Quotes Corner > Sustainable development, climate change etc.

Click on sub-theme or scroll down the page:

Motivation will always beat mere talent!

Click on image to find out how...

Photograph

Click on image for details about 'Motivate me, motivate you'.


To find a suitable quote quickly, use your browser page search facility (e.g. keyboard keys 'Ctrl' + 'F') and type in the word you are seeking (e.g. resource, climate, organic, oil or population).



imageSustainable development, climate change, population & sustainability in general - definitions, comments, reasoning, etc

image + linkNature and the natural environment - our survival and quality of life depends on a healthy natural environment

image + linkSustainable business, management & economics - essential good business sense for the modern world

image + linkPeople matter too
- more than anything else

image + linkWisdom & wit
- random thought-provoking quotes

Sustainable Development Strategies - Vision - Future

Do we have the intelligence and foresight to do anything other than accrue more "wealth" whilst destroying the planet? - unattributable (2014)

The fossil reserves that have already been discovered exceed what can ever be safely used. Yet companies spend half a trillion dollars each year searching for more fuel. They should redirect this money toward developing clean energy solutions - Archbishop Desmond Tutu (The Observer, 21.9.2014)

We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities, foundations, corporations, individuals and cultural institutions... to move their money out of the problem (fossil fuels) and into the solutions (renewable energy) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu (The Observer, 21.9.2014)

Wouldn't we all benefit from living in societies that were more careful, more resourceful, more respectful and more forward-thinking? - Jane Davidson, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The 2013/14 storms & floods show the UK needs to invest in a climate resilient, low carbon, food secure, full employment, positive future - Phil Harding (2014)

What politician ever thinks beyond 4 or 5 years? But such thinking is hopelessly inadequate for the big questions that involve the fabric of the world we live in - Simon Barnes, columnist, The Times (4.5.2013)

A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation - James Freeman Clarke

The fate of the climate, forests and agriculture are bound together. If agriculture and land use change continue to produce up to 30% of global greenhouse gases, this will mean further disaster and disruption from climate change - Rachel Kyte, Vice President, World Bank (2013)

We're never going to scare people into living more sustainably! We have to be able to demonstrate just how dynamic and aspirational such a world could be - Jonathon Porritt ('The World We Made', 2013)

5 levers for change to inspire sustainability: Make it UNDERSTOOD, EASY, DESIRABLE, REWARDING, & a HABIT - Unilever (Marketing behaviour change principles to inspire sustainable living)

Simply doing 'better' environmentally will not stop the unravelling of ecological relationships that we depend on for food and health. Vastly larger changes are needed than we have seen so far - Robert Engelman, President, Worldwatch Institute in State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? report

Return to Top

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us - Henrik Tikkanen

Experiencing the need for change is the first step towards mainstreaming sustainability - Sally Uren, CEO, Forum for the Future (2013)

Sustainability has to be positioned as a strategic driver, which can be integrated into existing structures, process and job descriptions - Sally Uren, CEO, Forum for the Future (2013)

Short term "dash for cash" economic solutions hinder progress towards a better, more sustainable, world - Phil Harding (2013)

We must address poverty, gender inequality, natural resource limits, climate change, biodiversity loss and population density - Population Matters

At every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different - Roberto Unger

Return to Top

To achieve energy, food & economic security, we need to keep asking the right people the right questions - unattributable (2012)

In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace - Wangari Maathai (1940 - 2011), environmental activist, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004

We don't, in a sensible world, want to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren - HRH Prince Charles (2013)

The sustainability revolution will, hopefully, be the third major social and economic turning point in human history, following the Neolithic Revolution - moving from hunter-gathering to farming - and the Industrial Revolution - HRH Prince Charles (2009)

Peace, non-violence, human rights and the environment - if only everybody saw these as the seamless whole that they are - Jonathon Porritt (2012)

The way to healthy living is to shift from quantitative economic growth to quality of life, food, water and air - to shift from craving to contentment and from greed to gratitude - Satish Kumar, ecological campaigner (2008)

Keeping people on side is a precondition of making any progress on sustainability issues - Jonathon Porritt writing in 'Green Futures' (October 2012)

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it - Robert Swan (first person to walk to poth Poles)

There is no planet B - various commentators

It makes no sense to invest in [fossil fuel] companies that undermine our future - Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2014)

Return to Top

Any vision of sustainable development fit for the 21st century must recognise that eradicating poverty and achieving social justice is inextricably linked to ensuring ecological stability and renewal - 'A Safe and Just Space for Humanity', Oxfam (2012)

We're handing them [young people & future generations] a climate system which is potentially out of their control. We're in an emergency: you can see what's on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction - Prof Jim Hansen, NASA (2012)

If there are to be problems, may they come during my life-time so that I can resolve them and give my children the chance of a good life - Kenyan proverb

In a climate where people don't understand the numbers, newspapers, campaigners, companies, and politicians can get away with murder - Prof. David JC MacKay, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK energy department in 'Sustainable energy - without the hot air' (2009)

We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than truth, and there is a vast ignorance of science - James Lovelock

What keeps things going, what sustains families, what makes work meaningful, what contributes to our wellbeing and what really connects us to Nature is cooperation - Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, writing for The Resurgence Trust www.resurgence.org (2012)

Quite apart from our desire to avoid destroying the planet or economic meltdown, I offer another reason to position cooperation at the heart of our political economy: it will mean we are more likely to live sane, fruitful lives - Oliver James, writing in 'Co-operatives Fortnight' on the psychology of cooperation

Have faith and try and change the world - Lord (Philip) Gould, New Labour strategist (30.3.1950 - 6.11.2011)

We have a dire need to get onto the page as a sustainable country - Lord Digby Jones, speaking at the Energy Insight Conference (September 2011)

Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next ten - Neil Armstrong (1930 - 2012), first man to walk on the moon

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing, it was here first - Mark Twain

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal - John F Kennedy

...four in five of us are, to some extent, members of faith communities. If just a fraction of this huge body of believers were to connect their faith to sustainable development and act accordingly, with the support of their institutions, the gains could be world-changing - Ian Christie, University of Surrey writing in 'Green Futures' (July 2011)

Religious leaders could play a significant role in making explicit the connections between current concerns for the environment and age-old teachings about our dependence on the natural world, and the dangers of greed and excess - Ian Christie, University of Surrey writing in 'Green Futures' (July 2011)

Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, we shall, in an emotional sense, acquire an additional dimension... - Fred Hoyle, Astronomer and writer (1948)

Return to Top

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today - Malcolm X

I think we are too hamstrung by the language of sustainable development. We tend to be thoughtful people who like nothing better than a philosophical debate beginning with the words 'it depends on how you define sustainable development'. This is a total turn-off for people who just like to get on and do things - Rebecca Willis, independent researcher and adviser on environment and sustainability (2011)

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and peril. Humans are confronting how to use wisely the power which has been given to us through discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but by an increase in wisdom and reverence, for the earth and for one another - Bishop of London's address at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, 21 April 2011

...we still seem to find it hard to treat the future as if it really is as important as the present, and seek to tackle each problem separately from the others...Humanity can no longer simply think of existing from generation to generation, but must ensure that the world we leave behind is as good as, if not better than, the one we found - from closing statement 'What next for sustainable development' by Will Day & Andrew Lee, Sustainable Development Commission (March 2011)

A reminder (Japan's earthquake and tsunami) how flimsy our sophisticated modern world really is - George Alagiah, BBC correspondent (BBC TV news, 14 March 2011)

Positive deviance means doing the right thing for sustainability, despite being surrounded by the wrong institutional structures, the wrong processes and stubbornly uncooperative people. That is what sustainability-literate leadership means today. Surrounded by evidence of rampant unsustainability it is not possible to say 'I did not know' - Sarah Parkin, Forum for the Future (2010)

The world must learn to work together, or finally it will not work at all - General Eisenhower

When I circumnavigated the globe the outcome didn't really matter, it was about a goal I'd set myself, but sustainability is part of all our lives - Ellen MacArthur (round-the-world yachtswoman on announcing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, October 2010)

Return to Top

Rethinking the future: It is a profound challenge, at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials to rethink and redesign how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work, or even to imagine the jobs that will be needed for transition - Ellen MacArthur (round-the-world yachtswoman)

You can make a lot of speeches, but the real thing is when you dig a hole, plant a tree, give it water, and make it survive. That's what makes the difference - Wangari Maathai (1940 - 2011), environmental activist, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004

As long as there is no trust and confidence that there will be justice and fairness in resource distribution, political positioning will remain more important than service - Wangari Maathai (1940 - 2011), environmental activist, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004

If there's reason for hope, it lies in man's occasional binges of cooperation. To save our planet, we'll need that kind of heroic effort, in which all types of people join forces for the common good - George Meyer, writer for The Simpsons

We need to paint a better world, articulate a better future that doesn't involve wilful consumption - Will Day, Chairman, Sustainable Development Commission (February 2010)

As society moves forwards in the 21st Century sustainable development will increasingly be seen to be a resilience issue for protecting and enhancing our quality of life within ever decreasing environmental limits - www.oursouthwest.com (2010)

The idea of sustainability can imply there is one perfect, unchanging future, if only we could work out how to get there. Resilience might be more useful, in that it assumes a dynamic environment and that perfection is impossible. You need to design systems to accommodate failure rather than eliminate it. By trying to be perfect, many visions of sustainability are quite brittle - Jamais Cascio, writer and ethical futurist (article in 'Green Futures', January 2010)

The future will be green, or not at all - Jonathon Porritt

The strategist who is unconcerned by sustainability is akin to an architect who cares not whether their building stands or falls - James Mackenzie, NHS Sustainable Development Unit (2010)

The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them - Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, environmental activist and author

Return to Top

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken - Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, environmental activist and author (May 2009)

...deficit consumption is, in effect, drawing down on the capital entitlements of future generations - Jonathon Porritt writing in 'Green Futures' (April 2009)

A safe and nutritionally adequate diet is a basic individual right and an essential condition for sustainable development, especially in developing countries - Mrs Gro Harlem Brundtland

It's important to listen to what scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient, especially when it's inconvenient - President Barack Obama (2008)

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands - President Barack Obama (2008)

Risk is relative. And relative to the imminent planetary 'game over' neon sign that's starting to flicker above our children's heads, just as they are preparing for a full life ahead... now that's what you call risk! - Dave Hampton, Carbon Coach (May 2008)

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance - Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

The solutions of tomorrow are not stashed behind the walls of bureaucracy or political halls. They are in the minds of engineers, designers, innovators, researchers, environmentalists, geographers and other spirited individuals - Stuart Barea, 18

People do care about the way the world works, and like to think they have a good influence - Sophi Tranchell, MD of fair trade company Divine (Sunday Times, 13 April 2008)

Organised religions of all denominations, PLEASE get your congregations to make caring for our rapidly decomposing, landfill site of a planet the utmost priority - Penny Poyzer, televison broadcaster and writer (November 2007)

No matter how complex global problems may seem, it is we ourselves who have given rise to them. They cannot be beyond our power to resolve - Daisaku Ikeda

It would be disastrous if bad planning policy meant that today's new developments become tomorrow's climate slums - Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Commission (October 2007)

Return to Top

This is the new politics. Personal responsibility. Not leaving it to others. I am my planet's keeper - Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (July 2007)

One thing is clear to me now, ... our values must be compatible with the exigencies [urgent needs] of the natural world we live in and depend upon. They must implicitly recognise the laws of thermodynamics, energy's role in our survival, the dangers of certain kinds of connectivity, and the nonlinear behaviour of natural systems like the climate. The endless material growth of our economies is fundamentally inconsistent with these physical facts of life. Period. End of story. And a value system that makes endless growth the primary source of our social stability and spiritual well-being will destroy us - Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Upside of Down (2006)

Many ideas have struggled over the centuries to dominate the planet. Fascism. Communism. Democracy. Religion. But only one has achieved total supremacy. Its compulsive attractions rob its followers of reason and good sense. It has created unsustainable inequalities and threatened to tear apart the very fabric of society. More powerful than any religion, it has reached into every corner of the globe. It is consumerism - Jonathon Porritt (2007)

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete - Buckminster Fuller, philospher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)

Any regeneration project that fails to put environmental and social benefits at its very heart is unlikely to achieve anything more than a very short-lived spasm of spurious prosperity - Jonathon Porritt (2007)

Without environmental sustainability, economic stability and social cohesion cannot be achieved - Phil Harding (2007)

...the science is getting worse faster than the politics is getting better - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in interview with the Guardian newspaper concerning climate change (December 2006)

Return to Top

The moral imperative to make big changes is inescapable...that what we take for granted may not be here for our children - Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States, from his climate change film 'An Inconvenient Truth' (2006)

The era of procrastination...is coming to a close...we are entering a period of consequences - Winston Churchill (warning about the danger of appeasement - and highlighted by Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States in 2006, in the context of climate change)

The 'Big Green Debate' has entered a very interesting stage. Once there was endless controversy; now there is near unanimity. Once there was universal political indifference; now the bandwagon is abrim with politicians in catch-up mode. Once the media were semi-detached: now they're really getting stuck in. And they need to be! Many people are confused and disempowered, and the role of the media in getting then informed and engaged is critical - Jonathon Porritt (2006)

Fifteen per cent of the population believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona and somewhat fewer still believe the Earth is flat. I think they all get together with the global warming deniers on a Saturday night and party - Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States (September 2006)

If our economies are to flourish, if global poverty is to be banished, and if the well-being of the world's people enhanced - not just in this generation but in succeeding generations - we must make sure we take care of the natural environment and resources on which our economic activity depends - Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown addressing the Energy and Environment Ministers from 20 countries (March 2005)

Ever more people are alert to the challenge of global poverty and global warming. We know that solutions are at hand. We will not sleepwalk into catastrophe. We have the capacity to forsee and forestall, and I believe we will find the will to act - Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster (2005)

The western model of growth that India and China wish to emulate is intrinsically toxic. It uses huge resources - energy and materials - and generates enormous waste... it remains many steps behind the problems it creates. India and China have no choice but to reinvent the development trajectory - Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi (2006)

The choices China and India make in the next few years will lead the world either towards a future beset by growing ecological and political instability - or down a development path based on efficient technologies and better stewardship of resources - Worldwatch Institute 'State of the World 2006' report

Return to Top

...living more sustainably means living happier, more balanced and potentially more fulfilled lives than most of us 'choose' to live today, whatever Jeremy Clarkson may have to say about that! - Jonathon Porritt (2005)

...the core values that underpin sustainable development - interdependence, empathy, equity, personal responsibility and intergenerational justice - are the only foundation upon which any viable vision of a better world can possibly be constructed - "Capitalism - as if the world matters" by Jonathon Porritt (2005)

The difference between animals and humans is that animals change themselves for the environment, but humans change the environment for themselves - Ayn Rand

All of life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly - Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1969)

Return to Top

The scarcest resource is not oil, metals, clean air, capital, labour, or technology. It is our willingness to listen to each other and learn from each other and to seek the truth rather than seek to be right - Donella Meadows, environmental scientist, teacher and writer (1941-2001)

Sustainability is here to stay or we may not be - Niall Fitzgerald, UK CEO, Unilever

I also, as I think most people do, have a healthy instinct that if we upset the balance of nature, we are in all probability going to suffer a reaction. With world growth, and population as it is, this reaction must increase - Tony Blair, addressing event marking the 10th anniversary of His Royal Highness' Business and the Environment Programme, London, 14 September 2004

In 1966 Rolf Edberg wrote "This is mankind's home", "in the narrow borderland between the deathly heat beneath our feet and the coldness of space above us". He describes the fragility of our existence in poetic terms: "the atmospheric layer is so thin that it cannot be represented on any globe with even the finest brushstroke. At its thickest, it is only a few fractions of a millionth of the Earth's radius. This thin layer is what makes the difference between our planet and the sterile landscape of the moon." After reading that, one does feel the need to take better care of this fragile layer. - opening remark in speech "Towards a Low Carbon Economy" by Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner responsible for the Environment, at European Business Summit, March 2004

The three pillars of development (economic, social and environmental) must be strengthened together. But it is evident that two of the pillars - economic and social - are subsidiary to, and underpinned by, the third: a vibrant global ecology. Neither dollars nor our species will out-survive our planet. The earth can survive happily without people or profit - Dave Hampton (letter to the Financial Times, November 2004)

There can be no sustainable development without sustainable energy development - Margot Wallstrom, European Union Environmental Commissioner (2004)

We live not, in reality, on the summit of a solid earth but at the bottom of an ocean of air - Thales of Miletus (c.625 - 545 BC)

Sustainable development is a unique insurance policy where the 'claims' are enormously bigger than all its 'premiums' put together - Sucharit Sadanand Rajadhyaksha (writer and commentator)

Sustainable development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs - "Our Common Future" World Commission on Environment and Development report, 1987, chaired by Mrs Gro Harlem Brundtland

Sustainable development is the peace policy of the future - Professor Dr Klaus Topfer, UNEP Executive Director (2004)

The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there's a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I've been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species - Sir David Attenborough

Return to Top

Sustainable development is a process which enables all people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways which protect and enhance the Earth's life support systems - Sarah Parkin, Forum for the Future

We do not accept that human society should be constructed on the basis of a savage principle of the survival of the fittest - Thabo Mbeki, President, S.Africa opening World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, August 2002

Environmental awareness is something total. One cannot live for half the day concerned with the environment and the other half ignoring or destroying it - Suryo Prawiroatmodja, Indonesian environmental educator

The machine world functions without soul or conscience, blindly willing to destroy the planetary ecosystem on which it depends. Every Monday morning nearly every person in the Western world wakes up and sets about living in ways that contribute to this destruction. Our livelihoods often depend on it. And even though we know what we are doing we are stymied about what to do instead - Margot Caines

After one look at this planet, any visitor from outer space would say "I want to see the manager" - William S Burroughs, American writer (1914-1997)

We live on this very small and fragile planet: a world in which there is poverty and injustice is never going to be a safe and secure world - Hilary Benn, UK International Development Secretary, 2004

A global human society, characterised by islands of wealth, surrounded by a sea of poverty, is unsustainable - Thabo Mbeki, President, S.Africa opening World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, August 2002

It's extremely difficult to get people to live sustainably. Often they are just concerned with trying to live - Callum Rankine, WWF, quoted in the 'New Scientist' concerning relationship between fast-growing populations with local resources (November 2004)

For the first time in human history, society has the capacity, the knowledge and the resources to eradicate poverty - Thabo Mbeki, President, S.Africa opening World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, August 2002

The challenge now is to mobilise governments, businesses and citizens to shift their focus away from the unrestrained accumulation of goods, and toward finding ways to ensure a better life for all - Worldwatch Institute "State of the World 2004" report

We all have an interest, and a duty to future generations, to ensure that the benefits of mobility that we now take for granted, do not place an intolerable burden on our environment - Elliot Morley, Minister of State for Environment and Climate Change, addressing International Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference, Birmingham, 10 November 2005

Poverty eradication, changing consumption and production patterns, and protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for sustainable development - from "The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development" (World Summit on Sustainable Development), September 2002

Our life as consumers seems light years away from that of our grandparents. But you don't change human nature. Optimism, for me, is the belief that we can spread the opportunity for everyone to be fully human. Sustainability, like music, is an impulse to make sense of the world around us. It is core to our humanity. If you only like one composer, or think all the best music has already been written, you have reason for pessimism. If not, it is within us to have good reason for hope - Ed Mayo, Chief Executive, National Consumer Council (2005)

Connecting issues to the everyday lives of ordinary people is the only sustainable strategy - unattributable

Return to Top

We do not have a freehold on the earth, only a full repairing lease - Margaret Thatcher, 1988

To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny - preamble to The Earth Charter (2000)

We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace - preamble to The Earth Charter (2000)

Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? That is the vital challenge of sustainable development. If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever - John Gummer

Sustainable development: Improving the quality of life within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems - UN Environment Programme/WWF/World Conservation Union Report "Caring for the Earth", 1991

Sustainable Development (a definition): At its heart sustainable development is the simple idea of ensuring a good quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. It is about living within the carrying capacity of the environment so that how we live, work and enjoy leisure activities, does not harm or put undue pressures on the environment. It is about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have a decent education, a quality environment that they take pride in, good health and a decent job - www.oursouthwest.com

Sustainable development: Holding our world in trust for our children - Michael Meacher, 1998

Sustainable development: You have to put back. It's like anything in life - if you just keep taking then eventually there will be nothing left - Garry Greenland (organic supplier)

Sustainable development: Meeting present needs without compromising the stock of natural resources remaining for future generations. In terms of buildings, it implies resource efficiency, minimum energy use, flexibility and long life - Richard Rogers, Architect

Sustainable development: Development that our grandchildren would thank us for - unattributable

Sustainable development: Growth without cheating our children - unattributable

Sustainable development: Enjoying the Earth's resources without jeopardising the welfare of future generations - James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool (2003)

'Sustainable Development' is an oxymoron. 'Development' in all it's senses entails expansion and wanting more. Continual expansion and wanting more are unsustainable. Globally we are approaching the point when the only sustainable way forward is to want less. Indeed, the choice element may be removed from us and we will just have to have less. In the meantime we still have some choices about how to influence our future - Don Johnston, Chair, Solent Energy & Environment Group

If something is sustainable, it means we can go on doing it indefinitely. If it isn't, we can't - Jonathon Porritt

Sustainability is a set of conditions and trends in a given system that can continue indefinitely - Alan AtKisson, President, AtKisson Inc. (2004)

Return to Top

We need a new environmental consciousness on a global basis. To do this, we need to educate people - Mikhail Gorbachev

When future generations judge those who came before them on environmental issues, they may conclude "they didn't know": let us not go down in history as the generations who knew, but didn't care - Mikhail Gorbachev (2002)

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives - Abba Eban

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

If we are so selfish that we live unsustainable lifestyles, when will we learn that a sustainable lifestyle serves self interest better? - unattributable

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction - Albert Einstein

Kindly leave this planet as you would wish to find it - unattributable

Think Global, Act Local - unattributable

The environment is everything else except me - Albert Einstein

There are two certainties in life: "Death" and "Waste Production" - source unknown

Return to Top

The future has no shelf life - Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California

The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed - William Gibson (author)

The future isn't what it used to be - Arthur C Clarke

The past does not equal the future - Anthony Robbins

The past is another country, they do things differently there - opening words to "The Go-Between" (1953), L P Hartley 1895-1972

We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present - Adlai E Stevenson

You never reach the promised land. You can march towards it - James Callaghan

My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there - Charles F. Kettering, American inventor (1876-1958)

Today's problems cannot be solved if we still think the way we thought when we created them - Albert Einstein

Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man - Stuart Udall

The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far, has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them - Albert Einstein

There must be a better way to make the things we want, a way that doesn't spoil the sky, or the rain or the land - Sir Paul McCartney

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet - Carl Sagan

The best way to predict the future...is to create it - unattributable

Return to Top

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now - Alan Lakein

Who heeds not the future will find sorrow at hand - Confucius

Treat the Earth as though we intend to stay here - Sir Crispin Tickell, 1998

We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to - Terri Swearingen

One planet. One experiment - Edward O Wilson, biologist

Take care of the things that take care of you - unattributable

Our tools are better than we are, and grow faster than we do. They suffice to crack the atom, to command the tides. But they do not suffice for the oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it - Aldo Leopold

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to keep all the pieces - Lord May, President of the Royal Society, January 2003

The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves - Rachel Carson

Taken together, our efforts are like drops of dew that slowly accumulate in the soul of the world, hastening the day when the entire Earth, with all its peoples and creatures, will enjoy harmony and fulfilment - Guy Dauncey

Sustainable living on the planet: We have to learn to live simply to allow others to simply live - source unknown

Return to Top

The world is a sacred vessel. It should not be meddled with. It should not be owned. If you try to meddle with it you will ruin it. If you try to own it you will lose it - Lao Tzu

Irritations of the eyes, which are caused by smoke, over-heating, dust, or similar injury, are easy to heal; the patient being advised first of all to avoid the irritating causes... For the disease ceases without the use of any kind of medicine, if only a proper way of living be adopted - Aetios (c.AD 535)

The closer we get to a virtuous circle, in which our work, our home life, our ethics and our spirituality are mutually reinforcing, the closer we will be to achieving genuine sustainability - James Wilsdon, Senior Researcher, Forum for the Future, 1999

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little - Edmund Burke, Whig MP for Bristol 1774-80

Our society lacks a feedback loop for controlling technology: a way to gauge intended effects from actual effects later on - Kevin Kelly

The new energy future is decentralised, entrepreneurial and needs people like you to say 'Give me a clean car, give me solar shingles to put on my roof - give me a clean future' - Bill Clinton (2003)

The 21st Century is likely to become the solar-hydrogen-energy efficiency century - Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth

Return to Top

Whatever the short term clashes between protecting the environment and eradicating poverty, medium term and long term it is clear. Unless we grow sustainably, at some point we face catastrophe - Tony Blair, speech in Maputo, Mozambique, September 2002

We have a situation where we are rich really as a world overall, and yet we have the capacity to destroy ourselves, either through nuclear weapons or through environmental degradation, and we allow the life chances of hundreds of millions of people to be destroyed because we haven't found the will to tackle it - Tony Blair, speech in Maputo, Mozambique, September 2002

We know the problems.... and we know the solution; sustainable development. The issue is the political will - Tony Blair, speech in Maputo, Mozambique, September 2002

Humankind has the science and technology to destroy itself or to provide prosperity for all. But while science offers us these opportunities, science will not make that choice for us. Only the moral power of a world acting as a community can - Margaret Beckett, speech 'Global problems: global solutions', Washington, December 2001

Many unsustainable behaviours are locked-in and made 'normal', not just by the way that we produce and consume, but by the absence of easy alternatives - Margaret Beckett, speech "Doing things differently" to Environment Agency Annual Conference, October 2004

Failure to reverse trends that threaten future quality of life will steeply increase the costs to society or make those trends irreversible - European Heads of State and Government, Gothenburg, 2001

If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done - Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and raconteur (1921-2004)

Sustainability is a political choice, not a technical one. It's not a question of whether we can be sustainable, but whether we choose to be - Gary Lawrence, Director of Seattle Planning Department, USA

Sustainable development is like going on a diet; many say they will do it but don't, & many that do don't keep to it - unattributable (2012)

Sustainability is about simultaneously looking after the three Es: the Environment, the Economy and Everyone - Sustainable Business Team, Government Office for the South West, UK, 2000

Sustainable development - living off the income without spending the capital - the city

Sustainable development is the thinking man's user-friendly capitalism - anonymous

Return to Top

There are no environmental solutions to environmental problems, only social, economic and political ones - Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth

Sustainable development is simply too powerful as a set of ideas to fail. It makes core sense - Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth

In the natural order of things, the fittest are not those that fight well, but those that avoid fighting altogether, and thereby learn to use resources efficiently - Tony Stebbing and Gordon Heath (Green Futures, September/October 2002)

What good is a house, if you haven't got a decent planet to put it on? - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew - Marshall McLuhan

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it - President Lyndon Johnson (on signing of the Wilderness Act, 1964)

Even though the relationship between economic growth, wellbeing and human happiness is tricky territory, it is territory that should no longer be avoided, if richer no longer means better, or happier - UK Sustainable Development Commission (2003)

A world where one tenth of the population gets to be extremely wealthy, and six tenths very poor, is not, in the long run, a stable place - Bill McKibben

21st Century choice: Look after our planet and it will look after us, or don't and face the consequences - Phil Harding (2002)

If civilization has risen from the stone age, it can rise again from the wastepaper age - Jacques Barzun

Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet - Terence McKenna

Return to Top

Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract - sustainable development - and turn it into a reality for all the world's people - Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation and still no one shows any signs of leaving. The problem of when the drink is going to run out is, however, going to have to be faced one day. The planet over which they are floating is no longer the planet it was when they first started floating over it. It is in bad shape - Life, The Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams

Why should [students] worry about the 90 million annual increase in the world's population, the 400 million unemployed in the 'South', ozone depletion, drought, famine and poverty? There is one very obvious reason. Anyone over the age of 50, given reasonable good luck, can expect life to go on much as it is now until we achieve our generous life expectancy. Those between 20 and 50 will need unusually good luck for that to happen and anyone under 20 has no chance at all. Something is going to have to change... - George Walker, Head/International School, Geneva (2002)

"To free all of humanity, and above all our children and grandchildren, from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably spoilt by human activities, and whose resources would no longer be sufficient for their needs" - goal set by world leaders for World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, August/September 2002

Building a world where we meet our own needs without denying future generations a healthy society is not impossible, as some would assert. The question is where societies choose to put their creative efforts - Christopher Flavin, Worldwatch Institute President, January 2003

In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy - John Sawhill

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich - John F Kennedy

Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life - Dalai Lama

Human history is a race between education and catastrophe - H G Wells

The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds - Micah 7:13 (Old Testament, NIV translation)

Do not accept the inmates' account of the asylum - Jason J Drew, sustainable business entrepreneur (2013)

Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are going - Chinese proverb

Return to Top


Population

Photograph

Rapid and widespread changes in the world's human population, coupled with unprecedented levels of consumption present profound challenges to human health and wellbeing, and the natural environment - Royal Society report "People and the Planet" (April 2012)

We need to move migration to a position of balanced flows and encourage smaller families as we all live longer. If we do not, at what point does the government think population growth will stop? - Simon Ross, Chief Executive, Population Matters (January 2013)

What will use more finite resources? That 3rd or 4th child you have or driving a large car? We all need to think about the choices we make - Phil Harding (2013)

A combination of very rapid population growth over the last 50 years and reckless economic growth during the same time has stored up massive problems for societies the world over. No nation is immune. The scientific evidence tells us all we need to know: carry on with business-as-usual growth-at-all-costs, and we're stuffed - Jonathon Porritt, www.forumforthefuture.org article 'Living within our means' (21 March 2009)

Can nine billion people be fed? Can we cope with the demands in the future on water? Can we provide enough energy? Can we do it, all that, while mitigating and adapting to climate change? And can we do all that in 21 years time? That's when these things are going to start hitting in a really big way. We need to act now. We need investment in science and technology, and all the other ways of treating very seriously these major problems. 2030 is not very far away - Prof John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist, addressing SDUK 09 conference (March 2009)

Should we now explain to UK couples who plan a family that stopping at two children, or at least having one less than first intended, is the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren? - Prof. John Guillebaud and Dr Pip Hayes, writing in the British Medical Journal (July 2008)

Birth control is a green option - Times headline (27 July 2008)

Who is going to be the first to face up to the need for self-restraint in the number of children brought into the world? - HRH Prince Philip

The more people there are, the more food we need, the more space we occupy, the more resources and consumer goods we wish to have and the more development has to take place - HRH Prince Philip

Overconsumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today - Jacques Cousteau, conservationist

We need to recognise that slowing population growth is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways of easing pressure on our environment and securing a sustainable future for us all - Lionel Shriver

Having one less child is the biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet - Prof John Guilleband, Optimum Population Trust (2008)

In cities children tend to be an economic liability... Cities may well be the best form of contraceptive man has invented to date - 'The Protein Crunch' (2011) Drew & Lorimer

Return to Top

Of course I know our economic growth can't match our population growth so of course I know we'll all get poorer until we get that number down - don't tell me, tell the other idiots! - Bernard Chidzero, economist & politician (1927 - 2002)

When every province of the world so teems with inhabitants that they can neither subsist where they are nor remove themselves elsewhere... the world will purge itself in one or another of these three ways (floods, plague and famine) - Nicolas Machiavelli, writer (1469 - 1527)

Is it better that we manage population growth responsibly or should we to wait for nature to cull our numbers? - Phil Harding (2013)

Either we reduce the world's population voluntarily or nature will do this for us, but brutally - Maurice Strong, UN Under-Secretary-General

The root cause of mass extinction is too many people - John Gray, philosopher

When animals breed out of control it's called overpopulation. When humans breed out of control it's called "economic growth" - unknown

Everybody talks about population growth and its disastrous effect on climate change, food security and resource depletion, but nobody does anything about it - Phil Harding (2008)

The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children - Paul R Ehrlich

Return to Top

I think still it is very fine not to want children. There are far too many people in the world. It is my contribution to ecology - Helen Mirren, actress

One always returns to the fact that there are just too many of us, the population continues to rise and it's unsustainable - Jeremy Irons, actor

Population growth - it's environmentalists' elephant in the room. But we ignore it at our peril - Nick Reeves, Executive Director, CIWEM (November 2007)

Reducing consumption is imperative, but it's pointless to cut out meat and cars while having lots of children - Madeleine Bunting, columnist (The Guardian, 10 September 2007)

If we do not design policies to halt, and then reverse population growth, Nature by default will soon exact a most punishing solution - 'Turning the Elephant Round - Achieving Sustainability in a World Entering Overshoot', Fred Thompson, Ottawa (2007)

Human numbers are a crucial element of ecological sustainability and the biggest underlying cause of many environmental problems...Yet population has become the issue no one wants to talk about - ignored by governments, politicians, environmental groups and the media because it's too 'sensitive' - Optimum Population Trust, 2007

Low carbon, resource efficient solutions and halting then reversing population growth are two sides of the same coin - Phil Harding (2004)

Can a growing human population still leave space for wildlife? - Sir David Attenborough (BBC1 TV 'Saving Planet Earth', June 2007)

The three key ecosystems that produce food - our water, land and seas - are rapidly degrading. This, combined with our exploding population, is leading to food price rises across the world - Jason J Drew, sustainable business entrepreneur (2013)

All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder, and ultimately impossible to solve, with ever more people - Sir David Attenborough

Return to Top

Put simply, the crises we face is that we are too many people consuming too many of the natural resources available to us - 'The Protein Crunch' (2011) Drew & Lorimer

Year after year population figures are released that must spell increasing crisis for all of us and yet they are met with a deafening silence. Everything we manage to achieve for the natural environment is being wiped out by the nearly 80 million extra people each year who need to use up space and resources - Optimum Population Trust, 2007

Absolutely love the new campaign from the Optimum Population Trust: do your bit for addressing climate change by having fewer children - or even no children. The lifetime CO2 emissions of a UK citizen amount to 750 tonnes (the equivalent - apparently - of 620 return flights between London and New York), so the extra 10 million by which our population will rise between now and 2074 will, over their lifetimes, emit around 7½ billion tonnes of CO2..."births averted" is probably the most single most substantial and cost-effective intervention that governments could be using - Jonathon Porritt (2007)

The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has. The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population. Population limitation should therefore be seen as the most cost-effective carbon offsetting strategy available to individuals and nations - a strategy that applies with even more force to developed nations such as the UK because of their higher consumption levels - 'Population-Based Climate Strategy', Optimum Population Trust, May 2007

Our challenge, our generation's unique challenge, is learning to live peacefully and sustainably in an extraordinarily crowded world. Our planet is crowded to an unprecendented degree. It is bursting at the seams. It's bursting at the seams in human terms, in economic terms, and in ecological terms - Professor Jeffrey Sachs, economist, Reith Lecture, 11 April 2007

It is environmental illiteracy and a complete lack of forward thinking to ignore the need to halt and then reverse population growth in the context of climate change, travel congestion, unaffordable housing, and resource depletion - Phil Harding (2007)

...we owe it to the rest of the planet to stabilise our own population. Producing lots of extra Brits, whether through higher birth rates or immigration, is a selfish strategy both economically and environmentally. Not only will it increase overcrowding and congestion and put huge extra strain on resources and habitats in the UK; because British consumers have such a heavy global footprint, it will intensify our impact on the Earth's ecosystems - David Nicholson-Lord, research associate, Optimum Population Trust (2006)

Return to Top

Our new technologies, combined with our numbers, have made us, collectively, a force of nature - Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States, 'An Inconvenient Truth' (2006)

The first law of sustainability: population growth and/or growth in the rate of consumption of resources cannot be sustained - Dr Albert Bartlett, former Professor of Physics, University of Colorado (2006)

The greatest contraceptive one can have in the developing world is the knowledge that your children will live - Julius K Nyere, President of Tanzania 1964-1985

Can you think of anything that can get better if we crowd more people into our cities, our towns, into our state our nation or on this earth? - Dr Albert Bartlett, former Professor of Physics, University of Colorado (2006)

...a population larger than that of the UK is being added to the planet each year, with the equivalent of one new city added every single day. The consequences are already clear - Earth is under mounting stress from human activities, with its climate changing and its ecosystems failing. But recognition that we must act urgently to preserve our natural habitat has been undermined by persistent failure to admit the multiplier effect of human numbers - www.optimumpopulation.org (2006)

There's no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we're not addressing the one single factor that's putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other, namely the ever-increasing size of the world's population - Chris Packham, naturalist

I have no doubt that the fundamental problem the planet faces is the enormous increase in the human population - Sir David Attenborough

We cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health - Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director, UN Population Fund (2004)

The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrollable way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us and it is the poor people of the world who will suffer most - Sir David Attenborough (2003)

Return to Top

Imagine...The UK's population on its way to a target of 30 million by 2130. Wide open landscapes - think of France...Housing freed up at affordable prices. Britain's lost countryside gradually being restored. Restored wildlife and relieved pressure on fish stocks. Widespread organic farming and local food sourcing. An end to age discrimination in employment. Uncongested roads and more space for public transport projects. Nuclear and fossil fuel-driven power stations cut by more than half. Half the UK's energy needs met from renewable sources. Greenhouse gas emissions reduced to sustainable levels. Less stress, perhaps. More space, silence and starlit skies - www.optimumpopulation.org (2003)

What features of your daily life do you expect to be improved by a further increase in population? - Garrett Hardin, ecologist and microbiologist (1915 - 2003)

Environmental impact = population + the level of affluence + technical efficiency. - Paul Ehrlich (1968)

When my parents were growing up the world's population was under three billion. During my children's lifetime, it is likely to exceed nine billion. You don't need to be an expert to realise that sustainable development is going to become the greatest challenge we face this century - Tony Blair, March 2001

There is a clear connection between population growth and virtually every challenge facing our planet - Population Connection

Return to Top

Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment - Sir David Attenborough

Either we limit our population growth, or the natural world will do it for us. And the natural world is doing it for us right now - Sir David Attenborough (2013)

The only real form of pollution is people. Any ecological system which does not include the reduction or stopping of growth of the population is eyewash - Professor Heinz Wolf (1999 UK Innovation Lecture, Bournemouth)

Excessive (population) growth may reduce output per worker, repress levels of living for the masses and engender strife - Confucious

Overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organise peace on this planet - Albert Einstein

To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values, there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally, and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing - Isaac Asimov

Either we reduce the world's population voluntarily or nature will do this for us, but brutally - Maurice Strong, former under-secretary general of the United Nations

Return to Top


Climate Change

Photograph

Climate change: Don't undermine the science just because you don't like the economics - Professor Brian Cox (writing in The Guardian, 3.9.2014)

Previously, people could have damaged the Earth's climate out of ignorance. Now, ignorance is no longer a good excuse - Michel Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organisation, on launch of UN IPCC 5th Assessment report on climate change (March 2014)

Climate change: Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defence of the Earth - Archbishop Desmond Tutu (The Observer, 21.9.2014)

Who can stop climate change? We can. You and you and you, and me. And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so that began in the genesis of humanity, when God commanded the earliest human inhabitants of the Garden of Eden, "to till it and keep it". To "keep" it; not to abuse it, not to make as much money as possible from it, not to destroy it - Archbishop Desmond Tutu (The Observer, 21.9.2014)

We believe that climate risks can be successfully managed and that the transition to a net-zero emission economy can be delivered in ways that create new business opportunities, with manageable costs - The Trillion Tonne Communiqué, Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group (2014)

We must turn the greatest collective challenge facing humankind today, climate change, into the greatest opportunity for common progress towards a sustainable future - Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, describing priority action for 2014

Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all - Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General (2014)

We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate - Yeb Sano, Head, Philippines Government delegation to the UN climate talks, Warsaw, November 2013, in wake of devastating typhoon Haiyan

The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness - Yeb Sano, Head, Philippines Government delegation to the UN climate talks, Warsaw, November 2013, in wake of devastating typhoon Haiyan

Return to Top

Unless a price can be put on carbon emissions that is high enough to force power companies and manufacturers to reduce their fossil-fuel use, there seems to be little chance of avoiding hugely damaging temperature increases - Dr Rakendra Pachauri, Chairman, UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), September 2013

An extremely effective instrument would be to put a price on carbon. It is only through the market that you can get a large enough and rapid enough response [to climate change] - Dr Rakendra Pachauri, Chairman, UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), September 2013

For us climate change, energy affordability, security of supply are the key global issues - EDF Energy, UK (2013)

We're not at the point of trying to stop global warming; it's too late for that. We're trying to keep it from becoming a complete and utter calamity - Bill McKibben, 350.org 'Do the Math(s)' tour (2013)

The evidence that climate change is happening is completely unequivocal... The later governments leave tackling climate change, the harder it will be to combat... The variation we are seeing in temperature or rainfall is double the rate of the average. That suggests that we are going to have more droughts, we are going to have more floods, we are going to have more sea surges and we are going to have more storms. These are the sort of changes that are going to affect us in quite a short timescale - Prof John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist (2013)

Weather patterns over the next 20 or 30 years are going to be determined by the amount of CO2 that is up there now - Prof John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist (2013)

In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grand children, and every other living species - Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, February 2013

While we would not want to attribute every extreme weather event to climate change - the pattern is building and the costs are rising - the human costs and the financial costs - Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, February 2013

Because smart risk management is about taking a holistic stance on situations, we should do the same when it comes to the economic and climate change challenges we're facing - David Cole, Group Chief Risk Officer of Swiss Re (2013)

Return to Top

This [climate change] is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? - Lord Nicholas Stern (January 2013) admitting that the 2006 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change had under-estimated the danger to economies

We are on track for a 3.5 deg C rise by 2040 (i.e. 4.2 deg C relative to pre-industrial)... When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet. We have 5 years to change the energy system, or have it changed - Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist (2012)

Getting the UK 'Climate Ready' has the potential to support economic growth for this country which should be a priority for all of us - Lord De Mauley, Parliamentary under Secretary, UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (October 2012)

No country can hide from the dangers of carbon pollution - President Barack Obama addressing UK Parliament (25 May 2011)

Unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels... we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe - President Barack Obama (2006)

What we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return - President Barack Obama (2006)

We need to treat climate change not as a long-term threat to our environment but as an immediate threat to our security and prosperity - John Ashton, UK Ambassador on Climate Change to UN (2011)

Climate change is not only a massive threat to the global environment, it is also perhaps the greatest economic challenge facing us in the twenty-first century. It demands an urgent and radical response across the developed and developing world - UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2010

Climate change is the greatest threat to our common future. We have a very short period of time to tackle the problem before it becomes irreversible and out of control. A lot of progress has been made, but we must now go further, faster and turn targets into real change - Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change (May 2010)

The road to climate stability is straight and the solutions simple, and yet scientists, economists, industrialists and politicians are busy making them complicated - Satish Kumar (ecological campaigner, writing in National Trust Magazine, Spring 2010)

Return to Top

Climate change is a risk-multiplier. It has the potential to take all the other critical issues we face as a global community and transform their severity into a cataclysm. Reducing poverty, increasing food production, combating terrorism and sustaining economic development are all vital priorities, but it is increasingly clear how rapid climate change will make them even more difficult to address. Furthermore, because climate change is intimately connected with our systemic, unsustainable consumption of natural resources, any decline in the ecological resilience of one resource base or ecosystem increases the fragility of the whole - HRH The Prince of Wales addressing UN climate conference COP15, Copenhagen (December 2009)

Just as mankind has the power to push the world to the brink so, too, do we have the power to bring it back into balance - HRH The Prince of Wales addressing UN climate conference COP15, Copenhagen (December 2009)

The credit crunch is about borrowing from our children; the climate crunch is about stealing from them - David Pencheon, Director, NHS Sustainable Development Unit (2009)

The accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, the poor, the elderly - that can increase ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses - US Environmental Protection Agency (December 2009)

There is no high-carbon future - Lord Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2009)

Forget about making poverty history. Climate change will make poverty permanent - Nazmul Chowdhury, Practical Action, Bangladesh (2009)

A stable climate is the most fundamental resource of all. No one has yet built a civilisation in an unstable climate - Tom Burke, The ENDS Report (May 2008)

Adapting to climate change: It really is time for action...we are on a never-ending road; this is with us for the rest of our natural lives - Joan Ruddock MP, Minister for Climate Change Adaptation, addressing Environment Agency climate change adaptation conference, London (31 March 2008)

Climate change is not an environmental issue, but much more to do with security and economics - Jonathon Porritt (2007)

Our changing climate has changed our politics - Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (commenting on the UN Climate Change Conference held in Bali, 3-14 December 2007)

Climate change is a very unusual ethical challenge because it's so completely measurable...one of the reasons people should take action is because they have a responsibility for their emissions...therefore what somebody else does is really irrelevant - George Marshall, author of 'Carbon Detox' (writing in the Metro newspaper, 9 January 2008)

Return to Top

We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough? - Jonathon Porritt (2007)

He (Jeremy Clarkson) is the last man standing on the beach commanding the glaciers' melt waters to go back - A A Gill, columnist and writer (quoted in the Sunday Times, 6 January 2008)

When you warn people about the dangers of climate change, they call you a saint. When you explain what needs to be done to stop it, they call you a communist - George Monbiot, author, columnist and environmental campaigner (writing in The Guardian, 4 December 2007)

...the world needs to face up to the challenge of climate change, and to do so now. It is clear that climate change poses an urgent challenge, not only a challenge that threatens the environment but also international peace and security, prosperity and development. And as the Stern report showed, the economic effects of climate change on this scale cannot be ignored, but the costs can be limited if we act early - Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Statement on Climate Change, 17 November 2007)

The interdependent nature of the climate change challenge necessitates an interdependent energy supply strategy. No major economy will be able to stand alone - John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (speech to Fabian Society, October 2007)

To tackle climate change you don't have to reduce your quality of life, but you do have to change the way you live - Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London (foreword to the Mayor's Climate Change Action Plan, 2007)

Climate change is not an environmental problem. It is a civilizational problem. Climate change is not just another issue. If it is not addressed in very short order, it will swamp every other issue facing us today - Ross Gelbspan, author 'The Heat is on - The Climate Crisis'

Climate change will not be effectively managed until individuals and communities recognise that their behaviour can make a difference - The Royal Society, Climate Change: what we know and what we need to know (2002)

Climate change is the biggest issue for us to face this century. It's manmade. The science is done. It's complete. It's a matter of political understanding - Sir David King, UK Government's Chief Scientist, giving evidence to House of Lords select committee (March 2004)

Climate change: I say the debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know that the time for action is now - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, speaking on World Environment Day in San Francisco, 5 June 2005

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril - President Barack Obama (2006)

As you warm the climate, you basically raise the speed limit on hurricanes - Kerry A Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, MIT

Return to Top

Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs. The longer we wait to tackle climate change, the harder and more expensive the task will be - American Association for the Advancement of Science public statement 18 February 2007

In addition to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we develop strategies to adapt to ongoing changes and make communities more resilient to future changes - American Association for the Advancement of Science public statement 18 February 2007

The growing torrent of information presents a clear message: we are already experiencing global climate change. It is time to muster the political will for concerted action. stronger leadership at all levels is needed. The time is now. We must rise to the challenge. We owe this to future generations - American Association for the Advancement of Science public statement 18 February 2007

Each and every one of us can make changes in the way we live our lives and become part of the solution [to climate change] - Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States, 'An Inconvenient Truth' (2006)

Essentially, by 2050 we need all activities outside agriculture to be near zero carbon emitting if we are to stop carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere growing - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (personal blog, 1 November 2006)

First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity. It could cause more human and financial suffering than the two world wars and the great depression put together. All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, statement to House of Commons in response to 'The Stern Review' into economics of climate change, 30 October 2006

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change presents very serious global risks, and it demands an urgent global response - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Return to Top

Adaptation is the only means to reduce the now-unavoidable costs of climate change over the next few decades - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Adaptation is a vital part of a response to the challenge of climate change - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Adaptation can efficiently reduce the costs of climate change while atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are being stabilised - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world - access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Greenhouse gas emissions: Ultimately, stabilisation - at whatever level - requires that annual emissions be brought down to more than 80% below current levels - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' on economics of climate change, October 2006

Climate change represents the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen - Sir Nicholas Stern, 'The Stern Review' into economics of climate change, October 2006

Dangerous climate change... It's important not to be alarmist but it is very important to be alarmed - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, during Radio 4 "Today Programme" interview 27 September 2006

We're putting 70 million tonnes of pollution into the atmosphere every day, trapping an enormous amount of extra heat from the sun inside the earth's atmosphere. It's threatening to push the planet past a tipping point beyond which climate change would be difficult to stop - Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States (September 2006)

Although reducing human emissions to the atmosphere is undoubtedly of critical importance, as are any and all measures to reduce the human environmental "footprint", the truth is that the contribution of each individual cannot be reduced to zero ...if we believe that the size of the human "footprint" is a serious problem (and there is much evidence for this) then a rational view would be that along with a raft of measures to reduce the footprint per person, the issue of population management must be addressed - Professor Chris Rapley, Director, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge (BBC Green Room, 6 January 2006)

Climate change: the greatest challenge to face man - HRH The Prince of Wales, BBC interview, October 2005

Climate change: It's here. If we don't react, war, pestilence and famine will follow close behind - R K Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2005)

Climate change: We have never faced a more critical time on our planet - Dr Richard Leakey, Paleoanthropologist and wildlife conservationist, addressing the annual "at Bristol" patrons' dinner, 8 February 2005

Return to Top

Margaret Thatcher was the first political leader in any major country to warn of the dangers of climate change - Ed Miliband (2013)

We need to develop the new green industrial revolution that develops the new technologies that can confront and overcome the challenge of climate change; and that above all can show us not that we can avoid changing our behaviour but we can change it in a way that is environmentally sustainable - Tony Blair, addressing event marking the 10th anniversary of His Royal Highness' Business and the Environment Programme, London, 14 September 2004

What is now plain is that the emission of greenhouse gases, associated with industrialisation and strong economic growth from a world population that has increased sixfold in 200 years, is causing global warming at a rate that began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long-term. And by long-term I do not mean centuries ahead. I mean within the lifetime of my children certainly; and possibly within my own. And by unsustainable, I do not mean a phenomenon causing problems of adjustment. I mean a challenge so far-reaching in its impact and irreversible in its destructive power, that it alters radically human existence - Tony Blair, addressing event marking the 10th anniversary of His Royal Highness' Business and the Environment Programme, London, 14 September 2004

If what the science tells us about climate change is correct, then unabated it will result in catastrophic consequences for our world - Tony Blair, addressing event marking the 10th anniversary of His Royal Highness' Business and the Environment Programme, London, 14 September 2004

Climate change is probably the greatest long-term challenge facing the human race - Tony Blair, Prime Minister's Foreword to the 2006 UK Climate Change Programme

Climate is an angry beast and we are poking at it with sticks - Wallace Broecker, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York (2003)

At its starkest, those facing the greatest impact of climate change are least responsible - 'the effect' magazine, The Tyndall Centre, 2003

How vulnerable communities can best adapt to changing climate is both a practical and a moral issue for the international community - Dr Neil Adger, The Tyndall Centre, 2003

The impacts of global warming are such that I have no hesitation in describing it as a weapon of mass destruction - Sir John Houghton, former Chief Executive of the Meteorological Office, 2003

The probability that we face global warming caused by fossil fuels is now so overwhelming that it is legitimate to doubt the motives of those who deny it - Adair Turner, Vice Chairman, Merrill Lynch (addressing The Inaugural Carbon Trust Lecture, London, April 2003)

If we really are wrong about climate change, we will have created a better world for nothing - USA Today cartoon

Return to Top


Carrying capacity of the planet (food security, ecology, energy, resource consumption & economic growth)

Photograph

Consumption-driven economic growth on this finite planet is a race where eventually everyone loses - unknown (2014)

No economic measure has more value for a nation than investing in a clean & sustainable low carbon future - Phil Harding (2013)

The reality is that protecting the planet and building a strong economy are two sides of the same coin - Craig Bennett, Campaigns Director, Friends of the Earth (2013)

We need to move away from crass, consumption-driven materialism by de-materialising status - Jonathon Porritt (2013)

Over-consumption of industrially produced food, material possessions and energy drives environmental degradation. We should be consuming less, sharing more, slowing down the economy, spending more time with friends and family, growing food and enjoying life - EcoHustler (2013)

...how disconnected politics has become from our natural environment. It has been argued that our dire economic straits make cashing in on our natural resources necessary, but recession is not an excuse to shed our values. The biggest single piece of wildlife protection legislation in this country was developed during the Second World War, yet today's leaders appear to be clambering over themselves to reel in environmental progress at the mere whiff of economic benefit - Harry Huyton, RSPB's Head of Climate Change Ppolicy (2013)

All other green campaigns become futile without tackling the economic system and its ideological defenders. Economics is only dismal because there are not enough of us making it our own - gaianeconomics.blogspot.co.uk

Don't blight the land that feeds you - unknown

There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation - Herman E Daly

Is consumption our primary purpose? Are we consumers or citizens? Do we live to shop or do we shop to live, in order to fulfil our individual purpose - Aldersgate Group

With the UK never more than a few days away from a significant food shortage, UK consumers should also be encouraged over time to reduce how often they eat meat. Meanwhile, as a nation we should place a stronger focus on more sustainable extensive systems of meat production such as pasture-fed cattle, rather than on highly intensive grain-fed livestock units - Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, Chairman, International Development Committee, announcing "Global Food Security" report, June 2013

For the UK, not to grow the food which it could, and to use imports as a substitute for produce which could perfectly well be grown here, is a waste of potential - Barling, Sharpe, & Lang 'Rethinking Britain's Food Security' City University London (Centre for Food Policy) research report for Soil Association (2008)

Food drives the world; apart from clean water, access to adequate food is the primary concern for most people on earth. This makes agriculture one of the largest and most significant industries in the world; agricultural productivity is important not only for a country's balance of trade, but the security and health of its population as well - www.investopedia.com (2013)

Return to Top

Those living in rural areas as well as those with a planning policy remit for those areas have an important responsibility to protect green belt agricultural land for the wider benefit of feeding the UK into the uncertain future that we all face - Phil Harding (2013)

Why destroy green belt land before you know if you are going to need it in the future? - Saltford Environment Group (2013)

The world is only one poor harvest away from chaos. We are so close to the edge that politically destabilising food prices could come at any time - Robert Zoellick, President, World Bank (2011)

Protect green belt and agricultural land: Central and Local Government have a duty of care to take a more long term and strategic approach by first identifying the future 'carrying capacity' of the UK and local regions. This must be done against a background of world population growth that is creating an ever growing demand for food whilst the increasing episodes of extreme weather in the UK and worldwide due to climate change will reduce the UK's ability to feed itself or rely on imported food - Saltford Environment Group (2013)

Destroying green belt agricultural land for immediate economic gain is like burning your children's inheritance to cook a single meal - Phil Harding (2013)

The food system must become sustainable, whilst adapting to climate change and substantially contributing to climate change mitigation... Addressing the many challenges facing global farming and food will require decision-making that is fully integrated across a diverse range of policy areas which are all too often considered in isolation, and for action to be based on sound evidence... The solution is not just to produce more food, or change diets, or eliminate waste. The potential threats are so great that they cannot be met by making changes piecemeal to parts of the food system. It is essential that policy-makers address all areas at the same time - 'The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and choices for global sustainability', Foresight, The Government Office for Science, London (2011)

Right now, our global food system is unsustainable. It does not meet the basic needs of the world's rising population, it is a major contributor to climate change, and demand is growing at the same time as availability of key resources, including water and productive land, decreases - Forum for the Future (2011)

Valuation of ecosystem services should be by economic and noneconomic means. Economic value alone will not provide the quality of services we seek and simple market mechanisms may produce unintended consequences - Executive Summary 'Valuing our life support systems', Natural Capital Initiative (2009)

I think we'd be very foolish to expect that we can just import everything from somewhere else and imagine that that's going to last for ever and ever and ever - HRH Prince Charles, BBC interview, October 2005

Ownership of environmental assets carries a responsibility to optimise, in perpetuity, the value of the ecosystem services they can provide - Executive Summary 'Valuing our life support systems', Natural Capital Initiative (2009)

Economic growth won't feed a growing population living on this finite planet - Phil Harding (2012)

Protecting and growing the planet's soil using the best research is essential if we're to grow enough food for everyone and prevent famine - Securing Soils for Sustainable Agriculture report by Royal Society of Chemistry, NERC, University of Sheffield, and Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network (2012)

Agriculture is perhaps the most inherently sustainable of all human activities, using natural fertility of the land, sunlight, water and human labour to produce the basic necessities for survival - Mark Overton (1999)

Food security occurs when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life - 1996 World Food Summit

The whole world is our dining room, but be careful: it is also our garbage can - Ashleigh Brilliant

Return to Top

We can't cure a shortage by increasing the supply - Garrett Hardin, ecologist and microbiologist (1915 - 2003)

Energy, climate change, food security & population growth are all 'carrying-capacity' issues - unattributable (2013)

If you are clever, you make sustainability the first factor for your growth. This gives you years of advantage over other economies - Philippe Joubert, Chair of the EU Corporate Leaders Group (2013)

Most politicians (and many economists) still regard consumption as sacrosanct, as a cure-all for economic growth, and vital to their re-election - 'The Protein Crunch' (2011) Drew & Lorimer

We need to recycle our waste nutrients to ensure we have food security in the future - Jason J Drew, sustainable business entrepreneur & author of "The Story of the Fly and how it could save the world" (2013)

The extraordinary and escalating price increases of mature (blue fin tuna) fish is a clear sign of the imbalance of demand and supply. These prices clearly signal the real plight of our seas. It is now a multi-billion dollar a year race to finish the rape of our seas - Jason J Drew, sustainable business entrepreneur (2013)

The present [UK] government's food security policy is interpreted as too lax, too laissez-faire, putting too much faith in 'markets' to feed people. It assumes that the UK will always be rich enough to buy scarce resources on world commodity markets. On a precautionary basis, such a policy probably creates unnecessary vulnerabilities - Barling, Sharpe, & Lang 'Rethinking Britain's Food Security' City University London (Centre for Food Policy) research report for Soil Association (2008)

In a race for limited resources, it is the energy efficient that will win the race - David Cameron, Prime Minister (2013)

The economies in Europe that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient - David Cameron, Prime Minister (2013)

Return to Top

Far from being a drag on growth, making our energy sources more sustainable, our energy consumption more efficient, and our economy more resilient to energy price shocks - those things are a vital part of the growth and wealth that we need - David Cameron, Prime Minister (2013)

Economic activity transforms natural products into wastes that nature must then absorb but nature's capacity is near exhaustion - unattributable (2013)

Economists (and others) who are satisfied with nature-free equations develop a dangerous hubris about the potency of our species - Garrett Hardin, ecologist and microbiologist (1915 - 2003)

Thou shalt not transgress the carrying capacity - Garrett Hardin, ecologist and microbiologist (1915 - 2003)

Two storms - environmental and economic - are on a collision course. If we don't allocate the resources needed to mitigate the rising risk from severe weather events, global prosperity for future generations could be threatened. Political leaders, business leaders and scientists need to come together to manage these complex risks - John Drzik, CEO of Oliver Wyman Group (2013)

The 20th Century approach to economics, resource depletion and over-consumption means we boom and bust until we bust more than we boom; that is precisely what is happening. In a low growth economy, the true meaning of resource efficiency in business and in everything we do is essential - Phil Harding (2013)

A stable 21st century society requires 21st century solutions not 20th century economics - Phil Harding (2013)

Sustainable energy + food security + healthy environment = full employment + better future. - Phil Harding (2013)

It's a topsy-turvy world in which a country can import the same amount of ice-cream, toilet paper and other goods to trading partners as it exports, and where top bankers are paid millions for destroying economic value, while hospital cleaners create value many times their pay - Andrew Simms, New Economics Foundation, in his book "Cancel the Apocalypse" (2013)

People 'over-produce' pollution because they are not paying for the costs of dealing with it - Ha-Joon Chang in 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

A broad and joined-up approach is needed if we are to match human demands with the capacity of the planet - Tony Juniper in How Many Lightbulbs Does it take to Change a Planet? (2007)

It seems to me self-evident that we cannot have capitalism without capital and, very importantly, that the ultimate source of all economic capital is Nature's capital - HRH Prince Charles (2009)

Return to Top

Energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply, and increased action on efficiency can serve as a unifying energy policy that brings multiple benefits - Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, IEA (November 2012)

The UK still has time to accelerate the take-up of renewable energy and put the nation on a path towards clean energy that is cheaper, stable and more sustainable. We have a stark choice: We can stay stuck in the last century's boom and bust approach to our economy in the way we consume energy and resources, or create a sustainable, stable and renewable energy infrastructure with the long term environmental and employment benefits that ensue - Phil Harding (December 2012)

We can either save the planet from catastrophic warming, or protect fossil fuel CEOs. Not both. Do the math(s) - Bill McKibben, 350.org (2012)

You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet - Bill McKibben, 350.org (2012)

Mining is like a 'search and destroy' mission - Stewart Udall

We made the mistake of lumping nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons, as if all things nuclear were evil. I think that's as big a mistake as if you lumped nuclear medicine in with nuclear weapons - Patrick Moore (astronomer)

The promise of Western capitalism of ever rising rates of pay has turned out to be the cheque that bounced - Jeremy Paxman, BBC Newsnight presenter, 30 October 2012

Planet Earth thought it had £10. But it turns out we only had £2. Which means everyone must lose 80% of their wealth - Jeremy Clarkson (commenting on the global economic downturn in the Sunday Times, 7 December 2008)

When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action - Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle (January 1998)

It's unselfish and really quite 'cool' to care for the environment with a 'less is more' lifestyle - unattributable

Return to Top

We recognize that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable and promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are the overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development - from 'The future we want', common vision statement, Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012)

Unless we change direction, models show that the profit of the entire consumer goods sector could be wiped out by 2050 - Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, speaking at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012)

Society is happier when the gap between rich and poor is reduced - Michael Wood, historian (2012)

The economic downturn is our wake-up call to slow down, consume less, help each other, & live more! - Phil Harding (2012)

A city of green buildings does not make a sustainable city. We need to address wider issues such as waste, water, transport and energy supply and their interface with buildings, whilst at the same time reducing our impact on the environment - Keith Riley, MD, Veolia Environmental Services

Moving into the safe and just space for humanity means eradicating poverty to bring everyone above the social foundation, and reducing global resource use, to bring it back within planetary boundaries - 'A Safe and Just Space for Humanity', Oxfam (2012)

You do not need to be consuming so much to have a long and healthy life - Royal Society report "People and the Planet" (April 2012)

A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2008)

We need to profoundly revise all of our taxes and charges. The aim is to tax pollution - notably fossil fuels - more, and tax work less - Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France (2007)

We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption... or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future - Royal Society report "People and the Planet" (April 2012)

If we use less, if we consume less, we're going to have more - Colin Baker (actor) on Marlow FM 97.5 (April 2012)

Consume less; share better - Hervé Kempf

Return to Top

Economic growth without environmental & social sustainability at its core will make everything worse again - unattributable (2012)

Those who consume far more resources than they require destroy the life chances of those whose survival depends upon consuming more - George Monbiot, author, columnist and environmental campaigner (2012)

Development which has no regard for whom or what it harms is not development. It is the opposite of progress, damaging the Earth's capacity to support us and the rest of its living systems - George Monbiot, author, columnist and environmental campaigner (2012)

In a conflicting world of poverty, greed and over-consumption, we still don't know what it is to share - unattributable

Why is it so easy to save the banks - but so hard to save the biosphere? - George Monbiot, author, columnist and environmental campaigner (2012)

We wasted billions regulating the financial markets that gave us the credit crunch. Yet we spend practically nothing on planning, regulating and caring for the Earth on which we all depend - Jason J Drew, sustainable business entrepreneur & author of "The Protein Crunch" (2011)

They all say 'Save The Climate'. If the climate was a bank, they would have saved it already! - Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, addressing Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2009)

The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights - J. Paul Getty

We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out - Paul Newman (actor)

If all the ineffective ideas for solving the energy crisis were laid end to end, they would reach to the moon and back - Prof. David JC MacKay, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK energy department in 'Sustainable energy - without the hot air' (2009)

I firmly believe that the principles behind Contraction & Convergence provide the best long-term framework for a fair and equitable climate change mitigation policy - Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister (November 2010)

When politicians & economists understand we live in a finite world & act accordingly then a better future has a chance - Phil Harding (2010)

Dwindling natural resources, along with energy limitations, have placed more pressure on us to compete in order to survive. Ironically, the key to our collective survival will be the survival of our compassion for one another. A civil society is key - "Getpeace" on the Huffington Post (January 2012)

Return to Top

Agriculture is the new golf - Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute (commenting on incorporating agriculture into suburbia)

Switching to 'Renewables' generates jobs, skills, purpose, power, wealth, future, resilience, autonomy, freedom, unity: Sustainable Society - Dave Hampton, Carbon Coach (31 December 2011)

If we go around clearing up our own mess and being positive about our own lifestyle, other people will start copying us and picking up their own carbon 'litter' too - Dave Hampton, Carbon Coach

As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it - Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician (1936 - 2011)

Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability do not exist. We are collaborators in creation - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Why rely on a finite system created in another time with no relevance to the future? - Good Energy (making the case for renewable energy)

If an ignorant person is attracted by the things of the world, that is bad. But if a learned person is thus attracted, it is worse - Abu Bakr (father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad)

It's not sufficient to do things better, we need to do better things - Mark Shayler, eco designer (2011)

We need to make growth greener, to make our economic and environmental policies more compatible and even mutually-reinforcing. This is not just a matter of new technologies or new sources of renewable, safe energy. It is about how we all behave every day of our lives, what we eat, what we drink, what we recycle, re-use, repair, how we produce and how we consume - Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General (May 2011)

When we look down at the Earth from space we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet; it looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile - Ron Garan, NASA Astronaut

We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance - Benjamin Disraeli

Return to Top

You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic - TomTom satnav advertisement (2010)

To change our national economic story from one of financial speculation to one of future growth, we need a third industrial revolution: a green revolution. It will transform our economy as surely as the shift from iron to steel, from steam to oil. It will lead us toward a low-carbon future, with cleaner energy and greener growth. With an economy that is built to last - on more sustainable, more stable foundations - Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (addressing the LSE, 2 November 2010)

'TLC: Transparency, Longevity and Certainty' - Greg Barker, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (describing energy policy requirements against a background of climate change and economic recession, October 2010)

How do we live in a way that shows an understanding that we genuinely live in a shared world, not one that simply belongs to us? - Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, 2009 Operation Noah Lecture

Embracing a low carbon economy will be as momentous as the previous industrial revolutions. As the shift from coal to oil did. And the shift from gas light to electric light. It has the potential to give us the competitive edge in the new global economy. The scale of the challenge is extraordinary. We will need to reinvent in the way we live our lives, the way our world works - Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, UK Government (June 2010)

Developing low carbon sources of energy supply will enhance our energy security - Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, UK Government (June 2010)

Unless we can ensure that the economy is kept subservient to our ecology, we will self-destruct - Roger V Short (2009)

You can forget the idea that a low-carbon future will be boring and dull, it can be exciting, as aspirational as we want, so let's make it happen - Will Day, Chairman, Sustainable Development Commission (February 2010)

I'm not afraid of a world with less consumerism, less 'stuff' and no economic growth. I'm far more frightened of the opposite - Rob Hopkins (introduction to 'The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience')

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad or an economist - Sir David Attenborough

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist - Kenneth Boulding, economist, USA (1910 - 1993)

Return to Top

It's not a choice between our environment and our economy; it's a choice between prosperity and decline - President Barack Obama (2009)

Think about it this way: We're killing people in foreign lands in order to extract 200 million-year-old sunlight. We frack our own backyards and pollute our rivers, or we blow up our mountain tops... for an hour of electricity when we could just take what's falling free from the sky - Danny Kennedy

The environmental benefits of organic systems over conventional are clear. It has a positive impact on wildlife and produces lower levels of pollution, mainly due to the absence of artificial chemicals and fertilisers. Winter cover crops, shallow ploughing and increased organic matter from the use of manure increase soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions - Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director, Soil Association (interview with Farmers Weekly, August 2009)

When you sail on a boat you take with you the minimum of resources. You don't waste anything. You don't leave the light on; you don't leave a computer screen on... on land we take what we want - Ellen MacArthur (round-the-world yachtswoman)

Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to landfill when we can turn them into new cans and renewable energy? Why use more resources than we need to in manufacturing? We must now work together to build a zero waste nation - where we reduce the resources we use, reuse and recycle all that we can and only landfill things that have absolutely no other use - Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (October 2009)

Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich - Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, environmental activist and author (May 2009)

The era of 'abundance' is over. The future will see our natural resources, from oil to food, having some level of restriction placed on them - Andy Bond, CEO, Asda (May 2009)

Return to Top

Resilience is the ability of a system to absorb disturbance and still retain its basic function and structure - Sustainable Development Commission (May 2009)

Reasons to be positive. The economic downturn could be the catalyst for positive change. It should be translated into the wake-up call we need for a major change in aspirations and lifestyles to save humanity from the ecological and economic disaster that would otherwise result from continuing on the high carbon and resource depleting path we have been pursuing - Phil Harding (2009)

Today we find ourselves faced with the imminent end of the era of cheap oil, the prospect (beyond the recent bubble) of steadily rising commodity prices, the degradation of forests, lakes and soils, conflicts over land use, water quality, fishing rights and the momentous challenge of stabilising concentrations of carbon in the global atmosphere... In these circumstances, a return to business as usual is not an option. Prosperity for the few founded on ecological destruction and persistent social injustice is no foundation for a civilised society - Sustainable Development Commission 'Prosperity Without Growth' report (March 2008)

Fundamentally transforming the foundations of the economy is the biggest contribution we can make towards building a sustainable future. The current economic crisis may be painful, but it will be nothing compared with the crises we will face if we continue to grow in a way that threatens the life-support systems on which we rely - Jonathon Porritt, Chair, Sustainable Development Commission, announcing 'Prosperity Without Growth' report (March 2008)

...we have got to deal with increased demand for energy, increased demand for food, increased demand for water, and we've got to do that while mitigating and adapting to climate change. And we have but 21 years to do it - Prof John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist, addressing SDUK 09 conference (March 2009)

By 2030 the demand for resources will create a crisis with dire consequences. Demand for food and energy will jump 50% by 2030 and for fresh water by 30%, as the population tops 8.3 billion - Warning from Prof John Beddington, UK Chief Scientist, addressing SDUK 09 conference (March 2009)

Return to Top

...each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet...We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories...And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it - President Barack Obama, inauguration speech (20 January 2009)

When I see babies, not only do I see the beauty, joy and miracle of life, I also see nappies, landfill waste, vast amounts of food and money needed, and a very shaky, unpredictable future - Joanna Benn, journalist, writer and environmental consultant (BBC Green Room, 2 December 2008)

The collapse of the world's banking system and the impending disaster of accelerating climate change are not separate phenomena. They are simply the most visible symptoms of a particular model of capitalism that will bring civilisation to its knees. But those symptoms will not get sorted unless and until we commit to a radical transformation of the way we create and distribute wealth in the world today - Jonathon Porritt writing in 'Green Futures' (October 2008)

The security of people and nations rests on four pillars - food, energy, water and climate. They are all closely related, and all under increasing stress - Tom Burke, The ENDS Report (May 2008)

Like our finances, humankind is living with a growing ecological deficit but the solution is different. The deficit will worsen with dangerous consequences unless we address population growth sooner rather than later. Efficiency improvements, increased use of renewable resources and less waste in themselves are no longer sufficient to put us back into credit - Phil Harding (2008)

The planet should not be used as a warehouse of resources to serve humanity's selfishness - Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, 2007 Christmas address

My hope is that we come to see consumption as slightly naff, something you only do when you have to - Chris Goodall, Independent on Sunday and author (November 2007)

Once government's objectives were economic growth and social cohesion. Now they are prosperity, fairness and environmental care - Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressing WWF (19 November 2007)

Our mission is, in truth, historic and world changing - to build, over the next fifty years and beyond, a global low carbon economy. And it is not overdramatic to say that the character and course of the coming century will be set by how we measure up to this challenge - Prime Minister Gordon Brown (19 November 2007)

If we build three million new houses by 2020, where will we grow all the stuff needed to feed the people who live in them? - Jeremy Clarkson (writing in the Sunday Times, 21 October 2007)

We should be working towards a carbon-neutral Britain by 2050. We should be working towards the elimination of petrol-driven motor cars, we should be really radical in what we do - the urgency of the problem is really enormous - Sir Menzies Campbell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, in interview with BBC (September 2007)

Large carbon and resource savings arising from efficiency and renewable energy programmes will be completely cancelled out by the added resource needs of even small population increases. Action is urgently required on both fronts to protect our life on earth - Phil Harding (2007)

Don't throw anything away. There is no 'away' - Royal Dutch Shell advert (2007)

Return to Top

Even if we were to stop all fossil-fuel combustion today, it will still take a very long time for our global environment and ecosystems to recover - Professor Kelvin S. Rodolfo, University of Illinois at Chicago (2007)

Reliable and affordable energy is essential for meeting basic human needs and fueling economic growth, but many of the most difficult and dangerous environmental problems at every level of economic development arise from the harvesting, transport, processing, and conversion of energy - John Holdren, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science (February 2007)

...the era of cheap oil and natural gas is coming to a crashing end, with global oil production projected to peak in 2010 and North American natural gas extraction rates already in decline. These events will have enormous implications for America's petroleum-dependent food system - Richard Heinberg, lecture to the E. F. Schumacher Society, Massachusetts, 28 October 2006

Britain has squandered its windfall of natural resources from North Sea oil and gas. Instead of prudently investing the 'unearned income' from nature, to build a safe, clean and green energy supply for the nation, we face unnecessary shortages. But there is still a chance to put the proceeds from liquidating our fossil fuel assets to better and more appropriate use. Instead of oil companies profiteering from climate change and oil depletion, a windfall tax could establish an Oil Legacy Fund to pay for Britain's urgent transition to a sustainable, decentralised energy system - Andrew Simms, policy director, New Economics Foundation (October 2006)

The UK needs to admit its addiction to oil, and make a tough decision to get clean. This is the true economics of climate change - James Leaton, oil policy officer, WWF (October 2006)

Return to Top

Peak oil: The over-populated UK's ability to feed and supply itself for our privileged lifestyle requires the land and resources of other nations. Against a background of depleting oil resources, this is a dangerous strategy - Phil Harding (2007)

Peak Oil: In the face of looming oil production shortfalls, all individuals as well as nations as a whole will have to use less oil. And now is the time to begin developing programs accommodating the need for less oil. The coming shortage could provide excellent opportunities for those able to identify them and act strategically - Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics, Uppsala University, Sweden (2006)

Peak Oil: There is a rude awakening in store for nations and for corporations that haven't made preparations for dealing with the situation. What we are witnessing now is that virtually three-quarters of the important oil producing countries of the world are now past their peak. There is no argument about it whatsoever - Edward Schreyer (2005), economist and former governor-general of Canada

Peak Oil: There are many, many geologists, lifelong petroleum engineers, who are saying that we can stand on our heads if we want, and the world simply cannot produce more than 80-something million barrels a day - Edward Schreyer (2005), economist and former governor-general of Canada

...we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil...The best way to break this addiction is through technology - US President George W Bush, State of the Union Address, January 2006

Economic theory was built on the experience of the Industrial Revolution, which in turn relied on a cheap and abundant flow of energy, first from coal and later from oil and gas. Man was perceived to be master of his environment. But now rising population and dwindling resources have reversed the relationship. The imminent decline in the world's supply of oil, which currently provides 40% of traded energy, calls for a radical change in the economic principles on which the World is run, with far-reaching political consequences - Colin Campbell, Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (2002)

Humanity is living off its ecological credit card and can only do this by liquidating the planet's natural resources - Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network (2006)

In a competitive world of limited resources, total freedom of individual action is intolerable - Garrett Hardin, ecologist and microbiologist (1915 - 2003)

Return to Top

We must rapidly wean ourselves off our dependence on coal and fossil fuels - Richard Branson, announcing investment of all profits from Virgin transport business, estimated at $3 billion over 10 years, to be invested in fighting global warming (21 September 2006)

Reining in energy-intensive activity is the only way to avert ecological catastrophe. Businesses must accept that the future will be one of energy rationing... Think about war-time rationing in Britain... No one said that price and market forces should determine who should eat and who should not. It was recognised that the challenge had to be dealt with equitably, by sharing out a finite, basic commodity. The ration book was introduced and there were no demonstrations in Trafalgar Square. The same logic must apply today, for sharing out Earth's limited capacity to absorb greenhouse gases - Dr Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus, Policy Studies Institute (2006)

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defence of our resources is just as important as defence abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend? - Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication (1985)

The clearest evidence that we are living beyond environmental means is the threat of dangerous climate change. The scale of this threat, to human life and to the natural resources and assets on which it depends, for everything from oxygen and clean water to healthy soils and flood defence, means that this simply must be our top priority - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair (July 2006)

City organisation will have to drive our ecological efficiency as a species. Put simply, cities offer the best chance we have of minimising our ecological impact. But this means that the overriding ecological purpose must quickly become an explicit objective of urban government - Sir John Harman, Chairman, Environment Agency, supportive statement for 6th Annual Climate Change Conference: Cities Action Summit, London (July 2006)

Consuming three planets' worth of resources when in fact we have one is the environmental equivalent of childhood obesity - eating until you make yourself sick - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs addressing the TUC conference, Brighton (12 September 2006)

We are living as if we had three planets' worth of resources to live with rather than just one. We need to cut by about two-thirds our ecological footprint. For that we need one planet farming as well as one planet living - one planet farming which minimises the impact on the environment of food production and consumption, and which maximises its contribution to renewal of the natural environment - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs addressing the Royal Agricultural Show, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (July 2006)

Family farms and small businesses are the backbone of our communities - Tom Allen

Modern agriculture is the use of land to convert petroleum into food - Dr Albert Bartlett, former Professor of Physics, University of Colorado

Return to Top

Organic farming and food systems are holistic, and are produced to work with nature rather than to rely on oil-based inputs such as fertilisers. Consumers who purchase organic products are not just buying food which has not been covered in pesticides (the average apple may be sprayed up to 16 times with as many as 30 different pesticides) they are supporting a system that has the highest welfare standards for animals, bans routine use of antibiotics and increases wildlife on farms - Soil Association

Thirty years ago, if you said the country was living beyond its means, people would have thought about economics. Now, if you talk about the country, or the planet living beyond its means, you think about the environment. We are taking out more than we are giving back. We are consuming energy, water, and other natural resources in a way that is leading to huge and often irreversible damage to the planet. So too are most other developed nations. And so too will China and India if they follow the same path of economic development as us - David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs addressing the Royal Agricultural Show, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (July 2006)

People (in Britain) want simpler lives, they want to downsize. People are becoming very bewildered by too many choices - Marian Salzman, 'trend spotter', USA (2006)

It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - general well-being - David Cameron, Conservative Party Leader, 2006

I ask citizens and governments everywhere to do their part by conserving energy and reducing the use of fossil fuels for the good of the world community. This is our duty to those who share this world with us and to those who follow us: Wherever we see a threat to our environment we must take action - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, addressing World Environment Day conference, 1 June 2006

Gross national product measures neither the health of our children, the quality of their education, nor the joy of their play. It measures neither the beauty of our poetry, nor the strength of our marriages. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. GNP measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile - Senator Robert Kennedy (1968)

There are jobs, money and survival in renewable energy. Our only safe future is sun power - Dave Hampton (letter to The Sun newspaper, May 2006)

Our use of water in all aspects of our lives has a direct impact on the rivers and wetlands...We cannot expect our environment to provide a constantly increasing supply of water - Dr David King, Director of Water Management, Environment Agency (2006)

By the end of this century we will be living in a low carbon economy. We have no choice. Our current reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable; our carbon emissions are throwing the climate out of balance - UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks (2006)

This has got to be bigger than any party, any business, or anyone of us. We will create the environment of the future, either through action or inaction. We have a choice - John Duggan, CEO, Gazeley (2006)

Return to Top

...as more and more people wake up to the fact that further growth does not necessarily bring improvements in quality of life (and often exactly the opposite), sustainability is going to become one of the key characteristics with which places want to be associated - Jonathon Porritt (November 2005)

It is a stark and arresting fact that, since the middle of the 20th century, humankind has consumed more natural resources than in all previous human history - Margaret Beckett, launching the UK Sustainable Development Strategy (March 2005)

We know for sure that human activity is influencing the global environment, even if we don't know by how much. We might still get away with it: the sceptics could be right, and the majority of the world's scientists wrong. It would be a lucky break. But how lucky do you feel? - New Scientist 'Climate Change: Menace or myth?' (vol 185 2486, 12 February 2005)

I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter I do not preserve myself - Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883 - 1955)

Humans merely share the Earth. We can only protect the land, not own it - Chief Seattle

Our house is burning and we look elsewhere. Nature, mutilated and over-exploited, can no longer reconstitute itself and we refuse to admit it. Humanity is suffering. It is suffering from poor development, in the North as in the South, and we are indifferent. The Earth and humanity are in peril and we are all responsible. It is time now to open our eyes - Jacques Chirac, French President, addressing World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, August 2002

How are we going to stop defining ourselves by how much stuff we consume? - Ben Tuxworth, Forum for the Future (2004)

The problem of climate change means we must look to carbon-free technologies to meet our energy needs - Sir David King, UK Government's Chief Scientist, writing in the New Scientist (April 2004)

We all have the means to be prosperous. We have to find the balance between our wealth and our needs - Robert Bourassa, Canadian political leader (1933 - 1996)

From factory-farmed chicken to old-growth lumber to gas-guzzling cars, many of the things we buy support destructive industries. But businesses, governments, and concerned citizens can harness this same purchasing power to build markets for less-hazardous products, including fair-traded foods, green power, and fuel-cell vehicles - Worldwatch Institute "State of the World 2004" report

Current trends in consumption will swamp any gains technology does provide unless there are radical changes in the way we consume resources - Barbara Young, Environment Agency Chief Executive (2003)

We must not allow our pursuit of wealth-generation in the short term to mutilate or destroy our natural environment, for not only can this undermine the important cultural and aesthetic contribution that the environment makes to our lives, but it can imperil the very survival of countless people - Neil Chalmers, The Natural History Museum (foreword to "Key Issues in Sustainable Development and Learning - A Critical Review", 2004)

To free us to live within our planet's budget, we all need "one-planet" buildings. Let's live on this planet as if we intend to stay here - various (letter to 'The Independent' newspaper, August 2003)

They say we have to consider our legacy for the next generation, but surely we want them to have all our advantages too? I believe there has to be a happy lifestyle medium somewhere between hair shirt hippy and toxic Texan - Tamasin Cave, Editor, Ergo

Living in the UK as if we had three planet Earths to support us is not just unsustainable, it is also shortsighted - unattributable (2003)

Return to Top

Make the wrong choices now and future generations will live with a changed climate, depleted resources and without the green space and biodiversity that contribute both to our standard of living and our quality of life - Tony Blair, March 2005

Surely we have the wit and will to develop economically without despoiling the very environment we depend upon - Tony Blair, 2 October 2001

Real progress cannot be measured by money alone. We must ensure that economic growth contributes to our quality of life, rather than degrading it - Tony Blair, Foreword to 'A Better Quality of Life' (1999)

Government must realise economic growth does not guarantee quality of life - UK Sustainable Development Commission (2003)

As the economy gets better, everything else gets worse - Buchwald's Law

From my travels around the world I have seen how much damage and pollution is done by the careless disposal of waste. It is also evident that we in the West produce far more and throw away far more than the developing world, almost without thinking - Michael Palin, writer, actor and traveller

The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around - Gaylord Nelson, American politician (1916-2005)

Return to Top

In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing. If it's unenvironmental it is uneconomical. That is the rule of nature - Mollie Beatty

If an economy is to sustain progress, it must satisfy the basic principles of ecology. If it does not, it will decline and eventually collapse. There is no middle ground - Lester Brown

The remedy to global environment and development problems lies not in reducing growth, but in breaking the connection between expanded prosperity and depleted resources - World Resources Institute, Washington

If we are concerned about our great appetite for materials, it is plausible to decrease waste, to make better use of stocks available, and to develop substitutes. But what about the appetite itself? The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialised countries - John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist, 1958 (1908 - 2006)

Economics and a reliance on science and technology to solve our problems has led to an unsustainable situation where continued growth in consumption is required for governments and business to be considered successful. This is a form of insanity. Economics is at the heart of our destructive ways and our faith in it has blinded us - Dr David Suzuki, Canadian scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster (2002)

Economists are behavioural psychologists, but they think more is better; they want to make everyone richer. They should pause. More's not necessarily better - David Hemenway

An essential way to maintain high and stable levels of growth without severe social or environmental damage is to improve our resource productivity - UK Sustainable Development Commission (2003)

Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities - Pope Francis I

Confronting consumption, seeking to influence consumer behaviour, and understanding the process of lifestyle change are increasingly important topics for sustainable development - UK Sustainable Development Commission (2003)

Return to Top

A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions - Luke 19:20

Joy is not in things, it is in us - Jess Lair

Woe to those who add house to house, who join field to field, until there is no more room and they are the sole inhabitants of the land - Isaiah 5:8

A man reaps what he sows - Galations 6:7

Nothing in excess - Greek proverb

There are two possible routes to affluence. Either produce much, or desire little - unattributable

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough - Lao Tzu

He is not poor that has little, but he who desires much - proverb

You cannot have everything. I mean, where would you put it? - Steven Wright

A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs - Mark Twain

Return to Top

What good would it be to possess the whole universe if one were its only survivor? - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher

Contentment is natural wealth; luxury, artificial poverty - Socrates (469-399 BC)

Live as if you'll die tomorrow, but farm as if you'll live forever - farming proverb

The air, the water and the ground are free gifts to man and no one has the power to portion them out in parcels. Man must drink and breathe and walk and therefore each man has a right to his share of each - James Fennimore Cooper (1789-1851)

Treat the Earth well. It is not inherited from your parents, it is borrowed from your children - old Kenyan proverb

I like to live my life so that my loved ones give me the things I need as gifts and I give them the things they need. Frankly a society built around consumerism is hell - Vandana Shiva (physicist, ecologist, activist, editor and writer)

The wealthiest 300 people have greater riches than the three billion poorest. The three wealthiest people have greater riches than the 48 poorest countries put together. With only limited environmental space to accommodate the expected 9 billion human inhabitants of the world by 2050, such disparities in consumption are clearly not sustainable - Tony Juniper, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth (2003)

The loss of biodiversity threatens the survival of some of the world's poorest people and closes down options for sustainable development in the future - Professor Peter Crane, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2002)

Living in an orgy of unrestrained consumption and economic growth accompanied by population expansion that ignores the carrying capacity of local environments will lead to disaster - Phil Harding (2008)

You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled - Tahanie

Trying to relieve traffic congestion by building more roads is like trying to lose weight by loosening your belt - unattributable



We accept no responsibility for the accuracy or sources of the quotes listed. Please credit the author when reproducing any of the quotes listed on this website.

Button link


© Phil Harding

W3C Compliant


Harding Publications

logo + link