Are you looking for sustainability quotes? Here are over 70 inspiring short quotes, on the topics of sustainability, climate change, and eco-friendly and ethical living, that will help motivate and influence others.

With the publication of the 2021 IPCC report issuing a code red for humanity, there’s never been a greater imperative to take action on climate change. The trouble is, how do we engage people in sustainability?

Perhaps you’re writing a report on climate change or preparing a social media post and you are looking for a sustainability quote. Whether you are looking for quotes on climate change or sustainability for your social media, for a web page, or project, I’ve done all the hard work and scoured the internet for you. Here I have collated 70 quotes, that will hopefully inspire, motivate and influence people to take action on climate change and sustainability.

Let’s crack on with the sustainability quotes!

70 Inspiring Climate Change and Sustainability Quotes

Image of a blank notebook on desk with flowers and glasses, and a blue text box that reads "inspiring sustainability quotes to motivate and influence people".
  1. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson 

2. “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

3. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

4. “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” – Jane Goodall

5. “Refuse what you do not need; Reduce what you do need; Reuse by using reusables; Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and Rot (compost) the rest” – Bea Johnson

6. “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

7. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

8. “Finland is officially the world’s happiest country. It is also 75 percent forest. I believe these facts are related.” – Matt Haig

9. “Every person is the right person to act. Every moment is the right moment to begin.” – Jonathan Schell

10. “An act of violence against nature should be judged as severely as that against society or another person.” – Dr. Michael W. Fox

Image of tree with the sustainability quote "Every person is the right person to act. Every moment is the right moment to begin" by Jonathan Schell

11. “Mankind owns its destiny, and its destiny is the earth. We are destroying it until we have no destiny.” – Frida Kahlo

12. “Surely it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” – Sir David Attenborough.

13. “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.” – Chris Maser

14. “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan

15. “The elders were wise. They knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too.” – Chief Luther Standing Bear

16. “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” – Anne Marie Bonneau

17. “Only we humans make waste that nature can’t digest.” – Charles Moore

18. “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” – Marian Wright Edelman

19. “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.” – Dr Jane Goodall

20. “By unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.” – Rob Hopkins

Image of pantry jars with the quote "We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly" by Anne Marie Bonneau

21. “Ethical is walking the walk in your every day interactions with marginalized people.” – Aja Barber

22. “We need artists in this movement, we need people who know about technology in this movement, we need organizers, we need writers, we need all of the different talents in the movement. So I’d say find what you already do, what you’re already good at, and apply that into an organizational space.” – Jamie Margolin

23. “One person cannot save only their part of the world. We either save the whole world or we don’t save it. We all have to work together.” – Frank Ettawageshik

24. “In the end, all the struggles have the same objective: the defense of life. That is the most important, no matter where we are or what the specific goal of each fight is.” – Ana Sandoval

25. “Calling it climate change is rather limiting. I would rather call it the everything change.” – Margaret Atwood

26. “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

27. “Climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, at the same time, addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all.”  – Ban Ki-moon

28. “It’s your generational responsibility to leave the world a better place than you found it. That’s how I was raised. That’s what my parents always told me, ‘Leave this place better than you found it’, whether it’s the bathroom or the kitchen or the planet.” – Xiye Bastida

29. “Your home is the planet. To protect the environment is to protect your own future.” – Francesco La Camera 

30. “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver

Image of rocks and the sea with the climate change quote "Your home is the planet. To protect the environment is to protect your own future” by Francesco La Camera 

31. “It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.” – Dalai Lama

32. “Treat the Earth as though we intend to stay here.” – Crispin Tickell 

33. “To see beyond what despair sees—to move from the feeling toward the possibility—calls for things we have in abundance: love, imagination, and a willingness to simply tend the world as best we can, without guarantee of success.” – Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

34. “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” – Wangari Maathai

35. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

36. “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

37. “The more we focus on individual action and neglect systemic change, the more we’re just sweeping leaves on a windy day” – Mary Heglar

38. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dr Jane Goodall

 39. “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

40. “The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves.” – Wangari Maathai

Image of a leaf with the sustainability quote “The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves” by  Wangari Maathai

41. “To damage the earth is to damage your children.” – Wendell Berry

42. “Believe in the power of your own voice. The more noise you make, the more accountability you demand from your leaders, the more our world will change for the better.”- Al Gore

43. “To care about climate change, we only have to be one thing: a human, living on planet earth. And if you’re reading this, that’s exactly who you are.” – Katharine Hayhoe

44. “Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.“- Desmond Tutu

45. “I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” – Greta Thunberg

46. “If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” – Guy McPherson

47. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

48. “The future will be green or not at all.”- Jonathon Porritt

49. “We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.” – Terri Swearingen

50. “Climate action isn’t a giant boulder sitting at the bottom of a steep hill with just a few hands on it. It’s already at the top of the hill, it’s already got millions of hands on it, and it’s already slowly rolling in the right direction. It just needs to go faster.” – Katharine Hayhoe

Image of a forest with the quote "If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money" by Guy McPherson

51. “This planet is the only home we’ll ever have. There’s no place like it. And home is always, always, always worth it.” – Mary Heglar

52. “Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us we need to evolve.” – Naomi Klein

53. “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.” – Greta Thunberg.

54. “The Earth is not dying – it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

55. “What will save us is not technology or science. What will save us is the ethical transformation of our society.” – Carmelite Father Eduardo Agosta Scarel

56. “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan.

57. “If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.” – David Suzuki

58. “There is no such thing as ‘away’. So, when we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard

59. “We need to have a whole cultural shift, where it becomes our culture to take care of the Earth, and in order to make this shift, we need storytelling about how the Earth takes care of us and how we can take care of her.” – Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

60. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” –  Buckminster Fuller

Image of trees with the quote "Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling" by Greta Thunberg.

61. “The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

62. “Climate change is a vast and complicated problem, and that means the answer is complicated too. We need to let go of the idea that it’s all of our individual faults, then take on the collective responsibility of holding the true culprits accountable. In other words, we need to become many Davids against one big, bad Goliath.⁣” – Mary Heglar

63. “Life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise.” – Rob Hopkins

64. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

65. “There is a tendency at every important but difficult crossroad to pretend that it’s not really there.” – Bill McKibben

66. “I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

67. “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”. – Max Lucado

68. “The most sustainable item is the one you already own”. – Wendy Graham

69. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”. – Mother Teresa

70. “Convincing customers to buy more shit in the name of sustainability is the biggest scam of our generation… Buying nothing at all is the most sustainable thing any of us can do, and when you must buy or want to buy, then use that opportunity to shop responsibly. Treating sustainability as a trend is the biggest threat to it being taken seriously, and to take it seriously it has to be more than surface level.” – Liz Pape

Enjoyed these sustainability quotes? You can also check out these powerful climate change speeches for even more inspiration.

Found this post useful?  You can buy me a coffee to help support the site’s running costs.  Alternatively, please support the site by sharing this post with your friends, following along on Instagram, or signing up for the free Moral Fibres monthly newsletter.