Sustainability Quotes

Here is a selection of my favourite quotes relating to sustainability, global warming and climate change.  I'd love to read more, so please do add links to your favourites into the comments section.


COP21 - November/December 2015, Paris, France.

 "Never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few, the world is looking to you, the world is counting on you"

 - Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

"On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats – but none is greater than climate change. It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves; to remain healthy and safe from extreme weather; to manage the natural resources that support our economies, and to avert the humanitarian disaster of mass migration and increasing conflict...

...The whole of Nature cries out at our mistreatment of Her. If the planet were a patient, we would have treated her long ago. You, Ladies and Gentlemen, have the power to put her on life support, and you must surely start the emergency procedures without further procrastination!"

- HRH, The Prince of Wales

"Never, I say never, have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, for this is about the future of the planet and the future of life...
We must leave our children more than a world free of terror, we owe them a planet protected from disasters, a viable, livable planet"


 - President Hollande of France

"Canada is back, my good friends. We are here to help. To build an agreement that will do our children and our grandchildren proud."
- Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Best of the Rest

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014

"The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology ... is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit."

 - Pope Francis, Encyclical, May 2015

"...Our ability to come together to stop or limit damage to the world's environment will be perhaps the greatest test of how far we can act as a world community. No-one should under-estimate the imagination that will be required, nor the scientific effort, nor the unprecedented co-operation we shall have to show. We shall need statesmanship of a rare order....We have become more and more aware of the growing imbalance between our species and other species, between population and resources, between humankind and the natural order of which we are part..." 

 - Margaret Thatcher, Speech at 2nd World Climate Conference, Nov 6th 1990

"The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences"

 - Al Gore

 "Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism"

 -Sir David King, January 2004

 "Climate change still tends to be perceived as an environmental concern. But it has profound implications for jobs, growth, health and almost all other aspects of human well-being, including security. Until we properly understand the full nature of this threat, our action will fall short."

 - Kofi Annan, September 2006

"Solving this crisis is not a question of politics, it is a question of our own survival"

 - Leonardo DiCaprio, UN Climate Change Summmit, NY, October 2014


"I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces"

 - David Cameron, February 2014

"Global warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it." 

 - Tony Blair, September 2005 

 "In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace."

 - Wangari Maathai

 "Climate change is not an environmental issue, but much more to do with security and economics"

 - Jonathon Porritt

 "Climate change is the most urgent and serious challenge faced by the global community and we need leadership to adapt the global economy to deal with it"

 - Tony Juniper 

 "Civilization in its present form hasn't got long"

 - James Lovelock

"We'll lose more species of plants and animals between 2000 and 2065 than we've lost in the last 65 million years. If we don't find answers to these problems, we're gonna be victims of this extinction event that we're at fault for."

- Paul Watson

"At the moment every country arrives at climate negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible. This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide. We don’t want a global suicide pact. We want a global survival pact."

- President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, November 2009

"The very essence of capitalism is under threat as business is now seen as a personal wealth accumulator. We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest. We need to fight very hard to create an environment out there that is more long term focussed and move away from short termism."

- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

"...commitment to sustainability is driven by a strong commercial logic. Social and environmental concerns are actually beginning to impinge on business models and the reality of business today"

- Sir Ian Cheshire, ex CEO Kingfisher Group

"To do business with a clear conscience is an attitude that pays. We have to find more time for ourselves and to regain respect for the environment in which we live."

- Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA Founder

"It's not earth that's in trouble
It's the people that live on it, no, no
Earth'll be here long after we've all gone
The way of the dodo"

- "The Way of the Dodo" lyrics, Everything is Borrowed, Mike Skinner / The Streets

"The message is clearer than ever: the changes the world is seeing are entirely man made; and time is running out to prevent a complex web of catastrophes sending shockwaves through our economies, societies and the natural world. Nobody, from businesses, to governments, to individuals can afford to put off taking action."

- Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group


"... the irresistible power of 'business as usual' has so far defeated every attempt to ‘rewire’ our economic system in ways that will deliver what we so urgently need.Yet if we are to limit climate change, conserve resources and keep ecosystems functioning, while at the same time improving the health and wellbeing of billions of people – including the several billion who are projected to be added to our population later this century – then we will need to see profound changes."

- HRH Prince of Wales, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership 'Rewiring the Economy' Dinner, St James's Palace State Apartments, July 2015


"The linear 'Take - Make - Dispose' system, which depletes natural resources and generates waste, is deeply flawed and can be productively replaced by a restorative model in which waste does not exist as such but is only food for the next cycle"

- Ellen MacArthur


"We are not waiting for fuel to fall from the sky, because we have discovered, fortunately, something much more important – energy conservation, which is like finding a great oil deposit"

- Fidel Castro

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