Quotations on Sustainability

…placing economic activity in the context of the whole earth requires attention to the question of scale. Bigger is obviously not better, so the optimum scale of human economy in relation to the total economy becomes basically a question of sustainability. When the effects of the economy on the environment undercut the possibility of its own continuance, the scale is too large.

John B. Cobb, Jr., Sustaining the Common Good, 1994

…we can at least see that the question is asked, and asked on the basis of a clear recognition that there is no way of manipulating our environment that is without cost or consequence – and thus also of a recognition that we are inextricably bound up with the destiny of our world. There is no guarantee that the world we live in will 'tolerate' us indefinitely if we prove ourselves unable to live within its constraints.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,
Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment
,
25 Mar 2009

…why are so many religious people arguing about the origin of the species but so few concerned about the extinction of the species?

Brian D. McLaren, Everything Must Change, 2007

...day by day, we are acting out the plot of a murderous paradox: an 'economy' that leads to extravagance. Our great fault as a people is that we do not take care of things. Our economy is such that we say we 'cannot afford' to take care of things: Labor is expensive, time is expensive, money is expensive, but materials—the stuff of creation—are so cheap that we cannot afford to take care of them. The wrecking ball is characteristic of our way with materials. We 'cannot afford' to log a forest selectively, to mine without destroying topography, or to farm without catastrophic soil erosion. A production-oriented economy can indeed live in this way, but only so long as production lasts.

Wendell Berry, Home Economics, 1995

...the key to implementation of sustainable practices is following a long-term program based on persistence, not insistence.

Christopher Uhl, professor, Pennsylvania State University
cited in David Eagan, Julian Keniry, Justin Schott, "Higher Education in a Warming World,"
National Wildlife Federation, Nov 07

...the strategy for sustainable development aims to promote harmony among human beings and between humanity and nature... The pursuit of sustainable development requires: a political system that secures citizen participation in decision making an economic system that is able to generate surpluses and technical knowledge on a self-reliant and sustained basis a social system that provides for solutions for the tensions arising from disharmonious development a production system that respects the obligation to preserve the ecological base for development a technological system that can search continuously for new solutions an international system that fosters sustainable patterns of trade and finance an administrative system that is flexible and has the capacity for self correction

...today the great gift of [God's Creation] is exposed to serious dangers and lifestyles which can degrade it. Environmental pollution is making particularly unsustainable the lives of the poor of the world. In dialogue with Christians of various confessions, we must pledge ourselves to take care of creation and to share its resources in solidarity

Pope Benedict XVI,
cited by The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, 27 Aug 2006

By redefining our individual and cultural priorities, we can create a more satisfying sustainable American Dream. When our priorities shift, we'll all benefit from a greater focus on taking care of things... If our insistence on being wealthy is really about being wealthier, we'll get over it when the economy slows down to the speed of the EU economy, for example. Instead of striving to be the wealthiest individual in the firm, maybe we can each strive to be the kindest. Our personal health, families, communities, and environment will all be richer when we change just a few basic assumptions.

David Wann, Simple Prosperity, 2007

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957), Creed or Chaos?, 1947  

A sustainable economy represents nothing less than a higher social order one as concerned with future generations as with our own, and more focused on the health of the planet and the poor than on material acquisitions and military might. While it is a fundamentally new endeavor, with many uncertainties, it is far less risky than continuing with business as usual.

Lester Brown, Sandra Postel, & Christopher Flavin, Saving the Planet: Reshaping the Global Economy, 1991

Although population and consumption are societal issues, technology is the business of business. If economic activity must increase tenfold over what it is today to support a population nearly double its current size, then technology will have to reduce its impact twenty-fold merely to keep the planet at its current levels of environmental impact. For example, to stabilize the climate we may have to reduce real carbon emissions by as much as 80 percent, while simultaneously growing the world economy by an order of magnitude. For those who believe that ecological disaster will somehow be averted, it must also be clear that, over the next decade or so, sustainable development will constitute one of the biggest opportunities in the history of commerce. And innovation will be the name of the game.

Stuart L. Hart, Capitalism at the Crossroads, 2007

An embrace of holy "earth-poverty," a willingness to accept living standards at a sustainable level, should be an important element in our environmental future. Stewardship shows itself in a temperate and moderate lifestyle.

Edgar Castellini, "St. Francis: A Model for Stewardship," EcoStewards Journal, Summer 1999

And it would go a great way to caution and direct People in their Use of the World, that they were better studied and known in the Creation of it.  For how could Man find the Confidence to abuse it, while they should see the Great Creator stare them in the Face, in all and every part thereof?

William Penn (1644-1718), Some Fruits of Solitude, pt. 1, no. 12-13, 1682

As we peer into society's future, we—you and I, and our government—must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 34th President of the United States,
Farewell Address, 17 Jan 1961

At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both "the human environment" and the natural environment. It is about our human stewardship of God's creation and our responsibility to those who come after us.

U.S. Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, July 2001

Be Thou praised, my Lord, of our Sister Mother Earth,
which sustains and hath us in rule,
and produces divers fruits with coloured flowers and herbs

Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), The Mirror of Perfection c. 1280
tr. Robert Steele from the Cottonian Mauscript, 1902

Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress?

Elihu in Job 36:18-19 NIV Bible

Because by definition they lack any sense of mutuality or wholeness, our specializations subsist on conflict with one another.  The rule is never to cooperate, but rather to follow one's own interest as far as possible.  Checks and balances are all applied externally, by opposition, never by self-restraint.  Labor, management, the military, the government, etc., never forbear until their excesses arouse enough opposition to force them to do so.  The good of the whole of Creation, the world and all its creatures together, is never a consideration because it is never thought of; our culture now simply lacks the means for thinking of it.

Wendell Berry, "The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character," The Unsettling of America, 1977

Because the global ecosystem is a connected whole, in which nothing can be gained or lost and which is not subject to over-all improvement, anything extracted from it by human effort must be replaced. Payment of this price cannot be avoided; it can only be delayed. The present environmental crisis is a warning that we have delayed nearly too long.

Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle, 1971

But God's Providence does not promote the good only of one sector of creation; and so we have to use our intelligence to seek the good of the whole system of which we are a part. The limits of our creative manipulation of what is put before us in our environment are not instantly self-evident, of course; but what is coming into focus is the level of risk involved if we never ask such a question, if we collude with a social and economic order that apparently takes the possibility of unlimited advance in material prosperity for granted, and systematically ignores the big picture of global interconnectedness (in economics or in ecology).

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,
Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment
,
25 Mar 2009

But the basic value of a sustainable society, the ecological equivalent of the Golden Rule, is simple: each generation should meet its needs without jeopardizing the prospects for future generations to meet their own needs.

World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, 1987
quoted by Alan Durning in How Much Is Enough?, 1992

But the only possible guarantee of the future is responsible behavior in the present.

Wendell Berry, “Living in the Future,” The Unsettling of America, 1977

But we are finding- to our embarrassment- that much of our makings cannot be sustained, that our creations have been bought at the expense of Creation, through degrading, expending, destroying the larger Creation which sustains us.

Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt, The Importance for Life and Vocation of Being at Au Sable Institute

But we can do nothing for the human future that we will not do for the human present.  For the amelioration of the future condition of our kind we must look, not to the wealth or the genius of the coming generations, but to the quality of the disciplines and attitudes that we are preparing now for their use.

Wendell Berry, “Discipline and Hope,” A Continuous Harmony, 1970

Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.

Capitalism rules worldwide, and a society whose economic fabric depends on constant growth requires that its citizens have ever-expanding needs and wants... In the West, it will take one with soul force equal to Gandhi's to change the prevailing dogma of ever increasing GNP. We may be forced to change our profligate ways some day, when the soil is depleted, the aquifers drained, the icecaps melted, and all the oil wells pumped dry. But the crisis will wait another fifty years or so; we'll leave those problems to a generation yet unborn.

Philip Yancey, Soul Survivor, 2001  

Care for the earth and for the environment is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and the air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. Effective initiatives are required for energy conservation and the development of alternate, renewable, and clean energy resources. Our Conference offers a distinctive call to seriously address global climate change, focusing on the virtue of prudence, pursuit of the common good, and the impact on the poor, particularly on vulnerable workers and the poorest nations. The United States should lead in contributing to the sustainable development of poorer nations and promoting greater justice in sharing the burden of environmental blight, neglect, and recovery.

Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God's creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental, moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

U.S. Catholic Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching, 1998

Certain elements of today's ecological crisis reveal its moral character. First among these is the indiscriminate application of advances in science and technology. Many recent discoveries have brought undeniable benefits to humanity. Indeed, they demonstrate the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God's creative action in the world. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the application of these discoveries in the fields of industry and agriculture have produced harmful long-term effects. This has led to the painful realization that we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.

The gradual depletion of the ozone layer and the related "greenhouse effect" has now reached crisis proportions as a consequence of industrial growth, massive urban concentrations and vastly increased energy needs. Industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation, the use of certain types of herbicides, coolants and propellants: all of these are known to harm the atmosphere and environment. The resulting meteorological and atmospheric changes range from damage to health to the possible future submersion of low-lying lands.

While in some cases the damage already done may well be irreversible, in many other cases it can still be halted. It is necessary, however, that the entire human community - individuals, States and international bodies - take seriously the responsibility that is theirs.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), Message for the XXIII World Day for Peace, 1 Jan 1990

Christian people should surely have been in the vanguard of the movement for environmental responsibility, because of our doctrines of creation and stewardship. Did God make the world? Does he sustain it? Has he committed its resources to our care? His personal concern for his own creation should be sufficient to inspire us to be equally concerned.

John R.W. Stott (1921-2011)
cited in Forward of Peter Harris, Under the Bright Wings, 1993

Colleges and universities are like towns or small cities in their size, environmental impact and financial influence. Roughly 1,000 schools have enrollments of 5,000 or more and some, including faculty and staff, have weekday populations over 60,000. Given their research focus, educational mission and intellectual leadership in society, there may be no better setting to model sustainability and implement global warming solutions.

David Eagan, Julian Keniry, Justin Schott,
Higher Education in a Warming World,”
National Wildlife Federation, Nov 2007

Conservation is sometimes perceived as stopping everything cold, as holding whooping cranes in higher esteem than people. It is up to science to spread the understanding that the choice is not between wild places or people, it is between a rich or an impoverished existence for Man.

Thomas E. Lovejoy, quoted in Balancing on the Brink of Extinction, ed. Kathryn A. Kohm 1990 *

Criticism of growth arose with the discovery that growth beyond a certain point is destructive of the earth. We are already using resources much faster than they can be replenished. We are producing wastes much faster than nature's sinks can process them. The growth economy will end. The only questions are when its end will come, and whether humanity will be able to survive its demise.

John B. Cobb, Jr., Sustaining the Common Good, 1994

Despite its protests to the contrary, modern Christianity has become willy-nilly the religion of the state and the economic status quo. Because it has been so exclusively dedicated to incanting anemic souls into Heaven, it has been made the tool of much earthly villainy. It has, for the most part, stood silently by while a predatory economy has ravaged the world, destroyed its natural beauty and health, divided and plundered its human communities and households. It has flown the flag and chanted the slogans of the empire. It has assumed with the economists that economic forces automatically work for good and has assumed with the industrialists and militarists that technology determines history. It has assumed with almost everybody that progress is good, and that it is good to be modern and up with the times. It has admired Caesar and comforted him in his depredations and defaults. But in its de facto alliance with Caesar, Christianity connives directly in the murder of Creation. For in these days, Caesar is no longer a mere destroyer of armies, cities, and nations. He is a contradicter of the fundamental miracle of life.

Wendell Berry, "Christianity and the Survival of Creation,"
Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, 1992

Entranced by promises of a material paradise of limitless luxury, humanity has too long ignored the mismatch between the imperatives of our existence as living beings on a finite planet and the imperatives of the institutions of money that chart our path to the future. Created to build colonial empires in service to kings, global corporations are ill suited to the task of building just, sustainable, and compassionate civil societies that nurture sufficiency, partnership, and respect for the whole of life. Corporate globalists and the corporate empires they serve may be at the cutting edge of technological innovation, but socially and environmentally they are relics of a bygone era of imperial colonial rule, elite privilege, and state-sanctioned plunder.

David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, 1995

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Prophet Isaiah (c.760-690 B.C.) in Isaiah 46:4 NIV Bible

Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

Aldo Leopold (1886-1948), A Sand County Almanac, 1948  

Feeling that morality has nothing to do with the way you use the resources of the world is an idea that can't persist much longer. If it does, then we won't.

Barbara Kingsolver, Backtalk, 1993

For decades now, it has been federal policy to shrink the number of farmers in America by promoting capital-intensive monoculture and consolidation. As a society, we devalued farming as an occupation and encouraged the best students to leave the farm for “better” jobs in the city. We emptied America’s rural counties in order to supply workers to urban factories. To put it bluntly, we now need to reverse course. We need more highly skilled small farmers in more places all across America — not as a matter of nostalgia for the agrarian past but as a matter of national security. For nations that lose the ability to substantially feed themselves will find themselves as gravely compromised in their international dealings as nations that depend on foreign sources of oil presently do. But while there are alternatives to oil, there are no alternatives to food.

Michael Pollan, “Farmer in Chief,” New York Times, 12 Oct 2008

For three decades and longer we have been developing the ideas, science, and technological wherewithal to build a sustainable society.  The public knows of these things only in fragments, but not as a coherent and practical agenda¿indeed the only practical course available.  That is our fault and we should start now to put a positive agenda before the public that includes the human and economic advantages of better technology, integrated planning, coherent purposes, and foresight.

David W. Orr, The Last Refuge, 2004

For too long, business (and growth-based economics) has treated the productive capacity of the earth's biosphere as an unending revenue stream. Earth's productivity was something that could be spent without cost. Only in the last few decades have the true costs of spending down our natural capital been understood. The better metaphor is to think of the earth's productivity as capital, as something capable of generating revenue in the form of interest but not something that should be spent to the point where it is incapable of continuing to be a source of income. A prudent financial strategy is to spend interest but not capital. The earth has demonstrated a remarkable ability to produce life-sustaining necessities indefinitely, but only if we maintain sufficient savings in reserve to generate these necessities indefinitely.

Joseph DesJardins, Doing Well by Doing Good
Paper presented at The Good Company “Catholic Social Thought 
and Corporate Social Responsibility in Dialogue" 

Pontifical University of St. Thomas, Rome, Italy, 5-7 Oct 2006

Genuine politics—politics worthy of the name—is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community, and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole

Václav Havel (1936-2011)
cited by David Orr in The Last Refuge, 2004

Given a growing human population and the desire of people everywhere to live more prosperous lives, sustainability is surely the most important and difficult challenge facing humanity. …it is simply not enough to treat sustainability as an academic subject.

David Wilcove cited by Ruth Stevens,
Plan sets aggressive goals for Princeton sustainability efforts,”
News at Princeton, 21 Feb 2008

Graciousness, courtesy, compassion—this is hesed. Hesed is a quality that extends even to the animals and the land. The sabbath rest principle of Hebrew law included the needs of the livestock (Exod. 23:12). After seven years of planting and harvesting, the land itself needed "a year of complete rest" (Lev. 25:5). Even the soil of the vineyards was not to be overtaxed by planting other crops between the rows (Deut. 22:9). The oxen that trod out the grain were not to be muzzled so that they could eat while they worked (Deut. 25:4). And so on. The whole point of this instruction was that our dominion over the earth and the little creatures that creep upon it is to be filled with compassion. We should not rape the earth but manage and care for it kindly, lovingly, tenderly. This too is social justice.

Richard J. Foster, Streams of Living Water, 1998

Herein is revealed the tragedy of nearly fifty years of economic growth and national development. Rather than building societies that create a good life for sustainers and bring the deprived into the sustainer class, we have followed the path of encouraging over consumers to consume more, converting sustainers into over consumers, and pushing many of those in the sustainer class into the excluded class.

Nestor Garcia Canclini
quoted in David C. Korten's When Corporations Rule the World, 1996

How could we even begin to disarm greed and envy? Perhaps by being much less greedy and envious ourselves; perhaps by resisting the temptation of letting our luxuries become needs; and perhaps by even scrutinizing our needs to see if they cannot be simplified and reduced. If we do not have the strength to do any of this, could we perhaps stop applauding the type of economic "progress" which palpably lacks the basis of permanence and give what modest support we can to those who, unafraid of being denounced as cranks, work for non-violence: as conservationists, ecologists, protectors of wildlife, promoters of organic agriculture, distributists, cottage producers, and so forth? An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.

E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977), Small Is Beautiful, 1973  

Humanity has created many thousands of culture that didn't destroy their own habitat. They were sustainable societies, and they often had some kind of cultural awareness of the importance of sustainability. We don't have those ecological values. Structurally, we in urban-industrial society are despoiling our own nest, which itself could be considered suicidal or ecocidal. And we know we are doing it. There's a real psychological component to the kind of behavior where you purposely do things you know are damaging to yourself. There are clear terms psychologists use to describe that kind of behavior. So why isn't psychology involved in this?

Allen Kanner, Ecopsychology, 1995

Humans, like all other creatures, must make a difference; otherwise, they cannot live. But unlike other creatures, humans must make a choice as to the kind and scale of difference they make. If they choose to make too small a difference, they diminish their humanity. If they choose to make too great a difference, they diminish nature, and narrow their subsequent choices; ultimately, they diminish or destroy themselves. Nature, then, is not only our source but also our limit and measure.

Wendell Berry, "Getting Along With Nature," Home Economics, 1987

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we must undergo a radical revolution of values.   We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), "Beyond Vietnam," Riverside Church, New York, 4 Apr 1967

I am not fighting machinery as such, but the madness of thinking that machinery saves labor. Men save labor until thousands of them are without work and die of hunger on the streets. I want to secure employment and livelihood not only to part of the human race, but for all. I will not have the enrichment of a few at the expense of the community. At present the machine is helping a small minority to live on the exploitation of the masses. The motive force of this minority is not humanity or love of their kind, but greed and avarice. This state of things I am attacking with all my might.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948),
cited in Vincent Sheean's Lead, Kindly Light, 1949

I often quote an African proverb that says: "The world is not ours, the earth is not ours, It's a treasure we hold in trust for future generations." And I often hope we will be worthy of that trust.

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
quoted in Peter Swanson's Water: The Drop of Life, 2001

I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behave as each farmer here behaves with reference to his own children. That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. The farmer is a good farmer who, having enabled the land to support himself and to provide for the education of his children, leaves it to them a little better than he found it himself. I believe the same thing of a nation.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th U.S. President,
New Nationalism Speech, Dickinson State University, Memorial Ceremony for abolitionist John Brown, 1910

I want to think I deserve what I get. I don't want to consider how vastly I am overly rewarded. I don't want to consider the injustices around me. I don't want any encounters with the disenfranchised. I want to say it's not my fault. But it is, it's yours and mine, and ours. We'd better figure out ways to spread some equity around if we want to go on living in a society that is at least semi-functional. It's a fundamental responsibility, to ourselves.

William Kittredge, "Doing Good Work Together”
in The True Subject: Writers on Life and Craft, ed. Kurt Brown, 1993

If being wealthy is taken to mean having the means to satisfy one's every want, all but the very poor can become rich as though at a single stroke of a magician's wand, simply by ceasing to want more than is really necessary for sustaining life. By being content with little and not giving a rap for what the neighbours think, one can attain a very large measure of freedom, shedding care and worry in a trice.

John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld (1913-1987), Taoism, 1979

If humanity today succeeds in combining the new scientific capacities with a strong ethical dimension, it will certainly be able to promote the environment as a home and a resource for...all...and will be able to eliminate the causes of pollution and to guarantee adequate conditions of hygiene and health for small groups as well as for vast human settlements. Technology that pollutes can also cleanse, production that amasses can also distribute justly, on condition that the ethic of respect for life and human dignity, for the rights of today's generations and those to come, prevails.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), "The Environment and Health," Mar 97
cited in L'Osservatore Romano, 9 Apr 97

If the life-supporting ecosystems of the planet are to survive for future generations, the consumer society will have to dramatically curtail its use of resources - partly by shifting to high-quality, low-input durable goods and partly by seeking fulfillment through leisure, human relationships, and other nonmaterial avenues. We in the consumer society will have to live a technologically sophisticated version of the life-style currently practiced lower on the economic ladder. Scientific advances, better laws, grassroots campaigns - all can help us get there. But ultimately, sustaining the environment that sustains humanity will require that we change our values.

Alan Durning, How Much Is Enough?, 1992  

If we do not serve what coheres and endures, we serve what disintegrates and destroys.

Wendell Berry, "Two Economies," Home Economics, 1987

If we have been slow to develop the general concepts of ecology and conservation, we have been even more tardy in recognizing the facts of the ecology and conservation of man himself. We may hope that this will be the next major phase in the development of biology. Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man's future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), "Essay on the Biological Sciences,"
cited in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, ed Linda Lear, 1999

If we want to save the planet earth, to save life and humanity, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system. Unless we put an end to the capitalist system, it is impossible to imagine that there will be equality and justice on this planet earth. This is why I believe that it is important to put an end to the exploitation of human beings and to the pillage of natural resources, to put an end to destructive wars for markets and raw materials, to the plundering of energy, particularly fossil fuels, to the excessive consumption of goods and to the accumulation of waste. The capitalist system only allows us to heap up waste. I would like to propose that the trillions of money earmarked for war should be channeled to make good the damage to the environment, to make reparations to the earth.

Juan Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia
as cited in “Material World: Evo Morales:A Call for Socialism?”
The Socialist Standard, June 2008

In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts, and continued injustices among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources, and by a progressive decline in the quality of life. The sense of precariousness and insecurity that such a situation engenders is a seedbed for collective selfishness, disregard for others, and dishonesty. Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past...

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), Message for the World Day of Peace, 1 Jan 1990

In the past we could afford a long gestation period before undertaking major environmental policy initiatives. Today the time for a well-planned transition to a sustainable system is running out. We may be moving in the right direction, but we are moving too slowly. We are failing in our responsibility to future generations and even the present one.

Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary-General (1997-2006)
from speech arranged by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies,
Reuters Planet Ark, 14 March 2001  

It is commonly assumed that our national security depends only on our capacity to project military power beyond our borders and has little to do with how we organize the internal business of the country. The nation’s armed strength and its “soft power” are necessary components of security, but they are not—and cannot be—the whole of it. A larger vision of security includes the internal resilience, health, and sustainability of the nation, that is to say its capacity for self-renewal. Real security, in other words, is inseparable from issues of energy policy; education; public health; preservation of soils, forests, and waters; and broadly based, sustainable prosperity.

David W. Orr, “Security by Design,”
Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future , Vol 3, Issue 1, Jan 2012

It is much easier to make intellectual messes than it is to clarify complicated issues, especially when real solutions would challenge the status quo and require much careful thought across many fields of knowledge. Problems of climatic change, biotic impoverishment, population growth, and the choices to be made by various technologies and the transition to a sustainable and decent society with an economy that works over the long-term are difficult, complex, and intertwined problems with many possible answers.

David W. Orr, The Last Refuge, 2004

It is no longer enough to measure a company by standards of profit, efficiency, and market share; it's critical to ask how business contributes to standards of social justice, environmental sustainability, and values.

Jeff Swartz, president and CEO of The Timberland Company, 2002 Annual Report

It is our duty to preserve huge tracts of land in something resembling its native condition.  The biological interactions necessary to insure the continuities of life are astonishingly complex, and cannot take place in islands of semiwilderness like the national parks.

William Kittredge, Hole in the Sky, 1992

It is so important not to let ourselves off the hook or to become apathetic or cynical by telling ourselves that nothing works or makes a difference. Every day, light your small candle.... The inaction and actions of many human beings over a long time contributed to the crises our children face, and it is the action and struggle of many human beings over time that will solve them—with God's help. So every day, light your small candle.

Marian Wright Edelman, Guide My Feet, 2000

It is therefore absurd to approach the subject of health piecemeal with a departmentalized band of specialists. A medical doctor uninterested in nutrition, in agriculture, in the wholesomeness of mind and spirit is as absurd as a farmer who is uninterested in health. Our fragmentation of this subject cannot be our cure, because it is our disease. The body cannot be whole alone. Persons cannot be whole alone. It is wrong to think that bodily health is compatible with spiritual confusion or cultural disorder, or with polluted air and water or impoverished soil.

Wendell Berry, "The Body and the Earth," The Unsettling of America, 1977

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), Trumpet of Conscience, 1967

It seems to me that there must be an ecological limit to the number of paper pushers the earth can sustain, and that human civilization will collapse when the number of, say, tax lawyers exceeds the world's total population of farmers, weavers, fisherpersons, and pediatric nurses.

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Premature Pragmatism," The Worst Years of Our Lives, 1991

It would be rash to conclude that, on balance, the environment of the globe as a whole is either deteriorating or improving, or that the survival of the societies we know depends upon filling a simple set of prescriptions. It is all too complex and dynamic, whether it involves managing greenhouse gases or Nile snails... The future condition of the globe's interlocking natural and social systems depends more on human behavior than on the further investigation of natural processes, however desirable that may be.

Gilbert F. White, "Greenhouse Gases, Nile Snails, and Human Choice,"
Perspectives on Behavioral Science: The Colorado Lectures, ed. Richard Jessor, 1991

It's inevitable that our society will once again give higher priority to belonging and lower priority to belongings.  The reason is simple: our current way of life often leaves us feeling used up and lonely.

David Wann, Simple Prosperity, 2007

Just as peace in our hearts must lead us to be peacemakers in a world at war, so also must that peace in our hearts lead us to be peacemakers in a world that is at war with the very biotic, genetic, chemical and physical structures of creation. In this war Christians are called to be conscientious objectors. Christians will seek to be ecological peacemakers through their political activism, their patterns of consumption, the way they heat their homes and churches, the materials they use in constructing homes and churches, the way they deal with their waste, the cleaning products they use, and the kinds of technology they employ.

Brian Walsh & Sylvia C. Keesmaat, Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, 2004

Just as the detritus of decomposed material is turned back into fertile soil within biological systems, sustainable business must be designed so that its by-products are themselves the resources for new productivity.

Joseph DesJardins, Doing Well by Doing Good
Paper presented at The Good Company: “Catholic Social Thought 
and Corporate Social Responsibility in Dialogue" 

Pontifical University of St. Thomas, Rome, Italy, 5-7 Oct 2006

Let us protect our children; and let us not allow them to grow up into emptiness and nothingness, to the avoidance of good hard work, to introspection and analysis without deeds, or to mechanical actions without thought and consideration. Let us steer them away from the harmful chase after material things and the damaging passion for distractions... Let us educate them to stand with their feet rooted in God's earth, but with their heads reaching even into heaven, there to behold truth.

Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), The Education of Man, 1826, ed. Jeffrey Stern, 1996

Life is what we are alive to. To be alive only to appetite, pleasure, pride, money-making, and not to goodness, kindness, purity love, history, poetry, music, flowers, stars, God, and eternal hope is to be all but dead.

Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, 1909

Light tomorrow with today!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1851) attributed

Love in truth—caritas in veritate—is a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value. The sharing of goods and resources, from which authentic development proceeds, is not guaranteed by merely technical progress and relationships of utility, but by the potential of love that overcomes evil with good

Pope Benedict XVI,
Encyclical Letter: Caritas In Veritate, 29 Jun 2009

Man has sought to take from the natural world not only that which is necessary for his stability and survival, but often seeks to satisfy his perceived and ultimately false psychological needs, such as his need for self-display, luxuries and the like. Twenty percent of humanity consumes eighty percent of the world's wealth and is accountable for an equal percentage of the world's ecological catastrophes. One cannot characterize this situation as "just” and what is more, this injustice has had a direct impact on the ecology of the environment. However, it is plain that this numerical minority of financially powerful people is not the only cause for the ecological ruin of our planet. Every person ruled by instinctual fears attempts to exploit and loot nature. Consider the willful scorching of the earth, over-fishing, wasteful hunting, excessive and dangerous recycling of resources, and other similar "injustices" against the ways of nature share in the responsibility for this ecological spiraling down.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church 
Speech at Environment and Justice Seminar on Halki, 25 June 1997

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsel of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, 1791

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.

William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 18 Jun 90 *

No individual life is an end in itself.  One can live fully only by participating fully in the succession of the generations, in death as well as in life.  Some would say (and I am one of them) that we can live fully only by making ourselves answerable to the claims of eternity as to those of time.

Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, 2000

No institutions in modern society are better equipped to catalyze the necessary transition to a sustainable world than colleges and universities. They have access to the leaders of tomorrow and the leaders of today. What they do matters to the wider public.

David W. Orr, The Last Refuge, 2004

Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Oslo, 10 Dec 2007

Nuclear man is the man who realizes that his creative powers hold the potential for self-destruction.  He sees that in this nuclear age vast new industrial complexes enable man to produce in one hour that which he labored over for years in the past, but he also realizes that these same industries have disturbed the ecological balance and, through air and noise pollution, have contaminated his own milieu...  He sees such an abundance of material commodities around him that scarcity no longer motivates his life, but at the same time he is groping for a direction and asking for meaning and purpose.  In all this he suffers from the inevitable knowledge that his time is a time in which it has become possible for man to destroy not only life but also the possibility of rebirth, not only man but also mankind, not only periods of existence but also history itself.  For nuclear man the future has become an option.

Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996), The Wounded Healer, 1972

One billion people live on less than a dollar a day. They don't have enough nutritious food, clean water or electricity. The amazing innovations that have made many lives so much better — like vaccines and microchips — have largely passed them by. This is where governments and nonprofits come in. As I see it, there are two great forces of human nature: self-interest and caring for others. Capitalism harnesses self-interest in a helpful and sustainable way but only on behalf of those who can pay. Government aid and philanthropy channel our caring for those who can't pay. And the world will make lasting progress on the big inequities that remain — problems like AIDS, poverty and education — only if governments and nonprofits do their part by giving more aid and more effective aid. But the improvements will happen faster and last longer if we can channel market forces, including innovation that's tailored to the needs of the poorest, to complement what governments and nonprofits do. We need a system that draws in innovators and businesses in a far better way than we do today.

Bill Gates, “Making Capitalism More Creative,Time, 31 July 2008

One of the buzz words of recent years has been sustainability and like all buzzwords it tends to be used annoyingly all over the place often for things it doesn't really fit. But what the word points to is the sense of obligation that most of us share at some deep level. The obligation to hand on to our children and grandchildren a legacy that helps them live and flourish. Building to last is something we all understand. And if we live in a context where we construct everything from computers to buildings to relationships on the assumption that they'll need to be replaced before long, what have we lost? ...Perhaps a good resolution for the new year would be to keep asking what world we want to pass on to the next generation. Indeed to ask whether we have a real and vivid sense of that next generation.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,
"New Year's Message," YouTube, 31 Dec 2007

Our [current dominant] story does not guide us to respect environmental limits, but instead inspires our pursuit of as much resource use and waste production (also known as economic growth) as possible, as fast as possible. As a result, we burn through nonrenewable resources without concern for their eventual disappearance, draw down renewable resources faster than they can be replenished, and produce more waste products than our environment can absorb, manifesting a host of negative symptoms, some realized, others largely invisible to us as yet. Rapid and extravagant resource use (with corresponding waste production) is so profitable for some people that they can avoid or remain in denial about most of these negative symptoms for a very long time. In fact, their “success” makes it highly improbable that they will ever be willing to acknowledge the unsustainability of their way of life. This is the prosperity dysfunction.

Brian D. McLaren, Everything Must Change, 2007

Our whole economy is based on planned obsolescence.

Brooks Stevens quoted in Vance Packard's The Waste Makers, 1960

Ours is certainly not an old culture. Yet in recent decades we’ve used more energy, destroyed more soil, created more pathogenicity (temporarily stopped some too, for sure), mutated more bacteria, and dumped more toxicity on the planet than all the cultures before us—combined. I love the United States, but I am not blind to the wrongs. I have no desire to live anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean I think everything we’re doing should be done or can be maintained.

Joel Salatin, Folks, this ain’t normal, 2011

Poverty, underdevelopment and the resulting hunger are often the outcome of selfish attitudes which, arising from man's heart, find expression in his social activities, in economic relations and in the conditions of the market, ... and are translated into the denial of the primary right of all individuals to nourishment and freedom from hunger. How can we remain silent before the fact that food has become the object of speculation and is tied to the movements of financial markets which, lacking clear rules and moral principles, seem fixated on the single objective of profit? Nourishment is a factor which touches on the fundamental right to life.

Pope Benedict XVI,
37th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO),
Vatican City, 1 Jul 2011

Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family. No nation or business sector can ignore the ethical implications present in all economic and social development. With increasing clarity scientific research demonstrates that the impact of human actions in any one place or region can have worldwide effects.

Pope Benedict XVI, 1 Sept 2007
cited by The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change

Progress, under whose feet the grass mourns and the forest turns into paper from which newspaper plants grow, has subordinated the purpose of life to the means of subsistence and turned us into the nuts and bolts for our tools.

Karl Kraus (1874-1936), "In These Great Times," Die Fackel, Dec 1914

Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we came and towards whom we are journeying.

Pope Benedict XVI, World Day of Peace Message, 2008
cited by The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change

Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.

Pope Benedict XVI,
The Human Family, A Community Of Peace, 1 Jan 2008

Scientific or technological "solutions" which poison the environment or degrade the social structure and man himself are of no benefit, no matter how brilliantly conceived or how great their superficial attraction. Ever-bigger machines, entailing even bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the nonviolent, the elegant and beautiful.

E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973

Since problems spill across borders, security anywhere depends on sustainable development everywhere.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, "The Right War," Time, 28 Apr 08

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

Exodus 34:21 NIV Bible

So long as we are under the illusion that we know best what is good for the earth and for ourselves, then we will continue our present course, with its devastating consequences on the entire Earth community... We need only listen to what the Earth is telling us... the time has come when we will listen, or we will die.

Fr Thomas Berry (1914-2009), The Dream of the Earth, 1988  

Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure -- but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico, or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence, because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

Some of the elements of the Judeo-Christian message lie in this economy of nature. The model is inherently biological. The two major models at work today, capitalism and the Soviet and Chinese brands of socialism, are industrial. Christ's metaphors are biological or cultural. He spoke of the vine and the branches, of fish and fishermen. His parables have to do with what is alive, not dead wood or iron or bronze. The Christian message, like an ecosystem, is about process. In an ecological sense, the cross symbolizes a willingness to die so that the continuation of life might be served. Now we must extend our love to the unborn if we are to serve eternal life.

Wes Jackson, "Building a Sustainable Society", Altars of Unhewn Stone, 1987

Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger, made worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to markets and to food – notwithstanding the known fact that the world has enough food for all its inhabitants. Indeed, while low levels of agricultural production persist in some regions, partly owing to climate change, sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future. From these data we may deduce that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger… Hence the need to oppose those forms of aid that do grave damage to the agricultural sector, those approaches to food production that are geared solely towards consumption and lack a wider perspective, and especially greed, which causes speculation to rear its head even in the marketing of cereals, as if food were to be treated just like any other commodity.

Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the World Summit on Food Security, Rome, 16 Nov 2009

Sustainability is an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations. It can also be expressed in the simple terms of an economic golden rule for the restorative economy: Leave the world better than you found it, take no more than you need, try not to harm life or the environment, make amends if you do.

Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce, 1994

Sustainable development can be defined as the process of developing land, cities, businesses and communities so that our current needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It recognizes that social, economic and environmental issues are interconnected and that decisions must incorporate each of these aspects in order to be successful over the longer term.

The Captains of Industry have always counseled the rest of us "to be realistic." Let us, therefore, be realistic. Is it realistic to assume that the present economy would be just fine if only it would stop poisoning the air and water, or if only it would stop soil erosion, or if only it would stop degrading watersheds and forest ecosystems, or if only it would stop seducing children, or if only it would stop buying politicians, or if only it would give women and favored minorities an equitable share of the loot? Realism, I think, is a very limited program, but it informs us at least that we should not look for bird eggs in a cuckoo clock.

Wendell Berry, "In Distrust of Movements," In the Presence of Fear, 2001

The English preacher, Richard Cecil wrote: "Selfishness will break a world to pieces to make a stool to sit on." At the end of the day, after everybody has pleaded that he was only exercising his own God-given rights, that is just what an excess of selfishness could be instrumental in doing. The underlying message from the Earth Summit in Brazil was that the nations of this earth simply cannot continue polluting its atmosphere, land and water as they have up to now. Genuine, substantive and massive sacrifices will have to be made to put the world on the path of sustainable development. In the long run, a willingness to make sacrifices may be all that stands between the human race and catastrophe. Selfishness or survival - which is it to be?

Royal Bank of Canada, Letter, September 1992
from Peter's Pearls, Peter Stafford Sumner, anthologist

The Federal Government has a responsibility to manage wisely those public lands and forests under its jurisdiction necessary in the interest of the public as a whole. Important values exist in these lands for forest and mineral products, grazing, fish and wildlife, and for recreation. Moreover, it is imperative to the welfare of thousands of communities and millions of acres of irrigated land that such lands be managed to protect the water supply and water quality which come from them. In the utilization of these lands, the people are entitled to expect that their timber, minerals, streams and water supply, wildlife and recreational values should be safeguarded, improved and made available not only for this but for future generations.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 34th President of the United States,
Special Message to the Congress, 31 July 1953

The United States is the world's largest polluter and also its biggest consumer of global energy supplies. These habits go directly against biblical directions for stewardship of the earth. Many called the attacks of September 11 an "attack on the Western way of life." The World Trade Center and the Pentagon are symbols of American life, and that is precisely why they were attacked. There is a perception around the world that the United States perpetuates unfair trade policies through both economic policy and military force that benefit western countries at the expense of millions of lives in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As U.S. citizens we have a choice. We can continue to protect our own very high standard of living and continue to center our economy on consumption. Or we can take steps to use less of the world's resources, and to develop economic policies and institutions that focus on a global living wage, sustainable environments, and a reduced focus on consumption. We have an opportunity now to rebuild and reconstruct these American monuments in a way that addresses global perceptions and criticisms.

Lisa Schirch & J. Daryl Byler, "Effective and Faithful Security Strategies,"
from At Peace and Unafraid, ed. Duane K. Friesen & Gerald W. Schlabach, 2005

The absolute desire of 'having more' encourages the selfishness that destroys communal bonds among the children of God. It does so because the idolatry of riches prevents the majority from sharing the goods that the Creator has made for all, and in the all-possessing minority it produces an exaggerated pleasure in these goods.

Oscar Romero (1917-1980), Archbishop of San Salvador
"The Church's Mission Amid the National Crisis," 6 Aug 1979,
The Violence of Love, 2011

The basic building block of peace and security for all peoples is economic and social security, anchored in sustainable development. It is a key to all problems. Why? Because it allows us to address all the great issues—poverty, climate, environment and political stability—as parts of the whole.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
"The Right War," Time Magazine, 28 Apr 08

The basis of Western civilization is the amassing of wealth through the exploitation of nature.

John McKenzie, The Civilization of Christianity, 1986

The conclusion that we are in trouble is unavoidable. I report the assault on nature evidenced in coal mining that tears the tops off mountains and dumps them into rivers, sacrificing the health and lives of those in the river valleys to short-term profit, and I see a link between that process and the stock-market frenzy which scorns long-term investments—genuine savings—in favor of quick turnovers and speculative bubbles whose inevitable bursting leaves insiders with stuffed pockets and millions of small stockholders, pensioners, and employees out of work, out of luck, and out of hope.

Bill Moyers, Moyers on Democracy, 2008

The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use, and the violent hoarding of the Earth’s resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development.

The dialogue about sustainability is about a change in the human trajectory that will require us to rethink old assumptions and engage the large questions of the human condition that some presume to have been solved once and for all.

David W. Orr, The Last Refuge, 2004

The earthly result of human sin has been a perverted stewardship, a patchwork of garden and wasteland in which the waste is increasing. "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land...Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away" (Hosea 4:1,3). Thus, one consequence of our misuse of the earth is an unjust denial of God's created bounty to other human beings, both now and in the future.

An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation
The Evangelical Environmental Network 1994

The essence of the problem is about consumption, recognizing that a society that consumes one-third of the world's resources is unsustainable. This level of consumption requires constant intervention into other people's lands. That's what's going on.

Winona LaDuke, cited by Patrick Mazza in "Native Activists",
Cascadia Planet, 23 Jul 2000

The funny thing about sustainability is you gotta sustain it.

Ron Finley, A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA, TED Talk, March 2013

The gains made by better management and technology are still being outpaced by the environmental impacts of population and economic growth. We are on an unsustainable course.

Klaus Toepfer, head of the United Nations Environment Program
cited in Rueters 22 Sept 1999

The goods of creation belong to humanity as a whole. Yet the current pace of environmental exploitation is seriously endangering the supply of certain natural resources not only for the present generation, but above all for generations to come.

The guiding rules are that people must share with each other and care for the Earth. Humanity must take no more from nature than nature can replenish. This in turn means adopting lifestyles and development paths that respect and work within nature's limits. It can be done without rejecting the many benefits that modern technology has brought, provided that technology also works within those

The higher aims of "technological progress" are money and ease. And this exalted greed for money and ease is disguised and justified by an obscure, cultish faith in "the future." We do as we do, we say, "for the sake of the future" or "to make a better future for our children." How we can hope to make a good future by doing badly in the present, we do not say. We cannot think about the future, of course, for the future does not exist: the existence of the future is an article of faith. We can be assured only that, if there is to be a future, the good of it is already implicit in the good things of the present. We do not need to plan or devise a "world of the future"; if we take care of the world of the present, the future will have received full justice from us. A good future is implicit in the soils, forests, grasslands, marshes, deserts, mountains, rivers, and oceans that we have now, and in the good things of human culture that we have now; the only valid "futurology" available to us is to take care of those things. We have no need to contrive and dabble at "the future of the human race"; we have the same pressing need that we have always had—to love, care for, and teach our children.

Wendell Berry, "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine" What Are People For?, 1989

The idea that we should obey nature's laws and live harmoniously with her as good husbanders and stewards of her gifts is old. And I believe that until fairly recently our destructions of nature were more or less unwitting the by-products, so to speak, of our ignorance or weakness or depravity. It is our present principled and elaborately rationalized rape and plunder of the natural world that is a new thing under the sun.

Wendell Berry, "A Practical Harmony," What Are People For? 1990

The kind of greening that pushes the pedal to the metal a little harder—more efficient technologies, better command and control, input substitution—ends up creating the problem we intended to solve. We delude ourselves into believing that working smarter will solve the problem. More often it reinforces the problem, because we have not approached it from a dynamic social/ecological systems perspective. The central issue is that we can never control whole systems; nor can we control any part of a system in isolation. Consequently, while greening may bring about desirable short-term results, it will never lead to sustainability. Our world is a complex adaptive system that is interconnected, interdependent, and constantly changing. All systems are unpredictable and proceed in a nonlinear fashion. We can never hold a system in an optimal sustainable state. We can only design systems to enhance their capacity for self-renewal.

Frederick L. Kirschenmann, "Redefining Sustainability," Cultivating an Ecological Conscience, 2010

The language of commerce has been engineered to describe the overt purpose of a thing, but cannot encompass fringe benefits or peripheral pleasures. It weighs the obvious against what in its terms are incomprehensible. When I drive from here to there, speed, privacy, control, and safety are easy to claim. When I walk, what happens is more vague, more ambiguous—and in many circumstances much richer. I am out in the world. It’s exercise, though not so quantifiably as on a treadmill in a gym with a digital readout. It’s myriad little epiphanies and encounters that knit me more tightly into my place and maybe enhance the place overall. The carbon emissions are essentially nil.

Rebecca Solnit, “Finding Time,” Orion, Sep-Oct 07

The only rational way of planning the country's national progress is through sustainable development: meeting the needs of citizens of today without limiting the options of future generations to fulfill their needs. It is development without destruction; it is the achievement of material progress without compromising the life-support functions of natural systems; it is the pursuit of higher levels of quality of life while preserving or even enhancing environmental quality. It is the only true development.

The people who benefit from this state of affairs have been at pains to convince us that the agricultural practices and policies that have almost annihilated the farming population have greatly benefited the population of food consumers. But more and more consumers are now becoming aware that our supposed abundance of cheap and healthful food is to a considerable extent illusory. They are beginning to see that the social, ecological, and even the economic costs of such "cheap food" are, in fact, great. They are beginning to see that a system of food production that is dependent on massive applications of drugs and chemicals cannot, by definition, produce "pure food." And they are beginning to see that a kind of agriculture that involves unprecedented erosion and depletion of soil, unprecedented waste of water, and unprecedented destruction of the farm population cannot by any accommodation of sense or fantasy be called "sustainable."

Wendell Berry, "Farming and the Global Economy," Another Turn of the Crank, 1995

The planetary emergency unfolding around us is, first and foremost…a crisis of thought, values, perceptions, ideas and judgments. In other words, it is a crisis of mind, which makes it a crisis of those institutions which purport to improve minds.

The profound crisis of human identity brought on by living within a lie, a crisis which in turn makes such a life possible, certainly possesses a moral dimension as well; it appears, among other things, as a deep moral crisis in society. A person who has been seduced by the consumer value system, whose identity is dissolved in an amalgam of the accouterments [trappings] of mass civilization, and who has no roots in the order of being, no sense of responsibility for anything higher than his own personal survival, is a demoralized person. The system depends on this demoralization, deepens it, is in fact a projection of it into society.

Václav Havel (1936-2011),
The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, ed. John Keane, 1985

The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth— soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), Letter to the editor, Washington Post, 1953,
cited in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, ed Linda Lear, 1999

The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.

Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, 1994

The salvation of the world lies in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness, and in human responsibility. We are still under the sway of destructive and vain belief that man is the pinnacle of creation and not just a part of it, and therefore, everything is permitted. We still don't know how to put morality ahead of politics, science, and economics. We are still incapable of understanding that the only genuine backbone of all our actions - if they are to be moral - is responsibility. Responsibility is something higher than my family, my country, my firm, my success. Responsibility to the order of Being, where, and only where, they will be properly judged.

Václav Havel (1936-2011) Address to the Joint Session of U.S. Congress, 21 Feb 1990

The transition to a sustainable future will require the vast majority of people be persuaded to adopt different lifestyles... Campaigns that rely solely on providing information often have little or no effect upon behavior.

Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith,
Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-based Social Marketing, 1999

The unlimited capacity of the plant world to sustain man at his highest is a region as yet unexplored by modern science.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), India of My Dreams, 1959

The words "Be fertile and increase, fill the earth, master it; and rule the earth" (Gen 1:28) sting when they are misinterpreted to justify plundering the environment without regard for the consequences. Judaism's opposition to the wanton destruction of the environment holds that creation is an on-going process in which God and humans are co-partners in safe-guarding the earth's riches. That is why rabbinic tradition depicts God warning Adam: "See my world, how beautiful it is. Do not corrupt or destroy it, for if you do, there will be no one to set it right after you."

Rabbi Stephen Pearce, Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA
quoted in Religion and the Forests, Spring 2000

The world that God created has been entrusted to us. Our use of it must be directed by God's plan for creation, not simply for our own benefit. Our stewardship of the Earth is a form of participation in God's act of creating and sustaining the world. In our use of creation, we must be guided by a concern for generations to come. We show our respect for the Creator by our care for creation.

There can be no solution to the challenge of climate change that is not global. But if we can come together in partnership, we can transform today's challenge into tomorrow's opportunity - an opportunity for green growth and sustainable prosperity… we also need a strong bottom-up push from academics and opinion-shapers such as you. Universities such as yours are founts of ideas and innovation. They are furnaces of innovation and entrepreneurship. So, send forth this word. Tell your university students, your colleagues, your political leaders - we must seize this once-in-a-generation chance.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Speech to the University Presidents' Forum on Climate Change
and Sustainable Development in Asia and Africa
,
Korea University, 17 Aug 2009

There would be no call for ecological campaigning had nature not been exploited and abused.  We experience the ground now bringing forth thistles as soil erosion devastates formerly arable land and deserts overtake fertile farms.  Rivers and the atmosphere are polluted thoughtlessly and we are fearful of the consequences of a depleted ozone layer and the devastation of the greenhouse effect.  We are not quite at home in our world, and somewhere in each of us there is a nostalgia for a paradise that has been lost.

Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness, 2000

These proposals, which shift the concern from the growth of the market to the well-being of the whole earth, will be rejected as long as that growth is the primary aim of policymakers. The contrast is especially clear between the goal of shortening supply lines and the now-dominant economic model, which calls for greater and greater specialization over larger and larger regions, making each region dependent on trade for most of its needs. Supply lines grow longer and longer. Costs of packaging and transportation increase and inevitably involve costs to the environment as well. The system is inherently unsustainable. The sustainable alternative is one in which smaller and smaller regions produce more and more of the goods they need closer to where they are consumed. These economies will contribute little to the greenhouse effect and will survive the exhaustion of oil.

John B. Cobb, Jr., Sustaining the Common Good, 1994

Think not forever of yourselves, O Chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.

Deganawidah (c. 1000 AD) founder of the Iroquois Confederacy
cited by Theodore B. Hetzel in Journal of American Indian Education, Vol 4 no 3 May 1965

To build enormous palaces, to conquer or to mimic nature, to ransack the world in order to gratify the passions of a man, is not thought of, but to add a few yards of land to your field, to plant an orchard, or enlarge a dwelling, to always be making life more comfortable and convenient, to avoid trouble, and to satisfy the smallest wants without effort and almost without cost. These are small objects, but the soul clings to them; it dwells upon them closely and day by day, till they at last shut out the rest of the world and sometimes intervene between itself and heaven.

Alex de Tocqueville (1805-1859), Democracy in America, tr. Henry Reeve 1850 ch 11

To people who think of themselves as God's houseguests, American enterprise must seem arrogant beyond belief.  Or stupid.  A nation of amnesiacs, proceeding as if there were no other day but today.  Assuming the land could also forget what had been done to it.

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, 1990

To sustain an environment suitable for man, we must fight on a thousand battlegrounds. Despite all of our wealth and knowledge, we cannot create a redwood forest, a wild river, or a gleaming seashore.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) 36th President of the United States,
Message to Congress, 23 February 1966*

Truth is forward-looking, and a society can claim to have found it only when the society's practices and institutions sustain its people indefinitely on the land it inhabits.

Bryan G. Norton, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, 2005

Unrestrained automobility, hedonism, individualism, and conspicuous consumption cannot be sustained because they take more than they give back.  A spiritually impoverished world cannot be sustained because meaninglessness, anomie, and despair will corrode the desire to be sustained and the belief that humanity is worth sustaining.  But these are the very things that distinguish the modern age from its predecessors,  Genuine sustainability, in other words, will come not from superficial changes but from a deeper process akin to humankind growing up to a fuller stature.

David W. Orr, The Last Refuge, 2004

We are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution
National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., 31 Mar 1968

We are living, it seems, into the culmination of a long warfare – at first merely commercial and then industrial, always unabashedly violent against human beings and other creatures, and of course against the earth itself. The purpose of this warfare has been to render the real goods of the world into various forms of abstract wealth: money, gold, shares, etc. Just as technological power has increasingly served this purpose, so increasingly has political power. The trouble with this is that it is bound to reduce the supply of real goods, the goods that sustain life: fertile soils, breathable air, drinkable water, food, and other essential materials that can come only from the native fertility of the living world. We are now, measurably, reducing the availability of these life-supporting goods which we can think of (though only on the conditions of good health and good care) as self-renewing or "sustainable." We are also destroying rapidly the supplies of the fossil fuels, which are limited and not renewable, and on which we have become totally dependent.

Wendell Berry, Commencement Address,
Lindsey Wilson College, 14 May 2005

We cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well being of future generations.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), "The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility,"
U.S. Catholic Conference, Washington, D.C., 1990

We continually make decisions in private which affect the commonweal, as the ecologists (to take but one example) have shown us. When I keep my house warmer than it needs to be, I consume fuel which might help someone else keep warm, or keep a job. When the food I eat is high on the protein chain I contribute to a maldistribution of protein around the world. When I teach my children to be primarily concerned with private gain, I diminish the ranks of public leadership in the rising generation. In all of these areas I have a choice—to lead a private life which recognizes or ignores public need. There is no way for the public to flourish when most people live private life for its own sake.

Parker Palmer, The Company of Strangers, 1994

We have been delivered huge blows but also huge opportunities to reinforce or reinvent our will, depending on where we look for honor and how we name our enemies.  The easiest thing is to think of returning the blows.  But there are other things we must think about as well, other dangers we face.  A careless way of sauntering across the earth and breaking open its treasures, a terrible dependency on sucking out the world's best juices for ourselves—these also may be our enemies.  The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.

Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder, 2002

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us... We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

Wendell Berry, "Native Hill," The Long-Legged House, 1969

We have reached a point where the value we do add to our economy is now being outweighed by the value we are removing, not only from future generations in terms of diminished resources, but from ourselves in terms of unlivable cities, deadening jobs, deteriorating health, and rising crime. In biological terms, we have become a parasite and are devouring our host.

Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce, 1994

We have stumbled into a crisis that invites us to act. Global climate change comes as the greatest of teachers... We can either have fossil fuels, or polar bears. We cannot have both.

Guy Dauncey and Patrick Mazza, Stormy Weather, 2001

We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. Think about this: we are the only species on this planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time than to renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich; it is a way to be rich.

Paul Hawken, Commencement Address,
University of Portland, 3 May 2009  

We know what we have to do. And we know how to do it. If we fail to convert our self-destructing economy into one that is environmentally sustainable, future generations will be overwhelmed by environmental degradation and social disintegration. Simply stated, if our generation does not turn things around, our children may not have the option of doing so.

Lester R. Brown, State of the World, 1993  

We must act now and wake up to our moral obligations.  The poor and vulnerable are members of God's family and are the most severely affected by droughts, high temperatures, the flooding of coastal cities, and more severe and unpredictable weather events resulting from climate change.  We, who should have been responsible stewards preserving our vulnerable, fragile planet home, have been wantonly wasteful through our reckless consumerism, devouring irreplaceable natural resources.  We need to be accountable to God's family.  Once we start living in a way that is people-friendly to all of God's family, we will also be environment-friendly.

Desmond Tutu, Foreword, The Green Bible, 2008

We must move past indecision to action...If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful —struggle for a new world. The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), "Beyond Vietnam," Riverside Church, New York, 4 Apr 67

We recognize that our progress as a species does not have to be defined in terms of wealth or material and physical growth any more than our progress as individuals has to be defined in terms of physical growth. Physical growth of the body reaches a limit, but the character and the soul of the individual continues to grow, or at least has a chance to continue, often to our last breath. It is simple minded to define our well being in material terms, when that well-being has an aesthetic dimension, and intellectual dimension, a moral dimension.

Wes Jackson, "Building a Sustainable Society," Altars of Unhewn Stone, 1987

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), Silent Spring, 1962

We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies of man, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all.

Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965), Speech to the UN Economic and Social Council,
Geneva, Switzerland, 9 July 1965

We want the world to be a sacred part of that long invention which is the story of our life, the most important character after ourselves. We yearn to live in a coherent place we can name, where we can feel safe inside our invention, and we want that place to exist like a friend, somebody we can know. What we must understand is that we already inhabit such a place. We must understand that it cannot take care of itself. The specific danger is us; we are rampant; this earth is our only friend; we are destroying it increment by increment at a horrific rate. We must understand that we can't buy it back.

William Kittredge, Hole in the Sky, 1992

We who have lost our sense and our senses our touch, our smell, our vision of who we are; we who frantically force and press all things; without rest for the body or spirit, hurting our earth and injuring ourselves: we call a halt. We want to rest. We need to rest and allow the earth to rest. We need to reflect and to rediscover the mystery that lives in us, that is the ground of every unique expression of life, the source of the fascination that calls all things to communion. We declare a Sabbath, a space of quiet; for simply being and letting be; for recovering the great, forgotten truths; for learning how to live again.

What I am against—and without a minute's hesitation or apology—is our slovenly willingness to allow machines and the idea of the machine to prescribe the terms and conditions of the lives of the creatures, which we have allowed increasingly for the last two centuries, and are still allowing, at an incalculable cost to other creatures and to ourselves.  If we state the problem that way, then we can see that the way to correct our error, and so deliver ourselves from our own destructiveness, is to quit using our technological capability as the reference point and standard of our economic life.  We will instead have to measure our economy by the health of the ecosystems and human communities where we do our work.

Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle, 2000

What are these demands [of the common good]? On the national level they include: employment of the greatest possible number of workers; care lest privileged classes arise, even among the workers; maintenance of equilibrium between wages and prices; the need to make goods and services accessible to the greatest number; elimination, or at least the restriction, of inequalities in the various branches of the economy—that is, between agriculture, industry and services; creation of a proper balance between economic expansion and the development of social services, especially through the activity of public authorities; the best possible adjustment of the means of production to the progress of science and technology; seeing to it that the benefits which make possible a more human way of life will be available not merely to the present generation but to the coming generations as well.

Pope John XXIII (1881-1963), Mater et Magistra:
Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress, 15 May 1961

What does our generation owe to generations yet unborn? ...there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and... the human person, endowed with the capability of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), Address to the Vatican Symposium on the Environment, 1990
quoted in Ecology and Faith: The Writings of Pope John Paul II, ed. Sr. Ancilla Dent OSB, 1997

What is urgently needed is a bold new move from a consumer economy to a conserver economy in all of the developed countries, and particularly in the United States.

Richard Foster, Freedom of Simplicity, 1981

What we must do is use well the considerable power we have as consumers: the power of choice.  We can choose to buy or not to buy, and we can choose what to buy.  The standard by which we choose must be the health of the community ...It is better, therefore, even if the cost is greater, to buy near at hand than to buy at a distance.  It is better to buy from a small, privately owned local store than from a chain store.  It is better to buy a good product than a bad one.  Do not buy anything you don't need.  Do as much as you can for yourself.  If you cannot do something for yourself, see if you have a neighbor who can do it for you.  Do everything you can to see that your money stays as long as possible in the local community.

Wendell Berry, "Conservation Is Good Work," Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, 1992

When we conduct agriculture, we are, therefore, altering the ecological arrangement that was responsible for our genesis as a species. I think that this is the reason that this alienation has allowed us to see and regard land mostly as a resource. So we have created a problem for ourselves from the word "go," for land is not a resource any more than humans are resources. Call chrome a resource or petroleum a resource, but not land or people. The concept of resources is restricted to the notion of utility. Land and people transcend a one-dimensional definition that makes economics primary. But when economics is regarded as the brightest star in the constellation of considerations, economic problems are inevitable, for as Thoreau once noted. "the world is more beautiful than it is useful." Should anyone's suggestions for a sustainable agriculture be trusted who doesn't believe that?

Wes Jackson, Meeting the Expectations of the Land, 1984  

When we talk about global crisis, or a crisis of humanity, we cannot blame a few politicians, a few fanatics, or a few troublemakers. The whole of humanity has a responsibility because it is our business, human business. I call this a sense of universal responsibility. That is a crucial point.

the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Address to the Global Survival Conference, Oxford 1988

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:9-10 NRSV Bible

Yes, the South—becoming always poorer—and the North—becoming always richer ...Richer, too in the resources of weapons with which the superpowers and blocs can mutually threaten each other.  In the light of Christ's words (Mt. 25), this poor South will judge the rich North.  And the poor people and poor nations—poor in different ways, not only lacking food, but also deprived of freedom and other human right—will judge those people who take these goods away from them, amassing to themselves the imperialist monopoly and political supremacy at the expense of others.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), Edmonton, Ontario
quoted in John F. Kavanaugh's Following Christ in a Consumer Society, 1996

You can align profitability and social responsibility, and there is no reason we can't integrate concerns about long-term sustainability into every business decision that we make.

Deborah Merrill-Sands, Dean, Simmons College School of Management,
cited in “Higher Education in a Warming World,” National Wildlife Federation,
David Eagan, Julian Keniry, Justin Schott, Nov 07

Your children should have it impressed upon them that their adult life-style will bear very little resemblance to yours and that they should now be acquiring knowledge, skills, values, and tastes that will sustain them in less materially affluent circumstances.  On the other hand, the fresh insights and imaginations of your children may help you find a viable future while there's still time.

Paul R. Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, 1974

[B]usiness does have an ethical responsibility, even when not required by law and not demanded by consumers, to redesign its operations in a way that is ecologically and economically sustainable over the long-term. Environmental responsibilities should provide the direction in which business develops as well as the constraints within which it operates. I suggest that this goal ought to be conceived of as the telos of business institutions in the twenty-first century. Sustainability, meeting the real needs of presently living human beings without jeopardizing the ability of future people to meet their own needs, represents the twenty-first century’s Common Good.

Joseph DesJardins, Doing Well by Doing Good
Paper presented at The Good Company:“Catholic Social Thought 
and Corporate Social Responsibility in Dialogue" 

Pontifical University of St. Thomas, Rome, Italy, 5-7 Oct 2006

sus.tain’a.bil’i.ty n. the ability to meet the needs of the present while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems and without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Our teachings are that you take what you need and you leave the rest. I tell my kids all the time that, by and large, someone has to get poor for someone to get rich. There are a few people who didn't appropriate someone else's wealth. That broader valuation of ecosystem destruction and the recognition that these things belong to somebody is a really important part of considering how we curb our own behavior. The Lockean assumption that if we put our labor to it then it becomes our own is totally fallacious. We have to figure out how to leave things alone, and build an economic system that's not built on a linear model, but instead on a cyclical model, because that's the natural world - it's cyclical and not linear. That is going to take a lot of transformation.

-Winona LaDuke,
"Native Struggles for Land and Life; An Interview with Winona LaDuke,"
Multinational Monitor, December 1999

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.

-Hafsat Abiola, cited in
Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images,”
Santa Clara College, 2000

The character of a whole society is the cumulative result of the countless small actions, day in and day out, of millions of persons. Who we are as a society, is the synergistic accumulation of who we are as individuals… Small changes that seem insignificant in isolation can be great contributions when they are simultaneously undertaken by many others.
Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity, 1981
The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; that the purpose of this world is not "to have and to hold" but "to give and serve." There can be no other meaning.
Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell (1865-1940)