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37 Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change

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If you seek to inspire others to “Turn to the green side,” then a little brain gymnastics might be the key.

Quotes that inspire change from conservationists and naturalists like John Muir and Aldo Leopold, plus unexpected voices like Theodore Roosevelt, are invaluable for this purpose.

Quotes That Inspire Change

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

 Gaylord Nelson

“To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.”

 Bill Nye

“One thing leads to the other. Deforestation leads to climate change, which leads to ecosystem losses, which negatively impacts our livelihoods – it’s a vicious cycle.”

 – Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel & UN Goodwill Ambassador

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

 – E. O. Wilson

tugs-at-nature sustainability quotes that inspire change
Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


SEATTLE; July 9, 2018 – Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced it would eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores by making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available around the world.

Starbucks, the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a global commitment, anticipates the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”

Lao Tzu

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

 Albert Einstein

“If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either.”

Joseph Wood Krutch

“Mankind without Earth is Humanity without a Home.”

S.G. Rainbolt

sustainability quotes that inspire change
Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


At the end of 2017, the World Bank took a major stand against the fossil fuel industry.

The international monetary organization will withdraw almost $1 billion in annual loans from oil and gas groups. The aim is for the World Bank to cease all fossil fuel investments by the end of 2019.

The organization also aims to invest a minimum of 28% of its lending wealth in environmental causes by 2020. The World Bank made the announcement at the One Planet Summit in France in December 2017.

“The threat to the planet is us. It’s actually not a threat to the planet – it’s a threat to us.”

Margaret Atwood

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”

Arthur C. Clarke

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

E. E. Cummings

“We need to defend the interests of those whom we’ve never met and never will.”

Jeffrey D. Sachs

sustainability quotes that inspire change
Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


WASHINGTON — Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.

The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists raised the alarm, and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s. Plus, the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador.

The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit, and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Native American Proverb

“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to the skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”

Margaret Mead

“We really need to kick the carbon habit and stop making our energy from burning things. Climate change is also really important. You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another, but climate change is global.”

Sir David Attenborough, Natural World Broadcaster

sustainability quotes involved
Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


Conservation action has prevented the global extinction of at least 28 bird and mammal species since 1993, a study led by Newcastle University, UK, and BirdLife International has shown.

The species include Puerto Rican Amazon Amazona vittata, Przewalski’s Horse Equus ferus, Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi, Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus, and Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae, among others.

“We can all be heroes, joining together in a grand mission to save those living on this little blue planet.”

– Jay Inslee

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, Scientist & Activist

“Climate change is a matter of great peril but also one of great promise. We can pioneer the industries of the future, create millions of good-paying jobs, and build the clean energy economy of the future.”

Jay Inslee

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Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


German auto giant Mercedes-Benz announced its largest order of electric vehicles to date. : 1,800 electric delivery vans for retail giant Amazon to use across Europe.

Amazon plans to use the 1,800 electric delivery vans — 1,200 e-Sprinter vans and 600 e-Vito vans — to deliver goods in countries in Europe. 

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Albert Einstein

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them.”

Aldo Leopold Sand County Almanac, 1949.

“Plants become wise, too, as they age. We are not the only ones capable of it. You can literally feel the difference such maturity brings in encountering old growth trees—the young just don’t have it.”

Stephen Harrod Buhner

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Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


The United Nations Scientific and cultural agency removed the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, part of the 600-mile long Mesoamerican Reef System, the world’s second-largest, from its list of endangered world heritage sites.

And, surprisingly, it’s not because the reef is so degraded or damaged that it can’t be saved. The BBC reports that instead, after a decade of “visionary” work to protect the reef, Unesco believes it’s safe for the time being.


“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

“If we build a society based on honoring the earth, we build a society which is sustainable and has the capacity to support all life forms. Let us be the ancestors our descendants will thank.”

Winona LaDuke, Native American environmentalist

“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

John Paul II

“Wind and solar power, energy-efficient buildings, cars that go farther on a tank of gas, and other solutions can fight climate change. I know America can get on a more sustainable path – we just have to raise our voices and demand it.”

Frances Beinecke

sustainability quote protect man
Thought-Provoking Environmental Quotes That Inspire Change


2017 – Global solar investment jumps 18 percent to $160.8 billion.

The world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the other technology’s net additions – renewable, fossil fuel, or nuclear. 

Solar power also attracted far more investment, at $160.8 billion, up 18 percent, than any other technology. It made up 57 percent of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion. It towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion.


“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

Mahatma Gandhi.

“One can see from space how the human race has changed the Earth. Nearly all of the available land has been cleared of forest and is now used for agriculture or urban development.

The polar ice caps are shrinking, and the desert areas are increasing. At night, the Earth is no longer dark, but large areas are lit up. All of this is evidence that human exploitation of the planet is reaching a critical limit.

But human demands and expectations are ever-increasing. We cannot continue to pollute the atmosphere, poison the ocean, and exhaust the land. There isn’t any more available.”

Stephen Hawking, Physicist & Author

In Summary

I hope that you enjoyed my list of thought-provoking environmental quotes that inspire change and are now fully recharged for battle.

The earth needs its eco-warriors, and if you enjoyed this list, please check out some of my other related articles.

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

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