“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.”
~ Marshall McLuhan

“We are the last people who can prevent catastrophe on the planet. We have no excuse for failure.”
~ Amina J. Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general, May 2017

“We are all citizens of Planet Earth, and there is no other place we can go.”
~ R. K. Pachauri, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“Stopping climate change will make us richer than doing nothing”
~ James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate minister, in July 2018

“Climate change is a political choice.”
~ Mike Smyth, Chair of Energy4All, speaking at the Community Energy Conference in the United Kingdom in 2015

“This is not just about the environment, it’s about the community, it’s about jobs, it’s about justice.”
~ Eddie Bautista, executive director for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and one of the leading organisers of the People’s Climate March in New York, USA, on 21 September 2014

“Although the magnitude of climate change may make individuals feel helpless, individual action is critical for meaningful change.”
~ Mia Armstrong, The State Press, 27 October 2016

“Action is the antidote to despair.”
~ Edward Abbey, American author (1927–1989)

“We are the bystanders who must choose to intervene or be defined by our failure.”
~ Lawrence Torcello, associate professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.”
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

“People may doubt what you say, but they’ll believe what you do.”
~ Lewis Cass

Sustainability is defined as recognising that environmental health, social equity and economic vitality are interconnected, and all are critical in ensuring we create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and generations to come.
~ Reuters

“Business cannot succeed in a society that fails.”
~ Peter Bakker, president, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, October 2014

The future is electric… Nah. Right now is electric.
~ RL Miller, Climate Hawks

“The technology is here. The people are ready. Scientists have spoken. Progressive businesses are stepping forward. Now we need governments to take climate action!”

~ WWF International, newsletter

“Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge.”

~ Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada

“We would never consider this level of risk in any other walk of life, yet we seem prepared to take this risk with our planet. Conversely, the scientific evidence shows that we can create a positive future, but only with bold action now.”

~ Johan Rockström, chair of the Earth League, an international group of scientists from leading research institutions

“We can’t keep our promise to the next generation to build an economy fit for the future, unless we ensure our planet has a future.”

~ Philip Hammond UK Chancellor and Member of Parliament


“Door number 1, you eat your kids’ futures.
Door number 2, you fight for their futures.
That’s all the doors there are. And there’s precious little time left to make your choice.”

~ Raúl Ilargi Meijer, blogger, The Automatic Earth

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
~ Signe Wenneberg

“I think calling it climate change is rather limiting. I would rather call it the everything change.”
~ Margaret Atwood, in a Slate.com interview published on 6 February 2015

“The climate crisis is also a crisis of culture, and thus of imagination.”
~ Amitav Ghosh, acclaimed novelist

“We cannot create what we can’t imagine.”
~ Lucille Clifton, American poet, writer, and educator

“Climate change is a lot like death. We all understand it’s inevitable, but few of us truly accept it.”
~ Brian McDermott, 18 years old – in Common Dreams on 21 July 2016

“If 400 ppm was a blood alcohol reading then we would be heading for an inevitable car wreck.”
~ Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian senator, The Greens

“I have become convinced that climate change is the biggest threat to human rights in the 21st century.”
~ Mary Robinson, former UN high commissioner for human rights, president of Ireland 1990-1997

“Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”
~ Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica, May 2018

“It is cost-effective to postpone global climate action. It is profitable to let the world go to hell.”
~ Jørgen Randers, co-author of ‘Limits to Growth’ (1972)

“In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality.”
~ Naomi Klein, Canadian author and activist

“They’re polluting the planet for free, and you’re paying the price”
~ Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens

“In Australia you can’t tell where the coal industry ends and the federal government begins.”
~ Naomi Klein, Canadian author and activist

“It’s not climate change that needs to be tackled. It is the political power of fossil fuel industry.”
~ Richard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute

“The earth is not dying. It is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.”
~ Bruce Duncan ‘Utah’ Phillips (1935–2008), American folk singer and poet

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
~ Barack Obama, American president

“The secret of change is to focus all our energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
~ ‘Socrates’, a character in the book ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ by Dan Millman, 1980

“What we resist, persists.”
~ Unknown

“In the years ahead, the only sustainable growth will be green growth. It’s a guarantee of jobs and prosperity for generations to come. It’s a massive opportunity.”
~ Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, January 2015

“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
~ Paulo Coelho, author

“The only true ban on fracking is to build the alternative – democratic, renewable energy.”
~ Josh Fox, American musician and documentary film maker

“You must be really blind if you don’t see the tipping point is here in clean energy.”
~ Stuart Gulliver, head of banking giant HSBC Holdings

“We are dealing with issues that are critical to human nature. There has to be a way to come together and do it right, to protect the environment and human rights. We can go to the moon, for goodness sake! Why can’t we deal with this? It’s a matter of setting our priorities, establishing our values.”
~ Sister Sheila Kinsey, Justice Peace & Integrity of Creation Committee

“The most important word in today’s world is in fact ‘together’.”
~ Jan Eliasson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, December 2016

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect mankind.”
~ Stewart Udall, United States Secretary of the Interior in 1961-1969

“I solemnly pledge to dedicate my life to the service of humanity, and to the protection of natural systems on which human health depends. The health of people, their communities, and the planet will be my first consideration and I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, as well as reverence for the diversity of life on Earth. (…)
To do no harm, I will respect the autonomy and dignity of all persons in adopting an approach to maintaining and creating health which focuses on prevention of harm to people and planet. (…) I make these promises solemnly, freely, and upon my honour. By taking this pledge, I am committing to a vision of personal, community, and planetary health that will enable the diversity of life on our planet to thrive now and in the future.”

~ Excerpts of a pledge for health workers published in The British medical journal The Lancet: ‘A pledge for planetary health to unite health professionals in the Anthropocene’

“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that 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. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”
~ Gus Speth, former dean of forestry and environmental studies at Yale

“We are living in a world where greed has become for the wealthiest people their own religion – and they make no apologies for it.”
~ Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator

Pope Francis

“Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity. In this core moral space, the world’s religions play a very vital role.”
~ Pope Francis, at the conclusion of a Vatican summit on the environment in 2015

“We continue along old paths because we are trapped by our faulty accounting and by the corruption of vested interests. We still reckon as profit what threatens our very survival.”
~ Pope Francis, in a speech in May 2019

“Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility.”
~ Pope Francis (@Pontifex) 19 June 2015

“Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change. [We must reject] a system that has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.”
~ Reuters reporting from Pope Francis’ speech in Bolivia on 9 July 2015

Quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical

“Dare to turn what is happening in the world into your own personal suffering and thus discover what each of us can do about it.”

“Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”
~ Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ 19

“Unless citizens control political power – national, regional, and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment.”
Laudato Si’ 179

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”
Laudato Si’ 13

“Humanity is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption.”
Laudato Si’ 23

“A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”

“When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears.”

“Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.”

“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

“There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.”

“The principle of the maximisation of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy.”

The quotes above are from Pope Francis’ teaching letter,  ‘Laudato Si’

“It’s not enough that we do our best. Sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
~ Sir Winston Churchill, British politician (1874–1965).

At a United Nations meeting in November 2016, Secretary of State for the United States John Kerry used this quote as he talked about the need for states to stop subsidising fossil fuels:

“We know today what is required. And with all of the real-world evidence, with all of the peer-reviewed science, with all of the plain just old common sense, there isn’t anyone who can credibly argue otherwise. So we have to continue this fight, my friends.”
~ John Kerry, as Secretary of State for the United States in 2016

“Unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
~ Winston Churchill, in a speech in the House of Commons on 2 May 1935

“Behavior change and community engagement is the next frontier in addressing climate change.”
~ David Gershon, author and CEO of Empowerment Institute, USA. June 2013

“We cannot ask others to do what we have not done ourselves.”
~ Christiana Figueres, executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, speaking at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in May 2014

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
~ Richard Buckminster Fuller, American author (1895–1983)

“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, American innovator, 1931

“Here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.”
~ Paul Hawken, author. Quote from his commencement address at University of Portland in May 2009

“Protecting our planet is fundamental to the pursuit of human happiness.”
~ Pharrell Williams, American musician

“We know how to get all of the energy we need without using dirty or dangerous fuel sources. It is no longer a question of whether we can – but of whether we will.”
~ Michael Brune (1935–2008), Executive Director, Sierra Club, USA

“Our conscious destruction of a planet friendly to humans and other species is the most significant development in history.”
~ Robert Manne, Emeritus Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University, Australia

“All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests.”
~ Moms Clean Air Force

“A society built on the narrow definition of self-interest we have today is not capable of meeting the big challenges of our time.”
~ Tosh Szatow co-founder and director at Energy for the People

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”
~ Paul Hawken

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
~ Alan Kay

“Those that love peace must learn to organise themselves as effectively as those that love war.”
~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr – in a speech he gave on 25 March 1967 after leading 5,000 people down State Street in Chicago to protest the war in Viet Nam

“Live simply so others can simply live. Climate change is a global emergency. Carbon pollution kills. Polluters should pay.”
~ John Pratt

“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency.”
~ Rebecca Solnit, author of ‘Hope In The Dark’, 2003

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
~ Anna Lappe

“We need a free-flowing system of conscious interconnectedness more than ever. We need to unite – to promote bravery and open-mindedness and adaptability in a time of uncertain conditions. And there’s no better medium for this than our art.”
Lyndon Kidman

“Sustainability is a cultural problem and artists can help find the solution.”
~ Frances Whitehead, sculptor and professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

“There can be no peace on earth while our atmosphere is choked with carbon.”
~ Liz Conor, author, columnist, climate guardian angel

“Investing one cent more in oil, coal and gas is investing in the death of society, and the in the death of our children.”
~ Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – interviewed in Philippino tv programme on ANC (13:19-13:35). Uploaded on youtube.com on 4 June 2013

“We know that if we don’t confront climate change, there will be no hope of ending poverty or boosting shared prosperity. Furthermore, the longer we delay, the higher the cost will be to do the right thing for our planet and our children.”
~ Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group – in a speech held on 8 December 2014, ‘Sending a signal from Paris: Transforming the economy to achieve zero net emissions’

“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers and are hence entitled to use it according to our wishes. We have rather borrowed it from our children and have to maintain it properly until they can take over.”
~ Australian Minister of the Environment, speaking at OECD Ministerial Conference on the Environment in November 1974

“The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement

“I used to think that any solution would come from the paradigms that I know. Now I think that the only thing is to think of the unimaginable. For the new generation, the unimaginable is not as unimaginable.”
~ Alfonso Cuarón, Director of the 2006-movie ‘Children of Men’

“Sometimes the riskiest decision you can make is to do nothing.”
~ Richard Branson, Virgin

“What changes our planet is consciousness. What creates consciousness is education.”
~ Bank of the Planet – investments generation information and actions

“We will have no jobs if we have no planet.”
~ Sharan Burrows, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Federation

“Climate change ignores borders, but so do friendship and solidarity. It is time for national interests to give way to the global good.”
~ Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in the climate change group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, and coordinating lead author in Working Group II of the IPCC

“The struggle to avert catastrophic climate change is bigger than all the other struggles, whether it is slavery, democracy struggles, the woman’s right to vote, and so on … I would argue that if what is at stake is securing life as we know it, then there can be no bigger struggle that we face.”
~ Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – interviewed in Philippino tv programme on ANC (13:19-13:35). Uploaded on youtube.com on 4 June 2013


“My final advice for young people is to not wait for leadership from adult politicians. Step forward today, because our current leaders are denying the dire reality we are facing. Leadership can come form anywhere.”
~ Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International

“You can resist an invading army. You cannot resist an idea whose time has come.”
~ Victor Hugo, (1802-1885), French author

“We can endlessly get lost in the complexity of sustainable development, but the key to transformation is simplicity itself. Don’t take my word for it; just listen to leading politicians and business leaders.”
~ Jo Confino

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
~ African proverb

“We are what we think. All that we are, arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
~ Gautama Buddha (563–483 BC), teacher and religious leader. Translated by T. Byrom, Shambhala Publications, in 1993

“You cannot run from your problem. You have to dance with it.”
Vietnamese proverb

“It’s time to come together. We all have the power to change, so what are we waiting for?”
~ Yann Arthus-Bertrand, maker of the great climate movie ‘Home’

Robert E. Rubin quote

“We do not face a choice between protecting our environment or protecting our economy. We face a choice between protecting our economy by protecting our environment — or allowing environmental havoc to create economic havoc.”
~ Robert E. Rubin, co-chairman, Council on Foreign Relations and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

“I still do not understand why we don’t have people on the streets every single day raising their voices for climate.”
~ Christiana Figueres, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, 27 June 2013 – at a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey

“Climate change is an abstract phenomenon until you consider specific people and places. Then the consequences of rising oceans and extreme heat become all too scary.”
~ Ben Schiller, staff writer for Co.Exist

“Martin Luther King did not stir his audience in 1963 by declaiming ‘I have a nightmare’.”
~ Anthony Giddens, in his book ‘The Politics of Climate Change’

“If we were rational, we’d have climate change sorted by now.”
~ Sophy Banks, Transition columnist

“If people cannot save themselves from their own suffering, how can they be expected to worry about the plight of Mother Earth?”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, zen master and spiritual teacher

“What is the difference between a 2°C world and a 4°C world? Human civilisation!”
~ Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

“Winning slowly is the same as losing.”
~ Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
~ Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière, French playwright, actor and poet (1622-1673)

“If you have got a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4°C, 5°C or 6°C, you might have half a billion people surviving.”
~ Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

“In a world addicted to speed, slowness is a superpower.”
~ Carl Honoré, author


“There is only one train, and that is the green train. If you are not on that train, you will be left behind on the platform.”
~ Lars Aagard, CEO, Danish Energy Association

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”
~ A quote by Mark Gagliardi which the musician Pete Seeger (1919–2014) turned into the song ‘If It Can’t Be Reduced’

“If there is a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.”
Pete Seeger (1919–2014), in a 2007-interview republished by YES Magazine

“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.”
~ Pema Chodron

“The potential for alternative energy sources, mainly solar and wind power, to completely replace coal and gas for utility generation globally is, I think, certain. The question is only whether it takes 30 years or 70 years.”
~ Jeremy Grantham, financier

“Greed has poisoned men’s souls.”
~ Charlie Chaplin, ‘The Great Dictator’, 1940

“Currently, we allow our political and business leaders to get away with murder. Now is the time to change that. We need direct liability for those who are destroying our future and this planet. We need fast, profound and systemic change. History only moves forward when courageous people get up and act. That’s why I support this citizens’ initiative to recognise ecocide as the crime it is.”
~ Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director Greenpeace International – on why he supports he campaign End Ecocide

“It’s been said that the most common way that people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any, but we do. We have real power, and it’s not coal-fired or reactor based. It’s community power, and community power is baseload power because it’s always there.”
~ Dave Sweeney, the Australian Conservation Foundation

“God is not going to send us a bill for solar energy, but the gas industry will.”
~ Joy Baluch, mayor and ‘solar warrior’ in Port Augusta, Australia, who died of cancer in 2013


“We have more renewable resources per person than any other nation on earth. More sunlight, more wind, more wave and tidal power per person than just about anywhere else on the planet. We have the technology, we have the finance, we have the wherewithal and we have public support.”
~ Greg Bourne, chairman of Australian Government’s
renewable energy development agency, ARENA

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Maria Skłodowska-Curie (1867–1934), Polish-born scientist and first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize

“Our most valuable resources — creativity, communication, invention and reinvention — are in fact unlimited.”
David Grinspoon, author of ‘Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future’

“Denying science imperils the future by summoning the ghosts of the past.”
~ Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University

“There are so many important issues demanding our attention right now. But I fail to see how any of them will matter without a planet to live on.”
~ Robert Redford, American actor

“The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us.”
~ Richard Flanagan, Australian author

“We are now faced with the fact … that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late… We must move past indecision to action.”
~ Rev Martin Luther King Jr in a speech at Manhattan’s Riverside Church in 1967, one year before he was assassinated. He spoke against the Vietnam War, but his words apply equally well to the fight against climate change.

“Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.”
~ Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we won’t replace fossil fuels with clean energy based on the events of a single week, either. But the important thing to remember is that, once they happen, clean energy victories are irreversible. No one will tear down wind farms because they are nostalgic for fracking in our watersheds. And nobody will pull down their solar panels because they miss having mercury in their tuna or asthma inhalers for their kids. Because once we leave fossil fuels behind, we are never going back.”
~ Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director – arguing why the clean energy progress in the long run will matter far more than discouraging news stories about extreme weather and fossil fuel disasters

“Anything else you are interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolute critical moment in the history of our planet.”
~ Carl Sagan

More quotes

→ More quotes on climate change on www.climate-change-guide.com

→ More quotes on climate emergency on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/quotes2019


Quotes on climate change

The Climate Change Guide’s collection of quotes on climate change is worth reading because they are not only educational and insightful, but also denote the lack of action in climate change mitigation so far.

There are quotes on climate change from:

Curious.earth’s Climate Change Quotes

“The impact that world leaders, celebrities, scientists and other high-profile individuals can have by speaking out about climate issues on a global scale is huge. With the rise of social media, influencers now have an even bigger platform and a captive audience to express their views. Here is a selection of some of the best climate change quotes from celebrities, religious leaders, business leaders, politicians, broadcasters, activists and scientists.”

Quotes on the climate emergency

A climate emergency declaration mobilisation campaign started in Australia in May 2016 and has since become a global movement with hundreds of councils, several national governments and a myriad of petitions involved.

A list of quotes about the climate emergency declaration and its purpose is being collected on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/quotes2019

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