Need an environmental pick-me-up? We’ve all been there before. Hear from leaders and activists to get your dose of optimism below.
Powering a renewable future can feel daunting. Personally, when I feel overwhelmed, it helps to remind myself that I’m not in it alone. Amazing leaders from around the world are taking action, and on top of that, spreading inspiring words to stir action in others. Since you care about the climate, too, we thought you might appreciate a few of our favorite quotes from leaders in the movement for a renewable future.
Take a look, and at the end, let us know which of your own favorite lines we missed!
We need renewable energy.
As the founder of Patagonia, Chouinard has built his company’s identity around products that wear slowly–and high-quality replacements if they don’t. Speaking of lasting as long as possible, do you know what isn’t going to last? Fossil fuels. In fact, we have an extremely finite amount of those to source from.
“Everything we make pollutes. The most responsible thing we can do is to make each product as well as we know how so it lasts as long as possible.” – Yvon Chouinard, Founder, Patagonia
“Our oil-based society depends on non-renewable resources. It requires relentless probing into vast reaches of pristine land, sacrificing vital bioregions, and irreplaceable cultures…We must all move shoulder to shoulder in a unified front to show this administration that the true majority of people are willing to vote for a cleaner environment and won’t back down.” – Leo Dicaprio, Founder, The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
“We know we’ll run out of dead dinosaurs to mine for fuel and have to use sustainable energy eventually, so why not go renewable now and avoid increasing risk of climate catastrophe? Betting that science is wrong and oil companies are right is the dumbest experiment in history by far.” – Elon Musk, Founder, Tesla
Clean energy isn’t just about environmentalism.
Of course, renewable power is about preserving the one planet we have, but it’s about creating a more just world, with equal opportunity for all.
“We believe that the green energy industry has the potential to lift historically disenfranchised communities out of poverty, across the country, at massive historical scale.” – Donnel Baird, Founder, BlocPower
“Let us all say together: We want to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty and into great careers for America’s children. We want this ‘green wave’ to lift all boats. This country can save the polar bears and poor kids too.” – Van Jones, Founder, Dream Corps
“We’ve got to decide that we want to live in a world that is sane and happy and healthy, and that everyone deserves that.” – Majora Carter, Founder, Sustainable South Bronx and the Majora Carter Group
In a separate TED talk, Majora said that “No community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other.”
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Clean energy will make us wealthier.
Environmentalists get an unfair reputation for sabotaging the economy with expensive policies. Don’t fall for that story. We can save the planet and make money at the same time. In fact, not acting now will be extremely costly down the line.
“A transition to clean energy is about making an investment in our future.” – Gloria Reuben, actress and environmental activist
“Solving big challenges has always resulted in wealth creation. Think about the challenges of transportation, and then the economic and societal impact of the railroad, automobile and airlines. Then let’s think about big goals we have had like curing polio, or landing a man on the moon. Each changed our lives, created jobs, and made life better. We have always been able to make problems into opportunities…I look at Climate Change as the biggest opportunity in our lifetime, in fact the largest wealth creation opportunity on the planet.” – Jigar Shah, Co-Founder and President, Generate Capital
And if you aren’t convinced that solving climate change will stimulate our economy, consider this point:
“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” – Guy McPherson, scientist & professor
Am I too small to make a difference?
No. Here’s why:
“Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do, but I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” – Greta Thunberg, climate activist
“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.” – Jane Goodall, primatologist, anthropologist, & activist
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, anthropologist, author, and speaker
“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species–man–acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.” – Rachel Carson, marine biologist, author, and conservationist
We have the power to change the world; we just need to decide how we want to change it. Rachel offers some advice on how we can set our mind right:
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
What about when things get really hard?
We cannot give up because it is hard. The fact that it’s hard is all the more reason that each contribution is valuable.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan, Founder, 2041
“Very few people on earth ever get to say: ‘I am doing, right now, the most important thing I could possibly be doing.’ If you’ll join this fight that’s what you’ll get to say.” – Bill Mckibben, author & Co-Founder, 350.org
Remember: people are on board with a renewable future.
“Almost everybody is a potential solar voter. I’d be hard-pressed to find a single issue, including motherhood and apple pie, that polls higher than the desire to see more solar…it’s really something that unites this country at a particularly divided time.” Adam Browning, Executive Director, Vote Solar
And, not to get too sappy, but sometimes the best inspiration can come from our fictional heroes.
“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” – Samwise GamGee, Hobbit and savior of Middle-earth
A renewable future is our only option.
Al Gore summed it up well in “An Inconvenient Truth”, using Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot” footage of earth from space to remind us of how fragile our planet is, and how much responsibility we each hold to protect it.
“You see that pale, blue dot? That’s us. Everything that has ever happened in all of human history, has happened on that pixel. All the triumphs and all the tragedies, all the wars, all the famines, all the major advances…it’s our only home. And that is what is at stake, our ability to live on planet Earth, to have a future as a civilization. I believe this is a moral issue, it is your time to seize this issue, it is our time to rise again to secure our future.” – Al Gore, politician and environmentalist
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