its best. It requires citizens to practice the hardest of virtues — self-restraint.”
– Edwin Way Teale

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to the man. All things are connected.”
– Chief Seattle

“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades.”
– Aldo Leopold

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”
– Andy Warhol.

“We stand guard over works of art, but species representing the work of eons are stolen from under our noses.”
– Aldo Leopold

The woods. “If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on — and have found that none of these finally satisfies… what remains? Nature remains.”
– Walt Whitman.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”
– Baba Dioum

“Celebrate Earth Day every day.”
– John Denver, 1990.

About the Author

Scott Shalaway, who holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Michigan State University, writes from his home in rural West Virginia. A former faculty member at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma Biological Station, he has been writing a weekly nature column for newspapers and freelancing for magazines since 1986. Send questions and comments to scottshalaway@gmail.com. You can also visit his Web site, http://scottshalaway.googlepages.com. More Stories by Scott Shalaway

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