Amazing, Inspiring And Thought-Provoking Quotes 0n Sustainability

101 Amazing, Inspiring And Thought-Provoking Quotes 0n Sustainability

When I want to think deeply about a subject, such as sustainability, I will often look to quotes for inspiration. I find it deliciously thought-provoking trying to figure out the true meaning behind the authors’ words.

Furthermore, good quotes can be interpreted in many different ways and can often become great discussion openers.

Some will inspire, others may disappoint, whilst many more may provoke a strong emotional feeling. However, all of the quotes will task the brain and set the mind to quiet deliberation.

So, if you enjoy a little brain workout now and again, this is the article for you.

Ok, so here are my favorite thought-provoking quotes on the subject of sustainability.


monkey in thought sustainability quotes

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

Henry David Thoreau

“The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else’s backyard.”

– David Morris

 “Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word ‘success.”

David Wann

“This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”

Barack Obama

Here to stay

“There is a beginning and end to all life – and all human endeavors. Species evolve and die off. Empires rise, then break apart. Businesses grow, then fold. There are no exceptions. I’m OK with all that.

Yet it pains me to bear witness to the sixth great extinction, where we humans are directly responsible for the extirpation of so many wonderful creatures and invaluable indigenous cultures. It saddens me to observe the plight of our own species; we appear to be incapable of solving our problems.”

Yvon Chouinard

“I think that the equator could act as a great equalizer for all life on Earth, celebrated as the great energy belt of the planet. If all our energy grids were synchronized, the light side of the planet could provide energy for the dark side, according to the movement of the sun.”

Antony Gormley

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.”

Stewart Udall

“We need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children.”

Kofi Annan

“Look after the land, and the land will look after you, destroy the land, and it will destroy you.”

Aboriginal Proverb

sustainability quote

“You have to hold yourself accountable for your actions, and that’s how we’re going to protect the Earth.”

Julia Butterfly Hill

“Climate change is destroying our path to sustainability. Ours is a world of looming challenges and increasingly limited resources. Sustainable development offers the best chance to adjust our course.”

Ban Ki-moon

“If you focus on what you’ve left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.”

From the movie: “Ratatouille.”

“The one thing that does not abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

Harper Lee

“The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”

  – Paul Hawken

Here to stay

“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”

 Jimmy Carter

“The future is made of the same stuff as the present.”

Simone Weil

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

V from the movie “V is for Vendetta”

“Consume less; share better.”

 Hervé Kempf

sustainability quote

“If we each take responsibility in shifting our own behavior, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for our race or this planet. We change our planet, our environment, our humanity every day, every year, every decade, and every millennia.”

Yehuda Berg

“Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on Earth, is an infinite game, the endless expression of generosity on behalf of all.”

Paul Hawken

“The reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there. It’s not the governments; it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers.

That’s what we’re called. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen.

So, there’s a movement for simplifying your life: purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional.”

Yvon Chouinard

“Forests and meat animals compete for the same land. The prodigious appetite of the affluent nations for meat means that agribusiness can pay more than those who want to preserve or restore the forest. We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet – for the sake of hamburgers.”

Peter Singer

“The thing that I champion is sustainability. My terror is that suddenly we see it as a luxury, not an essential. That’s a danger.”

Kevin McCloud

Moral Sacrifice

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.”

Thomas Fuller

“Like all major transitions in human history, the shift from a linear to a circular economy will be a tumultuous one. It will feature heroes and pioneers, naysayers and obstacles, and moments of victory and doubt. If we persevere, however, we will put our economy back on a path of growth and sustainability.”

Frans van Houten

“We have to cultivate contentment with what we have. We really don’t need much. When you know this, the mind settles down. Cultivate generosity—delight in giving. Learn to live lightly. In this way, we can begin to transform what is negative into what is positive. This is how we start to grow up.”

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

“Sustainability is not just about adopting the latest energy-efficient technologies or turning to renewable sources of power. Sustainability is the responsibility of every individual every day. It is about changing our behavior and mindset to reduce power and water consumption, thereby helping to control emissions and pollution levels.”

Joe Kaeser

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

 – Chief Seattle, 1854

sustainability quote

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

Rachel Carson

“Where the quality of life goes down for the environment, the quality of life goes down for humans.”

George Holland

“Sustainability is a part of our ‘rise’ philosophy. You cannot rise if you take more from the community than you put back.”

Anand Mahindra

“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”

David Suzuki

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Pollution Is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting.

“Sustainability has to be a way of life to be a way of business.”

Anand Mahindra

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

– Jane Goodall

“We all need to work together because there are no jobs on a dead planet; there is no equity without rights to decent work and social protection, no social justice without a shift in governance and ambition, and, ultimately, no peace for the peoples of the world without the guarantees of sustainability.”

Sharan Burrow

“Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.”

William Ruckelshaus

“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

sustainability quote

“Looking at the world through a sustainability lens not only helps us ‘future proof’ our supply chain, but it also fuels innovation and drives brand growth.”

Paul Polman

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

“The purpose – where I start – is the idea of use. It is not recycling; it’s reuse.”

– Issey Miyake

“Often, sustainability is discussed only in the context of energy. Energy sustainability is essential – but the word has a much broader meaning. It means long-term thinking about how we manage our businesses, invest in social spending, and plan for the future. This requires vision and leadership, and it requires citizen engagement.”

Joe Kaeser

“Issues relating to global health and sustainability must stay high on the agenda if we are to cope with an aging and ever-increasing population, with growing pressure on resources, and with rising global temperatures. The risks and dangers need to be assessed and then confronted.”

Martin Rees

“The notion of ‘reduce and refine’ is one I’ve pursued. I truly believe that by making things less complex, by finding innovative ways to make sustainability affordable, we can advance the notion that it is possible.”

Yves Behar

“We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world.”

Jennifer Nini

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

“Since most corporate competitors have the same problems with sustainability and social reputation, it’s worth trying to solve them together.”

Simon Mainwaring

“If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it because the answer is not separate from the problem.”


sustainability quote

“It’s shocking to think about how little the travel industry cares about sustainability – and it’s the basis of their business!”

Jochen Zeitz

“This is the game of those who deny climate change or who deny the need for sustainability. They say, ‘They are going to take everything away from us. They are going to take our cars away from us. They are going to take our steaks from us. They are going to take all the things that make life nice away from us. So let’s not go there.”

Frans Timmermans

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

Cree Indian Proverb

“Sustainability includes how you run your business, and my bottom line includes how you treat your people. Sustainability starts with your staff.”

Tom Douglas

21st century hero

“This mandate that I seek is about continuity and sustainability against disruption and stagnation, about moving forward versus regressing. We have to safeguard what we have already achieved. We cannot put at risk what we have; we cannot gamble away our future.”

Najib Razak

“Sustainability is a seemingly laudable goal – it tells us we need to live within our means, whether economic, ecological, or political – but it’s insufficient for uncertain times. How can we live within our means when those very means can change, swiftly and unexpectedly, beneath us?”

Jamais Cascio

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

– New England proverb

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.”

Jamais Cascio

“The plundering for profit of the world’s natural resources has threatened the very sustainability of the planet.”

John McDonnell

sustainability quote

 “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

Jane Goodall

“In terms of sustainability and what we eat and what its footprint is on the environment and the consequences of eating one thing versus another, obviously it makes a lot of sense to be eating insects. They’re incredibly plentiful. They’ve got a very short turnover rate. You could be eating termites.”

Mary Roach

“The planet’s biggest problems have to do with sustainability, environmental decline, global poverty, disease, conflict, and so forth. Really, they’re all interconnected – it’s one big problem, which is that the way we’re doing things can’t go on.”

Alex Steffen

“I agree on the need for environmental sustainability. It is no good raising gross national income while at the same time destroying natural assets.”

Hilary Benn

“After all, sustainability means running the global environment – Earth Inc. – like a corporation: with depreciation, amortization, and maintenance accounts. In other words, keeping the asset whole, rather than undermining your natural capital.”

Maurice Strong

“It angers me when sustainability gets used as a buzzword. For 90 percent of the world, sustainability is a matter of survival.”

Cameron Sinclair

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

Howard Zinn

“As a culture or a civilization, we are a bit juvenile; it’s like ‘Oh, I have all this power, whoa, this is so cool, I can transform the earth, and I can produce all this wealth. But we’re blinded by our success in a naive way. There’s more to life, actually, and I think the sustainability issue is also helpful in reminding us about that.”

Tino Sehgal

“Sustainability takes forever. And that’s the point.”

William Donough

“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it, and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”

Wangari Maathai

sustainability quote

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”

Thomas Fuller

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

“Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad or an economist.”

Sir David Attenborough

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

C.S. Lewis

“Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Vivienne Westwood

“We are running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.”

Elon Musk

“Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“Live your beliefs, and you can turn the world around.”

Henry David Thoreau

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Mahatma Gandhi

sustainability quote 8

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Walter Bagehot

“All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

“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

“Destroying a rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”

E. O. Wilson

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

“You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path—Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”

E. O. Wilson

Sustainability is a political choice, not a technical one. It’s not a question of whether we can be sustainable, but whether we choose to be.”

Gary Lawrence

“Our ancestors did great work for humanity. What will we do for the next generations?”

Lailah Gifty Akita,

And now to my all-time favorite quote, which I used to tell my children…

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons – for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.”


In Summary

Quotes are intended to intrigue the mind and provide a thought-provoking experience for the recipient. I hope that the quotes listed here have fulfilled that brief and that some have provided lots of brain nourishment.

Related articles: 

The beginner’s guide to sustainable living

Things you should know before starting a sustainable lifestyle.

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sustainability dad

Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys and an amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019. 

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He now has an army of like-hearted individuals passionate about the environment and how to affect positive change through peaceful action.

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