Tuesday, September 29, 2009
1. Henry David Thoreau: "What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" Thoreau's eco-cred is well established but this line sums things up as succinctly as any HDT ever uttered. The average size of an American home three decades ago was 1,000 square feet. Today: 2,400 square feet. So, not only do our oversized abodes need an extreme makeover, so do our eco-systems if we want what Thoreau calls a "tolerable planet."
2. Carl Sagan: "The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition." As they say in South Florida: bingo. Whether we like it or not, humans are merely part of a larger eco-system. If we sought harmony instead of control, we'd be shaping a far more inspiring planetary legacy. What greater goal could anyone ever have than to leave the planet better off than how we found it?
3. Rachel Carson: "It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself." Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Sinister enough for ya?
|Nancy R. Cohen/Getty Images|
4. William Shakespeare: "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." While the Bard was not talking green here, another way to read this quote is to line it up alongside these lyrics from Sting: "We share the biology regardless of ideology."
5. Vandana Shiva: "Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates." A healthy eco-system cannot exist within the current economic culture. Growth, in this sense, is inherently anti-nature.
6. Edward Abbey: "Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris." Every time we flick on a light switch, we play a role in valley fills, strip mining, coal ash, and more. The good news is we can do something about it.
7. David Suzuki: "We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit." Sort of a variation on the Titanic/deck chair line, Suzuki is merely trying to return our gaze to the big picture.
8. Bob Marley: "The bad people trying to make the world worse never take a day off, so why should I?" The green life is both a full-time commitment and a labor of love. Stick with it.9. Arundhati Roy: "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."
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