“You carry Mother Earth within you” – 100 quotes and proverbs on Earth Day


First kicked off in 1970, Earth Day is now an annual movement of events celebrated on April 22. Events are held around the world calling for increased awareness about our planet and more support for environmental protection.

Issues surrounding global warning are discussed around the world on Earth Day by activists, academics, policymakers, artists, and industry leaders. Having just one day for environmental conservation is not enough, of course, but the momentum of Earth Day can help with annual ‘stocktaking’ of the green movement and the challenges still ahead for each and every one of us. (See also YourStory’s coverage of water conservation, eco startups, prominent environmentalists and eco products.)

Cutting across ages and cultures, the quotes and proverbs in this compilation remind us of the beauty of nature and the crucial role of environmental balance in the growth of the human race. So what are you doing today to make our world a better place?

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

A sandalwood tree gives fragrance even to the axe that chops it to pieces. - Tamil proverb

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children. - John James Audubon

An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment. - David Attenborough

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. - William Shakespeare

At night, when the sky is full of stars and the sea is still you get the wonderful sensation that you are floating in space. - Natalie Wood

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. - John Muir

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. - John Lubbock

Earth Citizens recognise themselves as members of a planetary community, instead of as members of a single nation, religion, or organisation. And, most importantly, they live that awareness. - Ilchi Lee

Earth rejoices our words, breathing and peaceful steps. Let every breath, every word and every step make the mother earth proud of us. - Amit Ray

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky. - Hafez

Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean. - William Stafford

Food will last while the forests last. - Kashmiri proverb

For 200 years we’ve been conquering Nature. Now we’re beating it to death. - Tom McMillan

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair. - Khalil Gibran

He that plants trees loves others beside himself. - Thomas Fuller

Heaven lent you a soul, Earth will lend a grave. - Christian Nestell Bovee

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke

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

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. - Frank Lloyd Wright

I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed. – Avery Sawyer

I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the Earth, noticed exceptions - those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the Earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable. - Alice Walker

I have a dream...I dream of undoing the damage we've done. I dream of clean water, clean air and clean soil. Will you dream with me? - Brooke Hampton

I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use. - Mother Teresa

I put up my thumb and it blotted out the planet Earth. - Neil Armstrong

I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. - Isaac Newton

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. - Elwyn Brooks White

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. - Henry David Thoreau

If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. - Joseph Wood Krutch

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. - John Muir

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans. - Kahlil Gibran

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living. - David Attenborough

Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more. - Vincent Van Gogh

Life on earth is more like a verb. It repairs, maintains, re-creates, and outdoes itself. - Lynn Margulis

Life on earth is such a good story you cannot afford to miss the beginning... Beneath our superficial differences we are all of us walking communities of bacteria. The world shimmers, a pointillist landscape made of tiny living beings. - Lynn Margulis

Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

Man is still the greatest miracle and the greatest problem on this earth. - David Sarnoff

Nature always wears the colours of the spirit. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature never hurries: atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work. The lesson one learns from yachting or planting is the manners of Nature; patience with the delays of wind and sun, delays of the seasons, bad weather, excess or lack of water. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. - Thomas Jefferson

Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. - Walt Whitman

Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time. - H. P. Lovecraft

On Earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. - Jules Renard

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sense the blessings of the earth in the perfect arc of a ripe tangerine, the taste of warm, fresh bread, the circling flight of birds, the lavender colour of the sky shining in a late afternoon rain puddle, the million times we pass other beings in our cars and shops and out among the trees without crashing, conflict, or harm. - Jack Kornfield

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. - Muhammad Ali

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans. - Evo Morales

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. - Bill Vaughn

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Henry David Thoreau

The appearance of a seed is in direct contradiction to its true nature. - Rabindranath Tagore

The beauty of a sunset is shared by all human beings. - J. Krishnamurti

The dawn is the dream of God’s creative fancy. - Rig Veda

The Earth has a skin and that skin has diseases, one of its diseases is called man. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The earth is what we all have in common. - Wendell Berry

The earth has music for those who listen. - William Shakespeare

The earth laughs in flowers. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. - Lady Bird Johnson

The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth. - Robert Anton Wilson

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. - Rachel Carson

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul. - Robert Wyland

The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it. - Barry Commoner

The sea complains upon a thousand shores. - Alexander Smith

The sea is as near as we come to another world. - Anne Stevenson

The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t. - Christopher Paolini

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. - Jules Verne

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Yves Cousteau

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. - Galileo Galilei

The tree casts its shade upon all, even the woodcutter. - Hindi proverb

The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun. - Ralph Nader

The waves of the sea help me get back to me. - Jill Davis

The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there. - J.R.R. Tolkien

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

There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society, where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster, and where less can be more. - Gaylord Nelson

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. - George Gordon (Lord Byron)

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet. - Brooke Medicine Eagle

There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. – Sarah Kay

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realise that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent. - Dave Barry

Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature. - Dennis Gabor

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees. - Karle Wilson Baker

Trees are Earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. - Rabindranath Tagore

Until a man duplicates a blade of grass, Nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favourable comparison with the products of Nature, the living cell of a plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life. - Thomas Alva Edison

We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth. - William Anders

We can never have enough of nature. - Henry David Thoreau

We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap. - Kurt Vonnegut

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - Native American proverb

We have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came. – John F. Kennedy

We humans are the greatest of earth's parasites. - Martin H. Fischer

We're not up there in space just to joyride around. We're up there to do things that are of value to everybody right here on Earth. - John Glenn

We've lost touch and allowed technology to take precedence over organic nature. But let's not forget that those microchips in our computers came from elements of the earth. - Emilio Estevez

What greater worship can there be than nature’s own festival of lights! – Kabir

What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? - Henry David Thoreau

What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams. - Werner Herzog

What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty on a mountain. - Victor Hugo

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water. - Benjamin Franklin

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. - Georgia O’Keefe

Where flowers bloom, so does hope. - Lady Bird Johnson

With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. - Sylvia Earle

You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion, or challenge the ideology of a violet. - Hal Borland

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. - Thich Nhat Hanh

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).