Are you planning to commemorate Earth Day on April 22? You’re not alone: Since Earth Day’s inception, one billion people in nearly 200 different countries have participated in related events.
Founded in 1970, this annual springtime event remains an occasion for reflection and awareness about the natural world. The first Earth Day happened more than 50 years ago, when Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator, was inspired to apply the momentum of the student-driven anti-war movement to a different cause: Environmental justice. In doing so, Nelson hoped to put air and water pollution onto the national agenda.
Today, Earth Day feels more urgent than ever, given the fact that the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that global energy-related CO2 emissions reached an all-time high in 2021.
The theme of 2022’s Earth Day is “Invest In Our Planet,” per Earthday.org, the event’s global organizer. Planned nationwide events include things like neighborhood cleanup projects, workshops with environmental experts, tree-planting parties, letter-writing campaigns and student essay contests.
This Earth Day, consider taking up actions like volunteering in your community; donating to a local environmental group; or contacting a representative. And spread the word by sharing these quotes about nature — and the task of saving the earth — with friends or students, posting them on social media to raise awareness, or even turning them into artwork.
- 1. “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.” — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
- 2. “The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”— Lady Bird Johnson
- 3. “There can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space.” — Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize lecture
- 4. “To my old brown earth / And to my old blue sky / I’ll now give these last few molecules of ‘I.’ / And you who sing, / And you who stand nearby, / I do charge you not to cry.” — Pete Seeger, “To My Old Brown Earth”
- 5. “Were the importance of our forests at all understood by the people in general, even from an economic standpoint their preservation would call forth the most watchful attention of the Government.” — John Muir, “The Treasures of the Yosemite”
- 6. “I am not the Lorax but I still speak for the trees / The survival of our forest depends on you and me / Look into the eyes of the children / You will see the beauty of the world within them.” — Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, “Speak for the Trees”
- 7. “We can do this. This is the biggest emergent social movement in all of history. We can do this. And if anybody thinks that we don’t have the political will, remember, political will is itself a renewable resource.” — Al Gore
- 8. “When enough people come together, then change will come and we can achieve almost anything. So instead of looking for hope — start creating it.” — Greta Thunberg
- 9. “I truly believe that we in this generation must come to terms with nature, and I think we’re challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves.” — Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”
- 10. “When the sun come shining, then I was strolling / And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling / The voice come a-chanting and the fog was lifting / This land was made for you and me.” — Woody Guthrie, “This Land Was Made for You and Me”
- 11. “Together we can preserve the forest, securing this immense treasure for the future of all these our children.” — Chico Mendes
- 12. “Let us listen to the voice of unborn generations and make the earth the hospitable place that any human being deserves.” — Gro Harlem Brundtland
- 13. “Global warming is, quite simply, the biggest thing that humans have ever managed to do.” — Bill McKibben
- 14. “There is no such thing as away. When you throw something away, it must go somewhere.” — Annie Leonard
- 15. “Grounding ourselves in values such as caring for the sacred and preserving ecological wellbeing, we can learn to live in harmony with Earth and with each other.” — Jacqueline Patterson, Resilience Matters
- 16. “Only we humans make waste that nature can’t digest.” — Charles Moore
- 17. “Today’s youth does not have the luxury to have a childhood anymore. Older generations forced us into giving that away by destroying our planet. But if we strike now, if we work to undo the damage done by those before us, then maybe we can restore that luxury for the generations that follow us.” — Ciara Lonergan
- 18. “We’re the advocates for the salmon, the animals, the birds, the water. We’re the advocates for the food chain. We’re an advocate for all of society.” —Billy Frank, Jr.
- 19. “Now, out of sheer momentum, (we are) thrusting more and ever more roads into every little remaining patch of wilderness, which in many cases is is sheer stupidity.” — Aldo Leopold
- 20. “We have the opportunity to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited. All we need is the will to do so.” — Sir David Attenborough
- 21. “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.” — Theodore Roosevelt
- 22. “Water is life—with no water, Africa will be a dead continent.” — Opha Pauline Dube
- 23. “The more cities can be designed to keep people out of their cars, the better the cities will be, the better the health of the people will be, and the better will be the air quality.” — Dr. Philip Landrigan
- 24. “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.” — Henry David Thoreau
- 25. "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts…. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." — Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”
- 26. “This pretty planet spinning through space / You’re a garden, you’re a harbor / You’re a holy place / Golden sun going down / Gentle blue giant, spin us around.” — John Forster and Tom Chapin, “This Pretty Planet”
- 27. “I have to work with young people today so that we try and raise new generations to look after this poor old planet better than we have, before it’s too late.” — Dr. Jane Goodall
- 28. “We are all musicians in a great human orchestra, and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You are not required to play a solo, but you are required to know what instrument you hold and play it as well as you can. You are required to find your place in the score. What we love we must protect.” — Sandra Steingraber
- 29. “Earth had two kinds of people: those who could do the math and follow the science, and those who were happier with their own truths. But in our hearts’ daily practice, whatever schools we went to, we all lived as if tomorrow would be a clone of now.” — Richard Power, “Bewilderment”
- 30. “It will take determined, visionary leadership. And it will take immense courage—but know that when you rise, billions will be right behind you.” — Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, Dominika Lasota, and Mitzi Tan, “The Emergency Appeal for Climate Action”