Archives: Spirit of Simplicity - Quotes

Archives: Spirit of Simplicity - Quotes

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Spirit of Simplicity

Quotes by Categories

Table of Contents

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Quotes by Categories

1. Simple Living

Voluntary Simplicity
Simple Living
Enough, Needs vs. wants
Speed & Slowing down

#100's | #1000's | #2000's | #3000's | #4000's | #5000's

Whatever a man seeks, honors, or exalts more than God, this is the god of idolatry. --William Ullathorne

If you want to destroy a nation, give it too much - make it greedy, miserable and sick. --John Steinbeck

We owe most of our great inventions and most of the achievements of genius to idleness -- either enforced or voluntary. --Agatha Christie

To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. --Bernadette Devlin

Goals are dreams with deadlines. --Diana Scharf Hunt

There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. --Marshall McLuhan

We need not want what we are the middle of. --James Bertolino

Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death. --Hunter S. Thompson

Things that don't get better, get worse. --Ellen Sue Stern

Anyone who isn't confused doesn't understand what's going on. --Dimitri Simes

The worst way to improve the world is to condemn it. --Philip James Baily

The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur. --Alfred North Whitehead

Great ideas come into the world as gently as doves. --Albert Camus

Anything that exists is possible. --Mohandas K. Gandhi

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? --Matthew 6:24-33. How do my clothes reflect my personality and my values? Did the people who made my clothes get a fair wage for their work? Go to your clothes closet. Choose enough clothes to wear a different outfit each day for a week. Put the other clothes aside. Wear only the clothes you've chosen for the next two weeks. --TREK

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that I need. --Proverbs 30:7-9. The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little. --II Corinthians 8:15. Do I think a world where everyone has enough is part of God's vision for humankind? --TREK

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? --Isaiah 55:1-5. Do I give the people who love me what they most want from me? Am I able to spend the time I need to build special relationships with the people I love? --TREK

Reflect. Substitute the word stuff for money. No one can serve two masters... You cannot serve God and wealth. --Matthew 6:24 (also Luke 16:13)

One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. --Luke 12:13-34. What do I own that is not necessary for the activities I find most meaningful? What would I do with my free time if I only had to spend half as much time working? --TREK

Don't worry about what you'll eat or what you'll wear. That sounds like encouragement to live more simply.

You can never get enough of what you don't really need. --attributed to Alan Watts

A PARABLE (for sustainability & balancing work and family)

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, only a little while.
The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then?"
The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions . . . Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos." --Center for a New American Dream

A society whose principles are acquisition, profit, and property produces a social character oriented around having, and once the dominant pattern is established, nobody wants to be an outsider, or indeed an outcast; in order to avoid this risk everybody adapts to the majority, who have in common only their mutual antagonism. --Erich Fromm

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meager life than the poor. --Henry David Thoreau

Many of them had a better time than they ever had in their lives because they were discovering the new freedom - the less you need, the freer you become. --E.F. Schumacher

Meaning brings completeness, the feeling that you know who you are, what you believe, how you want to live. It allows you to resist the manipulation and pressures of the desecrated life, the commercialized life. --Cecile Andrews

Voluntary simplicity is not a grim cutting back, it's discovering and filling the genuine human need to do work that you love. --Cecile Andrews

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. --Henry David Thoreau

Society, and the family as its psycho social agent, has to solve a difficult problem: How to break a person's will without his being aware of it? Yet by a complicated process of indoctrination, rewards, punishments, and fitting ideology, it solves this task by and large so well that most people believe they are following their own will and are unaware that their will itself is conditioned and manipulated. --Erich Fromm

1-Q0867 [Also ref. 4407]
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? --Henry David Thoreau

If it hasn't already done so, the church... must recognize that it lives in a pagan society; it must seek for values and norms not shared by society. In short, it will either recover the Christian doctrine of nonconformity or cease to have any authentic Christian voice. --Doris Janzen Longacre

The new morality does not consist in saving but in expanding consumption. --Simon Nelson Patten, economist, 1907

We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs and strive with all our power not to exceed them. Once we are carried beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is no criterion to check our onward movement, since no bounds can be set to that which exceeds the necessary. --St. Nilus of Ancyra (407-494)

When you realize you have enough, then you are truly rich. --Tao Teh Ching

Having more and newer things each year has become not just something we want but something we need. The idea of more, of ever increasing wealth, has become the center of our identity and security, and we are caught up in it as the addict is by his drugs. --Paul Wachtel

Any 'Christians' who take for themselves any more than the plain necessaries of life, live in an open habitual denial of the Lord. They have gained riches and hell-fire. --John Wesley

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that I need, or I shall be full, and deny you, and say, "Who is the Lord?" or I shall be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God. --Proverbs 30:8-9

Don't throw away leftover food. Keep serving it and you will be satisfied. --Ugandan proverb

A hasty person misses the sweet things. --Swahili proverb

Progress might have been all right once but it has gone on too long. --Ogden Nash

For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root. --Henry David Thoreau

I wish I were either rich enough or poor enough to do a lot of things that are impossible in my present comfortable circumstances. --Don Herold

Watch out when you're getting all you want. Fattening hogs ain't in luck. --Joel Chandler Harris

Eventually women will learn there's no such thing as freedom. Their husbands are just as fastened to the deck as they are. Men get onto a treadmill and never get off. --Katherine Anne Porter

In the long run, it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years. --Adlai E. Stevenson

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance beyond death. --John F. Kennedy

Does the end justify the means? Or should it be, "Do the ends justify the mean; do the extremes justify moderation?" --Dan Robinson

What we really need is to realize how little we really need. --Ashleigh Brilliant

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. --William Blake

Besides the noble art of getting things done, master the noble art of leaving things undone. --Lin Yutang

Life truly is a journey, and the less baggage we carry the easier the ride. --Wally (Famous) Amos

Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed to be simple is to be great. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Paying attention at every moment, forms a new relationship to time. In some magical way, by slowing down, you become more efficient, productive, and energetic, focusing without distraction directly on the task in front of you. Not only do you become immersed in the moment, you become that moment. --Attributed to Michael Ray

Simplicity is the glory of expression. --Walt Whitman

The best stuff in life isn't [stuff]. --Unknown

The best things in life aren't [things]. --Attributed to Art Buchwald

The wisdom of life consists in [simpler living] the elimination of nonessentials. --Lin Yutang

Generation X, which so frequently takes ironic stances as it reappropriates the materialism it has been given, might even reject such materialism in favor of a countercultural witness if the Church toward which it is so skeptical inspired it to do so. --from Virtual Faith

There is no formula. We all must become spirited inventors. There's no single answer - not even a single starting point. Even the 'teachers' ... don't offer us the answer. They do offer us approaches, ways of thinking, possibilities we can adapt, and hope that might generate in us wholly new ideas. --Frances Moore Lapp� & Paul Martin DuBois

The real cultural war is between the culture of narcissism and what might be called the culture of renewal. --Richard Louv, The Web of Life

A Simple lifestyle of reduced consumption allows more time for interaction with living, dynamic beings, more opportunity for meeting the Other more fully and unencumbered. --Stephanie Kaza

People used to buy things because they needed the things to survive not because the things needed people to survive. --Mason Williams

1-Q2136 (also ref. 1332, 5001, 4906, 2163)
Earth provides enough for everyone's need, not for everyone's greed. --Gandhi (paraphrased)

Two weeks later, another insight also changed my life. I was working in the Central District, at the Prince Building, which has many prestigious shops. It was lunch time, and as I was passing, I could see that it was under renovation. The ceiling was torn down, exposing many wires and pipes of different colors. At the very moment when my eyes caught sight of this, I felt that if I tore my skin off, it would be exactly the same as the uncovered ceiling. Before this experience, I liked beautiful clothes, shoes, perfumes, and classy things. After this experience, I became very simple. --Hyang Um Sunim

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. --G. K. Chesterton

Collecting stuff -- old stuff or new stuff -- it's still just stuff. Call it antiques, collectibles, art, whatever. It's still just stuff. In capitalism, the question is not "to collect?" or "not to collect?" but WHOSE stuff to collect. Too bad it's the wrong question. The better question is, "Wouldn't I be better off, happier, without all this stuff?" --Gerald Iversen

Psychologically we think that stuff does not make demands of us like people do. So we may prefer stuff instead of relationships. But stuff demands a lot! The initial cost, our time to maintain it, to dispose of it meaningfully (like a museum or an heir, rather than a landfill). Give me a caring human anytime! --Gerald Iversen

The Best Things in Life Are Free. The best things in life are not things.

How much is enough? Anything beyond sustainability is overconsumption. Anything beyond what the Earth can replenish is more than our fair share. --Gerald Iversen

Live simply that others may simply live. --Gandhi

ON STRESS & TIME MANAGEMENT... If it seems like you don't have enough time to do all that you need to do, then something you are doing is unnecessary. (God would not call his people to live a life that he has not given us enough time for.) --Bruxy Cavey

1-Q2194 [See 7-A319 for ART]
A Psalm of the Fat Camel

it is so very small
and I'm so very big
I can't squeeze through
not even little finger.
But then
I'm part of
the affluent society.
We've shown
as never people did before
how to get
build up
and still get more
more things
cars houses
land rose bushes
stocks and bonds
more gross national product
and more defenses of it all
more of everything
this side of
needle's eye
Lord have mercy
Do a necessary miracle.
--Joseph Bayly

My life is my message. --Gandhi

Are you living just a little and calling that life? --Annie Dillard

More and more it feels like our lives have turned into a grueling race toward a finish line we never reach. No matter how fast we go, no matter how many comforts we forgo in order to quicken our pace, there never seems to be enough time. --Jay Walljasper

When [life's] over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. --Mary Oliver
by Kenneth Kennon

Amid the clutter of my existence
I search in vain
For something priceless
I have misplaced
Put aside for safe keeping
Only now to discover
In piles of yesterday
It is nowhere to be found

Why have I not been more careful
With such irreplaceable treasure
Why have I been preoccupied
By what is at best mundane
Vanished memory mislaid
Has left me bare
Off balance and bereft
In the disorder of bottom drawers

Dust settled on my dreams
Obscuring life's sweetest promise
Hiding beneath gritty gossamer
All that I thought I'd saved
But cannot find
Amid the clutter of my existence
I search again
For something missing.

Oh to reach the point of death and realize one has not lived at all. --Henry David Thoreau

I don't want the cheese, I just want to get out of the trap. --Spanish Proverb

There is more to life than increasing its speed. --Gandhi

We are always getting ready to live, but not really living. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

This time like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

The day is of infinite length for him who knows how to appreciate and use it. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants. --J. Brotherton

Nothing is so dear and precious as time. --French Proverb

Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. --William Morris

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. --William Morris

Time is a circus always packing up and moving away. --Ben Hecht

I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate. --Elbert Hubbard

1-Q2414 [Also reference 1-Q2339]
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. --Will Rogers

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. --Albert Einstein

I wastes time, and now doth time waste me. --William Shakespeare (King Richard II)

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity. --Jean de la Bruyere

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry past it. --Soren Kierkegaard

Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy. --St. Francis of Assisi

Do as much as you can and take it easy. --Tara Tulku

Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble at any second. Then decide what to do with your time. --Naomi Shahib Nye

To live content with small means; to see elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony. --William Henry Channing

Embody the three harmonies: within; with others; and with nature. --Robert Gilman

Medical experts now estimate that 80 percent of diseases are directly linked to frantic living. --Doris Janzen Longacre

The most underutilized resource to aid in simple living is our own heads. --Paul T. Yoder

There are two ways to be rich: 1. Acquire great wealth 2. Acquire few needs. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Now and then, living more with less means paying more money. It may mean buying better quality - leaving behind repetitive purchases of discount junk for one expensive, well-made, thoughtfully designed tool that will last. --Doris Janzen Longacre

People always say simple living takes too much time. Actually it's like typing. At first it's slow but the better you become at it, the faster it goes. When you get good at it, it saves you lots of time. --Andrew Shelly

About half the time when people ask me what's the reason for simple living, I say, 'It's more fun.' --John Alexander

About cars: They can list with faithful accuracy each model they acquired through the years, how much they paid for each one, its main faults, and why they traded it in - but they couldn't list as many close friends. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Time with yourself, with your family, and with your God may prove to be the ultimate saving. --Doris Janzen Longacre

1-Q2822 [Also see 1-A502-506]

Five Life Standards of Voluntary Simplicity
Do Justice
Learn from the World Community
Nurture People
Cherish the Natural Order
Non-Conform Freely
--Doris Janzen Longacre

Studies of US households found that the income needed to fulfill growing consumption aspirations doubled between 1986 and 1994.

We live in a society either scarred by scarcity or spoiled by luxury. We have no idea how much is enough. We don't know when to quit. --Sharif Abdullah

Consumerism is, quite precisely, the consuming of life by the things consumed. It is living in a manner that is measured by having rather than being... and consumerism is hardly the sin of the rich. The poor, driven by discontent and envy, may be as consumed by what they do not have as the rich are consumed by what they do have. The question is not, certainly not most importantly, a question about economics. It is first and foremost a cultural and moral problem requiring a cultural and moral remedy. --Richard John Heuhaus

Excess and deficiency are equally at fault. --Confucius

Voluntary simplicity has more to do with the state of mind than a person's physical surroundings and possessions. --Duane Elgin

As my spiritual growth expanded and developed, voluntary simplicity was a natural outgrowth. I came to realize the cost of material accumulation was too high and offered fewer and fewer real rewards, psychological and spiritual. --Duane Elgin

It seems to me that inner growth is the whole moving force behind voluntary simplicity. --Duane Elgin

I consciously started to live simply when I started to become conscious. --Duane Elgin

To me, voluntary simplicity means integration and awareness in my life. --Duane Elgin

The rich must live more simply that the poor may simply live. --Dr. Charles Birch

America of the future will be all malls connected by interstates. All because your parents no longer can their own tomatoes. --Garrison Keillor

Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. --Frances Moore Lapp�

Why should we use our creative power? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, compassionate, and so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. --Brenda Ueland

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. --Lily Tomlin

In order to seek one's own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life. --Plato

We never buy more than we need; We never need more than we use; We never use more than it takes to get by till we learn to need less. --Old Chinese Saying

We will have to give up taking things for granted, even the apparently simple things. --J.D. Bernal

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. --Henry David Thoreau

Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex. --Oscar Wilde

The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. --Thomas Moore

In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection. --Curnonsky

In the end, what affects your life most deeply are things too simple to talk about. --Nell Blaine

Beware all enterprises that require new clothes. --Henry David Thoreau

The world has become too full of many things, an over furnished room. --Freya Stark

I am beginning to learn that it is the simple things of life which are the real ones after all. --Laura Ingalls Wilder

The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but what they miss. --Thomas Carlyle

How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea... All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness, is a simple, frugal heart. --Nikos Kazantzakis

The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it. --Carl Jung

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity. --Plato

Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more bewildering and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities. --Women's Home Companion, 1935

It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature. --Laura Ingalls Wilder

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. --Albert Einstein

Simplicity is the whole secret of well-being. --Peter Matthiessen

Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world. --Duane Elgin

The call to simplicity and freedom for Christians is the call to move from achievement oriented spirituality to a life centered on a shared vision of relatedness to people and things, a relatedness of gentleness, of compassion, of belonging to one another. --Richard Bower

We measure our... time in terms of money, and find that we can't enjoy time at all. --Cecile Andrews

As a myth of national purpose and as a program for individual conduct, the simple life... has, in a sense, served as the nation's conscience, reminding Americans of what the founders had hoped they would be and thereby providing a vivifying counterpoint to the excesses of materialist individualism. --David Shi

One remarkable feature of the devotional masters is the incredible sense of uniform witness in the midst of such diverse personalities... and the necessity of Christian simplicity is one of their most consistent themes. --Richard Foster

I recommend to you holy simplicity. --Francis de Sales

Jesus as a concrete historical personality remains a stranger to our time, but His spirit, which lies hidden in His words, is known in simplicity, and its influence is direct. --Albert Schweitzer

The call to simplicity and freedom is a reminder that our worth comes not from the amount of our involvements, achievements, or possessions, but from the depth and care which we bring to each moment, place, and person in our lives. --Richard A. Bower

Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world.... As our actions have reverberations of global dimension, the capacity for conscious action has become a social necessity. --Duane Elgin

If you are wise, you will dread a prosperity which only loads you with more. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liberating oneself from the addiction of consumerism and careerism promotes inner peace. --David E. Shi

I am strongly drawn to the simple life and am often oppressed by the feeling that I am engrossing an unnecessary amount of the labour of my fellow men. I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force. I also consider that plain living is good for everybody, physically and mentally. --Albert Einstein

Simplify-organize-delegate -- in that order! --Simply Organized.

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. --Albert Einstein

Inner simplicity means creating joy in our lives and remembering to stay connected with that joy every moment of the day. It means letting go of the traumas that keep us from being the best we can be. --Elaine St. James

A simple life is its own reward. --George Santayana

Living simply means concentrating on what's important in light of eternity. And not taking the rest of life too seriously. --Annie Chapman

Attaining inner simplicity is learning to live happily in the present moment. Keep in mind that life is a continuous succession of present moments. --Elaine St. James

Who lives content with little possesses everything. --Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

Lord, teach us delight in simple things. --Rudyard Kipling

Blessed are the simple, for they shall have much peace. --Thomas A. Kempis

Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify, simplify. --Henry David Thoreau

Simplicity is the close companion of perfection and the nearer its realization the less complicated are its forces. --The Shakers

Respectability and security are subtle traps on life's journey. Those who are drawn to extremes are often nearer to renewal and self-discovery. Those trapped in the bland middle region of respectability are lost without ever realizing it. --John O'Donohue, Anam-Cara

Simplification is another word for the conservation of life's most precious commodity: time. --David Cooper

True simplicity consists not in the use of particular forms, but in forgoing overindulgence, in maintaining humility of spirit. And in keeping the material surroundings of our lives directly serviceable to necessary ends. --Society of Friends, Book of Disciplines

Simplicity is an enduring habit within a soul that has grown impervious to evil thoughts. --St. John Climacus

The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity. --Thomas Merton

We can make ourselves whole only by accepting our partiality, by living within our limits, by being humans -- not by trying to be gods. --Wendell Berry

In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. --From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederation

We must redefine the American Dream before we can rebuild the infrastructure on which it is based. --Paolo Soleri

To dig our heels in and say no to a present madness is a good thing, but to walk a new path and say yes is a better thing. --Jim Wallis

10 ways to stymie joyless spending
1. Don't go 'shopping'
2. Live within your means
3. Take care of what you have.
4. Wear it out
5. Do it yourself.
6. Anticipate your needs.
7. Research value, quality, durability, and multiple use.
8. Get it for less.
9. Buy it used.
10. Stop using money to impress other people. --Utne Reader Almanac

It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the things we have to do that makes life blessed. --Goethe

There is no obligation on us to be richer, or busier, or more efficient, or more productive, or more progressive, or any way worldlier or wealthier, if it does not make us happier. --G. K. Chesterton

Poverty is mean and degrading to the human spirit, whereas a life of conscious simplicity can have both a beauty and a functional integrity that elevates the human spirit. --Duane Elgin

We live in a society that is inherently opposed to setting limits. We are told to aim higher, be all we can be, conquer any obstacle that stands in our way. Suggesting to our superiors that we can't do something, that we don't have the time, energy or inclination, seems almost unAmerican. --Amy Saltzman, Downshifting

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. --Henry David Thoreau

Even little things help in the overall effort to make life simpler. For example, I have converted my yard to plants suited to my local environment, which in Southern California means drought-tolerant plants. I grow some of my own food too, without pesticides, and try to limit driving by walking and combining errands. These actions aren't that dramatic, but they help. --Margaret LaFon

A transformed person has no need to own anything. In reality, we do not own anything, but we are owned by those things we possess. --Darryl C. Burgdorf

It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty and wealth have both failed. --Kin Hubbard

In a world where nearly one billion people live near the edge of physical survival the relevance of intentional simplicity by the more affluent people of the world cannot be over estimated. --Duane Elgin

To be contemplative we must remove the clutter from our lives, surround ourselves with beauty, and consciously, relentlessly, persistently, give clutter away until the tiny world for which we ourselves are responsible begins to reflect the raw beauty that is God. --Joan Chittister

Live Simply
Love Generously
Serve Faithfully
Speak Truthfully
Pray Daily
Leave the rest to God

I like to tell people that I make $60,000 a year. The first $45,000 I make TAX FREE by not wanting stuff. --Mike Nickerson

We can no longer have everything we want, but we can be more than we ever imagined. --Howard Jerome

I was visiting First Mennonite in Champaign, IL. The adult Sunday school class was doing some kind of series on simple living. A harried soccer-mom/realtor turned to Jerry Kuiper, an easy-going, bicycle-riding, simple-living computer programmer, and said, "Jerry, you live so simply, and you always seem so relaxed and content; how do you do it?" This was his answer. "It all starts with a good night's sleep." --Rich H. Meyer

Greed: Gangrene of the Soul...
The virtue of contentment: antibiotic for the disease. --Marchiene Broon Rienstra

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life and was granted life, that I might enjoy all things. --anonymous confederate soldier?

Three deadly words of the overconsumer: Because we can.
Three powerful words of the simple liver: Because we can.
--Break Forth into Joy (adapted)

Insatiable Is NOT Sustainable. --bumper sticker

Our present stress on growth and productivity is, I believe, intimately related to the decline in rootedness. Faced with loneliness and vulnerability that come with deprivation of a securely encompassing community, we have sought to quell the vulnerability through our possessions. --Paul Wachtel

Where there is too much... something is missing. --Jewish proverb

The Enoughness Pledge
I pledge to discover how much is enough for me to be truly fulfilled, and to consume only that.
I pledge to be part of the discovery of how much would be enough for everyone -- not only to survive but to thrive -- and to find ways for them to have access to that.
I pledge to act and live in a way that
honors and preserves the natural world.
--New Road Map Foundation

Return to Table of Contents

2. Building Community

Cultural Diversity
Activities with Children
Children's Stories
Study/Action/Accountability Groups, Simplicity Circles
General education/action
Spreading the word
Recreation, play

#100's | #1000's | #2000's | #3000's | #4000's | #5000's

Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. --Thomas A. Edison

Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher. --Oprah Winfrey

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in. --Rachel Carson

Successful people realize the importance of a mentor or an advocate. --Donna Brooks

The degree to which you support and acknowledge yourself will be the degree to which you receive support. --Sanaya Roman

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. --Jane Howard

When indeed shall we learn that we are all related one to the other, that we are all members of one body? --Helen Keller

The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side. --Margaret Carty

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. --Helen Keller

As we give fully, unafraid to let others know the truth about ourselves, we receive unexpected rewards from unexpected sources. --Helene Lerner-Robbins

The sign of a truly educated man is to be deeply moved by statistics. --George Bernard Shaw

We sang the loudest when we were losing. --Ernest Hemingway

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done -- then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. --Frances Hodgson Burnett

Three basic strategies for motivating transformation
1. Promote the new
2. Critique the old
3. Facilitate the switch
--Alan AtKisson

Five critical characteristics of innovations
1. Relative advantage
2. Complexity
3. Trialability
4. Observability
5. Compatibility
--Alan AtKisson

All things are possible once enough human beings realize that everything is at stake. --Norman Cousins

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. --Ethiopian Proverb

Brotherly love is still the distinguishing badge of every true Christian. --Matthew Henry

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving, human soul on another. --George Eliot

True Christianity is love in action. --David O. McKay

When the stranger says: What is the meaning of this city? Do you huddle together because you love one another? What will you answer? We all dwell together to make money from each other, or, This is a community? --T.S. Eliot

I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing, flesh is enough, To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then? I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea. --Walt Whitman

A friend is not someone who is taken in by sham. A friend is one who knows your faults, and doesn't give a damn. --Anonymous

To change our lives we need both to change the way we think about the world and to change those parts of the world that help make us think that way. --Philip Slater

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. --Winston Churchill

What is encouraging about many intentional communities is their tendency to be open to new ideas, their willingness to be tolerant of other approaches, and their commitment to live in a way that reflects their idealism. --Communities Directory

Many contemporary groups are exploring ways to achieve a true sense of community while maintaining a balance between privacy and cooperation... --Communities Directory

In many respects, cohousing communities are not a new idea. In the past, most people lived in villages or tightly knit urban neighborhoods. --Communities Directory

The social, physical, and economic systems of an ecovillage are all under constant readjustment - because they are understood to be interactive. --Communities Directory

The skills and knowledge are present within to heal ourselves, our neighborhoods, our cities, our planet -- and we have the public responsibility to do it. --Communities Directory

If we are to continue to live on Earth, the definition of community has to include all the living things in our ecosystem. --Communities Directory

Cooking and eating together is one of the fundamental ways that groups create a sense of community. --Communities Directory

We can learn to listen as actively as we speak, as eager to hear and understand as we are to speak and be understood. --Communities Directory

One of the truths of our time is this hunger deep in people all over the planet for coming into relationship with each other. --M. C. Richards

We are members of one great body, planted by nature in a mutual love, and fitted for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole. --Seneca

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. --Audrey Hepburn

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. --V�clav Havel

When we shun or judge people because of their differences, we cut ourselves off from a few of life's pleasant surprises. --Bobbie M.

The world is not a playground; it's a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday but an education. And the one eternal question for us all is how better we can love. --Henry Drummond

Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs. --V�clav Havel

Great things are done by people who think great thoughts and then go out into the world to make their dreams come true. --Ernest Holmes

2-Q1020 [Also ref. 2034, 2103]
Do what you can with what you have, wherever you are. --Theodore Roosevelt

There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you. --Bernice Johnson Reagon

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope too can be given to one only by other human beings. --Elie Wiesel

The drop of water is only weak when it is removed from the ocean. --Baird T. Spaulding

2-Q1037 (also refer. 1013)
When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness. --Joseph Campbell

Our actions may be impure and set up a stream of reactions, but always we can come again to the seed of pure mind and right relationship. The common kernel is care for all beings, good relationship, cycles of reciprocity, generosity. --Dhyani Ywahoo

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. --James Baldwin

In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught. --Baba Dioum

If change is to come, it will come from the margins. It was the desert, not the temple, that gave us the prophets. --Wendell Berry

Diversity, generally understood and embraced, is not casual liberal tolerance of anything and everything not yourself. It is not polite accommodation. Instead, diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind, have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do. And I urge you, amid all the differences present to the eye and mind, to reach out to create the bond that... will protect us all. We are meant to be here together. --William M. Chase

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. --Dante (1265-1321)

The true standard by which to gauge a culture is the extent to which reverence, compassion, justice are to be found in the daily lives of a whole people, not only individuals. --Abraham J. Heschel

Knowledge, if it does not determine action, is dead to us. --Plotinus

Knowing all truth is less than doing a little bit of good. --Albert Schweitzer

2-Q1382 Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. --St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

A crazy guest eats and leaves right away. --Arabic proverb

If all of humanity suffers together, the individual does not suffer. --African proverb

Before you finish eating breakfast this morning, you're depending on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of reality. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

In China, a fair-weather friend is known as a jiu-rou pengyou -- a wine-and-pig friend.

If you are planning ahead for a year, sow rice; for ten years, plant trees; for a hundred years, educate the people. --Chinese proverb

O Lord, I don't want to be a spectator
A tour passenger looking out upon
The real world,
An audience to poverty
And want and homelessness.

Lord, involve me -- call me --
Implicate me -- commit me --
And Lord -- help me to step off the bus. --Freda Rajotte

A game should challenge us to acquire a new skill - something lacking before - and this feeling of enhancing our abilities is the real source of our delight in the game. --Maria Montessori

The regular choice to inflict physical pain on a child as a way to control behavior does not work in the long run, elicits fear, anger and sometimes humiliation, and will come back to haunt someone. Who will pay? The one who hit? The child's future children? Our society? Perhaps all of them. --Jean Chapman, M.D.

A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad. --Bob Edwards

There are the few who make things happen; the many more who watch things happen and the overwhelming majority who have no notion of what happens. --Nicholas Murray Butler

The difference between doers and dreamers is that the latter wait for the mood before taking action while the former create the mood by acting. --Daniel Gersen

A viable community must be focused enough to communicate well, but diverse enough to have something new to say. --Dan Robinson

When we try to keep secrets from potential enemies, we often also keep them from potential friends. --Dan Robinson

Be here now; observe the past; create the future. Only these are needed; only these are possible. --Dan Robinson

The first step in changing the system is to be free of dependency on what is. --Dan Robinson

It matters even more who we campaign for, than who we vote for. --Dan Robinson

It's better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don't want and get it. --Eugene V. Debs

Guns don't protect people; People protect people. --Orville Etter (local activist)

We have found the answer, and it is us. --Jim Lord, activist

Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who will. --Apple Computers commercial

When I'm not thinking of the ones I love, I love the ones I'm thinking of. --Dan Robinson

Taking fun as simply fun and earnestness in earnest shows how thoroughly thou none of the two discernest. -- Piet Hein

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you. --William Blake

The most effective way to cope with change is to help create it. --L. W. Lynett

A good joke is one that makes you laugh for ten seconds and think for ten minutes. --Unknown

I'll listen to your unreasonable demands if you'll consider my unacceptable offer. --Ashleigh Brilliant

If we all work together, we can totally disrupt the system. --Ashleigh Brilliant

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. --John Wooden

The work before us is never as great as the power behind us. --Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Learning is discovering that something is possible. --J. Krishnamurti

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers. --Mignon McLaughlin

Love is not doing what makes you feel good; it's doing what IS good, in spite of how you feel. --Bruxy Cavey

Love is the choice to value someone and to treat them as valuable. --Bruxy Cavey

2-Q2179 When it comes down to it, the ONLY thing that matters in life are relationships. They are the only thing you can take with you into eternity. --Bruxy Cavey

Life is so short we must move very slowly. --Thai proverb.

Children are like books on loan. We can lose them, we can be distracted from reading them during the time allotted, we can retain them beyond their due dates and pay the penalty, or we can read and enjoy them while they are with us. What we cannot do is keep them. --Mothering Magazine

Playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. --Nelson Mandela

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action. --Benjamin Disraeli

All real living is meeting. --Martin Buber

A mind once stretched by a great idea or new understanding will never fully return to its original dimensions. --William James

When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other. --Margaret Wheatley

I am coming to believe that anything that promotes isolation leads to chronic stress and in time may lead to illness like heart disease. Anything that promotes a sense of intimacy, community and connection can be healing. --Dean Ornish

Spiritual practice is really about weaving a network of good relationships. --Dhyani Ywahoo

The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work. --Patricia Clafford

I am done with the great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. And I am for those tiny invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. --William James

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community. --William James

In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you head into unfamiliar woods, you had better find companions first; if you want to buck traffic, organize a convoy. To nonconform freely, we must strengthen each other. --Doris Janzen Longacre

No one feels obligated to catch us if we fall. We've traded the restrictions of tightly laced communities for a lonely freedom. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Consider children who don't eat meals together and don't have to share bathrooms and bedrooms. They miss an opportunity to learn interdependence and conflict resolution. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Recreation is the saving chuckle of the soul. It happens when we see a new thing, or discover a new way of seeing. --Doris Janzen Longacre

To creatively deprive children means to keep their senses and mind free of material goods that overwhelm them. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Too many of us are still raising children by the idea that each generation has the right to more material comforts than the one before. --Doris Janzen Longacre

2-Q2901 [Also ref. 2128]
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. --Edward Abbey

Sensible people get paid for playing - that is the art of life. --Alan Watts

Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, singing, and dancing. --Plato

The years of all of us are short, our lives precarious. Our days and nights go hurrying on and there is scarcely time to do the little that we might. Yet we find time for bitterness, for petty treason and evasion. What can we do to stretch our hearts enough to lose their littleness? Here we are - all of us - all upon this planet, bound together in a common destiny, living our lives between the briefness of the daylight and the dark. Kindred in this, each lighted by the same precarious, flickering flame of life, how does it happen that we are not kindred in all thing else? How strange and foolish are these walls of separation that divide us! --A. Power Davies

Nothing is so contagious as an example. We never do great good or great evil without bringing about more of the same on the part of others. --La Rochefoucauld

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. --Albert Schweitzer

I feel this way of life has made my marriage stronger, as it puts more accent on personal relationships and inner growth. --Duane Elgin

The main motivation for me is inner spiritual growth and to give my children an idea of the truly valuable and higher things in this world. --Duane Elgin

Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voice will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healings. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free. --Starhawk

Community is formed by people who are acting in cooperation with one another. --Jeannette Armstrong

Everyone does better when everyone does better. --Jim Hightower

The goal ever recedes from us. Salvation lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory. --Mahatma Gandhi

We are most human when we are at play. --Frederich Schiller

Play is the fount of creativity. --Stephen Nachmanovitch

Play is the wind of creation blowing through your heart. --Wavy Gravy

You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation. --Plato

Romantic love is one of the most powerful needs for pulling us out of literal life and into play. To be in love is to be in play. --Thomas Moore

In our play we reveal what kind of people we are. --Ovid

Life is a great big canvas and you should splash all the paint on it that you can. --Carol Rae

The most essential thing in life is to establish an unafraid heartfelt connection with others. --Sogyal Rimpoche

Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they ever find? --Dr. Samuel Johnson

The darn trouble with cleaning the house is it gets dirty the next day anyway. So skip a week if you have to. The children are the most important things. --Barbara Bush

Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? --Somerset Maugham

The abundance to which Jesus pointed was explicitly not the abundance of possessions. It was the abundance of the restored relationship, the God-relationship. It was the freedom to enjoy the community - the giving-and-receiving relationship with one another for which we were created. --William Gibson

When you organize the global society primarily for the purpose of increasing production and consumption, you systematically destroy community (human and nonhuman). --John Cobb

People say, what is the sense of our small effort. They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time. --Dorothy Day

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. --Lao Tzu

Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done. --Justice Louis Brandes

'Glocal' Thinking:
* Neighborhood as basic unit of planning
* Community as a gathering of neighborhoods
* Metropolitan region as the nexus of local governance
* Bioregion/watershed as the ecological reference system
* Global coordination and limited authority in areas such as trade, environment, and human rights.
--Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

What holds people together long enough to discover their power as citizens is their common inhabiting of a single place. --Daniel Kemmis

For half a century America has had one dominant vision of how its metropolitan areas ought to grow and develop. It is best described as unlimited low-density sprawl. This vision encompasses personal and social goods -- a home in the suburbs, a car, good schools, responsive local government -- that most Americans cherish. Most metropolitan areas have successfully realized the vision. Yet this achievement has contributed to unexpected growth related dilemmas that threaten the long-run viability of American society, something the American public and most leaders have yet to realize. --Anthony Downs

The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. --John Schaar

You don't need any particular kind of community to start practicing community. You can do it any time, where you work, where you live, with anyone at all. --Donella Meadows

2-Q4802 [Also ref. 1309]
Everything that lives
Lives not alone, nor for itself.
--William Blake

In a real sense all life is interrelated. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To be heard is one of our most basic human rights. To listen is one of our most sacred acts. --Kimberly Ridley

Psalm of Summer

Now it came to pass that spring turned to summer again. God's people raised their voices and said: "Recreation is my shepherd, I shall not stay home; He maketh me to lie down in a sleeping bag; He leadeth me down the interstate each weekend. He restoreth my suntan; He leadeth me to state parks for comfort's sake. Even though I stray on the Lord's day, I will fear no reprimand, for Thou art with me; my rod and reel they comfort me. I anointeth my skin with oil, my gas tank runneth dry. Surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends this summer and I shall return to the House of the Lord this fall." But then it is hunting season and that is another psalm. --from "Plain Song," Presbytery of South Dakota Newsletter

Every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think other than collectively. --Teilhard de Chardin

The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope. --Teilhard de Chardin

Vocal dissent is of little weight, if not linked with dissenting action. --J. H. Yoder

A genuinely fundamental and hopeful improvement in 'systems' cannot happen without a significant shift in human consciousness, and... it cannot be accomplished through a simple organizational trick. This is something no revolutionary or reformer can bring about; it can be only the natural expression of a more general state of mind, the state of mind in which man can see beyond the tip of his own nose and prove capable of taking on--under the aspect of eternity--responsibility even for the things that don't immediately concern him, and relinquish something of his private interest in favor of the interest of the community, the general interest. Without such a mentality, even the most carefully considered project aimed at altering systems are for naught. --Vaclav Havel

2-Q5149 [Also ref. at 2-Q0527]
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

Fight Prime Time... Read a Book. -- bumper sticker

Return to Table of Contents

3. Celebrating

A. Advent/Christmas
B. Lent/Easter
C. Other Holidays
Worship (communal)
Festivals, Rituals
Rites of Passage: Weddings, Graduations, Funerals

#100's | #1000's | #2000's | #4000's | #5000's

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of four-to-eight-year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could ever have imagined. See what you think: Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. --Warren McLaren

The only shalom promised is one in the midst of historical reality, which comes close to saying "incarnation." The only God we know entered history, appeared as a person. Shalom of a biblical kind is always somewhat scandalous -- never simply a liturgical experience or a mythical statement, but one facing our deepest divisions and countering with a vision. --Walter Brueggemann

There can be no compassion without celebration and there will be no authentic celebration that does not result in increased compassionate energies. --Matthew Fox

Upon reflection, is it not odd that human beings, everywhere and in all ages, have engaged in the making and performing of rituals? Why have they done this, when life is full of dangers and challenges that would seem to require more practical kinds of activity? Contrary to common-sense expectation, rituals are not, in most cases, the product of affluence and leisure. --Tom F. Driver, "The Magic of Ritual"

Ten Good Things Rituals Do for Children
1. Impart a sense of identity
2. Provide comfort and security
3. Help to navigate change
4. Teach values
5. Cultivate knowledge of cultural or religious heritage
6. Teach practical skills
7. Solve problems
8. Keep alive a sense of departed family members
9. Create wonderful memories
10. Generate joy

A man becomes the song he sings. --Irish proverb

Ritual is sufficiently powerful that the yearning for it ought to be accompanied by a relentless criticism of it. Ritual fails as often as it succeeds, but even in its failure it can exercise power like some dying, fiddling emperor. --Ronald L. Grimes

At birth you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die the world will cry and you rejoice. --Indian wisdom

There are often two kinds of holiday presents: the ones you don't like and the ones you don't get. --Unknown

The Chant album [from the Benedictine monks of Solesmes] exemplifies a noteworthy religious trend, one that essayist Katherine Bergeron (she wrote "The Virtual Sacred," 1995) senses in the broad popular interest in chant music. Fundamentally, chant allows its hearers (or its hearers allow themselves!) to create an illusion of an "other" time, of sacred time outside of normal experience. The music's illusionary "otherness" enables it to seem removed from the consumerist cycle of buying and selling and so to stand as a pure religious object. Bergeron expresses the logic of the experience: 'I relax simply by being presented with an image of time that I do not have' (p.33). She suggests further that insofar as many consumers have purchased the album and have not listened to it, Chant works like a magical talisman, continually promising a sacred future time, always within the consumer's grasp." (p.38) --Tom Beaudoin.

Death is nature's way of telling us to slow down. --Graffiti

Don't stay away from church because there are so many hypocrites. There's always room for one more. --Unknown

I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought I'd rather dance with the cows till you come home. --Groucho Marx

There are some people who want to throw their arms around you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas. --Robert Lynd

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. --Emily Dickinson

It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones. --Jean Webster

3-Q4331 [Also ref. 4108]
That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. --Emily Dickinson

A celebration is very different from a spectacle, where actors or musicians play to entertain an audience. In a celebration, we are all actors and all audience. It is not a true celebration unless everyone participates. --Jean Vanier

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. --Mark Twain

Amount of money an average American planned to spend on Christmas gifts in 1997: APPROX. $800
Annual per capita income of a Vietnamese citizen: $280
What 96% of 8-to-12-year-olds included in their holiday wish list for 1997: A Big Screen TV
Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73%
Average number of months it takes a credit card user to pay off holiday bills: 6
Total U.S. credit card debt: OVER $450 BILLION
Rate at which consumer debt is growing in the U.S.: TWICE THE RATE OF WAGES
Number of extra tons of trash produced in the U.S. each year between Thanksgiving and New Years Day: 5 MILLION
--Center for a New American Dream

The Alternatives publications challenging us to think through the ways we celebrate have influenced our observance of Christmas, the birth of Christ. What has worked for us has been to move Santa to his own day, St. Nicholas Day - December 6, as the Dutch do.
When we lived in rural Virginia, my husband Dave, a family physician, often took one of our sons with him on house calls. It seemed both to cheer people and to remind them that the doctor has a family. One year it was between December 6 and December 25 when Dave took 6-year-old Todd with him.
As people often do, the elderly couple in the home asked Todd what he hoped Santa would bring. The news that Santa had already come was confusing to them, so Dave and Todd tried to explain. Whereupon the folks seemed even more confused. One finally asked, "What religion is that?" --Cathy Brechtelsbauer

For some years I have had posted over my work table a note which says 'Can this piece be simpler than the last one?' It's a conscious effort to get out of the mind-set that complexity equals progress, in music as in other disciplines. My mental image is of those energized and fully realized prehistoric animal drawings in the caves at Lascaux in France. They are thoroughly modern in their minimalism: we haven't progressed from them in any way: just somehow managed to find our way back to them. Each new electronic or mechanical toy seems to need to be more complex: art (and life) need not follow that path. --Alice Parker, composer


1. Plan ahead. Instead of going on auto-pilot the day after Thanksgiving, hold a family meeting to decide what the group really wants to do and who's going to do what.
2. If you need a symbol for giving (in addition to Jesus and the Three Wise Ones), learn about St. Nicholas. Santa Claus has been completely taken over by commerce.
3. Avoid debt. Refuse to be pressured by advertising to overspend.
4. Avoid stress. Give to yourself. Don't assume that things have to be the same way they've always been.
5. Draw names rather than everyone giving something to everyone else in your giving circle. Set a ceiling for each recipient. Give children ONE thing they really want, rather than so many gifts. If need be, pool funds.
6. Give appropriate gifts. Get to know the recipient. Give what they want to receive, not what you want to buy.
7. Give alternative gifts. Give 25% of what you spent last year to the needy... individuals or groups locally, nationally or internationally.
Buy crafts and clothing from developing countries at alternative gift markets, not from commercial importers, so that the artisans receive a fair price for their work.
Give of yourself, not just "stuff" -- a coupon book for future services (such as baby-sitting or an "enchanted evening"); something baked, sewn, handmade, composed, etc.; or a family service project, such as working together at a soup kitchen.
8. Celebrate Advent during the four weeks before Christmas.
9. Put the gifts under the tree shortly before opening them. Then take turns opening them around the tree, not all at once, so that each gift can be admired and each giver thanked.
10. Make changes slowly but persistently. Don't try to change everything and everybody all at once. The resistance will make you feel defeated and lonely.
For more help and a free catalog of ideas, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org.

The Christmas Pledge

Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to:
* Remember those people who truly need my gifts
* Express my love in more direct ways than gifts
* Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values
* Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends
* Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth
--Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli

Return to Table of Contents

4. Peace & Justice

Hunger, Poverty
Peace & reconciliation
Violence, nonviolence
Advocacy, Boycotts
War, militarism

#100's | #1000's | #2000's | #3000's | #4000's | #5000's

Americans consume an average of 260 pounds of meat a year, while in Bangladesh, the average is 6 1/2 pounds.

The world's richest 20% of people consume 86% of all the stuff and all the services produced by the global economy while the poorest 20% consume just 1.3%.

The Lord of hosts is exalted by justice. --Isaiah 5:1

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? --Micah 6:8.

We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. . . all ate and were filled. --Matthew 14:13-21. Do I miss the chance to do what I can because I can't do it all? --TREK

It is essential that both aspects of the broken bread be remembered: it is a symbol of spiritual nourishment, and it is a call for actual food for the hungry. --Joseph Grassi

Let us not be justices of the peace, but angels of peace. --Saint Therese of Lisieux

The only justification for looking down on somebody is to pick him up. --Jesse Jackson

Why, in our time, have societies well endowed with industrial plenty and scientific genius turned uglier with totalitarian violence than any barbarous people? . . . Why do nihilism and neurosis brood over what we please to call the "developed" societies, taking as great a toll of human happiness as gross physical privation in the third world? Is it not clear enough that these are the many twisted faces of despair? --Theodore Roszak

Someday our grandchildren will very likely look back at the individual, selfish control of the wealth of the world by a small elite the same way we view slavery today. --Corinne Mclaughlin and Gordon Davidson

It is clear that the way to heal society of its violence . . . and lack of love is to replace the pyramid of domination with the circle of equality and respect. --Manitonquat

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. --Gandhi

To understand another human being you must gain some insight into the conditions which made him what he is. --Margaret Bourke-White

We have come... into that more difficult time when it is a person's duty to understand the world rather than just fight for it. --Ernest Hemingway

When love listens, it listens with an ear and a heart to the unspoken. --Daphne Rose Kingma

The time is always right to do what is right. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

The power of love and caring can change the world. --James Autry

The average North American consumes five times more than a Mexican, ten times more than a Chinese person and thirty times more than a person in India. We are the most voracious consumers in the world... a world that could die because of the way we North Americans live. Give it a rest. The Friday after Thanksgiving is Buy Nothing Day. --Culture Jam

Your point of view depends entirely on whose skin you are inside. --EarthChild

If we are to reach real peace in the world we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle; we won't have to pass fruitless ideal resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering. --Gandhi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. --Saint Francis of Assisi

Before we can achieve a peaceful world, we must first imagine one. --EarthChild

To wantonly destroy a living species is to silence forever a divine voice. --Thomas Berry

Compassion constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt is to be taken seriously, that the hurt is not to be accepted as normal and natural but is an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness. --Walter Brueggemann

If you hate injustice, lust, tyranny, and greed, hate those things in yourself first. --Mohandas K. Gandhi

If it is impossible to extend the present way of life in the overdeveloped countries to the rest of the planet, then there is something wrong with this way of life. --Jos� Lutzemberger, Environment Minister, Brazil, 1990

Lord, to those who hunger, give bread. And to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice. --Latin American Prayer

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. --Micah 4:3b-4

Do not let the sun go down on your anger. --Ephesians 4:26

Some Sobering Facts About Firearms in America

A child is killed by firearms every 92 minutes - a staggering 5,751 deaths a year.
In twelve years, nearly 50,000 children have been killed by firearms -- a total equivalent to the number of American casualties in the Vietnam War.
A child growing up in America is 15 times as likely to be killed by gunfire as a child growing up in Northern Ireland.
Guns are virtually the only unregulated consumer product in the U.S., while items such as toasters and teddy bears are subject to strict safety regulations.
A gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accidental shooting than for self-defense.
Nearly 40 percent of accidental handgun shootings of children under sixteen occurred in the homes of friends or relatives. --Families Creating a Circle of Peace

What legacies, principles and deeds will we stand for and send to the future?... We stand by silent and indifferent as a classroom full of children is killed violently every two days from guns.... How much child suffering, death, and neglect will it take for you, me, religious, civic, community and political leaders to stand up and cry out Enough! with our hearts and voices and votes to protect our young who are our sacred trust and collective American future? --Marian Wright Edelman
Family Pledge of Nonviolence

"Eliminating violence, one family at a time staring with our own."
Making peace must start within ourselves and in our families. Each of us, members of the ____________ family, commit ourselves as best we can to become nonviolent and peaceable people.
* To Respect Self and Others: To respect myself; to affirm others; and to avoid uncaring criticism, hateful words, physical attacks, and self-destructive behavior
* To Communicate Better: To share my feelings honestly; to look for safe ways to express my anger; and to work at solving problems peaceably
* To Listen: To listen carefully to others, especially those who disagree with me, and to consider others' feelings and needs rather than insist on having my own way
* To Forgive: To apologize and make amends when I have hurt another, to forgive others, and to keep from holding grudges
* To Respect Nature: To treat the environment and all living things, including our pets, with respect and care
* To Play Creatively: To select entertainment and toys that support our family's values and to avoid entertainment that makes violence look exciting, funny, or acceptable
* To Be Courageous: To challenge violence in all forms whenever I encounter it, whether at home, at school, at work, on in the community, and to stand with others who are treated unfairly
* This is our pledge. These are our goals. We will check ourselves on what we have pledged once a month on ________ for the next twelve months so we can help each other become peaceable people.

Pledging family members sign:

Kids Pledge of Nonviolence

Making peace must start with me. I commit myself as best I can to become a nonviolent and peaceable person:
* To Respect Myself And Others: To respect myself and other people and to keep from saying or doing mean things to others.
* To Communicate Better: To share my feelings honestly, to look for safe ways to talk and act when I'm angry, and to work at solving problems peacefully.
* To Listen: To listen carefully to others, especially those who disagree with me, and to care about others' feelings and not always demand to have my own way.
* To Forgive: To say I'm sorry and mean it when I have hurt another person, to forgive others when they have hurt me, and to keep from holding grudges.
* To Respect Nature: To treat the environment and all living things, including my pets, with respect and care.
* To Play Creatively: To play in fun ways and not mean ways, and to keep from using toys, watching TV programs and playing games that make violence look exciting or funny.
* To Be Courageous: To challenge violence in all its forms whenever I see it, whether at home, at school or in the community, and to stand with others who are treated unfairly.

The Shakertown Pledge

Recognizing that Earth and the fullness thereof is a gift from our gracious God, and that we are called to cherish, nurture, and provide loving stewardship for Earth's resources, and recognizing that life itself is a gift, and a call to responsibility, joy, and celebration, I make the following declarations:
1. I declare myself to be a world citizen.
2. I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world's poor.
3. I commit myself to join with others in the reshaping of institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which all people have full access to the needed resources for their physical, emotional, intellectual , and spiritual growth.
4. I commit myself to occupational accountability, and so doing I will seek to avoid the creation of products which cause harm to others.
5. I affirm the gift of my body and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical well-being.
6. I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others, and to attempt to relate honestly, morally, and lovingly to those around me.
7. I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation, and study.
8. I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith.

To a man with an empty stomach, food is God. --Gandhi

When I was superintendent of a large school system, I saw children who fell asleep at their desks. One child, when asked if he had eaten any breakfast, replied, "It wasn't my turn." --Christine Vladimiroff

The central irony of our time . . . is this: A capitalist society depends on noncapitalist values in order to hold together and prosper. --E. J. Dionne

The poor object to being governed badly, while the rich object to being governed at all. --G. K. Chesterton

The powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice. --Reinhold Niebuhr

Dear Lord, give bread to the hungry, and hunger of Thee to those who have bread. --An old Scottish prayer

Men pray to the Almighty to relieve poverty. But poverty comes not from God's laws - it is blasphemy of the worst kind to say that. Poverty comes from man's injustice to his fellow man. --Leo Tolstoy

Poverty... is a thing created by that which is called civilized life. --Thomas Paine, observing the lack of poverty among the native peoples of North America

Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness and all the angry distempers that make an ordered life impossible. --Woodrow Wilson

In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up. --Pastor Martin Niemoller

Some people say that cockroaches and rats will outlive humanity, since only they could survive a nuclear war. I think that humans are just as ruthless, tenacious and prolific, and that the last meal of the last human, will be the last rat, with the last cockroach as an appetizer. --Craig F.

When liberty destroys order, the hunger for order will destroy liberty. --Will Durant

The character of a people may be ruined by charity. --Theodore Henzl

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. --Martin Luther King

Many of those who cry so loudly for justice, would soon beg for mercy, if justice were done to them. --Richard J. Needham

If a free society cannot save the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. --John F. Kennedy

Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. --Gene Fowler

It is very much easier for a rich man to invest and grow richer than for the poor man to begin investing at all. --Barbara Ward

Our greatest "wealth" seems to be the ability to find justification for our own self-righteousness, thinking we're right. --Dan Robinson (adapted)

Greatness is measured by our treatment of the less gifted. --Unknown

When the one Great Scorer comes to mark beside your name, He marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game. --Grantland Rice

Our mission is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Whenever bombing is couched as the only alternative a nation has, implicit in that bombing is a tacit admission that the leaders have run out of ideas and they have become complicit with the oldest, the least creative, and the most destructive and evil solution for human conflict, making war. --Rev. Ed Bacon

I expect to spend
the rest of my life
defining nonviolence
which is the opposite
of passivity

I would say that
I'm a nonviolent
which means that in
place of archaic,
reactionary, stupid
weapons of violence
you have to use
your mind
your heart
your sense of humor
every facility
that's available
to you
and if it's not
available to you
you have to
find it

no one
has the right
to take the life
of another
human being
--Joan Baez

Before we start throwing people out of the lifeboat, we might at least get rid of the golf clubs. --a Jesuit priest

The death of a single human being is too high a price to pay for the vindication of any principle, no matter how sacred. --Dan Berrigan

When we administer necessities to the needy, we give them what is their own, not what is ours; we pay a debt of justice, rather than do a work of mercy. --Gregory the Great in "Pastoral Care"

Let us measure the success of America not by its' number of Billionaires but by the number who are not hungry, or homeless, or in need of medical attention. --Journey into Freedom

We are challenged to reform the system from which we derive our privilege and restore to the poor what has been taken from them. --Journey into Freedom

Poverty is a condition of life so limited by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, high infant mortality and low life expectancy as to be beneath any rational definition of human decency. --Robert McNamara

It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Human capacity is equal to human cruelty, and it's up to each of us to tip the balance. --Alice Walker

At the root of all war is fear. --Thomas Merton

With each true friendship, we build more firmly the foundation on which the peace of the whole world rests. --Gandhi

The fact is that living by the standard "do justice" will draw us more deeply into economics and politics. --Doris Janzen Longacre

About 1.3 billion people still live on less than $1 a day, and almost 3 billion on less than $2 a day.

The world's 225 richest people have a combined wealth of over $1 trillion, equal to the annual income of the poorest 47% of the world's people (2.5 billion).

... but the poor do not exist as an act of destiny, their existence is not politically neutral or ethically innocent. The poor are the by-product of the system in which we are responsible. The poor are marginalised in our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, the exploited, the workers cheated of the fruits of their work, and stripped of their being as people. The poverty of the poor is not an appeal for generous action to relieve it, but a demand for the construction of a different social order. --Gustavo Gutierrez

If we become holy, meaning whole and mature in Christ, we will be impelled to speak out against injustice. Do you still want to be holy? I blush at my silence in the face of so much injustice in our world. Every time I get this fierce longing (to be holy)... I see the cross off in the distance and I step back a bit. How can I say that I want to be a saint, yet want so little to do with the cross? --Macrina Wiederkehr

We have made money our god and called it the good life. We have trained our children to go for jobs that bring the quickest corporate advancements at the highest financial levels. We have taught them careerism but not ministry and wonder why ministers are going out of fashion. We fear coddling the poor with food stamps while we call tax breaks for the rich incentives. We make human community the responsibility of government while homelessness, hunger, and drugs seep from the centers of our cities like poison from open sores for which we do not seek either the cause or the cure. We have created a bare and sterile world of strangers where exploitation is a necessary virtue. We have reduced life to the lowest of values so that the people who have much will not face the prospect of having less. --Joan Chittister, OSB

Learning 'enoughness' is important, but not just to extricate ourselves. It is right, just and moral that we use the gobs of freedom and ease and education and opportunity and, yes, affluence that we enjoy here to speak and act on behalf of folks who just don't have a voice. --Vicki Robin

The plain fact is that we are starving people, not deliberately in the sense that we want them to die, but willfully in the sense that we prefer their death to our own inconvenience. --Victor Gollancz

Charity is commendable; everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends upon the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth; Justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance. Faith based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith based Justice offers a place at the table. --Bill Moyers

People of faith are, by their very essence, allies in the struggle for peace on Earth and justice for all . . . We issue a call to those of all faiths to recognize God's call to actively seek peace and justice NOW!
--Rev. Gloria Weber, Interfaith Voices for Peace & Justice

Our common commitment must be to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practices as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and societies. --Barbara Fields Bernstein, Association for Global New Thought

Peace/Shalom/Salaam is the ancient affirmation of all humanity at peace with one another, with the Earth and with the divine source of all life. --Richard Deats, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Smiling is the most basic kind of peace work. --Thich Nhat Hanh

Nonviolence is the power that manifests itself in us when we become aware of the oneness of life. --Gandhi

The wealthiest three people in the world have more riches than the 48 poorest countries. --Peacework

We spend more on cosmetics each year in the U.S. than it would take to provide basic education to everyone in the world who lacks it. --Peacework

We spend more on pet food in the U.S. and Europe than it would take to provide adequate nutrition and basic health care to the more than one billion people on the planet who lack these necessities... --Peacework

"One day we will stand before the God of history... I can hear the God of history saying... I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these my brethren, ye do it unto me."

For Dr. Martin Luther King there was no incompatibility between Christianity and protest activity. He believed that the two were inextricably connected. Jesus' liberating ministry, especially his teachings, challenged all Christians to protest any form of social oppression. To be a Christian means that one has no choice but to protest injustice, in this particular instance racial injustice. --Kelly Brown Douglas

Love is mankind's most potent weapon for personal and social transformation. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family. --The Buddha

Only when you have made peace within yourself will you be able to make peace in the world. --Rabbi Simcha Bunim

I am a soldier of Christ; I cannot fight. --St. Martin of Tours

When you liberate others, you liberate yourself. --Ram Dass

It's simply a matter of fighting for the weak against the strong. Something the best people have always done. --Harriet Beecher Stowe

It is no accident that those who care about the socially marginalized and the environment are usually people who have spent time experiencing and developing positive relations with oppressed peoples or with the natural world. Intrinsic value cannot be simply asserted; it has to be discovered, and it can be discovered only through such positive experience of others. --Carol Johnston

Though the U.S. increases by only about three million people a year, through births and immigration together, each of those three million new Americans will consume on average forty or fifty times as much as a person born in the Third World. --Bill McKibben

Try to imagine. American has about 4.6% of the world's population. Our country uses 39% of all the world's newsprint, 27% of all its aluminum, 35% of all the world's computers, 33% of all its plastic, 24% of the world's copper, 25% of all the world's energy, 22% of the world's beef, and 13% of its steel. America has 1/4 of all the world's roads servicing 1/3 of all the world's automobiles. Impressive, huh? --Paul Robbins

We should strive for sufficient per capita wealth, efficiently maintained and allocated, and equitably distributed, for the maximum number of people that can be sustained over time. --Herman Daly

When inequality becomes too great, the idea of community becomes impossible. --Raymond Aron

Our goal should not be perfect equality, but limited inequality. Where large gaps in income, wealth, technology, or coercive power permit one community to impose its will on another, the struggle for sustainability is lost. Acknowledging our interdependence is the first step in becoming more sustainable. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

Americans comprise 5% of the world's population, but consume 30% of the world's resources. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

The average American Ecological Footprint (amount of land it takes to support our lifestyle) is 15-22 acres. The Fair Earthshare is 5.5 acres. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

Since justice is indivisible, injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

The care of human life and happiness is the first and only legitimate object of good government. --Thomas Jefferson

Prayer for Peace
Lead me from death
To life, from falsehood to truth
Lead me from despair
To hope, from fear to trust
Lead me from hate
To love, from war to peace
Let peace fill our heart,
Our world, our universe . . .
Peace, peace, peace

When I give food to the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist. --Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian bishop

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. --Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful. --Thomas Merton

Under the right circumstances, nonviolence is unstoppable. --Fellowship of Reconciliation

This clouding of vision is called dehumanization, and overcoming it is often the core of nonviolent resistance. --Fellowship of Reconciliation

A church that doesn't provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn't unsettle, a word of God that doesn't get under anyone's skin, what kind of gospel is that? --Oscar Romero

Five thousand men, women, and children will die of starvation tonight, and millions of Evangelical Christians in the U.S. won't give a damn about it. Even worse, many of you will go home tonight more upset about the fact that I said the word DAMN than about the fact that 5,000 people will die tonight of starvation. --Tony Campolo

Members of the peace movement can write very good protest letters, but that is not enough. They must learn to write a love letter. Love letters foster open minded questioning and non judgmental moral witness. --Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and activist

Table Prayer: Blessed be God, Who is our Bread. May all the world be clothed and fed.

Peace Begins When the Hungry Are Fed. --bumper sticker

* 1.3 billion people, 20% of the human family, live in absolute poverty with incomes of less than a dollar a day.
* 828 million people are hungry -- more than the population of the Western Hemisphere.
* Children are most vulnerable. Of the 31,000 children under five who die each day in developing nations, half perish from hunger-related causes. That's one child dying for every breath we take.
* Seven million people die from hunger-related causes annually. Famines account for only three percent of these deaths. The vast majority are caused by chronic under-nutrition.
* 36 million people, 13% of the U.S. population, fall below the official poverty line.
* One U.S. child in five lives in poverty. For children under age five, it is one in four.
* 11.3 million children in the U.S. are without health insurance.
* The rate of child poverty in the U.S. is triple the average for other industrial nations.

Return to Table of Contents

5. Care of Creation

5 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Respond
Homes & Buildings
Sustainable Development
Sustainable Farming
Organic Gardening
CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture)

#100's | #1000's | #2000's | #3000's | #4000's | #5000's

A tree farm is not a forest. --Adbusters.
A forest is an eco-sytem, a tree farm is a product.

Top 10 reasons to buy organic: 1. Protect future generations, 2. Prevent soil erosion, 3. Protect water quality, 4. Save energy, 5. Keep chemicals off your plate, 6. Protect farm worker health, 7. Help small farmers, 8. Support a true economy, 9. Promote biodiversity, 10. Taste better flavors.

A weed is called a plant out of place. A weed is in the eye of the beholder.

Nature has been for me, for as long as I can remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion. --Lorraine Anderson


Like a boat that sails us home, like a star that leads us on.
The compass we're steering by, a place that we someday hope to see; Sustainability, we can save the things we love before they're gone.
Sustainability, let the beauty of the Earth live on and on for generations.
It's a science and an art. It's a dream in every heart.
A vision we can't let go, a hope that will someday set us free...
Sustainability, we can save the things we love before they're gone.
Sustainability, let the beauty of the Earth live on and on for generations, generations... --Alan AtKisson

Quick are the mouths of Earth, and quick the teeth that feed upon this loveliness. --Thomas Wolfe

The major problems in the world are the result of the differences between the way nature works and the way people think. --Gregory Bateson

Five clarifying declarations of sustainability

1. Sustainability is not environmentalism
2. Sustainability is not business-as-usual
3. Sustainability is not against economic growth
4. Sustainability is neither a religion nor an ideology
5. Sustainability is not the end of history
--Alan AtKisson

System Conditions

1. You can't dig stuff out of the Earth and spread it around indefinitely.
2. You can't spread human-created stuff around in Nature indefinitely, either.
3. Don't erode Nature's capacity to do all the wonderful things Nature does, or you'll be sorry.
4. Do your business efficiently and make sure that everyone has enough.
--Alan AtKisson

Seven principles of sustainability

1. Think long term
2. Understand systems
3. Recognize limits
4. Protect Nature
5. Transform business-as-usual
6. Practice fairness
7. Embrace creativity
--Alan AtKisson

And Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it. --Genesis 2:15.

Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? --Ezekiel 34:18

The Earth belongs to God and therefore cannot be held perpetually. --Leviticus 25:23

Do not damage the Earth or the sea or the trees. --Revelation 7:3.

Plant gardens and eat what they produce. --Jeremiah 29:5

You should be kind to the world as God has been kind to you. God created the world. There are different ways to be kind to the world, like picking up garbage. I won't tell you any more now. You think of some yourself. --Kara-Lynn Murphy, age seven

As Okanagans our most essential responsibility is to learn to bond our whole individual selves and our communal selves to the land. --Jeannette Armstrong

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes

i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birthday of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth

how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any -- lifted from the no
of all nothing -- human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
--e e cummings

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. --Henry David Thoreau

Surely the Earth can be saved by all the people who insist on love. --Alice Walker

Priority Actions for American Consumers

* Transportation
1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
2. Think twice before purchasing another car.
3. Choose a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car.
4. Set concrete goals for reducing travel.
5. Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation.

* Food
6. Eat less meat
7. Buy certified organic produce

* Household Operations
8. Choose your home carefully
9. Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water.
10. Install efficient lighting and appliances
11. Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices

The Leading Consumption-Related Environmental Problems

1. Air pollution
2. Global warming
3. Habitat alteration
4. Water pollution
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices

The Most Harmful Consumer Activities

1. Cars and light trucks
2. Meat and poultry
3. Fruit, vegetables, and grains
4. Home heating, hot water, and air conditioning
5. Household appliances and lighting
6. Home construction
7. Household water and sewage
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices

Avoid High-Impact Activities

1. Powerboats
2. Pesticides and fertilizers
3. Gasoline-powered yard equipment
4. Fireplaces and wood stoves
5. Recreational off-road driving
6. Hazardous cleaners and paints
7. Products made from endangered or threatened species
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices

Seven Rules for Responsible Consumption

1. Give special attention to major purchases.
2. Become a weight watcher.
3. Analyze your consumption quantitatively.
4. Don't worry or feel guilty about unimportant decisions.
5. Look for opportunities to be a leader.
6. Buy more of those things that help the environment.
7. Think about non environmental reasons for reducing consumption.
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices

Four Key Government Strategies

1. Make the marketplace work for the environment.
2. Set high standards.
3. Invest in the environment.
4. Make land use an environmental issue.
--Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices
This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere. --John Muir

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Winter Solstice Song
Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb

We are thankful for the sun,
On this longest night.
Without it there would not be,
Grass and trees, or you and me.
We are thankful for the sun,
Each and every one.

A garden, no matter how well known by daylight, is a magical place on a summer night.

The Earth laughs in flowers. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recycling a 3-and-a-half-foot stack of newspapers saves one 20-foot Southern pine.

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away. --John Muir

Teach us to walk the Earth as relatives to all that live. --From a Sioux Prayer
Keep It Clean!
Tune: Bingo

We use water every day
In many, many ways.

Refrain (clap): W-A-T-E-R,
W-A-T-E-R, W-A-T-E-R,
We need to keep it clean.

Falling, falling from the sky
It rains upon the Earth.
(repeat refrain)

Clean water is a thing we need
To keep our bodies healthy.
(repeat refrain)

So next time that you take a drink,
There's something to remember!
(repeat refrain)

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home. --Wendell Berry

There must be new contact between men and the Earth; the Earth must be newly seen and heard and felt and smelled and tasted. --Wendell Berry

The Recycle Song
Tune: So Early in the Morning

This is the way we smash the cans,
Smash the cans, smash the cans.
This is the way we smash the cans,
For recycling.

This is the way we sort the glass,
Sort the glass, sort the glass.
This is the way we sort the glass,
For recycling.

This is the way we bundle papers,
Bundle papers, bundle papers.
This is the way we bundle papers,
For recycling.

We reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting, ferret, curlew, cougar, wolf, your tracks are growing fainter. --Joanna Macy

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. --Abraham Lincoln

All the creatures of the Earth are our kin. They sleep in our cosmic home, eat at our table, share our air and water, and play with our children. We are composed of their bodies and they of ours. Each of us represents but a brief manifestation of the flow and cycling of life here. In human families we speak of blood lines, but in reality, each of us is intimately related to all the creatures of the Earth. --Steve Van Matre

That future can exist only when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited. "Use" as our primary relationship with the planet must be abandoned. While there are critical issues in providing food, shelter, and livelihood to vast numbers of peoples, those issues themselves ultimately depend on our capacity to sustain the natural world so that the natural world can sustain us. All our sciences and technologies and all our social institutions become dysfunctional if the natural life systems cease to function. --Thomas Berry

To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, destructively, it is a desecration. --Wendell Berry

Integrity of creation should refer to the recognition of the integrity of the intrinsic value of every living creature and the maintenance of the integrity of the relations of each creature to its environment. --Charles Birch

The central vision of world history in the Bible is that all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security and joy toward the joy and well-being of every other creature....

Shalom is the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation. It refers to all those resources and factors which make communal harmony joyous and effective. --Walter Brueggemann

The biblical vision of shalom functions always as a firm rejection of values and life-styles that seek security and well-being in manipulative ways at the expense of another part of creation, another part of the community, or a brother or sister. The vision of the biblical way affirms that communal well-being comes by living God's dream and not by idolatrous self-aggrandizement. The alternative is so to distort creation as never to know what it means to celebrate the Sabbath. Either we strive to secure our own existence or we celebrate the joy and rest of Sabbath, knowing that God has already secured it for us. Shalom is received by grateful creation. --Walter Brueggemann

Shalom is never short-range; eventually, someone must pay dearly. Caring for creation is never a one-generation deal. --Walter Brueggemann

The more man distinguishes himself from the rest of creation, the more he becomes conscious of himself as the subject, as an 'I' to whom the world is an object, the more does he tend to confuse himself with God, to confuse his spirit with the spirit of God, and to regard his reason as Divine Reason. --Emil Brunner

Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred by neglect. Moreover, let everyone regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved. --John Calvin (1509-1564)

The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God. --John Calvin (1509-1564)

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter. --Rachel Carson

I saw how fragile and beautiful the Earth was, and I thought -- we have to take care of it. --Eileen Collins, first woman to command a US space shuttle

The cycle of life is intricately tied up with the cycle of water, so that anything done against water is a crime against life. The water system has to remain alive if we are to remain alive on this earth. --Jacques-Yves Cousteau

When you love every creature, you will understand the mystery of God in created things. --Fyodor Doestoyevski

Love all of God's creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will soon perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. --Fyodor Doestoyevski (1821-1881)

We mysteriously belong together in this creation, and our endlessly dynamic interweaving is full of wonders. The deeper our surrender to God, the more wondrous nature of life appears... one leads to the other. --Tilden Edwards

Nature has been limitlessly kind to us, having helped humankind appear, stand up, and grow stronger. She has generously given us everything she has amassed over the billions of years of inanimate development. We have grown strong and powerful, yet how have we answered this goodness? --Yuri Glazkov, Russian astronaut

Our choice is a simple one: either we put our society on a radically different course so as to reduce, rather than continue to increase, its destructive impact on the biosphere, or we delegate this task to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. --E. Goldsmith (1988)

We don't believe we are going to reverse the environmental crisis by simply passing laws. We have to change the human understanding of its place and purpose in creation. Unless you have that fundamental change in values, many of us believe environmental degradation will be irreversible. --Paul Gorman

The Holy Spirit was also God's spirit of variety, a kind of divine Tinkerbell flitting through space with a magic wand and calling forth the superabundance of diversity which was creation: galaxies, stars, planets, moons, millions of species of animals and plants, and a wide variety of humankind, men and women, people of every hue and size, speech and hair color. God is exuberant. She loves diversity. We pray that the rest of us enjoy the diversity, too. Because that's why God created it for us. --Andrew M. Greeley

In this spiritually-grounded moral perspective called eco-justice, all beings on Earth make up one household (Greek: oikos), which benefits from an economy (oikonomia) that takes seriously ecological and social stewardship (oikonomos). For the sake of both humans and other kind, our species -- which does ethics and the unethical -- must learn to welcome diverse cultures and myriad species, revaluing the natural world while working for just and sustainable community. --Dieter T. Hessel

Eco-Justice provides a dynamic framework for thought and action that fosters ecological integrity and the struggle for social and economic justice. It emerges through constructive human responses that serve environmental health and social equity together - for the sake of human well-being with other kind. --Dieter T. Hessel

The Torah (or covenant law) conveys an ethic of environmental care with social justice -- not over against or instead of, but together. Key passages such as Exodus 23, Leviticus 19 and 25, and Deuteronomy 15 express the covenant obligation to respond to the poor, to give animals Sabbath rest, to let the land lie fallow, and to cancel debts periodically, if not to redistribute land. Theology with this sensitivity poses no either/or choice between caring for people and caring for the earth. The way people treat land and animals is as important a sign of faithfulness as the way people treat each other. Modern anthropocentric Christianity forgot this, bowing to ideologies of economic growth that sacrifice both ecology and equity. --Dieter T. Hessel

Holy persons draw to themselves all that is earthly. --Hildegard of Bingen

The dramatic threat of ecological breakdown is teaching us the extent to which greed and selfishness... are contrary to the order of creation. --Pope John Paul II

Behave in such a way that the effects of your actions are always compatible with the permanence of nature and of human life on the Earth. --Hans Jonas

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe... the starry heavens above and the moral law within. --Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

We must convince each generation that they are transient passengers on this planet Earth. It does not belong to them. They are not free to doom generations yet unborn. They are not at liberty to erase humanity's past nor dim its future. --Bernard Lown and Evjueni Chazov

We live in an age of unprecedented uncertainty. Life on Earth is perilously poised at the precipice of extinction. Never before has man possessed the destructive resources to commit global suicide. --Bernard Lown and Evjueni Chazov

Now if I believe in God's Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. --Martin Luther (1483-1546)

God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. --Martin Luther (1483-1546)

For the first time, our power to destroy outstrips the Earth's power to restore. --Daniel Maguire

Man is dealing with dangerous weapons whenever he interferes with arrangements pre-established by powers higher than his own. The equation of animal and vegetable life is too complicated a problem for human intelligence to solve, and we can never know how wide a circle of disturbance we produce in the harmonies of nature when we throw the smallest pebble into the ocean of organic being. --Charles Marsh, Man and Nature (1874)

The integrity of creation refers to the value of all creatures in themselves, for one another, and for God, and their interconnectedness in a diverse whole that has unique value for God. To forget the integrity of creation is to forget that the Earth itself is a splendid whole. --Jay McDaniel

The poverty which is affecting more and more of the world's population is directly related to the misuse and squandering of natural and human resources in First-World -- mostly traditional Christian -- countries. The life-style and consumption patterns of many people in First-World countries are way beyond what the Earth can support, and can only be maintained by enslaving the vast majority of the world's population. --Sean McDonagh

Much of what we commonly call progress today -- digging up the Earth, poisoning it and destroying natural diversity -- is retardation for the Earth community. We need to call things by their proper names in order to reverse the destruction which has taken place so extensively. Real progress will also involve healing this damage. --Sean McDonagh

If sin destroys the harmony between human beings and the natural world, then redemption, to be complete, must heal and renew the primordial unity and recreate the Earth where ever it has been injured through human greed and vice. --Sean McDonagh

Every natural object is a conductor of divinity. --John Muir

When we try to take out one thing, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. --John Muir

The fundamental 'law of nature' is that human activities must stay within the bounds of nature. --James Nash

Francis of Assisi taught me that there is a wound in the Creation, and that the greatest use we can make of our lives is to ask to be made a healer. --Alan Paton

We have nothing that we can call our own; no, not our selves: For we are all but Tenants, and at Will, too, of the great Lord of our selves, and the rest of this great Farm, the World that we live upon. --William Penn (1644-1718)

Throughout the biblical story the writers testify to God's concern to execute justice and to extend compassion at the points of greatest agony and need. They tell of God's acts and commands in behalf of the hungry, the prisoner, the blind, the widowed, the orphaned, and the imprisoned. But now nature itself presents innumerable points of greatest agony and need. Nature has become co-victim with the poor; the vulnerable Earth and the vulnerable people are oppressed together. God who redeems and liberates, who executes justice, and who acts with revelatory power in special times, comes at this turning point in history not only to judge but to restore. God hears creation's cry. God calls human beings... [to join] in restoring creation, human and non-human. --Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice, Presbyterian Church (USA)

A moral universe limited to the human universe will not, under present circumstances, even understand life, much less serve it. Earth community requires a biocentric or a geocentric knowledge, ethic, and faith. --Larry L. Rasmussen

That nature is a community is the scientific discovery of the twentieth century. That Earth, human society included, is also a community has not yet registered with us. At least how to sustain it as a community has not. --Larry L. Rasmussen

5-Q1379 [Also ref. 1217]
What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man. --Chief Seattle

To become human, one must make room in oneself for the wonders of the universe. --South American Indian saying

The world has been created for everyone's use, but you few rich are trying to keep it for yourselves. For not merely the possession of the Earth, but the very sky, the air, and the sea are claimed for the use of the rich few. The Earth belongs to all, not just to the rich. --St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397)

The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers, the animals, to whom Thou gavest the Earth as their home in common with us.

We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the Earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of pain.

May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life. --St. Basil the Great (329-379)

I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator. One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made. --St. Basil the Great (329-379)

Let a man fear, above all, me, his God, and so much the gentler will he become toward my creatures and animals, on whom, on account of me, their Creator, he ought to have compassion. --St. Birgitta (1303-1373 CE)

I do not worship matter. I worship the creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God... Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me. --St. John of Damascus (675-749 CE)

The whole Earth is a living icon of the face of God. --St. John of Damascus (675-749)

Men will become poor because they will not have a love for trees. If you don't love trees, you don't love God.
--St. Nikephoros of Chios (1750-1821)

Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done. --Harriet Beecher Stowe

Copernicus pushed us out of the centre, and we've been trying to get back there ever since -- claiming power not as part of the web of creation, not even as caretakers, but as masters of a cosmic machine. --David Suzuki

Our dependence on the general integrity of the whole realm of life is absolute. --Paul Taylor

Genocide seems all too often to accompany ecocide. --George Tinker

They (the creatures)... encourage us to imitate Him whose mercy is over all His works.... It may enlarge our hearts toward these poor creatures to reflect that... not one of them is forgotten in the sight of our Father which is in heaven. --John Wesley (1701-1791)

I believe that where the love of God is perfected and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward all creatures will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the Great Creator intends for them under our government. --John Woolman (1720-1772)

We affirm that the world, as God's handiwork, has its own inherent integrity; that land, waters, air, forests, mountains and creatures, including humanity, are 'good' in God's sight. --World Council of Churches, Now Is the Time

The integrity of creation has a social aspect which we recognize as peace with justice, and an ecological impact which we recognize in the self-renewing, sustainable character of natural ecosystems. --World Council of Churches, Now Is the Time

Do not borrow off the Earth, for the Earth will require its own back with interest. --Swahili proverb

You visit the Earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. --Psalm 65:9-13

Anyone who cares about good food has a stake in good farming and in methods of food production, processing, and distribution that accord with the long term health and sustainability of farmers, farming communities, and the land upon which they, and we, depend. --Robert Clark

The most important force in the sustainable agriculture movement is you: the person who shops for food. Farmers, after all, are in the food business. It is this link - between farmers and people who eat - that we are working so hard to repair... You'd be surprised at how much influence you have. --Green Kitchen Handbook

There are no simple answers to preserving farms and agriculture, but so far, Farmers' Markets have been the most incredible solution going. --Elizabeth Ryan

Gardens are places to renew yourself in mind and body, to reawaken to the truth and beauty of the natural world, and to feel the life force inside and around you. And the organic way to garden is safer, cheaper, and more satisfying. Organic gardeners have shown that it's possible to have pleasant and productive gardens in every part of this country without using toxic chemicals. They make their home grounds an island of purity. --Robert Rodale

I think of my root cellar as a secret underground garden into which I spirit away many of my crops when winter threatens. --Eliot Coleman

It is estimated that we waste 20 to 35 percent of the water we use in our homes. --G. Tyler Miller

Some 20 to 40 percent of household energy is consumed in the kitchen. --David Goldbeck

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the number one contributor to global warming. Every kilowatt-hour (kwh) of electricity you avoid using saves over two pounds of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be pumped into the atmosphere. If you replace a typical 1973, 18 cubic foot refrigerator with an energy-efficient current model, you'll save over a ton of CO2 emissions per year.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.
--Rabindranath Tagore

We have met the enemy, and they is us. --Pogo, cartoon character

A true believer can be sure without any pertinent facts.
A true scientist can't be sure, even with all the facts,
Because he can't be sure he has all the facts. --Dan Robinson

Status, for some, is a matter of flaunting how much they can afford to waste. --Dan Robinson

Producer: Re-examine, Retract, Redesign, Remarket
Consumer: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, (and last) Recycle.
--Dan Robinson

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. --Shaker Prayer

Care for all Creation... Reduce, reuse, recycle, restore, respond.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is, in the eyes of others, only a green thing that stands in the way. --William Blake.

As long as the Earth endures, seed time and harvest... shall not cease. --Genesis 8:22

Oh, Adam was a gardener,
and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work
is done upon his knees.
--Rudyard Kipling

All through the long winter I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of Spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy and my spirits soar. --Helen Hayes

The world is the bearer of the holy. To destroy and degrade it violates God's creative love. --Henlee Barnette

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds. --Anonymous

Try to develop models which are not arbitrary and manmade but organic and natural. The difference is in the intention. Arbitrary man-made models have as their intention manipulation and control. Natural organic models have as their intention resonance and reverence. --Margaret Mead

More than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly. --Woody Allen

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. --Henry Miller

There's an interesting transition that occurs naturally and spontaneously. We begin to find that, to the degree that there is bravery in ourselves - the willingness to look, to point directly at our own hearts - and to the degree that there is kindness toward ourselves, there is confidence that we can actually forget ourselves and open to the world. --Ane Pema Chodron

Nobody sees a flower -- really -- it is so small -- we haven't time -- and to see takes time. Like to have a friend takes time. --Georgia O'Keefe

Man has the capacity to love, not just his own species, but life in all its shape and forms. This empathy with the interknit web of life is the highest spiritual expression I know of. --Loren Eiseley

If you listen carefully enough to anything, it will talk to you. --George Washington Carver

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all living beings, which are all part of one another and all involved in one another. --Thomas Merton

I have come to terms with the future. From this day onward I will walk easy on the Earth. Plant trees. Kill no living things. Live in harmony with all creatures. I will restore the Earth where I am. Use no more of its resources than I need. And listen, listen to what it is telling me. --M. J. Slim Hooey

Twenty-one percent of the energy used in North America goes for changing our indoor temperature. --Doris Janzen Longacre

Heating and cooling we call 'climate control.' It's time to think again about controlling ourselves. --Doris Janzen Longacre

It is God who creates, effects and preserves all things through God's almighty power. --Martin Luther

If God is to create or to preserve a creature, God must be present and must make and preserve God's creation both in its innermost and outermost aspects. --Martin Luther

God's entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself. --Martin Luther

God is entirely and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, in the field. --Martin Luther

The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest tree leaf. --Martin Luther

God is in all creatures, even in the smallest flowers. --Martin Luther

Adam and Eve, our first parents, worshipped God early in the morning, when the sun was rising, by marveling at the creator in the creature, because they were urged on by the creature. --Martin Luther

Adam was created, as it were, intoxicated with rejoicing toward God and was delighted also with all the other creatures. --Martin Luther

Animals are footprints of God. --Martin Luther

In a mouse we admire God's creation and craft work. The same might be said about flies. --Martin Luther

Adam and Eve derived the fullness of joy and bliss from their contemplation of all the animal creatures. --Martin Luther

If the heart has been reformed by the spirit, it makes use of both the useful and delightful things created and given by God in a holy manner and with thanksgiving. --Martin Luther

In a delightful garden, sowing, planting, or digging are not a hardship, but are done with zeal and a certain pleasure. --Martin Luther

God wants to be praised for nourishing and cherishing, for God cherishes all creatures. God is not only the Creator, but is also the Sustainer and Nourisher. --Martin Luther

God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, behind you and before you. Do you think God is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? God is watching over you and protecting you. --Martin Luther

Life isn't just human life; it is also nature. We depend on nature; nature feeds us, protects us and cures us. At the beginning this seemed magical to me, but later I began to understand. The problem is that humanity has become separated from the Earth, from the grass, from the flowers, from the very air we breathe. We forget that they are part of us and that health depends on rediscovering and rebuilding this relationship, this communion. --Silvia de Lima, Brazil

Each time we install an energy-efficient light bulb, it can be an act of faithfulness. Each time we ride our bike or take a bus, or walk, instead of driving it is a spiritual victory. Each time we plant a tree, it is a sign of hope. Each time we struggle to bring the necessary changes to our church, our community, our nation, or our world, we engage in action that can lead to change. Each time we make decisions that will lead to a better world for a grandchild or niece or nephew, or a child in Bangladesh, we share our faith in God who raised Jesus from the dead and who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can work through us even today to bring about God's future. In these ways we do our small part in helping to preserve God's creation, for the sake of the whole world, for the sake of future generations. --Rev. Sharon Delgado

5-Q3116 [also ref.1375]
The human experiment and the biosphere that has sustained it stand in profound jeopardy. The 'four horsemen' of destruction - human population explosion at the expense of the plants and animals of Earth; environmental damage to air, water, and soil; the misery of growing masses of the poor; and the global militarization aimed at retaining unjust advantage over the Earth's resources for a wealthy elite - create a combined set of catastrophic scenarios. Those with the greatest power seemed determined to refuse to take these danger signs seriously and instead plan to keep 'business as usual' in place, even as the capacity of the planet to sustain such 'business' erodes. Yet our task is not to indulge in apocalyptic despair, but to continue the struggle to reconcile justice in human relations with a sustainable life community on Earth. --Rosemary Radford Ruether

What is difficult is to imagine how to get out of the situation we're in right now in a time frame that is in line with the rate of deterioration that we're seeing. --Paul Hawken

Character is the internalization of responsibility. What we are talking about when we talk about a local food system or CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] is a food system that relies more on character than it does on legal, bureaucratic, or commercial procedures. --Wendell Berry

This we know: the Earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the Earth. This we know: all things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. --Chief Seattle

The garden has more to teach us than just how to grow food. --Eliot Coleman

April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. --Christopher Morley

Speak to the Earth, and it shall teach thee. --Job 12:8

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water. --Benjamin Franklin

Own only what you can always carry with you: Know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. --Alexander Solzhenitsyn

He that plants a tree loves others besides himself. --English proverb

While the effects of our crisis are most evident in the ecological sphere, the crisis itself is not first of all an ecological crisis. It is a crisis concerning the way we think. We are treating our planet in an inhuman and God-forsaken manner because we see things in an inhuman, God-forsaken way. --Philip Sherrard

In the coming interval of a few decades, human society will need to house, nurture, educate, and employ as many more people as already live on Earth. --Jesse Ausubel

More people will live in cities by 2025 than occupied the whole planet 10 years ago. --World Resources Institute

Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are it victims. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since 1940, Americans alone have used up more of the Earth's mineral resources than all previous peoples put together. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

By the time a baby born today in the US reaches age 75, (s)he will have consumed on average: 4,000 barrels of oil, 54,000 lbs of plant matter, 64,000 lbs of animal products, and 43 million gallons of water - and will have produced over 3 million lbs of atmospheric waste, 23 million lbs of liquid waste, and 3 million lbs of solid waste. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

The number of cars in the US has grown six times faster than the human population since 1969. There are 176 million cars in the nation, an increase of 144%. Today more than 18% of homes have three or more vehicles. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

Possibility that all the world's people can live as Americans do: zero. --Sustainable Communities from Vision to Action

Sustainable Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. --United Nations, Our Common Future

Can we move nations and people in the direction of sustainability? Such a move would be a modification of society comparable in scale to only two other changes: the Agricultural Revolution of the late Neolithic and the Industrial Revolution of the past two centuries. Those revolutions were gradual, spontaneous, and largely unconscious. This one will have to be a fully conscious operation, guided by the best foresight that science can provide. If we actually do it, the undertaking will be absolutely unique in humanity's stay on the Earth. --William Ruckelshaus

A healthy farm culture nourishes and safeguards a human intelligence of the Earth no amount of technology can satisfactorily replace. --Wendell Berry

We can treat this Planet Earth like an expendable machine, or we can recognize that our dignity is dependent upon the respect we pay to the origins of our earthly life and upon the responsibility we take for its preservation. --Margaret Mead

Lack of respect for growing living things soon leads to lack of respect for humans too. --Chief Luther Standing Bear

The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. --Chief Seattle

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our mother. Care for it as we have cared for it and with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it as God loves us all. --Chief Seattle

I pledge allegiance to the World, to cherish every Living Thing, to care for Earth and Sea and Air, with Peace and Freedom everywhere. --Lillian Genser, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

How can we tenderly caress one another if we've not had the chance to cradle a seedling or hold a tadpole or pick ripe raspberries, even as we're scratched by thorns?

How can we see the sacredness in every face if we don't have the chance to recognize it in our surroundings?

Terry Tempest Williams writes, 'Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land. We have taken our love inside and abandoned the wild.' --Kimberly Ridley

[In the context of today's environmental crisis] all religions are out of date; all philosophies inadequate. Present day science and technology is life-hating. Humanity is bent on destroying the planet and committing suicide. Only nature itself can save us. The message from Her is - 'WAKE UP FROM SLEEP, APATHY AND SELF-DESTRUCTION!' --Master Baba Dovid Yusuf

In short, our twentieth-century civilization still pretty much reflects the shortsighted seventeenth-century pragmatism of Cotton Mather (1663-1728), the witch hunter of Salem, Massachusetts, who proclaimed: "What is not useful, is vicious." But who is to say what is useful and what is not, especially about species not yet discovered that, unknown and unstudied fall prey to plow or cow? --Hough H. Ilitis

In the final analysis, the necessary investments in nature preserves and in such noncommercial activities as biological expeditions, herbaria, zoological museums, and training of field biologists (especially in the tropics), inexpensive as these are, are far wiser uses of tax dollars than the billions that are so readily spent on space flights or Star Wars. The Moon and the planets will be out there forever, but the Earth's biological diversity is being exterminated now. --Hough H. Ilitis

As long as we relate to the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the fields, and the oceans as our properties to be manipulated by us according to our real or fabricated needs, nature remains opaque and does not revealed to us it's true being. When we relate to a tree as nothing more than a potential chair, it cannot speak much to us about growth. When a river is only a dumping place for our industrial wastes, it no longer informs us about movement. The dirty rivers, the smog filled skies, the strip mined hills, and the ravaged woods are sad signs of our false relationship with nature. --Henry J. M. Nouwen

Support Organic Farmers. --bumper sticker

My Other Car Is a Bicycle. --bumper sticker

Plug into Renewable Energy. --bumper sticker

Paper from Paper Not from Trees. --bumper sticker

The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. --Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. --Aldo Leopold

What's the use of having a nice house if you don't have a livable planet to put it on? --Unknown

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
--Ogden Nash

NOTE: See MAIN Page for Sources/credits.

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(originally ©2001 Alternatives for Simple Living)

Collection compiled, edited and prepared by Gerald and Peter Iversen.

ALTERNATIVES for Simple Living, 1973-2011
Gerald Iversen, Alternatives' National Coordinator, 1995-2007
Founder, 2011, Simple Living Works!

"Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly"


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