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  • Writer's pictureSarah Confer

80 of the BEST Quotes on Sustainability to Inspire an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

It’s almost Earth Day 2021 so we thought it was a good time to round up some of our favourite quotes on sustainability and how to live an eco friendly lifestyle!

Do you know how Earth Day started? Back in 1969, then-US Senator Gaylord Nelson was motivated to create a day to raise awareness for the natural environment after witnessing the catastrophic consequences of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

Inspired by the student-led anti-war movement of the sixties, he decided that the only way that protection of nature could make its way into the political agenda of the day would be if the power of social movements could be harnessed to foster public awareness about pollution and the environment.

We've compiled a list of the TOP 80 quotes about sustainability to help inspire you to live an eco friendly lifestyle! Photo: Renata Veto (Pixabay)

You don’t need to wait for Earth Day to start caring about the environment and living more sustainably, though! Why not live earth day every day? Let these sustainability quotes inspire you to go green!

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard. - Gaylord Nelson

Keep reading for some of the BEST quotes about sustainability, green living, the environment and more. (Click the links to go straight to your favourite section)

People have always found inspiration in nature. Photo by: Free-Photos (Pixabay)

Environmental Quotes about a Love for Nature

The beauty of nature has inspired artists, poets, writers and environmentalists for centuries. Take a walk in nature and let your mind wander with these nature-inspired eco quotes:

  • I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it means to be happy.’ – Sylvia Plath

  • Time spent among trees is never time wasted. – Anonymous

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

  • One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken. – Leo Tolstoy

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

  • Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. – George Washington Carver

  • To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. – Helen Keller

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

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

Pollution is a major problem these days - especially plastic. Photo by: sarajuggernaut (Pixabay)

Green Quotes: Environmental Protection and the Dangers of Pollution

The dangers of pollution are what inspired the first Earth Day over 50 years ago, but it is hardly a thing of the past. Think about these environmental quotes on pollution and heed their warning!

  • Plastic will be the main ingredient of all our grandchildren’s recipes. – Anthony T. Hincks

  • People ‘over-produce’ pollution because they are not paying for the costs of dealing with it. – Ha-Joon Chang (from 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism)

  • If the Earth was an apartment, we wouldn’t be getting our security deposit back. – Jim Shubert

  • When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, the last river is polluted and when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money. – Alanis Obomsawin

  • When we destroy something created by man, we call it vandalism. When we destroy something created by nature, we call it progress. – Ed Begley Jr.

Even small things - like using a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic - can be a big help. Photo by: NatureFriend (Pixabay)

Inspirational Quotes on Living More Sustainably – One Step at a Time

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about all that’s wrong with the world: pollution, climate change, endangered species, and so much more. The next time you start to feel discouraged, remember these quotes! It doesn’t have to take a lot to start living sustainably.

Let these quotes inspire and encourage you towards green living. Every little bit helps – it really does!

  • Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  • Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. – Peter Marshall

  • I like to envision the whole world as a jigsaw puzzle … If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying, but if you work on your little part of the jigsaw and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope. – Jane Goodall

  • Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

  • First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi

  • If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. – African proverb

  • The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity. – Winston Churchill

  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

  • I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. – Lily Tomlin

Are you enjoying these quotes? Feeling inspired to take action? If so, you'll love these inspiring solo travel quotes which will leave you feeling empowered!

Sustainability can feel overwhelming at times. Let these quotes inspire you and know that even small actions can have big impact. Photo by: Scott Webb (Pixabay)

Go Green! Quotes on Taking Action

It’s easy to spot the problems; now what we need are solutions! They aren’t going to come from scientists, from politicians or even the tech gurus. What it will take are individuals, each doing their part or working collectively to bring about a new understanding about nature and our place in the world.

I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy … And to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. We scientists don’t know how to do that. - Gus Speth

So follow the advice in these sustainability quotes and get cracking!

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

  • Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. – Martin Luther King Jr

  • We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau

  • The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. – Paulo Coelho

  • If you want to become an instrument of change, gather people in your community and host a regular conversation. The only way to succeed is to connect people, share inspiration and support one another. – Deepak Chopra

  • No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced. – David Attenborough

  • The strongest governments on earth cannot clean up pollution by themselves. They must rely on each ordinary person, like you and me, on our choices, and on our will. – Chai Jing

One step you can take to help you live more sustainably is to buy in bulk and stores things in glass jars. Looks pretty, too! Photo by: Pexels (Pixabay)

Quotes on Sustainability: How to Live an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

There are lots of things you can do - big and small! - to start living and eco friendly lifestyle, like taking up the no-poo challenge for Earth Day (that is - replacing commercial shampoos for natural products, or skipping a hair wash altogether!).

Need some help with the idea of sustainable living? Let these quotes about sustainability inspire you into action!

  • When you put the whole thing together, recycling is the right thing to do. – Pam Shoemaker

  • Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good. – Jochen Zeitz

  • Sustainability takes forever, and that’s the point. – Willem McDonough

  • There is no greater luxury than sustainability. – Unknown

  • Sustainable development is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. – Gro Harlem Brundtland

  • The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them. – Paul Hawken

  • I don’t want to protect the environment. I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting. – Unknown

  • You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall

  • Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle. – Pope John Paul II

  • The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat, and wildlife can co-exist – if we don’t everyone loses … one day. – Steve Irwin

  • If your house is on fire, you don’t comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don’t sit idly back and think, “Oh well, that is the way of nature.” You get going, immediately. And you don’t spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don’t, you won’t have a place to live. – Bill Nye

Feeling inspired yet? We hope so! If you want to take the plunge into living an active yet sustainable lifestyle, check out this very comprehensive guide to ethical and sustainable athletic wear, yoga clothing and more.

Take inspiration from these quotes - and this photo! - on how you can go plastic-free and zero-waste. Photo by: RikaC (Pixabay)

Quotes About Sustainable Living: Achieving a Zero Waste Lifestyle

Do you remember learning the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – when you were young? It’s the basis of the famous recycling symbol, with its three arrows. Well that eco friendly lifestyle mantra has gotten an update! It’s now the five R’s:

Refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest. - Bea Johnson

Here are some more green living quotes that show that zero waste is the way to go!

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

  • It cannot be right to manufacture billions of objects that are used for a matter of minutes, and then are with us for centuries. – Roz Savage

  • The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy. – Joshua Becker

  • Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. – New England proverb

  • Waste is a design flaw. – Kate Kreba

  • Buy less, choose well, make it last. – Vivienne Westwood

  • We have to cultivate contentment with what we have. We really don’t need much. When you know this, the mind settles down. Cultivate generosity. Delight in giving. Learn to live lightly. In this way, we can begin to transform what is negative into what is positive. This is how we start to grow up. – Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

  • Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. – Anna Lappé

  • There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw something away it must go somewhere. – Annie Leonard

Regenerative agriculture is the new goal for sustainable living. Photo by: Markus Spiske (Pixabay)

Environmentally Friendly Quotes: Regenerative Agriculture

You’ve probably heard of organic farming, but have you heard of regenerative agriculture? This is a fairly new buzz word in the world of sustainable living and it’s about not just avoiding chemicals and damaging the soils, but actively working to restore soil biodiversity through farming.

Regenerative Agriculture (noun) – describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle. Specifically, it is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density. – Kiss the Ground

Now that’s something to get excited about! Here are some more eco friendly quotes to inspire you to start living more sustainably, starting at the grocery store or farmer’s market:

  • The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations. – John Paul II

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

  • The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. – Joel Salatin, from: Folks, This Ain’t Normal

  • Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. – Michael Pollan, from: In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

  • If you want to eat food, prevent soil erosion, dude. – Anonymous

  • Permaculture is revolution disguised as gardening. – Mike Feingold

  • The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity. – Henry Ford

  • Land is not merely soil, it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals. – Aldo Leopold

Wind energy may be one of solution to the problem of climate change. Read on for more quotes on sustainability & climate change! Photo by: Free-Photos (Pixabay)

Environmental Sustainability Quotes: Climate Change & Renewables

Climate change is arguably the single greatest threat facing us right now. Here are some environmental sayings and quotes on climate change and renewable energy to help you make sense of this complex issue – and maybe inspire you to action:

  • By the clock of geology, this climate shift is unfolding at a dizzying, perhaps unprecedented pace, but by time scales relevant to people, it’s happening in slow motion. – Andrew Revkin, from: "Yelling ‘Fire’ on a Hot Planet," The New York Times (April 23, 2006)

  • I don’t really consider climate change a political issue, I consider it to be a moral issue. – Al Gore

  • If you’re asking when climate change is going to “happen,” you’re really asking when’s it going to happen to “me” because it’s already happened to many other people. – Eric Roston

  • What’s the difference between a 2° world and a 4° world? Human civilisation. – John Schellnhuber

  • I think calling it climate change is rather limiting. I would rather call it the everything change. – Margaret Atwood

  • I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. – Thomas Edison

  • Overall, becoming a carbon-neutral country would involve changes in our behaviour, but these are modest compared with the changes that will be forced upon us if we do nothing. – Caroline Lucas

Climate change may be the biggest threat facing our planet today. Photo by: Leonhard S (Pixabay)

Quotes on Green Environment & Capitalism

Why does it seem so hard for us to collectively transition to an eco friendly lifestyle? One of the reasons undoubtedly is that our economic system is not designed to take the environment into account.

But business-as-usual doesn’t cut it anymore; we need to change our mindset as a society! Let these famous quotes on the environment and capitalism help you understand the complexity of the sustainable living challenge, and inspire you to take action.

  • If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us. – David Suzuki

  • Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. – Edward Abbey

  • Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates. Vandana Shiva, from: Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis

  • The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves. – Wangari Maathai

  • If civilization is to survive, it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature. – Ronald Wright

  • We abuse land because we view it as a commodity. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. – Aldo Leopold

  • Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad or an economist. – David Attenborough

Eco Quotes to Inspire

On Earth Day or every day, let these quotes on sustainability inspire you to start living an eco friendly lifestyle!

The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. – the Dalai Lama

About the Author

Sarah has over 10 years’ experience working with indigenous communities in Peru. She travelled to Peru for the first time in 2006, where the culture, the people and the landscapes ignited her passion. Sarah has travelled extensively throughout the country as well as the rest of South America, and is especially familiar with the Cusco and Sacred Valley areas. After completing her law degree at the University of Victoria in 2017, Sarah now splits her time between Cusco, Peru and Kingston, Ontario.


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