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Inspiring quotes

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Inspiring quotes

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Anon - Wendell Berry - Buckminster Fuller - Gandhi - Carl Sagan / UK


"To Save the Children, sustainable development means that each generation should leave to its children a world at least as diverse and productive as the one it inherited. It also means guaranteeing the rights of all today's children, so that they can fulfil their potential in the struggle for development. The millions of children still denied their basic rights as a result of poverty, violence or environmental degradation testify to the international community's failure to make this vision a reality." Mike Aaronson

"Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell." Edward Abbey

“If you want to do it quickly, do it alone. If you want to do it well, do it together.” - African proverb.

"Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract - sustainable development - and turn it into a reality for all the world's people" Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

The Economic Conundrum of an Aging Population
"The shift to a stable population will increase the "dependency ratio" of old to young. While that may stem environmental decline, it could bring economic hardship to the countries that first achieve it. The only real chance of escaping this dilemma is to eliminate the huge economic inequities that now prevail in the world." Robert Ayres, Professor Emeritus of Management and Environment at the INSEAD European Business School [1]


"One of the things that we saw during the pilots, is that citizens realise how hard it is to build consensus and, furthermore, how hard it is to try to create a policy that fits all. How can this change democracy? It facilitates the understanding of how complex consensus, decision and policy-making are, how long it takes…

Democracy cannot longer be a ‘thing’ that we do once every x amount of years. You get good at being democratic the more often you practice it. Civic technologies are organised around participation, therefore granting the opportunity to get more experience, to assess different points of view, to build arguments, to accept we don’t know everything. Moreover, a grass-roots collection of data creates a very different landscape and understanding of cities by the citizens, at the very least this is why we feel it is worth doing." Mara Balestrini [2]

"Sustainable development is never going to materialise as a result of edicts from New York or Geneva. It needs to be constructed, shared and implemented in a truly global way that takes account of traditional, local and non-Western approaches." Steve Bass, senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development and former chief environment advisor at the UK government's Department for International Development.

"Information wants to be free." Stewart Brand

"Democracy is a promise that the excluded voices are needed to form a greater whole." Alan Briskin

"When I thought of Dialogue in this larger sense, I had the image of the open central courtyard in an old-fashioned, Latin American home… you could enter the central courtyard by going around and through any of the multiple arched entryways that surrounded this open, flower-filled space in the middle of the house… For me, Dialogue is like entering this central courtyard in the spacious home of our common human experience." Juanita Brown

"The real work of creating a different world is to take responsibility upon ourselves to lead that change to create the sort of world we want." Grace Lee Boggs [3]

"I have no illusions that we can simply declare a Law for the Commons. The very idea and its variations must first be formulated for our modern context, and then fought for. But at a time when existing regimes of law and governance are in a shambles – losing public respect, failing to meet people’s basic needs, destroying the Earth – I believe that commoning and laws to enable it have a bright future. Commons can meet people’s needs in fair, open and effective ways, and provide a dignity, respect and equality that the market/state order has trouble achieving. By cultivating more direct engagement with people, and demanding that they step up to responsibilities, commons also have great promise in improving ecological stewardship." David Bollier [4]

"Commoning is a radical concept because it insists upon the active, knowing participation of people in shaping their own lives and meeting their own needs." David Bollier and Silke Helfrich [5]

"Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians." Chester Bowles / Community involvement

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little" Edmund Burke


Jordan River Bushy.jpg

"The ‘Web of Life’ is, of course, an ancient idea, which has been used by poets, philosophers, and mystics throughout the ages to convey their sense of the interwovenness and interdependence of all phenomena."

"Ultimately, deep ecological awareness is spiritual or religious awareness. When the concept of the human spirit is understood as the mode of consciousness in which the individual feels a sense of belonging, of connectedness, to the cosmos as a whole, it become clear that ecological awareness is spiritual in its deepest essence."

Fritjof Capra

"This generation of politicians is the last generation who have it in their power to secure the future of our planet, to safeguard the health and livelihoods of millions of people and the habitats that sustain their lives. History will not forgive them if they fail to act." Dr Catarina Cardoso, WWF-UK

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." - R. Carson 'Silent Spring'

Central Park New York City1.jpg

"The global city is not London, New York, Tokyo or Jo'berg -- it is the part of each which is connected to an analogous part in each of the others. The global city is a distributed phenomenon. There is only one global city, and it floats on top of the others like lace."

"Networked organisations outcompete all other forms of organisation, particularly the vertical, rigid, command-and-control bureaucracies."

Manuel Castells

"We’re all very much aware that there are millions of young people who are unemployed, particularly in high–risk countries across the world, who form the majority of the population, and haven’t got a remote chance of ever getting a job.
I work on these issues with the Youth Employment Network of the United Nations. We know that one of the things that must be done urgently is to remove the economic, legal and regulatory impediments that many governments and societies impose on their own young people.
Angry young people without opportunities are good candidates for extremist and simplistic arguments."
Maria Cattaui

“Planning automobile cities focuses on saving time. Planning accessible cities focuses on time well spent” — R Cervero

"Society is as needful to us as air or food." William Ellery Channing

"Don't curse the darkness - light a candle." Chinese proverb

"Our house is burning down and we are blind to it. The earth and humankind are in danger and we are all responsible. It is time to open our eyes. Alarms are sounding across all continents. We cannot say we did not know! Climate warming is still reversible. Heavy would be the responsibility of those who refuse to fight it." French President Jacques Chirac, August, 2002

"We need places where we sit on the edges of the public realm and look in the mirror, to be reminded of who we really are." Chuck [6] / Urban sustainability

"The idea that the American model of liberal capitalism offers the widest scope for individual opportunity is the great ideological hoax of our times." David Clark

“I would like more than anything to have our own space in the community, because we always have to be looking for places to run our programs. I want to run them every day.”
Gloria Concepcion [7] / Chicago, Community resources

"Tell me and I will forget;
show me and I may remember;
involve me and I will understand" Confucius

“Empowering the individual and underinvesting in the collective is our great macro danger as a society,” Craig Charney.

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." Cree Indian Proverb

"I thought there would be failure modes, but I wasn't surprised that communities found ways around them. I thought it was important that when the organization proved to be wrong, people could reorganize on their own, that organization could emerge."

"It's a form of brainstorming that's bigger than one person standing at a flip chart,"

Ward Cunningham W, the inventor of the Wiki-wiki Web


"The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the reverse." ~ Herman E. Daly

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."

"There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns."

"Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists."

Edward de Bono

"We cannot solve global problems using half of the world's brain power." Monika Devikka

"Sometimes, even if he has to do it alone, and his conduct seems to be mad, a man must set an example, and so draw people's souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea does not die." Dostoyevsky [8]

"Aleida Arzeta dreams of a community center that would also function as a café and bakery, and a place where families could share social and emotional support.

Aleida, Gloria and I fantasize about the community center of their dreams. They envision a comprehensive center with education, business, social and health supports all in one – not a place where “experts” would provide “services” to people in need, but a place where real people would support each other, because we are all experts in something, and we all have needs." Kate Duva [9] / Chicago, Community resources


"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life." Earth Charter

A network entrepreneur understands that social change lives beyond any single organization, Nell Edgington [10]

Albert Einstein Head.jpg
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in it's beauty."

"For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create."

"I consider it important, indeed urgently necessary, for intellectual workers to get together, both to protect their own economic status and, also, generally speaking, to secure their influence in the political field." [11]

Albert Einstein [12]

"As a public health doctor, I know that by eliminating the local consequences of fossil fuel emissions, and lifting whole communities out of poverty, the Green New Deal will also be a Public Health New Deal." Abdul El-Sayed [13] / Health and wellbeing

"Amid a frenzy of conspicuous consumption, an inconspicuous revolution has been stirring. A growing number of people are seeking a way of life that is more satisfying and sustainable. This quiet revolution is being called by many names, including voluntary simplicity and compassionate living. But whatever its name, its hallmark is a new common sense - namely, that life is too deep and consumerism is too shallow to provide soulful satisfaction." Duane Elgin

"The new media are orientated towards action, not contemplation; towards the present, not tradition. It is wrong to regard media equipment as mere means of consumption." Hans Magnus Enzensberger

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach... It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes


"¡La semana no se te hace cuesta arriba si vas en bicicleta!" #FelizLunes [14]

"In technology reality must take precedence over public relations, because nature won’t be fooled" Richard Feynmann

"Where I live in Marin County, it was citizen action that instigated the preservation of hundreds of thousands of acres as open space and parkland; it was not government taking the initiative. That mostly happened in the pre-Internet days. Now that we’ve got the Net and there’s more talent, creativity and freedom in the civic sector than in government, it’s time that citizens once again take the lead in building tools and solving problems for their localities." cfigallo [15] / Community involvement

"Building a world where we meet our own needs without denying future generations a healthy society is not impossible, as some would assert. The question is where societies choose to put their creative efforts." Christopher Flavin

"All of it must begin with the 'whole'. When we open ourselves awe returns. This will get us out of the oppression of work. We need to return to nature rather than trying to master it. Our inner work is also community work. Schumacher: "We can each of us work to put our own inner houses in order". We should look at the inner houses of all the communities in which we live. We can do this through ritual and other forms of art. Part of it is letting go, particularly of self-pity. We need to move from a cynical society to a possible society. Business has the potential to lead the change. There is so much work needing to be done." Matthew Fox

"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ", Paulo Freire



This page includes Creative Commons Licensed content from the Sustainable community action wiki on Wikia.
The list of authors can be seen in the history, link via drop down menu at top left of page.

  1. World Watch Magazine, September/ October 2004
  2. magazine.ouishare.net
  3. YES! Magazine
  4. resilience.org September 15, 2015
  5. Patterns of Commoning
  6. confronting the urban mirror, August 27, 2011
  7. transitionnetwork.org
  8. 'The Brothers Karamazov'
  9. transitionnetwork.org
  10. Social Velocity
  11. Charter member, AFT - American Federation of Teachers, Princeton, New Jersey, USA 1938
  12. Albert Einstein on wikiquote
  13. The Alternative UK
  14. #FelizLunes
  15. pResilience, April 7, 2009