Conservation Quotes

"Everything in nature - plants, animals, soil, water, air - operates in a web of interdependency; a tightly knit network of competition and cooperation. Larry Rasmussen put it succinctly: 'The scientific discovery of the 20th century is that the earth is a community.' "
~ Frederick Kirschenmann & David Gould, Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature

The Ecological Conscience, "I have no illusions about the speed or accuracy with which an ecological conscience can become functional. It has required 19 centuries to define decent man-to-man conduct and the process is only half done; it may take as long to evolve a code of decency for man-to-land conduct. In such matters we should not worry too much about anything except the direction in which we travel. The direction is clear, and the first step is to throw your weight around on matters of right and wrong in land-use. Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be accepted because it pays. That philosophy is dead in human relations, and its funeral in land-relations is overdue."

~ Aldo Leopold

"Wilderness recovery, I firmly believe, is the most important task of our generation."
~ Reed Noss

"Food is politics. That being the case, I voted twice in 2002. The day after Election Day, in a truly dismal mood, I climbed the mountain behind my house and found a small herd of elk grazing native grasses in the morning sunlight. My respect for these creatures over the years has become great enough that on that morning I did not hesitate but wnet straight to my job, which was to rack a shell and drop one cow elk, my household's annual protein supply. I voted with my weapon of choice - an act not all that uncommon in this world, largely, I think as a result of the way we grow food. I can see why it is catching on. Such a vote has a certain satisfying heft and finality about it. My particular bit of violence, though, is more satisfying, I think, than the rest of the globe's ordinary political mayhem. I used a rifle to opt out of an insane system. I killed, but then so did you when you bought that package of burger, even when you bought that package of toful burger. I killed, then the rest of those elk went on, as did the grasses, the birds, the trees, the coyotes, mountain lions, and bugs, the fundamental productivity of an intact natural system, all of it went on."
~ Richard Manning, Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature

"The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world."
~ Henry David Thoreau

"Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"If, on the other hand, conservationists are willing to insist on having the best food, produced in the best way, as close to their homes as possible, and if they are willing to learn to judge the quality of food and food production, then they are going to give economic support to an entirely different kind of land use in an entirely different landscape. This landscape will have a higher ratio of caretakers to acres, of care to use. It will be at once more domestic and more wild than the industrial landscape."
~ Wendell Berry, Farming and the Fate of Nature

"A minimal level of sportsman ethics afield is mandated by written law. Beyond that, say, when an action is legal but ethically questionable, or when (as Aldo Leopold long ago pointed out) no one is watching, hunter ethics is an individual responsibility. As the existentialists would have it, we determine our own honor minute by minute, action by action, one decision at a time."
~ David Petersen

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

"Two things hold promise of improving those lights. One is to apply science to land-use.  The other is to cultivate a love of country a little less spangled with stars, and a little more imbued with that respect for mother-earth – the lack of which is, to me, the outstanding attribute of the machine-age."
Aldo Leopold

"Our government, National and State, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. Exactly as the special interests of cotton and slavery threatened our political integrity before the Civil War, so now the great special business interests too often control and corrupt the men and methods of government for their own profit. We must drive the special interests out of politics."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"Naturally and logically, people who forage rather than herd domestic beasts and tend crops for a living - that is, people who depend utterly on wild as opposed to agriculture nature for their welfare - inevitably come to view themselves as merely an element of it all, one member of an egalitarian community, alternately eating and being eaten."
~ David Petersen

"All truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

"...fear, prejudice, human ignorance, macho fantasy and sheer greed - not the nature of the bear itself - account for the fact that grizzlies no longer survive in most of their historical range. We could live with grizzly bears if we were prepared to know them for what they are - not what we imagine them to be - and adjust our own behavior accordingly."
~ Kevin Van Tighem

"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 away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
~ John Muir, Our National Parks

"I am a hunter. Not merely 'a person who hunts', but someone to whom this ancient, natural and honorable activity is an essential and deeply meaningful part of life."
~ David Petersen

"This hunting tradition and the conservation ethic within that tradition covered a lot of ground before it got to us. It passed through the hands of people both humble and great, simple and profound. This legacy did not come to our generation to die. To keep it alive, we must learn the stories, we must appreciate their significance, and we must teach each successive generation how this heritage was delivered into our custody."
~ Jim Posewitz, Inherit The Hunt

"In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
~ Baba Dioum, Senegalese poet

"The reader must grasp the fact that overgrazing is more than mere lack of visible forage.  It is rather a lack of vigorous roots of desirable forage plants.  An area is overgrazed to the extent its palatable plants are thinned out or weakened in growing power.  It takes more than a few good rains, or a temporary removal of livestock, to cure this thinning or weakening of palatable plants.  In some cases it may take years of skillful range management to effect a cure; in others erosion has so drained  and leached the soil that restoration is a matter of decades; again it has removed the soil entirely.  In the latter event restoration involves geologic periods of time, and thus for human purposes must be dismissed as impossible."
~ Aldo Leopold

"A miracle worker is not geared toward fighting the world that is, but toward creating the world that could be."
~ Marianne Williamson

"Aldo Leopold continually reminded us that there are no boundaries between tame and wild, except in the imperfections of our minds. He also pointed out that we cannot reasonably designate one species as valuable, another as harmless, and another as injurious because they are all part of 'a biota so complex, so conditioned by interwoven cooperations and competitions, that no man can say where utility begins or ends...the only sure conclusion is that the biota as a whole is useful...the function of species is largley inscrutable, and may remain so.' It is all part of the co-mutual dance of life, and either all the dance is moving toward health or none of it is."
~ Frederick Kirschenmann & David Gould, Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature

"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 away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
~ John Muir, Our National Parks

From the essay Thinking Like a Mountain: "Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.  Only the uneducable tyro can fail to sense the presence or absence of wolves, or the fact that mountains have a secret opinion about them.  In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf...  We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.  I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain.  I was young then, and full of trigger itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunter’s paradise.  But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view...  I know suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in fear of its deer.  And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades.
               So also with cows.  The cowman who clears his range of wolves does not realize he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range.  He has not learned to think like a mountain.  Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.
               We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness.  The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but if all comes to the same thing: peace in our time.  A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run.  Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world.  Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men."
~ Aldo Leopold

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead

"Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language."
~ Aldo Leopold

"I know of no restorative of heart, body, and soul more effective against hopelessness than the restoration of the Earth."
~ Barry Lopez, Helping Nature Heal

" it is the duty of every thinking being to live, and to serve not only his own day and generation, but also generations unborn by helping to restore and maintain the green glory of the forests of the earth."
~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

"Devoted though we must be to the conservation cause, I do not believe that any of us should give it all of our time or effort or heart. Give what you can, but do not burn yourselves out -- or break your hearts. Let us save at least half of our lives for the enjoyment of this wonderful world which still exists. Leave your dens, abandon your cars and walk out into the great mountains, the deserts, the forests, the seashores. Those treasures still belong to all of us. Enjoy them to the full, stretch your legs, expand your lungs, enliven your hearts -- and we will outlive the greedy swine who want to destroy it all in the name of what they call GROWTH.
God bless America -- let's save some of it.
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet!"
~ Edward Abbey, Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

"The worthiness of any cause is not measured by its clean record, but by its readiness to see the blots when they are pointed out, and to change its mind."
~ Aldo Leopold, 1932

Ecological Education: "One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.  Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen.  An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise."
~ Aldo Leopold

"If there be no place for wild bison in all of Montana, then surely we have crossed a line between the Last Best Place and the the Once Best Place."
~ Jim Bailey

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
~ Henry David Thoreau

" I've known no better teacher than hunting. And what hunting has taught me is hardly restricted to the ways of wildings and woods."
~ David Petersen, On The Wild Edge

"Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve the soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery."
~ Wendell Berry, Farming and the Fate of Nature

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











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