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20 Inspirational World Environment Day Quotes

In Balanced Achievement’s Quote 20 series, we explore 20 inspirational quotes about a particular topic or 20 memorable quotes said by a historically significant individual. In this article, we turn our attention to looking at 20 inspirational World Environment Day Quotes said by some of history’s most influential preservationists.

An image, which is used in Balanced Achievement's article examining 20 inspirational Environment Day quotes, shows a climate change protest unfolding with a sign that reads 'There Is No Planet B.'.

It was in 1974 when the United Nations began formally acknowledging June 5th as World Environment Day (WED), and in the 45 years that have since passed, the distinguished international organization has used the yearly occurrence to raise awareness about environmental issues and encourage all to take action rooted in the spirit of conservationism. Unfortunately, although the annual observance has grown substantially and now includes 143 participating countries, all too many people still fail to recognize the monumental duty we collectively share to protect the planet. 

Of course, this responsibility comes with an ever-heightening sense of proactive urgency because science tells us that we’re systematically destroying the foundational grounds which ensure our survival. For this reason, and also because nature offers us a rejuvenating reprieve from the hustle and bustle of modern society, that we’re shining light on 20 inspirational environmental day quotes, coming from some history’s greatest naturalists, that are sure to rouse your inner preservationist:

1.) “Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.” — Carl Sagan

2.) “Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come.” — Wangari Maathai

3.) “In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.” — Paul R. Ehrlich

4.) “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.” — Dian Fossey

5.) “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” — Paul Hawken

6.) “Perhaps the time has come to cease calling it the ‘environmentalist’ view, as though it were a lobbying effort outside the mainstream of human activity, and to start calling it the real-world view.”— E.O. Wilson

7.) “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” — Robert Swan

8.) “We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet, and every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate. But we are also the only species which, when it chooses to do so, will go to great effort to save what it might destroy.” — Wallace Stegner

9.) “We are living on the planet as if we have another one to go to.” — Terri Swearingen

10.) “The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” — David Attenborough

11.) “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

12.) “How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with the firmament for its roof – and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.” — John Muir

13.) “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” — Stewart Udall

14.) “We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. 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 learn what is good for it.” ― Wendell Berry

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

16.) “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” — Aldo Leopold

17.) “We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” — Rachel Carson

18.) “You cannot seriously address the destruction of wilderness without addressing the society that is destroying it.” — Judi Bari

19.) “We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home – Earth – is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.” — Al Gore

20.) “The question is not ‘Can you make a difference?’ You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make during your life on this planet.” — Julia Hill

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