Also see Mountains, Trees, Gardening, and Songs about the Earth.
Remember EARTH DAY on April 22!
- Be Gentle With the Earth
- The Beauty of Nature
- Circle of Life
- Clear Blue Skies
- Hurt Not the Earth
- Less is More
- Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way
- Nature is the Art of God
- This Land is Your Land
Quotes and Facts
- Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- Air pollution is turning Mother Nature prematurely gray. (Irv Kupcinet)
- Among these treasures of our land is water--fast becoming our most valuable, most prized, most critical resource. A blessing where properly used--but it can bring devastation and ruin when left uncontrolled. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
- As soils are depleted, human health, vitality and intelligence go with them. (Louis Bromfield)
- Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. (Henrik Tikkanen)
- The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only hope. (William Cronon)
- Children today may live to see the first man on Mars and the last elm tree in the United States.
- The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. (Ralph Waldo Emerson or John Muir)
- Conservation is ethically sound. It is rooted in our love of the land, our respect for the rights of others, our devotion to the rule of law. (Lyndon Baines Johnson)
- Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of men. (Gifford Pinchot)
- The control man has secured over nature has far outrun his control over himself. (Ernest Jones)
- Don't clean up your garden until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. Many butterflies, bees and other pollinator are overwintering in the dead leaves and hollowed out stems of last year's plants. If you clean up your garden, you will be throwing away this year's butterflies, bees and other beneficial pollinators.
- The economic and technological triumphs of the past few years have not solved as many problems as we thought they would, and, in fact, have brought us new problems we did not foresee. (Henry Ford II)
- Every time I have some moment on a seashore, or in the mountains, or sometimes in a quiet forest, I think that this is why the environment has to be preserved. (Bonnie Stepenoff)
- Everybody needs places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength (John Muir)
- Extinction is forever.
- The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time. (John Muir)
- Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. (Kahlil Gibran)
- The future of mankind lies waiting for those who will come to understand their lives and take up their responsibilities to all living things. (V. Deloria)
- The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. (Kahlil Gibran)
- God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. (John Muir)
- Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. (Henry David Thoreau)
- How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew! (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- 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 Lindbergh)
- How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
- Humans simply cannot exist in the natural world without exerting some impact. Nevertheless, while we cannot hope to have no impact, we can hope to have less impact. (R.F. Dasmann)
- Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees. (Revelation 7:3)
- I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet. (E. B. White)
- I have come to terms with the future. From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth. Plant trees. Kill no living things. Live in harmony with all creatures. I will restore the earth where I am. Use no more of its resources than I need. And listen, listen to what it is telling me. (M.J. Slim Hooey)
- I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend? (Robert Redford)
- 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.
- I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it. (Henry Emerson Fosdick)
- If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. (Rachel Carson)
- If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold or recycled, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production. (Pete Seeger)
- If man was renting the earth, he would have been evicted long ago.
- If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either. (Joseph Wood Krutch)
- I'm not an environmentalist. I'm an Earth warrior. (Darryl Cherney)
- In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. (John Muir)
- In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small plant.
- In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. (Charles Lindbergh)
- It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. (Upton Sinclair)
- It is estimated that it would take glass one million years to decompose in a landfill but it can be recycled an infinite number of times.
- It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. (Ansel Adams)
- 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)
- Last week fifty people picketed City Hall demanding that something be done about air pollution. Then they got into their 47 cars and went home.
- Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her own affairs better than we do. (Michel de Montaigne)
- Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries. (Jimmy Carter)
- A little boy on the beach was throwing starfish back into the ocean after the tide has gone out.
Someone asked, "Why bother? You can't save them all. There are too many here to make a difference."
He replied, "Well, it makes a difference to THIS one," as he tossed another one back into the water.
- Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. (Albert Einstein)
- Man--despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments--owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.
- Man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard. (Standing Bear)
- Maybe we ought to return the atom and mark it "opened by mistake".
- Michael Bloomberg owns two helicopters, three planes, six boats, eleven houses, forty-two cars and says YOU should take the bus to help fight climate change.
- The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. (Henry Miller)
- The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value. (Theodore Roosevelt)
- Nature thrives on patience; man on impatience. (Paul Boese)
- No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. (Jack Kerouac)
- Now the silences come in a single lifetime, in a single year...when species die, leaving a silent space in the world song that can never be filled. (Charles Delint)
- 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)
- Really we create nothing. We merely plagiarize nature. (Jean Baitaillon)
- The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago...had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. (Henry Havelock Ellis)
- There is no such thing as ‘away'. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere. (Annie Leonard)
- There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in 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. (Lord Byron)
- Those wishing to exploit the land for their own private benefit never cease their political efforts. Those who would protect the natural world cannot afford to do less. (Leonardo DiCaprio)
- Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature. (Dennis Gabor)
- To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival. (Wendell Berry)
- To say nothing is out here is incorrect; to say the desert is stingy with everything except space and light, stone and earth is closer to the truth. (William Least Heat Moon)
- Touch the earth, love the earth, honor the earth; her plains, her valley, her hills land her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. (Henry Beston)
- A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his father but borrowed from his children. (John Madison)
- A true environmentalist isn't the person who says the river is dirty. A true environmentalist is the one who cleans up the river.
- Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
- The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun. (Ralph Nader)
- We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. (John F. Kennedy)
- We fill the hands and nurseries of our children with all manner of dolls, drums, and horses, withdrawing their eyes from the plain face of nature, the sun and moon, the animals, the water, and stones, which should be their toys. (Emerson)
- We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need? (Lee Iacocca)
- What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? (Henry David Thoreau)
- Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs 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)
- Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him? (Pierre Troubetzkoy)
- The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough. (Bede Jarrett)
- Black holes are where God divided by zero.
- Death is nature's way of telling you the EPA is right.
- Dust is just mud with the juice squeezed out.
- EARTH FIRST! We'll stripmine the other planets later.
- Entropy isn't what it used to be.
- Entropy requires no maintenance.
- Hug a Logger--you'll never go back to trees.
- It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. (Vice President Al Gore)
- Man to patent attorney: "I've invented a pop sickle that glows in the dark."
Attorney: "Amazing! What's the secret?"
Man: "You just use the water downstream from the nuclear power plant."
- Nuclear power company CEO to stockholders: "OK, say we experience a total meltdown and 200,000 people die. That leaves us approximately 100,000 customers. We triple their rates and we're back on out feet in no time."
- Plutonium leaks are made by fools like me, but only God can make a nuclear reactor that's 93 million miles from the nearest grade school! (Anne Herbert)
- Suburbia: where they tear out the trees and then name streets after them.
- Superintendent to School Principal: "How's the asbestos removal from your school coming along?"
Principal: "Slow but steady. Every day we inhale a little and take it out with us!"
- There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all. (Robert Orben)
- Wanted: Man to assemble nuclear fissionable isotope, molecular reactivity counters and three-phase cyclotronic uranium photosynthesizers. No experience necessary.
- We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like. (Alfred Hitchcock)
The Nine Rs of Recycling
Rethink - your choices
Refuse - single use
Reduce - consumption
Reuse - everything
Refill - when you can
Refurbish - old stuff
Repair - before you replace
Repurpose - creatively
Recycle - as a last option
Millions of Stars
One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be see many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.
Clanking, groaning, yellow monster
Defiling the air with gaseous petard,
Wantonly disfiguring the passive earth
With fiendish cuts--unhealing scars
That weep with blood of creation.
Some grotesque mass of man-made blocks
Shall rise, to stare with vacuous eyes
At passersby--who also weep--
For beauty lost.
(Alan M. Eddison)
The Gifts of Earth
(words and music by Frances LeBeau)
See the world around you,
All the wonders of the land,
The woods and fields and flowers,
Sunny skies and seas and sands.
It's a gift for all the people,
To live in this great land,
Where the beauty all around us,
Teaches us to understand . . .
That the gifts of earth are in our hands.
To life we hold the key.
So let's clean America, make our land
A home for you and me.
Take a look around you,
All the wonders of the land.
Think about tomorrow.
Take the time to understand . . .
(Ironically this is the "environmental song" of the state of Louisiana.)
From Man Walks Among Us
(written and performed by Marty Robbins)
Warm are the winds on the desert
A whirlwind is dancing around
I stop to survey all the beauty that's here
When a shadow moves out 'cross the ground
It's an eagle that circles above me
And he screams to his friends on the hill
"Stay close together, move not a feather
Man walks among us, be still, be still
Man walks among us, be still"
Everything hides, but I see them
I've spotted an old mother quail
I look close and see, looking right back at me
The eyes of a young cottontail
I see a coyote sneaking
As he crawls through the brush on the hill
And the eagle screams down,
"Stay close to the ground
Man walks among us, be still, be still
Man walks among us, be still."
Twenty feet high in the side of a cactus
I see a hole where the butcher bird stays
If mortals could choose,
And if heaven should ask us
Here's where I'd want to spend all of my days
Soon will be gone all the desert
Cities will cover each hill
Today will just be a fond memory
Man walks among us, be still, be still
Man walks among us, be still.
Keep the Scene Clean!
There's nature's beauty all around,
And many times I think I've found
A lovely place, unseen by man--
Until I spot a soft drink can!
I gaze upon a gorgeous view
With hills arrayed in every hue,
Where surely no one's bee; but wait--
Another dirty paper plate!
The bottle that contained your beer
Just isn't going to disappear
And all those cans with pull-top lids
Will now outlast the pyramids;
And yet no matter where you roam
It costs no more to take them home.
Moreover, this unsightly trash
Can be converted into cash;
For you can make a 'tidy' sum,
So, let's enjoy the wilderness,
But please don't leave it in a mess!
Turn That Faucet Off!
(Norah Smaridge, from Only Silly People Waste)
What would we do if EVERYONE
Forgot and let the faucets run
And filled the bath right to the brim
(In case a whale stopped by to swim?)
There'd be BIG trouble by and by
For, when the reservoirs ran dry.
Instead of having quite a lot
We'd have NO water, cold or hot.
No water for the baby's tub,
No way to give the dog a scrub,
No ice in the refrigerator,
No drink to give your alligator,
No way to mop the kitchen floor
Or run the washer anymore.
There'd soon be lots of spots and mess
And children stuck with stickiness--
And even GROWN-UPS going places
With grubby knees and dirty faces!
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)
Amber Waves of Grain
When cavemen first by greed were led
To bop their neighbors on the head,
I have no doubt the caveman said,
"This land belongs to me."
With sticks and stones, they staked their claim,
And then, of course, they used the same
To punish those whose monstrous blame
Was lacking wit to see
That every inch of fertile plain
Was preordained for private gain--
And that is why our laws disdain
A rule that ought to be.
The land is by God's grace designed
To feed and shelter all mankind,
And yet within our laws we find
This sadly sacred oath:
That owners of the land can sell
Its future output to the swell
Of sudden gain, as dale and knell
Become the prey of growth.
When Roman legions scourged the earth
With salt, they left and awesome dearth
No worse than that brought by a birth
Our simple nation cheers:
By creeds and laws we now allow
The fertile land beneath the plow
In Florida will wholly bow
To growth in twenty years;
This is a sad and solemn fate,
But what is worse to contemplate
Is that our citrus growing state
Has far too many peers.
From old New Hampshire to the shore
Of Washington, the golden lore
Of growth now takes its sullen score
From lands we ought to save.
Each year we breathe, the facts attest
One million acres of our best
Is slaughtered for its final rest
Beneath a concrete grave.
Behold the sprawling shopping mall
That shrouds a hidden, secret, pall--
A field that cannot heed the call
That's made by sun and rain;
Behold the suburbs and their yield:
Beneath each web of streets is sealed
The coffin of a fertile field,
The grave of unborn grain.
Each house that claims its private lot
Is certain proof of what is not;
Like gravestones all, plot after plot,
They mark our nation's want.
By trends and laws that we condone,
Great fields of cement seeds are sown,
And by a truth we can't disown,
Our fate is filled with sorrow:
From sea to vast suburban sea,
The somber graves of grain will be
An all-too concrete proof that we
Lacked caring for tomorrow
As sure as flesh to dust returns,
The land owns us, and he who spurns
This fact to cant his own concerns
Does worse that rob his neighbors:
He robs the children of us all,
Who will, in time, endure the pall
Of insufficient fields to stall
The starving from the saber.
A caveman's law must be repealed,
For by the right the starving wield,
Our threatened lands must always yield
Their bounty for our labor.
By all that's fine and good, we must
Impose upon our land a trust
That will protect us from a lust
That could consume us all:
We must improve our zoning laws
Until by sacred cause
Our land is grasped from out the jaws
Of Unchecked growth and gall.
The Challenge to Create!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Quickly, God was faced with a class action suit for failure to file an environmental impact statement. God was granted a temporary permit for the project, but was stymied with the cease and desist order for the earthly project.
back to top of page
Then God said, "Let there be light!"
Immediately, the officials demanded to know how the light would be made. Would there be strip mining? What about thermal pollution? God explained that the light would come from a large ball of fire. God was granted provisional permission to make light, assuming that no smoke would result from the ball of fire, that He would obtain a building permit and to conserve energy, He would have the light out half of the time. God agreed and offered to call the light, "Day" and the darkness "Night." The officials replied that they were not interested in semantics.
God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plant yielding seed and trees bearing fruit."
The EPA agreed, so long as only native seed was used.
Then God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth."
The officials pointed out that this would require approval from the Department of Game coordinated with the Heavenly Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. Everything was okay until God said the project would be completed in six days. The officials said it would take at least two hundred days to review the application and the impact statement. After that, there would be a public hearing. Then there would be ten to twelve months before . . .
At this point, God created Hell!
Songs about the Environment
- Air Pollution - Page France (2005)
- Ark of Ecology - David Blonski and Daryl Simmons (1998)
- Bad Moon Rising - Seldom Scene (1996)
- Ballad of Three-Mile Island - Red River Dave McEnery (1979)
- Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell (1975)
- Black Moon - Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2004)
- Breathing Space - Artisan (1993)
- Busted Ecology Blooz - Frank Schwartz and Teresa Whitaker (2008)
- Circle of Life - Magpie (1994)
- Clear Blue Skies - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1988)
- Closer to the Truth - Tony Joe White (1991)
- Cry in the Forest - Dan Fogelberg (1996)
- Crystal Blue Persuasion - The Shondells (1969)
- Designer Ecology - Grappa (2004)
- Don't Go Near the Water - The Beach Boys (1971)
- Earth Has Sent a Message, The - Jim Layeux (1998)
- Earth's Revenge (Deep Ecology) - Benny Rietveld (2003)
- Ecology - Anni Rossi (2008)
- Ecology Now - Brian Woodbury (2004)
- Every Grain of Sand - Emmylou Harris (1995)
- Fast Running Out of World - Vanity Fare (1974)
- Fresh Garbage - Spirit (1968)
- Gallon of Gas - The Kinks (1979)
- Good Planets Are Hard to Find - Rocking Horse Head (1996)
- Hole in the Sky - Black Sabbath (1975)
- How Will the Wolf Survive? - Los Lobos (1984)
- In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans (1969)
- Kiss Mother Nature Goodbye - Hank Williams, Jr. (1991)
- The Land Knows You're There - Magpie (1990)
- Last Lonely Eagle - New Riders of the Purple Sage (1971)
- Last Resort, The - The Eagles (1976)
- Less is More - Laura Love (1995)
- Litterbug Song, The - Mayf Nutter (1967)
- Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Grover Washington, Jr. (1971)
- My City Was Gone - The Pretenders (1984)
- Nature's Disappearing - John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (1970)
- Nature's Way - Spirit (1970)
- Nine Types of Industrial Pollution - Mothers of Invention (1969)
- Noise Pollution - Spectra (2008)
- Oxygen - Goose Creek Symphony (1996)
- Pass it on Down - Alabama (1990)
- Peace Pollution Revolution - Larry Norman (1970)
- Pollution - Up in Arms (2000)
- Pollution Solution - Happy Crowd (2004)
- Rain on the Scarecrow - John Cougar Mellencamp (1985)
- Recycled - Nektar (1976)
- Saltwater - Julian Lennon (1991)
- Simpson Creek Won't Never Run Clean Again - Mayf Nutter (1967)
- Smog - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1976)
- Solution for Pollution - The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (1971)
- Speaking of Ecology - Dickie Goodman (1970)
- Stripmining - James (1988)
- Sun is Burning, The - Simon and Garfunkel (1964)
- These are the Ancient Forests - Jim Stoltz (2003)
- This Land is Your Land - James Talley (2000)
- Traffic Jam - James Taylor (1977)
- Waiting on the World to Change - John Mayer (2006)
- We Bought it - Brother Tree (2009)
- What Have They Done to the Rain? - Joan Baez (1962)
- When it's Gone it's Gone - Tom Paxton (1991)
- Where Do the Children Play? - Cat Stevens (1970)
- Where Grass Won't Grow - George Jones (1969)
- You Can't Clearcut Your Way to Heaven - Darryl Cherney (1996)
Songs about Mother Nature
back to top of page
- Kiss Mother Nature Goodbye - Hank Williams, Jr. (1991)
- Lady Luck and Mother Nature - Roy Head (1976)
- Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way - Carl Smith (1951)
- Mother Nature - Floyd Robinson (1961)
- Mother Nature's Wine - Sugarloaf (1971)
- Old Mother Nature - Ned Miller (1957)