Quotations on the Environment


Romans 8:19 For the Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.

Isaiah 55: 12-13 . . .The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. . . All this will be a memorial for the Lord, a sign that for all time will not be cut off.

Psalm 96:12 Let the Earth be Glad

Psalm 96:10,12 The Lord Reigns. . . Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.

Psalm 104: 25, 30 In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. . . When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the earth.

Ezekiel 34: 17, 18 As for you, my flock. . . .Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?

Leviticus 26: 3-4,6 If you follow in my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. . . and I will grant peace in the land.

Ezekiel 34:18-19 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must foul the rest with your feet?

Psalm 19: 1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Job 12:7-10 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humanity.

Dn. 3: 74-81
Let the earth bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You springs, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.



The changes that are now needed in society are at a level that stirs religious passions. The debate will be a religious one whether that is made explicit or not. The whole understanding of reality and the orientation to it are at stake....[The solutions will be created by] those who can draw forth these deepest energies of the centered self and give them shape and direction. Getting there, if it happens at all, will be religious event...
For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, by Economist Herman Daly and theologian John Cobb Jr.

Annual conference in Assisi Italy, by CRLE and St. Thomas University :
“An Ecologically Sensitive Spirituality” by Thomas Berry in Earth Ethics Fall 1996:
“We need to move:from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world from a spirituality of the divine as revealed in words to a spirituality of the divine as revealed in the visible world about us. From a spirituality concerned with justice merely to humans to a spirituality of justice to the devastated Earth community. From the spirituality of the prophet to the spirituality of the shaman.”
Thomas Berry

"The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects." Thomas Berry

“All human institutions, professions, programs and activities must now be judged by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a human and Earth relationship.” Thomas Berry

“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. . .[A} new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge. . . . The ecological crisis is a moral issue.” (Pope John Paul II, The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility [December 6, 1989] nos. 1,15).

“Ancient faith traditions are engaging a new world historical challenge here, in a way which is both strengthening the cause of environmental sustainability and justice and renewing religious life itself.” Paul Gorman, Ex.Dir. NRPE

What must it mean, now and henceforth, to be religious, in light of the condition of God’s creation at human hands? You’ve got to measure pace of response against the magnitude of that question.” Paul Gorman (“There is a River: Judeo-Christian Faiths Face the Earth in Crisis—An Interview with Paul Gorman” by Peter Warshall. Whole Earth, Winter 1997, p. 13. This is an excellent special issue called “The Earth in Crisis: Religion’s New Test of Faith.”)

“We are the generation of choice. We still have a choice to halt the destruction, the ravaging of the earth. We are the generation that could stand in harm’s way and beÜ those who preserve God’s creation for future generations.”
The Reverend Joan Campbell, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Christ

“The earth we inherit is in danger; the skies and the seas, the forests and the rivers, the soil and the air, are in peril. And with them humankind itself is threatened. As earth’s fullness has been our blessing, so its pollution now becomes our curse. As the wonder of nature’s integrity has been our delight, so the horror of nature’s disintegration now becomes our sorrow.”
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations

“The growing possibility of our destroying ourselves and the world with our own neglect and excess is tragic and very real.”
Billy Graham, Approaching Hoofbeats, 1983.

…[T]he Earth is ultimately a common heritage, the fruits of which are for the benefit of all. . . It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available resources, while masses of people are living in conditions of misery at the very lowest level of existence. Today, the dramatic threat of ecological breakdown is teaching us the extent to which greed and selfishness – both individual and collective – are contrary to the order of creation, an order which is characterized by mutual interdependence.
Pope John Paul II “The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility”, 1990

“We need a new system of values, a system of the organic unity between humankind and nature and the ethic of global responsibility.” Mikhail Gorbachev

“The adoption of statements on the environment by church councils and assemblies is important. But unless every local congregation actually carries out sound environmental practices in its buildings and in the homes of the members, these statements are worthless. Care of the earth—our mandate from the Creator—is the responsibility of us all.”
The Reverend Dr. Herbert W. Chilstrom, Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“To be effective, education and action on environmental issues must begin at the congregational or parish level. These groups can assess local needs or problems and hopefully work in ecumenical collaboration toward solutions.
Mrs. Annette Kane, Executive Director, National Council of Catholic Women.

“ Caring for and healing the environment is the most telling mandate of the bible, both old and new testament, as well as from the writing of the church fathers of the early church this “caring and healing” process must be at the core of congregational workings on the environment, because it is essentially what it means to be a Christian.
Reverend Dr. Milton Efthimou, Ecumenical Officer, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.

“If we are ever able to stop destroying our environment, it will be because person by person we decide, by God’s grace, to turn aside from greed and materialism. It will be because we learn that joy and fulfillment come through right relationship with God, neighbor and earth, not an ever escalating demand for more and more material consumption. Nowhere is that more possible than in local congregations that combine prayer and action, worship and analysis, deep personal love for the Creator and for the Creator’s garden.”
Dr. Ronald Sider, Professor of Theology and Society, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Executive Director, Evangelicals for Social Action.

“One of our reformed principles is that as individuals and congregations we should be working to bring about Shalom—the fullest possible, sustainable life for all persons everywhere. Understanding the issues of eco-justice is primary to doing this.”
The Reverend Dr. William R. Phillippe, Executive Director, General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church USA

“The challenge before the religious community in America is to make every congregation—every church synagogue and mosque—truly ‘green’—a center of environmental study and action. That is their religious duty.”
The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, Dean, Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Episcopal)

“What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny—that is, by religion.” Lynn White (From a basic article for considering the relationship of religion and ecology, that has been debated since it came out: White Lynn. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” In Western Man and Environmental Ethics, ed by Ian G. Barbour. Reading Mass: Addison-Westly Pub, Co. 1973, p. 24.)

“The ecological crisis has provided the perfect vehicle for finally unleashing the powers of spirituality.” Michael Tobias Ecologist, author, filmmaker

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.”
Wendell Berry

"Part of the answer lies in our systems. And part of the answer lies in the state of our souls."
Andrew Schmookler, The Illusion of Choice

“People should recognize that it is necessary to have a political force in order to get the changes that are needed to save the global system from grave danger, and actions that contribute to this are extremely valuable. Environmental groups will be glad to provide the necessary information to mount a credible and successful action.”
Dr. Henry Kendall, Stratton Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chairman of the Board, Union of Concerned Scientists

“The effort of religious groups, based on moral conviction, rather than immediate self interest is likely to have a disproportionate effect in the political arena on behalf of the environment."
Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Baird Professor of Science, Harvard University

From “The Second Creation Story: Redefining the Bond Between Religion and Ecology,” Sierra Magazine, Nov/Dec. 1998:
John Muir, on a ledge high above a waterfall in the Sierra or kneeling down to gaze at a daisy, could not contain his rapture. "Perched like a fly on this Yosemite dome, I gaze and sketch and bask...humbly prostrate before the vast display of God's power, and eager to offer self-denial and renunciation with eternal toil to learn any lesson in the divine manuscript."

"I think the environmental movement has lessened its effectiveness by not thinking more about the relationship between the human community and the natural community and how the two work together," says William Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. "We need to find ways in which people can pay more attention to the places where they live. That's the heart of a spiritual relationship with the land."

Catholic: U.S. Catholic Conference echoes Pope John Paul II's emphatic (though woefully underreported) environmental teaching in its publication Renewing the Face of the Earth. "Men and women . . . bear a unique responsibility under God: to safeguard the created world and by their creative labor even to enhance it."

Episcopalian: Reverend Charles W. Treadwell of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in McKinney, Texas, puts it, "We have multiplied. We have subdued the earth. Now it's time to focus on the Second Creation story."

Orthodox Christian Church: Bartholomew I, patriarch of the Orthodox Christian Church, declared: "To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin." This was the first time that an international religious leader of such stature had applied the word "sin" to acts of environmental degradation.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." Rachel Carson

“When civilization stands at the edge of a cliff, a step forward doesn’t make much sense.” Denis Hayes

From Thoreau’s Walking:
I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.Ü In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village."