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Conversations about conservation – 40 quotes and proverbs on World Environment Day

Here’s a sample of inspiring quotes and proverbs from around the world to motive you to do your bit for the environment – today and beyond.

Conversations about conservation – 40 quotes and proverbs on World Environment Day

Saturday June 05, 2021 , 6 min Read

First held in 1974, World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 each year with the slogan Recreate, Reimagine, Restore. The theme this year, chosen by the United Nations, is Ecosystem Restoration.

World Environment Day is regarded as a platform to raise awareness and momentum on nature conservation, sustainable consumption, wildlife protection, and environmental sustainability.

Themes over the years have included Human Settlements, Soil Degradation, Hazardous Waste, Desertification, Global Warming, Green Cities, Melting Ice, Low Carbon Economy, Plastic Pollution, Illegal Wildlife Trade, and the World Wide Web of Life.

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 future of the human race. So what are you doing today to make our world a better place?


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

Food will last while the forests last. - Kashmiri proverb

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

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

A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

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

Environment is no one’s property to destroy; it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect. – Mohith Agadi

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented. - Barry Commoner

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


For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century, he is beginning to realise that, in order to survive, he must protect it. - Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Green-tech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century. - John Doerr

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

If you cut down a forest, it doesn't matter how many sawmills you have if there are no more trees. - Susan George

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous. - Aristotle

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

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. - Ansel Adams

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries. - Jimmy Carter

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


Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty". - John Ruskin

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another. - Juvenal, Satires

Our planet's alarm is going off, and it is time to wake up and take action. - Leonardo DiCaprio

Sadly, it's much easier to create a desert than a forest. - James Lovelock

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

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

The earth has enough resources for our need, but not for our greed. - Mahatma Gandhi

The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for. - Ernest Hemingway

The Earth is resilient, but she needs our help. - Antonio Guterres

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

The Earth laughs in flowers. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. - Robert Swan

The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved. - Richard Rogers


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

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

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

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

Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived. - Sidney Sheldon

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans. - Jacques Yves Cousteau

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. - Aldo Leopold

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


We don’t have to sacrifice a strong economy for a healthy environment. – Dennis Weaver

We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do. - Barbara Ward

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

We won't have a society if we destroy the environment. - Margaret Mead

We're running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe. - Elon Musk

What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on? - Henry David Thoreau

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

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

You may be able to fool the voters, but not the atmosphere. - Donella Meadows

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).

(Image Credits: Madnamohan Rao)

Edited by Suman Singh