We need a conscious approach to our consumption habits. The energy we use, the products we buy, and the food we eat mostly come with environmental costs. These sustainability quotes point out many of such costs and remind us of the need for change.
Human activities are responsible for the rapid depletion of the earth’s natural resources. Therefore, we can no longer regard sustainable practices as a choice. It is a responsibility that we all hold to create a more sustainable world.
Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that aims to minimize the use of natural resources and personal resources by humans. For more inspiration as to why sustainability matters, check out our selection of some of the best nature quotes & zero-waste quotes.
5 Best Sustainability Quotes
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead
The world is reaching the tipping point beyond which climate change may become irreversible. If this happens, we risk denying present and future generations the right to a healthy and sustainable planet – the whole of humanity stands to lose.
~ Kofi Annan
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
~ Buckminster Fuller
The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
~ Robert Swan
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
~ Marshall McLuhan
Sustainability quotes exploring the need to take action
How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?
~ Charles A. Lindbergh
In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops.
~ Paul Brooks
It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
~ Ansel Adams
Sustainability quotes from influencers and business
Issey Miyake is a Japanese model. He is renowned for his clothing designs, exhibitions, and fragrances, such as L'eau d'Issey (amazon), which became his most well-known product. He studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo in 1964. He worked in Paris and New York City after graduation. Back in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Company, a high-end female fashion product manufacturer.
It is of utmost importance that we all learn how we can help to combat our environmental issues. If we are going to achieve sustainable living, we need a joint effort and better training.
Related: Our list of environmental quotes further covers what people have to say about the conservation and preservation of our natural world.
Quotes about sustainability and the stakes it seeks to address
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
~ Cree Indian Proverb
Najib Razak is a Malaysian politician who served as Malaysia's 6th Prime Minister from 2009-2018. He was the former president of the United Malaysian National Organization (UMNO), the leading party in Malaysia's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which held control of Malaysia's government as a parliamentary majority for over sixty years until the defeat of the coalition in the 2018 general election.
Ignoring the pressing issue of sustainable living is to put at risk everything we have worked for and, in turn, jeopardizes our future. If we do not pay attention to sustainability, we will be regressing instead of progressing.
Without environmental sustainability, economic stability and social cohesion cannot be achieved.
~ Phil Harding
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Quotes about passion, commitment, and the importance of sustainability
Mary Roach is an American author of popular science and satire. With her sustainability quote, Roach reminds us that what we choose to eat and not eat has a direct effect on environmental sustainability. If we keep eating animals that have a low turnover rate, we will be doing the environment a lot of harm, and sustainable living will be but a dream. If we must eat meat, then we should eat animals that have a very high turnover rate.
It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
~ David Attenborough
Kevin McCloud is a British model, tv presenter. He’s presented the Grand Designs Channel 4 series since its April 1999 debut. He's currently writing a consumer guide to change sustainability and culture. In September 2012, McCloud hosted Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home on Channel 4, a four-part series where he designed a cabin in the woods, concentrating on natural, local, and environmentally friendly materials and techniques.
Sustainable living is a cause worth fighting for. If we are all complacent about sustainable living, soon, we will begin to see it as a luxury instead of an essential.
Quotes about sustainable initiatives from government and policy
Johan Rockström is a world-renowned environmental science professor emphasizing water management and global sustainability. He helped lead the internationally renowned team of scientists presenting the planetary boundaries framework, first published in 2009, with a 2015 update.
The nine planetary boundaries presented in the framework are argued to be fundamental in maintaining a "safe operating space for humanity." Many have embraced this framework as an approach to sustainable development, and it has been used to guide governments, international organizations, NGOs, and sustainable development companies.
Sustainable living is a global course. Everyone in every country and continent should be on board with sustainable living. This is the only way we can ace our sustainability goals and have a positive effect on climate change.
Sustainability quotes about our progress, or lack of it
Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so called scientific knowledge.
~ Thomas Edison
Jane Lauder Warsh is an American heiress and businesswoman. Jane Lauder is the granddaughter of cosmetics icon Estée Lauder and now operates the Clinique unit of the makeup company, a mall-staple skin-care chain. Lauder entered the family business in 1996. The Group promoted her to global president and general manager of the brand's Origins, Darphin, and Ojon in 2013.
Jane’s sustainability quote reminds us that to attain sustainability, as much as we need to use natural products to be in good health, it is also important to know that not all chemicals are bad. So, we should opt for chemicals when it is safe to ensure our environmental resources don’t keep depleting.
Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle.
~ Pope John Paul II
Tino Sehgal, born in 1976 in London, England, now lives and works in Berlin. Renowned as one of his generation's most important artists, Tino Sehgal's critical acclaim stems from his radical artistic practice that takes the form of "constructed situations": live encounters between visitors and performers.
There is more to life than being able to create amazing things from our environmental resources. If we get carried away with the power we have to create things, then we won’t be able to sustain our environmental resources. So, as much as we want to create things, we should be conscious of sustainability.
Sustainability quotes as a call to action
We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
~ Howard Zinn
The best way to predict future is to create it.
~ Peter Drucker
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.
~ Anne Marie Bonneau
No matter how complex global problems may seem, it is we ourselves who have given rise to them. They cannot be beyond our power to resolve.
~ Daisaku Ikeda
Simon Mainwaring is a futuristic, global keynote speaker and best-selling author. He's best known as We First's author: How Brands and Customers Use Social Media to Create a Better World and We First 's creative consultancy founder and CEO.
If we are going to achieve sustainability, corporate competitors have to come together to solve our environmental issues as a common enemy. If we don’t take sustainability seriously, we will be doing a lot of damage to our planet.
Shari Arison is an American-Israeli businesswoman. She is the daughter of Mina Arison Sapir and American-Israeli businessman Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines. Shari Arison has a beneficial interest in Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, serving twice on the board. She leads the Arison Group, a global, philanthropic group.
Eventually, we will all realize that environmental sustainability is the key to the survival of the human race. If we do not take sustainability seriously, in years to come, it will no longer be a question of how to be successful but a question of how to survive.
Forests and meat animals compete for the same land. The prodigious appetite of the affluent nations for meat means that agribusiness can pay more than those who want to preserve or restore the forest. We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet – for the sake of hamburgers
~ Peter Singer
Majora Carter is an American revitalization strategist and public radio host from New York City's South Bronx area. In 2001, Carter founded and led the non-profit environmental justice solutions organization Sustainable South Bronx before entering the private sector in 2008. After researching and then failing to participate in the NY City Council initiative, Carter created Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), where she served as Executive Director until July 2008.
During that time, SSBx advocated the development of Hunt's Point Riverside Park, an illegal garbage dump. Carter was a co-founder of the Bronx River Alliance, which continued Carter's participation in Bronx River waterfront restoration ventures. Sustainable South Bronx launched Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training in 2003, one of the nation's first urban green-collar training and placement programs.
In comparison to the amount we spend on health issues, social services, and waste management, green living is actually cheaper. Majora opines in this sustainability quote that the less attention we pay to our environment, the more we spend on health issues. Sustainable living will improve our quality of life too.
Anything else you're 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 absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.
~ Carl Sagan
Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development – and turn it into a reality for all the world's people
~ Kofi Annan
What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Quotes about sustainability and the next generation
Maya Kasandra Soetoro-Ng is the 44th president of Barack Obama's Indonesian-American maternal half-sister. Formerly a high school history teacher, she is currently an Obama Foundation consultant working to develop the Asia-Pacific Leaders Program and a faculty specialist at the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, based at Manoa University's College of Social Sciences.
In preparation for adulthood, we should teach children important things. One of which is environmental responsibility. They should know how to treat the planet they live on. Sustainability concerns all of us, and the sooner they learn that, the better.
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.
~ Mahatma Ghandi
Martin Rees is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. Since 1995, he has been an Astronomer Royal, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 2004 to 2012, and President of the Royal Society from 2005 to 2010.
We need to pay close attention to matters concerning sustainable living. The ever-growing earth's population puts a strain on environmental resources. We need to assess the risk and confront them if we want our planet to survive.
Real human beings take precedence over partisan interests; however, legitimate the latter may be.
~ Pope Francis
Sustainable living is a very important topic that requires urgency. Sustainability should be everybody’s problem, no matter where you live on the planet.
There is no such thing as ‘away'. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.
~ Annie Leonard
Here are a few ways to contribute your quota to sustainable living. Invest in eco-friendly technology and defer consumerism. Switch to renewable energy sources. Eat less (or no) meat, and do not waste food.
Go big on reusing and recycling, explore zero waste, and try to cut out plastic. Shop at online thrift stores and read up about sustainable fashion. With all hands on deck, we can achieve a more sustainable planet.
More Inspirational Quotes About Sustainability
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
He that plants trees loves others beside himself.
~ Thomas Fuller
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
~ Anne Frank
Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations.
~ Jean Paul Richter
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
...most of the damage we cause to the planet is the result of our own ignorance.
~ Yvon Chouinard