Environment quotes 2021: Can’t breathe air? Can’t drink water? Do something at COP26!

By Asitha Jayawardena

It’s the first week of 2021 and Covid-19 is still active around the world. Twelve people, except one who is alive, get together to offer us twelve environmental quotations. Let’s see what they are.


It is in January 2021. Pssst! Listen to Henry David Thoreau, American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher.

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

Thoreau’s lasting contributions are the writings on natural history and philosophy. It includes two sources of modern-day environmentalism, i.e., ecology and environmental history.


February came. Russian writer Leo Tolstoy speaks.

“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.”

Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)

Although Tolstoy received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature as well as the Nobel Peace Prize for several years, he never won any prize and that is a mystery.


Came March. A major English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley whispered.

“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, —
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress its music.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

Shelley did not achieve fame in his lifetime but, after his death, his poetry gained on reputation.


It is in April 2021. An American agricultural scientist and inventor George Washington Carver is up early.

“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”

George Washington Carver (1860–1943)

Carver was a leading black scientist in the early 20th century and also an early promoter of environmentalism.


In May, an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller is barefoot.

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”

Helen Keller (1880–1968)

Helen was a prolific writer and her 14 books, as well as hundreds of essays and speeches, point towards many areas, from animals to Mahatma Gandhi.


It is from June. An American cellular biologist, college professor, and politician Barry Commoner is talking about science.

“The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it.”

Barry Commoner (1917–2012)

Commoner was among the founders of the modern environmental movement and his work led to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.


In July, a British economist and writer Barbara Ward make a comparison.

“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”

Barbara Ward (1914–1981)

Ward was an early advocate of sustainable development before it became familiar to people and, in the 1960s, she turned attention to environmentalism.


In August, a German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein talks about bees or rather lack of it.

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

Albert Einstein (1879–1955) 

Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity and the mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2, which is considered as the most famous equation among the public.


In September, an American novelist, short-story writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway hug the Earth.

“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”

Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)

Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 and published seven novels, six short-story collections and two nonfiction work.


It is October. An English churchman and historian Thomas Fuller talk about planting trees.

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”

Thomas Fuller (1608–1661)

Fuller was a prolific writer and perhaps the first who could only live by his pen.


In November 2021, an American investor, business tycoon and philanthropist Warren Buffet refer to a man (or a woman).

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago.”

Warren Buffett (1930-)

One of the most successful investors in the world, Buffett is at the age of 90 and is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.


December comes. Just listen to an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, poet and science communicator Carl Sagan.

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.”

Carl Sagan (1934–1996) 

Sagan’s most notable achievement is the research on the extraterrestrial life and he assembled the first physical messages sent into space.

At the end of 2021

As Sagan said, unbreathable or undrinkable means we have to do something. In November 2021, the UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 or COP26. It’s where we must do it in the name of climate change!


Earth Day: 23 of the Greatest Environmental Quotes

40 Best Environment Quotes To Inspire You To Help Save The Planet https://www.yourtango.com/2018313744/best-environmental-quotes-save-the-earth



  1. Dear Asitha Jayawardena,

    What an excellent post you have composed here at the start of 2021!

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us of these wonderful quotations with the contents of your post. What a lovely way to prompt us to do something at COP26!

    Now that you have fed me one dozen of your choicest quotes, I would like to reciprocate and resonate with the tenor and spirit of your post with two dozen quotations from my expansive multimedia post about Earth Day at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/soundeagle-in-earth-day/

    The said post is best viewed on a large screen of a desktop or laptop computer, since it could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately. Please enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Of course I liked this post, as it does the same work that my blog does, to sustain ongoing education for empathy and critical thinking for all of us, world wide. This is why I am here.


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