Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.
What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered.
And ripped her and bit her,
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn.
And tied her with fences and dragged her down.
Nature is the time-vesture of God that reveals Him to the wise, and hides him from the foolish.
Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man.
What can be more foolish than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth could come by chance, when all the skill of science is not able to make an oyster?
Come forth into the light of things,
...there is nothing that has been created without some reason, even if human nature is incapable of knowing precisely the reason for them all.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.
In the created world around us we see the Eternal Artist, Eternal Love at work.
The First Law of Ecology: Everything Is Connected To Everything Else
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.
Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, 'I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway.'
Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination. Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature. We recognize in it an Infinite Power.
Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain.
It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.
We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only the wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.
Blessed are they who never read a newspaper, for they shall see Nature, and through her, God.
Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.
The life, beauty and meaning of the whole created order, from the tomtit to the Milky Way, refers back to the Absolute Life and Beauty of its Creator: and so lived, every bit has spiritual significance.
The sky and the earth and the waters and the things that are in them, the fishes, and the birds and the trees are not evil. All these are good; it is evil men who make this evil world.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
Ultimately, the human being is in the mercy of nature.
Love every leaf, every ray of light.
Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing.
Loving all, you will perceive the mystery of God in all.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die.
That the sky is brighter than the earth means little unless the earth itself is appreciated and enjoyed.
What I see in nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of 'humility.' This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
I see trees of green, red roses too -
I see them bloom for me and you –
And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white
– The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
You shall find books and sermons everywhere, in the land and in the sea, in the earth and in the skies, and you shall learn from every living beast, and bird, and fish, and insect, and from every useful or useless plant that springs from the ground.
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.
How often are the beauties of nature unheeded by man, who, musing on past ills, brooding over the possible calamities of the future, building castles in the air, or wrapped up in his own self-love and self-importance, forgets to look abroad, or looks with a vacant stare.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
We have to take care about nature as much as nature is taking care about us. Nature is very kind with us. And if you want to enjoy the gifts of nature and the promises of nature, we have to defer to nature and its needs, its rules, its norms.
What good is a house, if you haven't got a decent planet to put it on?
All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature.
As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved with nature and has lost his emotional "unconscious identity" with natural phenomena.
We should understand well that all things are the work of the Great Spirit. We should know the Great Spirit is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and the four-legged and winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that the Great Spirit is also above all these things and peoples. When we do understand all this deeply in our hearts, then we will fear, and love, and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be and act and live as the Spirit intends.
For Nature beats in perfect tune,
We do not ask what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens... The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.
It were happy if we studied nature more in natural things, and acted according to nature, whose rules are few, plain, and most reasonable.
Nature is not our mother; Nature is our sister.
The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, "charm," "spell," "enchantment." They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.
Man, do you think yours is the only soul?
Look around you. Everything that you see
quivers with being. Though your thoughts are free,
one thing you do not think about: the whole.
The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms, wine is in order to be wine: things are precious before they are contributory. It is a false piety that walks through creation looking only for lessons which can be applied somewhere else. To be sure, God remains the greatest good; but, for all that, the world is still good in itself. Indeed, since He does not need it, its whole reason for being must lie in its own natural goodness; He has no use for it, only delight.
This curious world which we inhabit is more wonderful than it is convenient, more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.
Topographically the country is magnificent—and terrifying. Why terrifying? Because nowhere else in the world is the divorce between man and nature so complete. Nowhere have I encountered such a dull, monotonous fabric of life as here in America. Here boredom reaches its peak.
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Understanding the ecosphere comes hard because, to the modern mind, it is a curiously foreign place. We have become accustomed to think of separate, singular events, each dependent upon a unique, singular cause. But in the ecosphere every effect is also a cause: an animal’s waste becomes food for soil bacteria; what bacteria excretes nourishes plants; animals eat the plants. Such ecological cycles are hard to fit into human experience in the age of technology, where machine A always yields product B, and product B, once used, is cast away, having no further meaning for the machine, the product, or the user.
Cities are expanding at an alarming rate. Inter-tidal zones are being polluted as mangroves gives way to marina. Over-consumption is leading to soil erosion and desertification, which in turn cause famine and exert pressure on formally fertile areas. We are pulling out the plugs of the system that keeps us alive. Every indicator is showing red: species diversity, water quality, weather patterns, the number of refugees... We are unravelling nature like an old jumper.
We are altering the most basic forces of the planet's surface - the content of the sunlight, the temperature and aridity - and that brings out the most powerful questions about who is in charge. If you wanted to give a name to this theological problem, I think you could say that we are engaged in decreation.
The good news may be that Nature is phasing out the white man, but the bad news is that’s who She thinks we all are.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is smeared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
Americans long thought that nature could take care of itself—or that is it did not, the consequences were someone else's problem. As we know now, that assumption was wrong; none of us is a stranger to environmental problems.
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,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
We are not talking about aesthetics. We are talking about life: survival of Man. We must train young people to get another vision of Nature. We call it 'wilderness,' and we think it is progress to get further and further away from it. How crazy! Where would we have been if Nature had not built us up?
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.
We do not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams...as "wild." Only to white man was nature a "wilderness."
The great wilds of our country, once held to be boundless and inexhaustible, are being rapidly invaded and overrun in every direction, and everything destructible in them is being destroyed. How far destruction may go it is not easy to guess. Every landscape, low and high, seems doomed to be trampled and harried. Even the sky is not safe from scath--blurred and blackened whole summers together with the smoke of fires that devour the woods.
We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity.
Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment. We need wilderness preserved-- as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds-- because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed.
In our own beginnings, we are formed out of the body's interior landscape. For a short while, our mothers' bodies are the boundaries and personal geography which are all that we know of the world…. Once we no longer live beneath our mother's heart, it is the earth with which we form the same dependent relationship, relying … on its cycles and elements, helpless without its protective embrace.
Although birds coexist with us on this eroded planet, they live independently of us with a self-sufficiency that is almost a rebuke. In the world of birds a symposium on the purpose of life would be inconceivable. They do not need it. We are not that self reliant. We are the ones who have lost our way.
I am often asked if I am not lonely on my solitary excursions. It seems so self-evident that one cannot be lonesome where everything is wild and beautiful and busy and steeped with God that the question is hard to answer.
To sit long in one posture, pouring over a book, or driving a quill, is in itself a taxing of nature; but add to this a badly ventilated chamber, a body which has long been without muscular exercise, and a heart burdened with many cares, and we have all the elements for preparing a seething cauldron of despair, especially in the dim months of fog ... Nature outside his window is calling him to health and beckoning him to joy. He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of the birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy.
Solitude, in the sense of being often alone, is essential to any depth of meditation or of character; and solitude in the presence of natural beauty and grandeur is the cradle of thought and aspirations which are not only good for the individual, but which society could ill do without.
I am in love with this world. It has been my home. It has been my point of outlook into the universe. I have never bruised myself against it nor tried to use it ignobly.
A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, power lines, and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need refuge even though we may never need to go there. I may never in my life get to Alaska… but I am grateful that it's there. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.
The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
Does not scream, haste, persuade, threaten, promise,
Makes no discriminations, has no conceivable failures,
Closes nothing, refuses nothing, shuts none out.
The earth is all the home I have,
the heavens my wide roof-tree
Earth's the right place for love
I don't know where it's likely to get better.
The poetry of earth is never dead,
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide I cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead.
Every intervention of man in the environment around him incurs some risk as to both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Every intervention is taken in the face of partial ignorance as to what its effects will be and involves uncertainty as to the ultimate outcome.
The gap between the rich and poor is growing among and within most nations. The political and social effects of unequal location of energy and other mineral resources are acute. Population numbers continue to climb. The global environment shows signs of widespread deterioration. Both natural and social environments are increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic disturbances… There may, however, be a cheering challenge in the possibility that out of its struggle with these realities the human race may move a bit nearer to behaving as if it were indeed one family.
Our assaults on the ecosystem are so powerful, so numerous, so finely interconnected, that although the damage they do is clear, it is very difficult to discover how it was done. By which weapon? In whose hand? Are we driving the ecosphere to destruction simply by our growing numbers? By our greedy accumulation of wealth? Or are the machines which we have built to gain this wealth—the magnificent technology that now feeds us out of neat packages, that clothes us in man-made fibers, that surrounds us with new chemical creations—at fault?
The environmental crisis is somber evidence of an insidious fraud hidden in the vaunted productivity and wealth of modern, technology-based society. This wealth has been gained by rapid short-term exploitation of the environmental system, but it has blindly accumulated a debt to nature—a debt so large and so pervasive that in the next generation it may, if unpaid, wipe out most of the wealth it has gained us.
Our air, water, soil, forests, oceans, rivers, lakes, scenic beauty, wildlife habitat, minerals, that is the wealth of the country.
On Spaceship Earth there are no passengers; everybody is a member of the crew. We have moved into an age in which everybody's activities affect everybody else.
The supreme reality of our time is ...the vulnerability of our planet.
From the creation learn to admire thy Lord! And if any of the things thou see exceed thy comprehension, and thou are not able to find the reason thereof, yet for this glorify the Creator, that the wisdom of these works surpass thine understanding.
It is through our technology that we have been able to fly far away from earth to learn, in truth, how precious it is. It is no coincidence that our awakening to the special nature of our world and to its uniquely balanced environment and its limitations coincided with our first glimpse of earth from outer space, through the eyes of astronauts, television cameras and photographic equipment.
Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life.
The ecological crisis is a moral issue.
The environmental crisis is a sign that the ecosphere is now so heavily strained that its continued stability is threatened. It is a warning that we must discover the source of this suicidal drive and master it before it destroys the environment—and ourselves.
The environmental crisis is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit. There could be no greater misconception of its meaning than to believe that it is concerned only with endangered wildlife, human-made ugliness, and pollution. These are part of it, but more importantly, the crisis is concerned with the kind of creatures we are and what we must become in order to survive.
Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others…and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.
The environment makes up a huge, enormously complex living machine that forms a thin dynamic layer on the earth's surface, and every human activity depends on the integrity and the proper functioning of this machine. Without the photosynthetic activity of green plants, there would be no oxygen for our engines, smelters, and furnaces, let alone support for human and animal life. Without the action of the plants, animals, and microorganisms that live in them, we could have no pure water in our lakes and rivers. Without the biological processes that have gone on in the soil for thousands of years, we could have neither food crops, oil, nor coal. This machine is our biological capital, the basic apparatus on which our total productivity depends. If we destroy it, our most advanced technology will become useless and any economic and political system that depends on it will founder. The environmental crisis is a signal of this approaching catastrophe.
It is only logical that the pauperization of our soul and the soul of society coincide with the pauperization of the environment. One is the cause and the reflection of the other.
The earth should not be injured.
The earth should not be destroyed.
As often as the elements,
the elements of the world are violated
by ill treatment,
so God will cleanse them thru the sufferings,
thru the hardships of mankind.
Technology and production can be great benefactors of man, but they are mindless instruments, and if undirected they careen along with a momentum of their own. In our country, they pulverize everything in their path -- the landscape, the natural environment, history and tradition, the amenities and civilities, the privacy and spaciousness of life, much beauty, and the fragile, slow-growing social structures that bind us together.
We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.
It is simply that in all life on earth as in all good agriculture there are no short-cuts that by-pass Nature and the nature of man himself and animals, trees, rocks and streams. Every attempt at a formula, a short-cut, a panacea, always ends in negation and destruction.
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.
Me and nature are two.
Perhaps the profession of doing good may be full, but every body should be kind at least to himself. Take a course of good water and air, and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. Some have strange, morbid fears as soon as they find themselves with Nature, even in the kindest and wildest of her solitudes, like very sick children afraid of their mother--as if God were dead and the devil were king.
Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home.
Life and the environment are one thing, not two, and people, as all life, are immersed in the one system. When we influence nature, we influence ourselves; when we change nature, we change ourselves.
The link of nature draw me:
flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine shall never be parted,
bliss or woe
The more deeply I search for the roots of the global environmental crisis, the more I am convinced that it is an outer manifestation of an inner crisis that is, for lack of a better word, spiritual... what other word describes the collection of values and assumptions that determine our basic understanding of how we fit into the universe?
Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Evangelicals have generally condemned environmentalists who blockade roads to preserve wilderness areas from loggers or other forms of industry. But, much as we may decry some of their methods, their cause is often just. Natural ecosystems need to be preserved because they form the most visible statement of God's claim on the earth. When you walk in wild country, you know that you have entered God's territory and that you must operate under his terms. Nature untouched is the clearest visible sign we have that God is the Maker and we are responsible to him.
The Old Testament contains in many places, but especially in the book of Job, one of the most far-reaching defenses ever written of wilderness, of nature free from the hand of man. The argument gets at the heart of what the loss of nature will mean to us....God seems to be insisting that we are not the centre of the universe, that he is quite happy if it rains where there are no people -- that God is quite happy with places where there are no people, a radical departure from our most ingrained notions.
The recurring cycles of the year are not simply entertaining phenomena, to be noted at our convenience and for our enjoyment, but signs that the cosmos is still intact, that we remain in something larger and more reliable than our short-lived enthusiasms. It is for this that we need to know the insects will hibernate, that turtles and warblers will migrate and return, that the tide will retreat, the ice let go, the earth tilt back toward the sun, and the grass reawaken.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life.
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree toad is a chef-d'oeurve for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels!
The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them
Everything we see in nature is manifested truth; only we are not able to recognize it unless truth is manifest within ourselves.
And so when we talk about intangible values remember that they cannot be separated from the others. The conservation of waters, forests, soils, and wildlife are all involved with the conservation of the human spirit. The goal we all strive toward is happiness, contentment, the dignity of the individual, and the good life. This goal will elude us forever if we forget the importance of the intangibles.
How to be green? Many people have asked us this important question. It's really very simple and requires no expert knowledge or complex skills. Here's the answer. Consume less. Share more. Enjoy life.
What have we achieved in mowing down mountain ranges, harnessing the energy of mighty rivers, or moving whole populations about like chess pieces, if we ourselves remain the same restless, miserable, frustrated creatures we were before? To call such activity progress is utter delusion. We may succeed in altering the face of the earth until it is unrecognizable even to the Creator, but if we are unaffected wherein lies the meaning?
Environmentalism is not an upper-income issue, it's not a white issue, it's not a black issue, it's not a South or a North or an East or a West issue. It's an issue that all of us have a stake in. And if I can do anything to make sure that not just my daughter but every child in America has green pastures to run in and clean air to breathe and clean water to swim in, then that is something I'm going to work my hardest to make happen.
I seek acquaintance with Nature -- to know her moods and manners. Primitive Nature is most interesting to me. I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have to read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and entire earth.
The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man.
Some of us still get all weepy when we think about the Gaia Hypothesis, the idea that earth is a big furry goddess-creature who resembles everybody's mom in that she knows what's best for us. But if you look at the historical record - Krakatoa, Mt. Vesuvius, Hurricane Charley, poison ivy, and so forth down the ages - you have to ask yourself: Whose side is she on, anyway?
In relation to the earth we have been autistic for centuries. Only now have we begun to listen with some attention and with a willingness to respond to the earth's demands that we cease our industrial assault, that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence, that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.
The human species has no doubt sinned against the environment, but it has also sinned against itself - and God - which is why stories of redemption still possess power, even in an ecological age.