Memorable Eco-Quotes – Part II: By U.S. Presidents, Writers, & Other Notable American Figures

From the very beginning of its founding, Americans have been drawn by the belief that they have it within themselves to control their own destiny. But what of their physical environment? Like their Native American Indian counterparts, many of the famous Americans quoted here come from a wide range of social, economic, and political positions but together they sound like a choir in unison – singing the praises of the American landscape and its natural resources whilst musical ironies work themselves through in the background with a thundering drum roll of polyphonic counterpoint progressions: ‘What if our physical environment is overlooked and misunderstood?’ This is what worried these celebrated Americans of the recent past – a concern that still resonates today within all of us – the security of our own environment.

1-“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” – Margaret Mead, American Cultural Anthropologist, (1901-1978)
2-“The Materials of wealth are in the earth, in the seas, and in their natural and unaided productions.” – Daniel Webster, American Statesman & Senator, (1782-1852)
3-“He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants,
the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Lecturer, Poet, & Leading Transcendentalist, (1803-1882)
4-“The sky is the daily bread of eyes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
5-“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” – Joyce Kilmer, American Journalist, Poet, Literary Critic, Lecturer, & Editor (1886-1918)
6-“Those who contemplate the beauty of earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson, American Marine Biologist, Conservationist & Author, (1907-1964)
7-“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” – Henry David Thoreau, American Author, Poet, Philosopher, Abolitionist, Naturalist, Tax Resister, Development Critic, Surveyor, Historian, and leading Transcendentalist, (1817-1862)
8-“We can never have enough of nature.” – Henry David Thoreau
9-“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Henry David Thoreau
10-“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau
11-“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. “ – John Muir, Scottish-born American Naturalist, Author, Engineer, Botanist, Geologist
12-“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.” – 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, (1858-1919)
13-“When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel just as if all the works of some great writer have perished.” – 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
14-“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” – 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
15-“I am led to reflect how much more delightful to an undebauched mind, is the task of making improvements on the earth, than all the vain glory which can be acquired from ravaging it, by the most uninterrupted career of conquests.” – 1st U.S. President George Washington, (1732-1799)
16-“I am once more seated under my own vine and fig tree . . . and hope to spend the remainder of my days in peaceful retirement, making political pursuits yield to the more rational amusement of cultivating the earth.” – 1st U.S. President George Washington
17-“In the environment, every victory is temporary, every defeat permanent.” – 3rd U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, (1743-1826)
18-“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” – 3rd U.S. President Thomas Jefferson
19-“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.” – 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, (1809-1865)
20-“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
21- “A nation that destroys it’s soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” – 32nd U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, (1882-1945)
22-“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground. “ – Frank Lloyd Wright,
American Architect, Interior Designer, Writer & Educator, (1867-1959)
23-“Almost every day, instead of going to school, I made for the fields, where I spent my day. “ – John James Audubon, French-American Ornithologist, Naturalist, & Painter, (1785-1851)
24-“As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature. “ – John James Audubon
25-“It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators.” – Ansel Adams, American Photographer & Environmentalist, (1902-1984)
26-“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. “ – Ansel Adams
27-“It’s your human environment that makes climate.” – Mark Twain, American Author & Humorist, (1835-1910)
28-“Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.” – Mark Twain

Now for those of you who are drawn to the to the spookier aspects of nature at its haunting best
— Stay Tuned for my Next Installment of “Memorable Eco-Inspired Quotes – Part III: By Illustrious Detectives, Master Spies, Mystery Writers and Crime Novelists.”

And as Halloween is nearly upon us, I shall leave you with an eco-creepy quote from one of my very favorite American writers – Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) – The Father of the Modern Detective Story Genre:

“It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood.” – taken from ‘Silence – a Fable” written in 1837.

Memorable Eco-Quotes – Part I: By Native American Indians

Next month is “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month” and one of the best places to learn about the rich cultural history of our North American Indians and Alaskan Natives is thru the National Park Service (part of the U.S. Department of the Interior) which highlights a multitude of historic American Indian Properties open to the general public on their website – For most of us though, our knowledge of American Indian culture is deeply rooted in and limited to children’s cartoons, high school text books, and TV westerns featuring notable American Indians such as Pocahontas, Hiawatha, Sacajawea, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, Chief Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Chief Tecumseh who represent just a tiny fraction of the numerous and distinctive Native American tribes that once inhabited the New World for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in October of 1492. For me, personally, I have always been fascinated by American Indian Spirituality which is eco-centered – influenced by Animal Symbolism and the “Circle of Life”, by ceremonial Sun and Rain Dances, and by the Pow-wow gathering of Nations and their tribal celebration of the “Spirit of the Harvest”. But to get a true sense of the Native American Indian belief system, their ‘eco-philosophy’, if you will, let us take a look at some of the most memorable quotes attributed to our Native American Indian brethren. I think you will be surprised by the natural ‘plain speaking’ of many of these proverbs and their relevance to today’s environmental issues.

1- “The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. “ – Sioux Proverb
2- “There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnakes tail.” – Navajo Proverb
3- “One rain does not make a crop.” – Creole Proverb
4- “When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard.” – Lakota Proverb
5- “Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins.” – Cheyenne Proverb
6- “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” – Dakota Proverb
7- “To touch the earth is to have harmony with nature.” – Oglala Sioux Proverb
8- “We are all one child spinning through Mother Sky.” – Shawnee Proverb
9- “The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our ancestors.” – Chief Plenty Coups, Crow Leader and Visionary (1848-1932)
10- “All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man…the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle (c.1780-1866)
11- “When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.” – Arapaho Proverb
12- “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” – Oglala Sioux Proverb
13- “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” – Crowfoot, Blackfoot Warrior and Orator, Chief of the Siksika First Nation (c.1821-1890)
14- “I do not think the measure of a civilization 
is how tall its buildings of concrete are, 
But rather how well its people have learned to relate 
to their environment and fellow man.” – Sun Bear, Chippewa Medicine Man (1929-1992)
15- “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught 
will we realize we cannot eat money. “ – Cree Proverb
16- “What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, Man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man.” – Chief Seattle
17- “When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.” – Chief Seattle
18- “Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth: Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty.” – Anonymous Native American Elder
19- “Everything on the Earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” – Mourning Dove, Pen Name of Christine Quintasket, Salish Ethnographer and Writer (1884-1936)

20- “May the Warm Winds of Heaven,
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit, Bless all who enter there.
May your Mocassins Make happy tracks in many snows,
and may the Rainbow Always touch your shoulder.” –
Cherokee Prayer Blessing

Note that some things are universal no matter the culture!

Compare this Cherokee Prayer Blessing with its European counterpart – this Old Irish Blessing:

“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Garlic-Ribboned Wreaths, Egg Carton Bats, and Candy-Wrapper Costumes—Hey, It’s Cool To Be Green on Halloween!!!

Having Spooky Fun on Halloween doesn’t need to be expensive. Indeed according to the National Retail Federation, Americans this year are expected to pay $6.9 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations averaging out to about $72.31 per person. Now to cut down on all the waste that will be generated and save yourself some money, the only limitation on your budget will be your imagination – your green imagination – and there are plenty of sources out there to help you along the way when it comes to making your own Halloween decorations, costumes, and accessories out of reusable, secondhand, and eco-friendly biodegradable materials! A great reference guide to begin looking can be found on Below are some crafty examples of how you can save some money whilst saving the planet:

Green Costume Ideas:

1-Swap or Borrow Costumes – Find a Costume Swap near you. Check out
2- Reuse Old Costumes – Check out Goodwill stores near you or Goodwill’s online auction site. See or
3- Make Your Own Costume – There are many online sites that offer easy ideas for great costumes. Check out – the Halloween Section.
4- Upcycle Your Recycling Bin – Look into your recycling bin for old cardboard boxes and make your own unique cardboard costumes – i.e. a monster truck, a cardboard box robot, a walking aquarium or a rubik’s cube. Check out

Green Treat Ideas:

1- Make your own reusable trick-or-treating bag using old pillowcases or sewn up T-shirts or even an old lunchbox.
2- Give out greener goodies like organic granola bars and honey sticks. Check out Yummy Earth’s brand of organic lollipops and Bug Bites’ brand of organic milk chocolates as well.
3- Instead of candy – give out little trinkets to kids – stickers, 3-D cards, recycled whistles and spinning tops, seashells, polished rocks or crystals, beads, mini cookie cutters, mini toothpastes, seed packets, soy-based crayons, and yarn bracelets to name just a few.
4-Planning a Green Halloween Party? Check out Creepy Cuisine at Disney’s Recipes or Treats.

Green Decoration Ideas:

1- Scary Brains made of dried cockscomb flowers. See – Monster Bash Party Ideas.
2- A Halloween Banner made of leftover scraps of fabric – See – Fabric Halloween Banner.
3- Jack-o’-Lantern Luminaries made of old metal coffee cans and soup cans. See Martha Stewart Holidays.
4- Do-It-Yourself Spider Webs made of old boat nets, cheesecloth, screen nettings or pipe cleaners crafts. See

Are you ready now for a green blast of activities this Halloween? Don’t forget to check out your local pumpkin farm, zoo, or aquarium for special spooktacular eco-friendly events!