***UPDATE: In November 2016 we reached out to these same amazing women and asked them if they would say things differently. We are inspired by their words below, and also by their comments, ideas and thoughts from 2016. More Climate Change Quotes by inspiring Women.
Interesting fact. While researching this blog post and googling “famous quotes,” 99% of the quotes I could find on climate change, the environment, Earth Day and global warming, were from men. No ‘dis to my men friends, but what is that all about? As women, mothers and sisters we too are all children of “mother earth” and we too have a lot of important things to say. So many of my “sisters” feel compelled to act and speak out on environmental injustices – and in my eyes – the most important of which, for our children and their future, is climate change.
Join me in honor of Mother’s Day, and in honor of our Mother Earth, by celebrating the important words of these 10 amazing women as they speak out on important environmental concerns.
We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
Rachel Carson, Writer, Scientist, Ecologist, Environmentalist, Marine biologist, “Silent Spring” 1962
I imagine my future grandkids asking me what I did. I don’t want to say, “Nothing.” I don’t want to tell my future grandkids that I sat on my hands and did nothing while emissions kept rising, while the ice caps melted, species disappeared, and the oceans got more acidic. I really think that future generations will curse us, and say we were stupid, and selfish and mean. So, I may not be able to change the world, but I can change my own behavior.
Franke James, Author, Artist, Photographer, ClimateMama Interview, 2011
I definitely think that global warming is a moral issue and I think that you see a lot of religious groups increasingly getting involved, some of the evangelical groups, some of the more mainstream Protestant and Jewish groups. And I’ve definitely gotten letters and read about people preaching on this subject and I think it’s absolutely going to become, if it isn’t yet, the moral issue of our times. And there’s two reasons for that. First of all, if you care about the future, which supposedly we do, and for those of us who have children, preserving a world for them, well, then, clearly global warming is an overwhelming issue. And it also ties in with all sorts of issues of equity and poverty because as devastating as global warming will be for this country, and I unfortunately believe it will be quite devastating, it will obviously be worse for people living on the edge. If you’re living on the edge, then a slight change in rainfall patterns can push you over the edge.
Elizabeth Kolbert, Journalist and Author, NRDC Interview 2006
I think continuing the fight [against climate change] for me has to do with a combination of things: hope, great alliances and the natural world. Hope b/c, trite as it may sound, having a child has given me a new lens on the world and I do truly want to work harder on the Earth’s behalf because of her. Alliances, b/c whenever I feel like I’m about to burn out I meet or learn about someone else who is creating change on behalf of the environment and doing it in such and innovative way that it bolsters my own energy, work and commitment to keep going. The Natural World, b/c since moving back to Maine (where I was born and raised) I feel connected anew to the cycles of life, the seasons, the tides, the fresh air. It keeps it all in perspective and allows me to keep chugging along.
Lauren Sullivan, Director and Co-Founder of Reverb, ClimateMama Interview 2010
As is often the case when a person feels called—perhaps to paint, to write, or to minister—I did not feel I had a choice. As a working mother, struggling to adjust in the midst of a divorce, free time was not something I had to fill. I wasn’t looking to take on even one more task. And between motherhood and my work as a psychologist and professional coach, I already had a strong sense of purpose. But realizing what the planetary crisis, unchecked, meant for my children’s future left me no choice but to take action.
Dr. Sarah Warren, Psychologist, Career/Cause Coach, Author, Founder Our Spheres of Influence, “Fierce Love: How one Mother Reinvented Herself by Saving the Planet,” 2010
Change takes time and requires a long-term commitment. You need to align yourself with a positive, dynamic, and inter-generational community of passionate folk to engender change. Draw inspiration from the inherent optimism, curiosity, and pursuit of possibilities found within your children. Learn from elders the narratives of the places we each call home. We are a small part of a living history of places. Understanding a place and how, what, why things have changed over time aids us in collectively re/authoring new narratives that are more sustainable and just.
Lisa Glithero, Educator, Youth Advocate, Community Builder, Founder of the EYES Project, ClimateMama Interview 2010
So let’s raise the tone of the debate. Too often at the moment we look like schoolchildren squabbling over a toy – our most precious toy, the Earth. And the danger is that as we pull in opposite directions in our global tug of war, the Earth will end up broken – or at least unable to sustain human life. That is the worst case scenario – or maybe, from the Earth’s point of view, the best.
Roz Savage, Ocean Rower, Environmental Activist, Author, Speaker, Roz Savage Blog 2009.
Believe that you can make a difference; in fact, you do with every single choice you make. Your money is your power and each time you spend it, it’s a vote for something, so make it count. I personally live and work by this African Proverb – If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.
Lisa Borden Founder Borden Communications + Design Inc, Eco Advocate, ClimateMama Interview 2010
When the scope of the problem seems insuperable, isn’t it time to call this one, give it up, and get on with life as we know it. I do know that answer to that one: that’s called child abuse. When my teenager worries that her generation won’t be able to fix this problem, I have to admit to her that it won’t be up to her generation. It’s up to mine. This is a now-or-never kind of project.
Barbara Kingsolver, Author, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life”, 2007
As I learn more and more about climate change, I believe that it is my JOB as a mother to talk to as many people as I can, to explain to them the collision course we are on with our environment; to tell them that if we don’t put the breaks on soon, the crash we will have will be catastrophic.
Harriet Shugarman, Speaker, Educator, Executive Director, ClimateMama. Climate Project Presentation, 2011