200+ Favourite Nature Quotes

This collection of nature quotes is a celebration of wild words, wild life, wild lands, and wild connection. A good quote is a nugget of truth, of distilled wisdom, often derived from years of experience and observation and thought. It's something to savour, reflect upon, and come back to time and again.

In just a few cases, I've had to abridge the quote slightly to be able to fit it into the space allowed by the gallery. The accompanying photos are mine unless stated otherwise. If you would like an occasional reminder to check the page again for new quotes, please subscribe to my newsletter.

 

~ William Blake ~

~ William Blake ~

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.

~ Dale Carnegie ~

~ Dale Carnegie ~

The sun is shining overhead. The sky is blue and sparkling. Nature is calm and in control of the world and I, as nature's child, am in tune with the Universe.

~ Sherlock Holmes ~

~ Sherlock Holmes ~

You must act, man, or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair.

~ Mark Cocker ~

~ Mark Cocker ~

The process of acknowledgement by one species unto another, observer towards the observed, is for me the greatest privilege enjoyed by any naturalist. I recommend it to everyone. It peoples every day with so many live encounters; it has crowded a lifetime with ‘friends’, and around each of their names has accumulated a deep well of memories. So that an hour by a muddy pool with a little bobbing bird is part of a life steeped in meaning.

~ L.R. Knost ~

~ L.R. Knost ~

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

~ Unknown ~

~ Unknown ~

"It's impossible," said pride. "It's risky," said experience. "It's pointless," said reason. "Give it a try," whispered the heart.

~ Mary Oliver ~

~ Mary Oliver ~

To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

~ Robinson Jeffers ~

~ Robinson Jeffers ~

The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty / Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.

~ Jana Stanfield ~

~ Jana Stanfield ~

I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.

~ Sherlock Holmes ~

~ Sherlock Holmes ~

One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.

~ Schopenhauer ~

~ Schopenhauer ~

Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

~ Andy Goldsworthy ~

~ Andy Goldsworthy ~

We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Horace (20 B.C.) ~

~ Horace (20 B.C.) ~

Drive out nature though you will with a pitchfork, yet she will always hurry back, and, before you know it, will break through your perverse disdain in triumph.

~ John A. Murray ~

~ John A. Murray ~

Everything about him was made for the water, from the head curved like a river stone, to the tiny ears flattened into the dense fur, to the fur itself - a luxurious dark brown coat so fluid and fine that it seemed he wore the very element in which he swam.

~ Rob Cowen ~

~ Rob Cowen ~

We need the intimacy of nature, the empathy and the sense it brings of our participation in a larger, living world. Crucially, we need to be in it in order to connect on this physical, emotional level, down among the soil and the stems.

~ Robert Wilson Lynd ~

~ Robert Wilson Lynd ~

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. One has to sit still like a mystic and wait. One soon learns that fussing, instead of achieving things, merely prevents things from happening. To be passive is in some circumstances the most efficient form of activity. You cannot command events: you can only put yourself in the place where events will happen to you. No impatient man has ever seen Nature.

~ John Steffler ~

~ John Steffler ~

We made ourselves human by rebelling against nature - by taking more for ourselves than nature offers our fellow creatures - but now it seems we can retain our humanity only by accepting nature - accepting limits to what we make of ourselves.

~ Nan Shepherd ~

~ Nan Shepherd ~

I have discovered that man's experience of them enlarges rock, flower and bird. The thing to be known grows with the knowing.

~ Sy Montgomery ~

~ Sy Montgomery ~

A far worse mistake than misreading an animal’s emotions is to assume the animal hasn’t any emotions at all.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

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

~ Clifford Geertz ~

~ Clifford Geertz ~

Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.

~ John A. Murray ~

~ John A. Murray ~

The word nature derives from the Latin infinitive 'nasci', to be born. That word born is as good a synonym for nature as any.

~ Charles Eisenstein ~

~ Charles Eisenstein ~

Can we connect with our love for this hurting living planet, and look at our hands and minds, our technology and our arts, and ask, How shall we best participate in the healing and the dreaming of Earth?

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

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.

~ Val Plumwood ~

~ Val Plumwood ~

An ecosystem's ability to support large predators is a mark of its ecological integrity. Crocodiles and other creatures that can take human life also present a test of our acceptance of our ecological identity. When they're allowed to live freely, these creatures indicate our preparedness to coexist with the otherness of the earth, and to recognize ourselves in mutual, ecological terms, as part of the food chain, eaten as well as eater.

~ Maxim Loskutoff ~

~ Maxim Loskutoff ~

To be human today is to deny our animal nature, though it’s always there, as the earth remains round beneath our feet even when it feels flat.

~ Chris Packham ~

~ Chris Packham ~

To our shame, we are careless with our language. We say that ‘we’ve lost 97% of our flower rich meadows since the 1930s’ or that ‘we’ve lost 86% of the Corn Bunting population’. We speak of ‘a loss of 97% of our Hedgehogs’. Loss , lost . . . as if this habitat and these species have mysteriously disappeared into the ether, as if they’ve accidentally vanished. But they haven’t – they’ve been destroyed.

~ David Wood ~

~ David Wood ~

To experience the animal looking back at us challenges the confidence of our own gaze — we lose our unquestioned privilege in the universe. Whatever we might think of our ability to subordinate the animal to our categories, all bets are off when we try to include the animal’s own perspective... It is a distinctive point of view — a way of seeing that we have no reason to suppose we can seamlessly incorporate by some imaginative extension of our own perspective.

~ WH Auden ~

~ WH Auden ~

A culture is no better than its woods. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Edward Abbey ~

~ Edward Abbey ~

Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.

~ Kara Moses ~

~ Kara Moses ~

Wildness does not have to mean the absence of human agency; we can participate in it, aligning human will with wild will, a symbiosis that heals both land and human spirit.

~ Wendell Berry ~

~ Wendell Berry ~

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

~ Francis of Assisi ~

~ Francis of Assisi ~

Ask the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.

~ Rob Cowen ~

~ Rob Cowen ~

Everybody loves nature, but I wonder if, deep down, what we really want is for nature to love us back.

~ N. Scott Momaday ~

~ N. Scott Momaday ~

Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience; to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it. He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind.

~ George Monbiot ~

~ George Monbiot ~

We have a fatal weakness: a failure to perceive incremental change. As natural systems shift from one state to another, we almost immediately forget what we have lost.

~ David Suzuki ~

~ David Suzuki ~

The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are our biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity - then we will treat each one with greater respect. This is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.

~ Neil Ansell ~

~ Neil Ansell ~

I came to the hills to find myself, and ended up losing myself instead. And that was immeasurably better.

~ Richard Jefferies ~

~ Richard Jefferies ~

The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendour of life, yields a new thought with every petal. The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time.

~ Edward Abbey ~

~ Edward Abbey ~

I am twenty miles or more from the nearest fellow human, but instead of loneliness I feel loveliness. Loveliness and a quiet exultation.

~ Gaylord Nelson ~

~ Gaylord Nelson ~

The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.

~ Hans Christian Andersen ~

~ Hans Christian Andersen ~

Just living is not enough... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Henry Beston ~

~ Henry Beston ~

What has come over our age is an alienation from Nature unexampled in human history. It has cost us our sense of reality and all but cost us our humanity.

~ J. Drew Lanham ~

~ J. Drew Lanham ~

The miracles for me are in migratory journeys and moonlit nights. Swan song is sacred. Nature seems worthy of worship.

~ Rembrandt ~

~ Rembrandt ~

Choose only one master — Nature

~ Alistair Elliot ~

~ Alistair Elliot ~

Nature is leaving earth. The species one by one Withdraw their voices. Soon the creatures shall have gone, Leaving the subtle horns of rock for nitrogen And oxygen and noble gas to play upon. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Mark Cocker ~

~ Mark Cocker ~

What we need to acquire is something that might be called 'ecological thinking': an ability to approximate, through our imaginations, to the processes of a real ecosystem. We need a way of thinking that apprehends the rhizome-like multiplicity of impacts that work through an upon land and nature... Ecological thinking entails that we see ourselves within nature, and that we understand how everything we do has ecological consequences. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Chinese proverb ~

~ Chinese proverb ~

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

~ Mary Oliver ~

~ Mary Oliver ~

I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

~ Olivia Laing ~

~ Olivia Laing ~

I am haunted by waters. It may be that I’m too dry in myself, too English, or it may be simply that I’m susceptible to beauty, but I do not feel truly at ease on this earth unless there’s a river nearby.

~ Chris Jordan ~

~ Chris Jordan ~

Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time? And allow ourselves to feel, deeply enough, that it transforms us and our future?

~ Neil Ansell ~

~ Neil Ansell ~

The bird in the bush is worth ten in the hand. We take pleasure from watching birds partly because they are beautiful, but the birds that we see in our minds are more than just feather and bone, their appeal is not simply aesthetic. We watch them because of what they tell us about ourselves, and about our sense of what it means to be wild and free.

~ Wendell Berry ~

~ Wendell Berry ~

Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.

~ Alan Watts ~

~ Alan Watts ~

In many so-called primitive cultures it is a requirement or tribal initiation to spend a lengthy period of time alone in the forests or mountains, a period of coming to terms with the solitude and nonhumanity of nature so as to discover who, or what, one really is—a discovery hardly possible while the community is telling you what you are, or ought to be. Photo: Joshua Groenendijk

~ Beryl Markham ~

~ Beryl Markham ~

We fly, but we have not ‘conquered’ the air. Nature presides in all her dignity, permitting us the study and the use of such of her forces as we may understand. It is when we presume to intimacy, having been granted only tolerance, that the harsh stick falls across our impudent knuckles and we rub the pain, staring upward, startled by our ignorance.

~ David George Haskell ~

~ David George Haskell ~

The fundamental unit of biology is relationship, is interconnection

~ Caitlin Moran ~

~ Caitlin Moran ~

When cynicism becomes the default language, playfulness and invention become impossible. Cynicism scours through a culture like bleach, wiping out millions of small, seedling ideas.

~ Keith Thomas ~

~ Keith Thomas ~

The explicit acceptance of the view that the world does not exist for man alone can be fairly regarded as one of the greatest revolutions in modern Western thought.

~ George M. Trevelyan ~

~ George M. Trevelyan ~

By the side of religion, by the side of science, by the side of poetry and art stands natural beauty, not as a rival to these, but as the common inspirer and nourisher of them all.

~ David Everett ~

~ David Everett ~

Large streams from little fountains flow, Tall oaks from little acorns grow.

~ Sylvia Earle ~

~ Sylvia Earle ~

I'm asked sometimes, 'How did you get to be a biologist?' And I say, 'It's really easy. You start out as a little kid, and then you never grow up.'

~ Winston Churchill ~

~ Winston Churchill ~

In casting up this dread balance-sheet, contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair.

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

I return to the wilderness to remember what I have forgotten, that the world can be wholesome and beautiful, that the harmony and integrity of ecosystems at peace is a mirror to what we have lost.

~ Robert Swan ~

~ Robert Swan ~

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Somerset Maugham ~

~ Somerset Maugham ~

How fortunate is his lot who can accept the charming emotions that Nature gives him without trying to analyse the charm!

~ Walt Whitman ~

~ Walt Whitman ~

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd, I stand and look at them long and long.

~ Lorraine Anderson ~

~ Lorraine Anderson ~

Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.

~ Valerie Andrews ~

~ Valerie Andrews ~

As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

There has never been a greater need than there is today for the reporter and interpreter of the natural world.

~ Carl Safina ~

~ Carl Safina ~

Our descendants will either revile or revere us for what we do while we have the planet’s reins in our hands for a few minutes. We are each newly arrived and temporary tourists on this planet, yet we find ourselves custodians of the world for all people yet unborn. A little humility, and forbearance, might comport.

~ Mary Austin ~

~ Mary Austin ~

Man is not himself only, he is all that he sees; All that flows to him from a thousand sources, He is the land, the lift of its mountain lines; The reach of its valleys.

~ Mark Cocker ~

~ Mark Cocker ~

Replenishing our collective spirit involves our immersion in nature's unfathomable and obliterating otherness, so that it can purge the travails and toxins of our own making.

~ John Lister-Kaye ~

~ John Lister-Kaye ~

A selfish and blind preoccupation with material interests has caused us to reduce this cosmos, so marvellous to him with eyes to see it, to a hard, matter-of-fact place.

~ Thomas Henry Huxley ~

~ Thomas Henry Huxley ~

The question of all questions for mankind - the problem which underlies all others and which is more deeply interesting than any other - is the ascertainment of the place which man occupies in nature.

~ Hal Herring ~

~ Hal Herring ~

Your task, the song that will be sung of you, is to perceive the glory and the beauty of creation. Look carefully, make the song as powerful as possible. Bear your burden. Sing.

~ Ritu Ghatourey ~

~ Ritu Ghatourey ~

Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life.

~ Herman Melville ~

~ Herman Melville ~

".... there is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men."

~ Peter Reason ~

~ Peter Reason ~

Opening oneself to the wide world and describing what one finds with love and passion is a political and spiritual act.

~ Thomas W. Higginson ~

~ Thomas W. Higginson ~

I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird’s egg.

~ David Attenborough ~

~ David Attenborough ~

People say to me, ‘How did you first become interested in animals?’, and I look at them and I say: ‘Was there a time when you were not interested in animals?’ It’s the first sort of pleasure, delight and joy you get as a child. As a child grows, he becomes aware of all sorts of things, sex or computers and the internet and so on. But if he loses the first treasure, he’s lost something that will give him joy and delight for the rest of his life.

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

Awe is the moment when ego surrenders to wonder.

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

I have felt bound by a solemn obligation to do what I could — if I didn’t at least try I could never again be happy in nature. But now I can believe I have at least helped a little. It would be unrealistic to believe that one book could bring a complete change.

~ Victor Hugo ~

~ Victor Hugo ~

C'est une triste chose de songer que la nature parle et que le genre humain n'écoute pas.

~ Michael McCarthy ~

~ Michael McCarthy ~

It is time for a different, formal defence of nature. We should offer up not just the notion of being sensible and responsible about it, which is sustainable development, nor the notion of its mammoth utilitarian and financial value, which is ecosystem services, but a third way, something different entirely: we should offer up what it means to our spirits; the love of it. We should offer up its joy.

~ Paul Hawken ~

~ Paul Hawken ~

Global warming isn’t happening to us. It’s happening for us. It’s a gift. Every system without feedback dies. This is feedback. It’s an offering to re-imagine who we are and what we can create with our minds, our hearts, and our brilliance.

~ Nan Shepherd ~

~ Nan Shepherd ~

Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.

~ Karen Blixen ~

~ Karen Blixen ~

No domestic animal can be as still as a wild animal. The civilized people have lost the aptitude of stillness, and must take lessons in silence from the wild before they are accepted by it.

~ Florence Caplow ~

~ Florence Caplow ~

Wherever you are in your life, whatever lies ahead of you, I offer you this story and this word... Shikataganai. What is, is. Not resignation or passivity, but perhaps the beginning, the first step, when faced with great difficulty: to admit and accept the place where you are, no matter how grim. And then to have the courage to turn and begin your garden, one stone at a time, one tree gently planted into the yielding earth. (abridged)

~ Rebecca Solnit ~

~ Rebecca Solnit ~

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable.

~ Mary Oliver ~

~ Mary Oliver ~

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave like a blue flower, in his beak he carries a silver leaf. I think this is the prettiest world--so long as you don’t mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn’t have its splash of happiness?

~ Alexander v. Humboldt ~

~ Alexander v. Humboldt ~

Follow me gladly into the thickets of the forest, into the immeasurable steppes, and out upon the spine of the Andes range... In the mountains is freedom!

~ Archibald MacLeish ~

~ Archibald MacLeish ~

To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold - brothers who know now they are truly brothers.

~ Michael McCarthy ~

~ Michael McCarthy ~

It is extraordinary: we are wrecking the earth, as burglars will sometimes wantonly wreck a house. It is a strange and terrible moment in history. We who ourselves depend upon it utterly are laying waste to the biosphere, the thin, planet-encircling envelope of life, rushing to degrade the atmosphere above and the ocean below and the soil at the centre and everything it supports. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Bernard DeVoto ~

~ Bernard DeVoto ~

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.

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.

~ Wallace Stegner ~

~ Wallace Stegner ~

We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.

~ Richard Louv ~

~ Richard Louv ~

We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole.

~ Paul Kingsnorth ~

~ Paul Kingsnorth ~

While we might not need a new religion, we do need a new sense of the sacred or an awakening of the most ancient one: a sense of awe, wonder, and respect for something greater than us. What could that something greater be? There is no need to theorize about it. What is greater than us is the earth itself - life - and we are folded into it, a small part of it, and we have work to do. Photo: Frank Hajek

Will we ever be wise enough to realise it is a condition of wildness that it be unmanaged?

~ Karen Blixen ~

~ Karen Blixen ~

Camping places fix themselves in your mind as if you had spent long periods of your life in them. You will remember a curve of your wagon track in the grass of the plain, like the features of a friend.

~ George Monbiot ~

~ George Monbiot ~

Hypocrisy is the gap between your aspirations and your actions. Greens have high aspirations – they want to live more ethically – and they will always fall short. But the alternative to hypocrisy isn’t moral purity (no one manages that), but cynicism. Give me hypocrisy any day. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Joyce Kilmer ~

~ Joyce Kilmer ~

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

~ Jimmy Carter ~

~ Jimmy Carter ~

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.

~ David Orr ~

~ David Orr ~

It makes far better sense to reshape ourselves to fit a finite planet than to attempt to reshape the planet to fit our infinite wants. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ David Abram ~

~ David Abram ~

What is magic? In the deepest sense, magic is an experience. It's the experience of finding oneself alive within a world that is itself alive. It is the experience of contact and communication between oneself and something that is profoundly different from oneself: a swallow, a frog, a spider weaving its web...

~ Standing Bear ~

~ Standing Bear ~

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.

~ Gary Snyder ~

~ Gary Snyder ~

Why should the peculiarities of human consciousness be the narrow standard by which other creatures are judged?

~ Kamala Markandaya ~

~ Kamala Markandaya ~

Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid, but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ E.B. White ~

~ E.B. White ~

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

~ Peter Reason ~

~ Peter Reason ~

To seek that which is special stops us from seeing what is before our eyes: the specialness of the everyday, how everything rolls together in being and non-being, how we are every moment part of a living planet.

~ Eleanora Duse ~

~ Eleanora Duse ~

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.

~ Michael Smith ~

~ Michael Smith ~

Mindblowing, really: the mysterious rhythms and patternings of nature, the will-to-life manifesting itself through countless variations in form, across many scales, and the realisation that nature is far more ingenious than we are, and the world is far richer and stranger than we will ever understand.

~ Wendell Berry ~

~ Wendell Berry ~

We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits.

~ Arne Naess ~

~ Arne Naess ~

We need the immense variety of sources of joy opened through increased sensitivity toward the richness and diversity of life, through the profound cherishing of free natural landscapes.

~ Walt Whitman ~

~ Walt Whitman ~

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Aldo Leopold ~

~ Aldo Leopold ~

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

Some evil spell had settled on the community; mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens, and the cattle and sheep sickened and died. Everywhere was the shadow of death.

~ Adlai Stevenson ~

~ Adlai Stevenson ~

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft.

~ Ferris Jabr ~

~ Ferris Jabr ~

To recognize that we are not alone, that we share our world with other conscious, thinking, speaking beings, requires us to sacrifice a great deal of ego. At the same time, it folds us, palpably and inextricably, into the fabric of a much grander universe.

~ Pliny the Elder ~

~ Pliny the Elder ~

When I have observed Nature she has always induced me to deem no statement about her incredible.

~ John Steinbeck ~

~ John Steinbeck ~

The true biologist deals with life, with teeming boisterous life, and learns from it, learns that the first rule of life is living.

~ Edward Abbey ~

~ Edward Abbey ~

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ George Monbiot ~

~ George Monbiot ~

Acknowledging our love for the living world does something that a library full of papers on sustainable development and ecosystem services cannot: it engages the imagination as well as the intellect. It inspires belief; and this is essential to the lasting success of any movement.

~ John Galsworthy ~

~ John Galsworthy ~

It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.

~ Michael McCarthy ~

~ Michael McCarthy ~

There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.

~ Sara Teasdale ~

~ Sara Teasdale ~

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pool singing at night, And wild plum-trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn, Would scarcely know that we were gone

~ Bill Watterson ~

~ Bill Watterson ~

Look! A trickle of water running through some dirt! I'd say our afternoon just got booked solid! (from Calvin & Hobbes)

~ Mary Oliver ~

~ Mary Oliver ~

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.

~ Aldo Leopold ~

~ Aldo Leopold ~

I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Anne Frank ~

~ Anne Frank ~

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

~ Jacques Cousteau ~

~ Jacques Cousteau ~

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.

~ Satish Kumar ~

~ Satish Kumar ~

Sometimes I come across a tree... loving, compassionate, still, unambitious, enlightened, in eternal meditation, giving pleasure to a pilgrim, shade to a cow, berries to a bird, beauty to its surroundings, health to its neighbors, branches for the fire, leaves for the soil, asking nothing in return, in total harmony with the wind and the rain. How much can I learn from a tree? The tree is my church, the tree is my temple, the tree is my mantra, the tree is my poem and my prayer.

~ Helen Macdonald ~

~ Helen Macdonald ~

Surrounding myself with animals to feel less alone was a mistake: The greatest comfort is in knowing their lives are not about us at all. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Paul Kingsnorth ~

~ Paul Kingsnorth ~

We like to think that the fate of the Earth and the fate of human worlds are the same thing, but we're not as important as that.

~ Richard Conniff ~

~ Richard Conniff ~

Wildlife is and should be useless in the same way art, music, poetry and even sports are useless. They are useless in the sense that they do nothing more than raise our spirits, make us laugh or cry, frighten, disturb and delight us. They connect us not just to what’s weird, different, other, but to a world where we humans do not matter nearly as much as we like to think. And that should be enough.

~ John Ruskin ~

~ John Ruskin ~

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

~ Nan Shepherd ~

~ Nan Shepherd ~

Oh burnie with the glass-white shiver, Singing over stone, So quick, so clear, a hundred year Singing one song alone.

~ Drew Dellinger ~

~ Drew Dellinger ~

It's 3:23 in the morning and I'm awake because my great great grandchildren won't let me sleep my great great grandchildren ask me in dreams what did you do while the planet was plundered? what did you do when the earth was unravelling? Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.

~ John Burroughs ~

~ John Burroughs ~

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.

~ Carl Sagan ~

~ Carl Sagan ~

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

~ Ivan Illich ~

~ Ivan Illich ~

Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step… If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.

~ Liz Cunningham ~

~ Liz Cunningham ~

The passion for rescue doesn’t calculate odds. Its risks are the ones that make life all the more worth living, risks with heart. The passion for rescue is a lived, breathing hope.

~ Dennis Gabor ~

~ Dennis Gabor ~

Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature.

~ Thomas Wolfe ~

~ Thomas Wolfe ~

Nature is the one place where miracles not only happen, but they happen all the time.

~ Sylvia Earle ~

~ Sylvia Earle ~

I wish you would use all means at your disposal -- films, expeditions, the web, new submarines -- and campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas -- hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.

~ Ecclesiastes ~

~ Ecclesiastes ~

Therefore the death of man, and of beasts is one, and the condition of them both is equal: as man dieth, so they also die: all things breathe alike, and man hath nothing more than beast: all things are subject to vanity.

~ Paul Ehrlich ~

~ Paul Ehrlich ~

In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.

~ Dylan Thomas ~

~ Dylan Thomas ~

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~ David Attenborough ~

~ David Attenborough ~

I've never met a child who is not interested in natural history.

~ Archibald Belaney ~

~ Archibald Belaney ~

Remember, you belong to nature, not it to you.

~ Mary Elizabeth Frye ~

~ Mary Elizabeth Frye ~

Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.

~ Unknown ~

~ Unknown ~

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been re-arranged by the hand of man. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ William Wordsworth ~

~ William Wordsworth ~

Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

~ Aristotle ~

~ Aristotle ~

In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Jane Austen ~

~ Jane Austen ~

They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life.

~ Emily Graslie ~

~ Emily Graslie ~

In times like these, I look to the dung beetle, a small and seemingly inconsequential creature, who makes a living by creating something useful out of someone else's crap. Without these dung beetles, we'd live in a world quite literally drowning in fecal matter. Today, let's be the dung beetles of the world, and help - little by little - to clean up where we can, and to roll into the next day.

~ Richard Louv ~

~ Richard Louv ~

More than ever, building a future generation of conservationists will depend on helping children and adults fall in love with the natural world.

~ Leo Tolstoy ~

~ Leo Tolstoy ~

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.

~ Dr. Seuss ~

~ Dr. Seuss ~

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

~ Gary Snyder ~

~ Gary Snyder ~

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.

~ Carl Safina ~

~ Carl Safina ~

They glide up to snatch breath without breaking stride, then run along submerged, until coming easily again for the next inspiration of air. All this they do in one fluent movement, seemingly having as little need to think about breathing as we. Their fluid maneuvers are excruciatingly beautiful, a living embroidery of motion through the ocean’s wrinkled cloth. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Leonard Cohen ~

~ Leonard Cohen ~

The birds they sang at the break of day Start again I seem to hear them say Do not dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be.

~ Somerset Maugham ~

~ Somerset Maugham ~

The verdure was so pure that my mind became pure also and I felt like a child. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Baba Dioum ~

~ Baba Dioum ~

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.

~ William Butler Yeats ~

~ William Butler Yeats ~

Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand. For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Hubert Reeves ~

~ Hubert Reeves ~

Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he's destroying is this God he's worshipping.

~ Unknown ~

~ Unknown ~

And into the forest I go, To lose my mind and find my soul. Photo: Christine Paige

~ Sylvia Earle ~

~ Sylvia Earle ~

No water, no life. No blue, no green. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Gavin Maxwell ~

~ Gavin Maxwell ~

He was boneless, mercurial, sinuous, wonderful… he was an otter in his own element and the most beautiful thing in nature I had ever seen. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Malachy Tallack ~

~ Malachy Tallack ~

No one can disconnect themselves entirely from the world; we are all dependent, always. But if we fail to recognise and consciously reassert these connections and this dependence, if we fail to build placefulness and community, then we risk being homeless. And that is no kind of freedom at all.

~ David Orr ~

~ David Orr ~

Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.

~ Wendell Berry ~

~ Wendell Berry ~

What I stand for, is what I stand on.

~ Unknown ~

~ Unknown ~

The mountains are my bones The rivers my veins The forests are my thoughts And the stars are my dreams The ocean is my heart Its pounding is my pulse The songs of the earth write The music of my soul. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Archbishop Tutu ~

~ Archbishop Tutu ~

We must never forget, we are stewards of this beautiful Earth. Not masters of it.

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

~ Terry Tempest Williams ~

If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go.

~ Richard Louv ~

~ Richard Louv ~

The future will belong to the nature-smart.

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

In Wildness is the preservation of the World.

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

~ William Blake ~

~ William Blake ~

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

~ E. O. Wilson ~

~ E. O. Wilson ~

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ E.B. White ~

~ E.B. White ~

Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else — the world is really loaded with them. I do not find them repulsive or revolting, any more than I find anything in nature repulsive or revolting, and I think it is too bad that children are often corrupted by their elders in this hate campaign. Spiders are skilful, amusing and useful, and only in rare instances has anybody ever come to grief because of a spider.

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox ~

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox ~

And I am my brother's keeper, And I shall fight his fight; And speak the word for beast and bird Till the world shall set things right.

~ Iris Murdoch ~

~ Iris Murdoch ~

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.

~ Rudyard Kipling ~

~ Rudyard Kipling ~

And what is a man that he should not run with his brothers?" said Mowgli. "I was born in the Jungle. I have obeyed the Law of the Jungle, and there is no wolf of ours from whose paws I have not pulled a thorn. Surely they are my brothers!

~ Wendell Berry ~

~ Wendell Berry ~

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ E. O. Wilson ~

~ E. O. Wilson ~

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.

~ Jim Perrin ~

~ Jim Perrin ~

The gifts that come, when you move softly within a landscape!

~ Gus Speth ~

~ Gus Speth ~

I used to think the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science we could address those problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy - and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation and we scientists don’t know how to do that.

~ Rachel Carson ~

~ Rachel Carson ~

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Oliver Sacks ~

~ Oliver Sacks ~

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

~ Aldo Leopold ~

~ Aldo Leopold ~

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.

~ Charles Darwin ~

~ Charles Darwin ~

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ Emily Dickinson ~

~ Emily Dickinson ~

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.

~ The 14th Dalai Lama ~

~ The 14th Dalai Lama ~

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

~ Cree Indian proverb ~

~ Cree Indian proverb ~

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

~ John Masefield ~

~ John Masefield ~

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

~ Thomas Carlyle ~

~ Thomas Carlyle ~

Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.

~ Lord Byron ~

~ Lord Byron ~

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. Photo: Peter Groenendijk

~ Gerard Hopkins ~

~ Gerard Hopkins ~

What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet. Photo: Frank Hajek

~ David Attenborough ~

~ David Attenborough ~

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

~ Wendy Townsend ~

~ Wendy Townsend ~

Often, I need to be reminded to slow down and pay attention—to the ground I’m walking on, to the life there, to my beating heart, to the moment and each breath. An encounter with an animal gives me all this and more.

~ Henry Beston ~

~ Henry Beston ~

Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion... And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man... They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. (abridged)

With the right words, you can change the world.

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© 2014-2020, Jessica Groenendijk