Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? Henry David Thoreau. Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. Charles Cook. Vaclav Smil. For the 99 percent of the time we've been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.
Janine M. If there is one thing clear about the centuries dominated by the factory and the wheel, it is that although the machine can make everything from a spoon to a landing-craft, a natural joy in earthly living is something it never has and never will be able to manufacture.
Henry Beston. Helen Keller. I am in love with this world. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.
John Burroughs. In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. John Milton. And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. Kahlil Gibran. Edna Jaques. The indescribable innocence of and beneficence of Nature,--of sun and wind and rain, of summer and winter,--such health, such cheer, they afford forever! Only spread a fern-frond over a man's head and worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in.
John Muir. The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. Anne Frank. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, - no disgrace, no calamity leaving me my eyes , which nature cannot repair.
Ralph Waldo Emerson. The forest makes your heart gentle. You become one with it No place for greed or anger there. Pha Pachak. Away from the tumult of motor and mill I want to be care-free; I want to be still! I'm weary of doing things; weary of words I want to be one with the blossoms and birds. Edgar A. Nature is man's teacher. Alfred Billings Street. Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
Saint Bernard de Clairvaux. Whenever I have found myself stuck in the ways I relate to things, I return to nature. It is my principal teacher, and I try to open my whole being to what it has to say. The Krefeld society is volunteer-run, and many members have other jobs in unrelated fields, but they also have an enormous depth of knowledge about insects, accumulated through years of what other people might consider obsessive attention. Some study the ecology or evolutionary taxonomy of their favorite species or map their populations or breed them to study their life histories.
Because of the scientific standards of the society, members followed certain procedures: They always employed identical traps, sewn from a template they first used in Sorg showed me the original rolled-up craft paper with great solemnity. They always put them in the same places. Before GPS, that meant a painstaking process of triangulating with surveying equipment.
They saved everything they caught, regardless of what the main purpose of the experiment was. The society bought so much ethanol that it attracted the attention of a narcotics unit. Those bottles of insects were gathered into thousands of boxes, which are now crammed into what were once offices in the upper reaches of the school.
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When the society members, like entomologists elsewhere, began to notice that they were seeing fewer insects, they had something against which to measure their worries. In , Krefeld entomologists confirmed that the total number of insects caught in one nature reserve was nearly 80 percent lower than the same spot in They had sampled other sites, analyzed old data sets and found similar declines: Where 30 years earlier, they often needed a liter bottle for a week of trapping, now a half-liter bottle usually sufficed.
But it would have taken even highly trained entomologists years of painstaking work to identify all the insects in the bottles. So the society used a standardized method for weighing insects in alcohol, which told a powerful story simply by showing how much the overall mass of insects dropped over time. The society collaborated with de Kroon and other scientists at Radboud University in the Netherlands, who did a trend analysis of the data that Krefeld provided, controlling for things like the effects of nearby plants, weather and forest cover on fluctuations in insect populations.
The final study looked at 63 nature preserves, representing almost 17, sampling days, and found consistent declines in every kind of habitat they sampled. For some scientists, the study created a moment of reckoning. They were the ones paying attention to Earth for all the rest of us. The current worldwide loss of biodiversity is popularly known as the sixth extinction: the sixth time in world history that a large number of species have disappeared in unusually rapid succession, caused this time not by asteroids or ice ages but by humans.
When we think about losing biodiversity, we tend to think of the last northern white rhinos protected by armed guards, of polar bears on dwindling ice floes. Extinction is a visceral tragedy, universally understood: There is no coming back from it. The guilt of letting a unique species vanish is eternal. What about the species that still exist, but as a shadow of what they once were? Pacific pioneers complain to the authorities that splashing salmon threaten to swamp their canoes.
The number of Sophie the Giraffe toys sold in France in a single year is nine times the number of all the giraffes that still live in Africa. Finding reassurance in the survival of a few symbolic standard-bearers ignores the value of abundance, of a natural world that thrives on richness and complexity and interaction. This matters for more than romantic reasons: Large animals, especially top predators like tigers, connect ecosystems to one another and move energy and resources among them simply by walking and eating and defecating and dying.
In the deep ocean, sunken whale carcasses form the basis of entire ecosystems in nutrient-poor places. These places are emptier, impoverished in a thousand subtle ways. Scientists have begun to speak of functional extinction as opposed to the more familiar kind, numerical extinction. Functionally extinct animals and plants are still present but no longer prevalent enough to affect how an ecosystem works. Some phrase this as the extinction not of a species but of all its former interactions with its environment — an extinction of seed dispersal and predation and pollination and all the other ecological functions an animal once had, which can be devastating even if some individuals still persist.
The more interactions are lost, the more disordered the ecosystem becomes. A famous real-world example of this type of cascade concerns sea otters. Conservationists tend to focus on rare and endangered species, but it is common ones, because of their abundance, that power the living systems of our planet. Most species are not common, but within many animal groups most individuals — some 80 percent of them — belong to common species. Like the slow approach of twilight, their declines can be hard to see. White-rumped vultures were nearly gone from India before there was widespread awareness of their disappearance.
In a article in Science, researchers argued that the word should become as familiar, and influential, as the concept of deforestation. In another paper reported that major population and range losses extended even to species considered to be at low risk for extinction.
Zeroing in on the category we most relate to, mammals, scientists believe that for every six wild creatures that once ate and burrowed and raised young, only one remains. What we have instead is ourselves. But E. Wilson, the naturalist and prophet of environmental degradation, has suggested another name: the Eremocine, the age of loneliness. Wilson began his career as a taxonomic entomologist, studying ants. Insects are a case study in the invisible importance of the common.
Scientists have tried to calculate the benefits that insects provide simply by going about their business in large numbers. Each person covers five to 10 trees a day, pollinating apple blossoms by hand. By eating and being eaten, insects turn plants into protein and power the growth of all the uncountable species — including freshwater fish and a majority of birds — that rely on them for food, not to mention all the creatures that eat those creatures. We worry about saving the grizzly bear, says the insect ecologist Scott Hoffman Black, but where is the grizzly without the bee that pollinates the berries it eats or the flies that sustain baby salmon?
Where, for that matter, are we? Bugs are vital to the decomposition that keeps nutrients cycling, soil healthy, plants growing and ecosystems running. After introducing cattle to Australia at the turn of the 19th century, settlers soon found themselves overwhelmed by the problem of their feces: For some reason, cow pies there were taking months or even years to decompose.
Cows refused to eat near the stink, requiring more and more land for grazing, and so many flies bred in the piles that the country became famous for the funny hats that stockmen wore to keep them at bay. For the next 25 years, the importation, quarantine and release of dozens of species of dung beetles became a national priority.
And that was just one unfilled niche. Only about 2 percent of invertebrate species have been studied enough for us to estimate whether they are in danger of extinction, never mind what dangers that extinction might pose. When asked to imagine what would happen if insects were to disappear completely, scientists find words like chaos, collapse, Armageddon.
Lister set out sticky traps and swept nets across foliage in the same places he had in the s, but this time he and his co-author, Andres Garcia, caught much, much less: 10 to 60 times less arthropod biomass than before. But even scarier were the ways the losses were already moving through the ecosystem, with serious declines in the numbers of lizards, birds and frogs. The strange thing, Lister said, is that, as staggering as they are, all the declines he documented would still be basically invisible to the average person walking through the Luquillo rain forest.
The place he loves will become unrecognizable. Instead, Lister chalks up their decline to climate change, which has already increased temperatures in Luquillo by two degrees Celsius since Lister first sampled there. Previous research suggested that tropical bugs will be unusually sensitive to temperature changes; in November, scientists who subjected laboratory beetles to a heat wave reported that the increased temperatures made them significantly less fertile. What resources remain are often contaminated.
A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles. Nature has no mercy at all. I am going to snow anyway. Maya Angelou. To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller. One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care.
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Such is the quality of bees. Leo Tolstoy. On every stem, on every leaf… and at the root of everything that grew, was a professional specialist in the shape of grub, caterpillar, aphis, or other expert, whose business it was to devour that particular part. Oliver Wendell Holmes. As far as I was concerned, I was in an orgy with the sky and the ocean, and with nature. Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. Mary Oliver. Daniel Quinn. The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost. The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble. Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. Mahatma Gandhi. We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. There is an element of truth in everything. Nature teaches, although it can sometimes be misleading. Bruce Lee. I go to books and to nature as the bee goes to a flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey.
John Burroughs. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity. Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature.
Hubert Reeves. Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. Gretel Ehrlich Click to tweet. I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair.
It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go. May Sarton. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.
Thomas Henry Huxley. I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify by their own lonesome familiarity to this feeling.
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. Joseph Campbell. The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyong reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.
Nature magically suits the man to his fortunes, by making these the fruit of his character. Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.
Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mothers face. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences. Robert G. Kurt Vonnegut. Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another. Juvenal Click to tweet. Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry van Dyke. If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.
But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. The day has eyes; the night has ears. David Fergusson Click to tweet. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection.
Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of this childhood. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. Max Planck. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order. Henry Miller.
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The first wildflower of the year is like land after sea. Thomas Wentworth Higginson Click to tweet. Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. William Wordsworth Click to tweet. I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.
After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings. Richard Dawkins. To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. Jane Austen. Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful.
If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird. David Attenborough. Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street. William Blake. Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence. George Santanaya. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. Anne Frank Click to tweet.
The forest makes your heart gentle. You become one with it. No place for greed or anger there. Pha Pachak. John Lubbock. He who hears the rippling of rivers in these degenerate days will not utterly despair. Nature rejuvenates so quickly, so completely.
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Though we often view ourselves otherwise, we are nature. Jeb Dickerson. Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation affirming my connection to the earth body. Carol P. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. Wash your spirit clean. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes — every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. Orison Swett Marden. Standing on the bare ground — my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space — all mean egotism vanishes.
I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God. I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Joseph Addison. What I know of the divine sciences and Holy Scriptures, I learned in woods and fields.
I have no other masters than the beeches and the oaks. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed. Walt Whitman. Alex Trebek. Nature is not benevolent: with ruthless indifference she makes all things serve their purposes.
Lao Tzu. As a scientist, I believe that nature is a perfect structure, seen from the standpoint of reason and logical analysis. Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mold myself? Mother Nature presents neither a wrinkled face nor tottering form, but constantly renews the bloom of her youth, while time fills up the volumes of her history.
James Lendall Basford. Our downfall as a species is that we are arrogant enough to think that we can control Mother Nature and stupid enough to think it is our job. Greg Peterson. In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth. He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. Socrates Click to tweet. Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants.
When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.
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Criss Jami. Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature. Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. There are always flowers for those who want to see them. Henri Matisse Click to tweet. The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Frankenstein.
I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. William Hazlitt. Start by Getting Human Nature Right. The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love. Sitting Bull. I have loved the feel of the grass under my feet, and the sound of the running streams by my side.
The hum of the wind in the tree-tops has always been good music to me, and the face of the fields has often comforted me more than the faces of men. He that plants trees love others besides himself. Thomas Fuller Click to tweet. Explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries. Jimmy Carter. But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.
Jack London. No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.
Oscar Wilde. There is a pleasure in the pathless woods. There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but nature more. George Gordon Byron. Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. It takes time for a fruit to mature and acquire sweetness and become eatable; time is a prime factor for most good fortunes. Atharva Veda. I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature. Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find. William Wordsworth. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. James Oppenheim. The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.