A collection of quotes and sayings relating to the environment, nature & trees - as a step forward in a new new understanding of our symbiotic relationship with nature. Through the eyes of compassion, love and nurturing, we can play our individual parts in conservation, ecology, forest conservation and other environmental aspects affecting our planet (and ultimately us).
The Wonder & Magic of Nature
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
Fieldes have eies and woods have eares.
~ John Heywood, 1565 ~
To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter;
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest
or a wildflower in spring
- these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
~ John Burroughs, Naturalist (1837-1921) ~
If one way be better than another,
that you may be sure is Nature's way.
~ Aristotle - Nichomachean Ethics ~
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~ George Gordon, Lord Byron
from 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' ~
God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone,
but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.
~ Martin Luther ~
Nature does not hurry,
yet everything is accomplished.
~ Lao Tzu ~
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life.
~ Rachel Carson ~
In wilderness I sense the miracle of life,
and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
~ Charles A. Lindbergh,
from ' Life', 22 December 1967 ~
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet,
Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.
~ Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid ~
Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.
~ Albert Einstein ~
Nature is the art of God.
~ Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1635 ~
If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand,
rejoice, for your soul is alive.
~ Eleonora Duse ~
I remember a hundred lovely lakes,
and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir
and cedar and poplar trees.
The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk,
opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.
It has given me blessed release from care and worry
and the troubled thinking of our modern day.
It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful.
Whenever the pressure of our complex city life
thins my blood and benumbs my brain,
I seek relief in the trail;
and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn,
my cares fall from me
- I am happy.
~ Hamlin Garland - McClure's, February 1899 ~
The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
~ Sam Walter Foss ~
We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.
~ Francis Bacon ~
Trees Are Precious
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~ Joyce Kilmer
from 'Trees', 1914 ~
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
~ Ogden Nash
from 'Song of the Open Road', 1933 ~
God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!"
~ Joseph Campbell ~
When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees,
the ordinary, and shutting out the sky
with their thickly inter-twined branches,
do not the stately shadows of the wood,
the stillness of the place,
and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern
then strike you with the presence of a deity?
~ Seneca ~
It is not so much for its beauty
that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts,
as for that subtle something,
that quality of air that emanation from old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~
Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
The creation of a thousand forests
is in one acorn.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
For in the true nature of things,
if we rightly consider,
every green tree is far more glorious
than if it were made of gold and silver. ~
~ Martin Luther King ~
Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
from 'Woodnotes' ~
I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees
as tempts me to respect a man
in exact proportion to his respect for them.
~ James Russell Lowell ~
The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand.
~ Author Unknown,
quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938 ~
Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart
~ Candy Polgar ~
He that planteth a tree is a servant of God,
he provideth a kindness for many generations,
andfaces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
~ Henry Van Dyke ~
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day
climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument
is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
~ Wendell Berry ~
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass
is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
~ Helen Keller ~
He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom, from 'Plant a Tree' ~
Caring for Our Environment
There is hope
if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves,
that heartfelt knowledge
that we are caretakers of this planet.
~ Brooke Medicine Eagle ~
Every creature is better alive than dead,
men and moose and pine trees,
and he who understands it aright
will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
~ Henry David Thoreau,
from 'Chesuncook' The Maine Woods, 1848 ~
The struggle to save the global environment is in one way
much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler,
for this time the war is with ourselves.
We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.
~ Al Gore ~
Our children may save us
if they are taught to care properly for the planet;
but if not, it may be back to the Ice Age or the caves
from where we first emerged.
Then we'll have to view the universe above
from a cold, dark place.
No more jet skis, nuclear weapons, plastic crap,
broken pay phones,
drugs, cars, waffle irons, or television.
Come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea.
~ Jimmy Buffet
from 'Mother Earth News' March-April 1990 ~
A human being is part of the whole,
called by us "Universe,"
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings
as something separated from the rest
- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and
to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
~ Albert Einstein, 1950 ~
It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched
so that a tree will rot where it falls,
a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity,
a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water
- and moderns may at least see
what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood.
~ Bernand De Voto, Fortune, June 1947 ~
Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
~ George Carlin ~
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 must not be forced to explore the universe in search of a new home
because we have made the Earth inhospitable, even uninhabitable.
For if we do not solve the environmental and related social problems
that beset us on Earth - pollution, toxic contamination,
resource depletion, prejudice, poverty, hunger
- those problems will surely accompany us to other worlds.
~ Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz
from 'Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment' 1996 ~
Something will have gone out of us as a people
if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed;
if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into
comic books and plastic cigarette cases;
if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species
into zoos or to extinction;
if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams
and push our paved roads through the last of the silence,
so that never again will Americans be free in their own country
from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste.
~ Wallace Stegner,
letter to David E. Pesonen of the Wildland Research Center,
3 December 1960 ~
To waste, to destroy our natural resources,
to 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.
7th Annual Message, 3 December 1907 ~
We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.
~ Thomas Fuller
'Gnomologia' 1732 ~
Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature?
Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees
is a canary in a pet shop window?
When the only wild animal he knows is a rat -
glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum?
When the only tree he touches
is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen
that shades his gifts on Christmas morning?
~ Frank N. Ikard,
North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968 ~
The earth we abuse and the living things we kill
will, in the end, take their revenge;
for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.
~ Marya Mannes 'More in Anger' 1958 ~
How long can men thrive between walls of brick,
walking on asphalt pavements,
breathing the fumes of coal and of oil,
growing, working, dying,
with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?
~ Charles A. Lindbergh,
Reader's Digest, November 1939 ~