Chapter 1. Preservation vs. Conservation
46689George Perkins Marsh, from Man and Nature (Charles Scribner, 1864)
“We are, even now, breaking up the floor and wainscoting and doors and window frames of our dwelling, for fuel to warm our bodies and seethe our pottage, and the world cannot afford to wait till the slow and sure progress of exact science has taught it a better economy."
46690John Muir, from The Mountains of California (Houghton Mifflin, 1916)
“Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.”
46691Gifford Pinchot, from The Fight for Conservation (Doubleday, 1910)
“Conservation does mean provision for the future, but it means also and first of all the recognition of the right of the present generation to the fullest necessary use of all the resources with which this country is so abundantly blessed.”
46692Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There (Oxford University Press, 1977)
“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”
Chapter 2. Fundamental Causes of Environmental Problems
46693Paul S. Martin, from "Prehistoric Overkill," in Paul S. Martin and Richard G. Klein, Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution (University of Arizona Press, 1984)
"On a global scale the late Pleistocene extinction patterns appear to track the prehistoric movements or activities of Homo sapiens much more closely than any widely agreed-upon pattern of especially severe global climatic change."
46694Lynn White, Jr., from "The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis," Science (March 10, 1967)
“Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions(except, perhaps, Zoroastrianism), not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.”
46695Garrett Hardin, from "The Tragedy of Commons," Science (Vol. 162, 1968)
“Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
46696Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows, from Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2004)
"It is a sad fact that humanity has largely squandered the past 30 years in futile debates and well-intentioned, but half-hearted, responses to the global ecological challenge. We do not have another 30 years to dither. Much will have to change if the ongoing overshoot is not to be followed by collapse during the twenty-first century."
Chapter 3. Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services
46697Peter M. Vitousek, Harold A. Mooney, and Jerry M. Melillo, from "Human Domination of Earth’s Ecosystem," Science (July 25, 1997)
“[E]ven on the grandest scale, most aspects of the structure and functioning of Earth’s ecosystems cannot be understood without accounting for the strong, often dominant influence of humanity.”
46698John Teal and Mildred Teal, from Life and Death of the Salt Marsh (Ballantine Books, 1969)
“The dangers to salt marshes stem from human activities, not natural processes. We destroy wetlands and shallow water bottoms directly by dredging, filling, and building. Indirectly we destroy them by pollution.”
46699Orrin H. Pilkey and Robert S. Young, from "Will Hurricane Katrina Impact Shoreline Management?," Journal of Coastal Research (November 2005)
"Irresponsible development of vulnerable coastal areas is costing federal taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Add Katrina to the battering that Florida has absorbed in the last two years, and we have a sobering glimpse into the future of US shorelines [which] should never again receive federal tax dollars to rebuild buildings or infrastructure."
46700Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, from Ecosystems and Human Well-Being (Island Press, 2005)
"Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. …The full costs … are only now becoming apparent."
Chapter 4. Energy and Ecosystems
46701Chancey Juday, from "The Annual Energy Budget of an Inland Lake," Ecology (October 1940)
“The annual energy budget of a lake may be regarded as comprising the energy received from sun and sky each year and the expenditures or uses which the lake makes of this annual income of radiation.”
46702John M. Fowler, from Energy and the Environment (McGraw-Hill, 1975)
“Heat energy cannot be completely converted to mechanical energy. In any conversion some of it is irrevocably lost; it remains in the form of heat and cannot be reclaimed for useful purposes.”
Chapter 5. Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy
41798Amory B. Lovins, from "More Profit with Less Carbon," Scientific American (September 2005)
"Using energy more efficiently offers an economic bonanza—not because of the benefits of stopping global warming but because saving fossil fuel is a lot cheaper than buying it."
46703Christopher Flavin and Seth Dunn, from "State of the World 1999," in Lester R. Brown et al, State of the World 1999: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society (W. W. Norton, 1999)
“Today’s energy system completely bypasses roughly 2 billion people who lack modern fuels or electricity, and under serves another 2 billion who cannot afford most energy amenities, such as refrigeration or hot water. . . . The efforts made today to lay the foundations for a new energy system will affect the lives of billions of people in the twenty-first century and beyond.”
Chapter 6. Forests, Wilderness, and Wildlife
46704William O. Douglas, from "Sierra Club vs. Morton," Sierra Club vs. Morton (405 U.S. 727, 1972)
“Those who hike the Appalachian Trail into Sunfish Pond, New Jersey, and camp or sleep there, or run the Allagash in Maine, or climb the Guadalupes in West Texas, or who canoe and portage the Quetico Superior in Minnesota, certainly should have standing to defend those natural wonders before courts or agencies, though they live 8,000 miles away.”
46705William Cronon, from Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature (W. W. Norton, 1995)
“The more one knows of its peculiar history, the more one realizes that wilderness is not quite what it seems. Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, it is quite profoundly a human creation—indeed, the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history.”
Chapter 7. Biodiversity
46706E. O. Wilson, from Biodiversity (National Academy Press, 1988)
“The current reduction of diversity seems destined to approach that of the great natural catastrophes at the end of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras— in other words, the most extreme in the past 65 million years.”
46707Boris Worm et al., from "Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem," Science (November 3, 2006)
"Our data highlight the societal consequences of an ongoing erosion of diversity that appears to be accelerating on a global scale. This trend is of serious concern because it projects the global collapse of all taxa currently fished by the mid-21st century."
46708John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto, from "Rethinking Rain Forests: Biodiversity and Social Justice," Food First Backgrounder (Summer 1995)
“Our position is that there is multiple causation of rain forest destruction, with logging, peasant agriculture, export agriculture, domestic sociopolitical forces, international socio-economic relations, and other factors intricately connected with one another in a ‘web of causality’. ”
Chapter 8. Pollution
46709John Evelyn, from Fumifugium: Or the Inconvenience of the Air and Smoke of London Dissipated (1661)
“It is this horrid Smoke which obscures our Churches, and makes our Palaces look old, which fouls our Clothes, and corrupts the Waters, so as the very Rain, and refreshing Dews which fall in the several Seasons, precipitate this impure vapor, which, with its black and tenacious quality, spots and contaminates whatever is exposed to it.”
46710Beverly Paigen, from "Controversy at Love Canal," Hastings Center Report (June 1982)
“[T]he Love Canal controversy was predominantly political in nature, and it raised a series of questions that had more to do with values than science.”
46711Margaret A. Palmer and J. David Allen, from "Restoring Rivers," Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2006)
"Despite [many] efforts to minimize the environmental impact of developing the land or extracting natural resources (such as mining), streams and rivers have continued to degrade. The controls have simply not been able to keep up with the rate of development and associated watershed damage."
Chapter 9. Global Warming and Ozone Depletion
46712Richard Elliot Benedick, from Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet (Harvard University Press, 1991)
“[I]f the international community is to respond effectively to the new environmental challenges, governments must undertake coordinated actions while some major questions remain unresolved—and before damage becomes tangible and thereby possibly irremediable.”
46713The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from "Climate Change 2007," Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Summary for Policymakers (February 2007)
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level."
Chapter 10. Food
46714Wendell Berry, from The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture (Sierra Club Books, 1977)
“[F]ood is a cultural product; it cannot be produced by technology alone. Those agriculturists who think of the problems of food production solely in terms of technological innovation are oversimplifying.”
46715Lester Brown, from "Food Scarcity: An Environmental Wakeup Call," The Futurist (January/February 1998)
“Securing future food supplies will affect every facet of human existence— from land-use policy to water-use policy to how we use leisure time. . . . It appears that future food security depends on creating an environmentally sustainable economy.”
46716David Pimentel et al., from "Environmental, Energetic, and Economic Comparisons of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems," BioScience (July 2005)
"Depending on the crop, soil, and weather conditions, organically managed crop yields on a per-ha [hectare] basis can equal those from conventional agriculture. … Traditional organic farming technologies may be adopted in conventional agriculture to make it more sustainable and ecologically sound."
Chapter 11. Chemicals
46717Robert Van Den Bosch, from The Pesticide Conspiracy (Doubleday, 1978)
“Integrated control is simply rational pest control: the fitting together of information, decision-making criteria, methods, and materials with naturally occurring pest mortality into effective and redeeming pest-management systems.”
46718Sandra Steingraber, from Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment (Addison-Wesley, 1997)
“Several obstacles, I believe, prevent us from addressing cancer’s environmental roots. An obsession with genes and heredity is one.”
46719Dr. Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and Dr. John Peterson Myers, from Our Stolen Future (Dutton, 1996)
“The pressing question is whether humans are already suffering damage from half a century of exposure to endocrine-disrupting synthetic chemicals. Have these man-made chemicals already altered individual destinies by scrambling the chemical messages that guide development?”
Chapter 12. Political and Economic Issues
46720Mark Sagoff, from The Economy of the Earth: Philosophy, Law and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 1988)
“How shall we balance efficiency against moral, cultural, and aesthetic values in policy for the workplace and the environment? No better way has been devised to do this than by legislative debate ending in a vote. This is very different from a cost-benefit analysis terminating in a bottom line.”
37447Robert D. Bullard, from "Environmental Justice for All," The Crisis (January/February 2003)
“If this nation is to achieve environmental justice, the environment in urban ghettoes, barrios, rural ‘poverty pockets’ and on reservations must be given the same protection as is provided to affluent suburbs. All communities—Black or White, rich or poor, urban or suburban—deserve to be protected from the ravages of pollution.
26887Janet N. Abramovitz, from "Putting a Value on Nature’s 'Free’ Services," World Watch (January/February 1998)
"The gross domestic product (GDP) … supposedly measures the value of the goods and services produced in a nation. But the most valuable goods and services—the ones provided by nature, on which all else rests—are measured poorly or not at all."
Chapter 13. Population Control Controversies
26878Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, from "The Population Explosion: Why We Should Care and What We Should Do," Environmental Law (Winter 1997)
"The overriding reason to care about the population explosion is its contribution to the expanding scale of the human enterprise and thus to humanity’s impact on the environmental systems that support civilization."
46722Betsy Hartmann, from Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control (South End Press, 1995)
“Population control profoundly distorts our world view, and negatively affects people in the most intimate areas of their lives. Instead of promoting ethics, empathy, and true reproductive choice, it encourages us to condone coercion. And even on the most practical level, it is no solution to the serious economic, political, and environmental problems we face at the end of the century.”
46724Joel E. Cohen, from How Many People Can the Earth Support? (W. W. Norton, 1995)
“A number or range of numbers, presented as a constraint independent of human choices, is an inadequate answer to the question ‘How many people can the Earth support?’ While trying to answer this question, I learned to question the question.”
Chapter 14. Environmental Ethics and Worldviews
46725World Commission on Environment and Development, from Our Common Future (Oxford University Press, 1987)
“Sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all opportunity to satisfy their aspirations for a better life.”
33046Paul W. Taylor, from "The Ethics of Respect for Nature," Environmental Ethics (Fall 1981)
“I argue that finally it is the good (well-being, welfare) of individual organisms, considered as entities having inherent worth, that determines our moral relations with the Earth’s wild communities of life.”
46728Vandana Shiva, from "Women’s Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity Conservation," in Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Ecofeminism (Zed Books, 1993)
“In most cultures women have been the custodians of biodiversity. They produce, reproduce, consume and conserve biodiversity in agriculture.”
46729Jared Diamond, from "A Tale of Two Farms," Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2005)
"It has long been suspected that many of those mysterious abandonments [of ancient ruins] were at least partly triggered by ecological problems: people inadvertently destroying the environmental resources on which their societies depended. This suspicion of unintended ecological suicide—ecocide—has been confirmed by [many] discoveries."