Reflections

  • Boat Still Water
Reflections

“Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.”
Alan M. Eddison

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature’s inexorable imperative.”
H. G. Wells (1866-1946), Mind at the End of Its Tether, 1945

Ocean Beach Waves“There is little doubt left in the minds of professional biologists that Earth is currently faced with a mounting loss of species that threatens to rival the five great mass extinctions of the geological past.”
Niles Eldredge, “The Sixth Extinction”, 2001

“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.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Leave it as it is . . . The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west… keeping the world in chains.  If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Primate and Child“We cannot command nature except by obeying her.”
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“The thing the ecologically illiterate don’t realize about an ecosystem is that it’s a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained miss the collapse until too late. That’s why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.”
Frank Herbert, in Dune (Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune)

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
John Muir (1838-1914)

Sandstone

Paria Canyon Utah
Vermilion Cliffs

“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use.  And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”
Art Buchwald, 1970

“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given.  But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer.  Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day. “
Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897

Red Eyed Tree Frog

Red Eyed Tree Frog

“As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us:  “With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas,” or, “They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them.”
U Thant, speech, 1970

“The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves.  We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.”
Al Gore

“We have become, by the power of a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life’s continuity on earth. We did not ask for this role, but we cannot abjure it. We may not be suited to it, but here we are.”
Stephen Jay Gould, The Flamingo’s Smile: Reflections in Natural History

“Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.”
Dalai Lama XIV