“As we destroy nature, we will be destroyed in the process. There’s no escaping that conclusion.”

“We’ve evolved to be the leaders of our biological community. We are misleading.”

“I think our attitudes are based on selfishness; based on the economic situation we have; based on the politics we have! I mean, how many governments in the world have really taken the environmental crisis for what it is?””

 “When we all talk about saving the environment, in a way, it’s misstated cause the environment is going to survive. WE may not survive.”


What is a Friend?

Some stories from the book Thinking Trees and Laughing Cats (A Thinking Curriculum for Pre-School Education), a book published by the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC). These stories are meant to be introduction stories for a philosophical discussion with children (and adults, too!). I spent two weeks in New Jersey, USA just inhaling and exhaling the philosophies of Philosophy for Children (how redundant). This is one of the books I really liked. Enjoy 🙂

photo from


One day, the teacher asked the children to draw pictures of their friends.  The next day they were showing their pictures to the class.  There were picture of boys and girls from the class.  Some pictures were really nice.

Now it was Elfie’s turn to show her picture.  Her picture was different from the others.  It was a picture of a pine-tree.  Some kids started laughing.  Elfie said, “My father planted this pine-tree near our house when I was born.  We are growing together.  And we are good friends.”

 Everyone was silent.  The children were looking at the picture and thinking.

photo from


One day, Robin showed Sara a small green frog in his hand.  Robin said to Sara, “This frog is my friend.”

 Sara asked, “Why is this frog your friend?”

 Robin thought a bit, then said, “Well, I played with this frog today.  We hopped on the rock together.  I think if we play together, we are friends—aren’t we?”

 “I’m not sure,” Sara answered.  “I played with a ball today.  Does that mean the ball is my friend?”

 Robin laughed and said, “How could a ball be your friend?  Balls aren’t alive!”

Sara said, “Do you think only living things can be friends?”

 This made Robin stop and think.  And after he thought, he said, “Yes, I think so.  A thing can’t be your friend if it isn’t alive.  Can it?”

 Sara didn’t answer right away.  She looked down at the small green frog.  She petted it gently.

 “Well?” Robin said.  Sara looked up at him.  “I was just thinking about my doll, Harper,” she said.

Click this to view the whole book (with exercises)

Quotes from Songs: Colors of the Wind

COLORS OF THE WIND (from the movie Pocahontas)

You think I’m an ignorant savage
And you’ve been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don’t know?
You don’t know …

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know
And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you’ll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

View the video clip here

Quotes: On Environment

“Everybody wants to help save the Earth, but nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.”

–Tom McMahon

 “The era of procrastination, half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
–Winston Churchill

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”
–Andy Warhol

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
–Mahatma Gandhi

“It is ignorance that makes us kill what we do not know.”
–Author Unknown

“Modern technology owes ecology an apology.”
–Alan M. Eddison

“Humans are the only creatures in this world who cut the trees, made paper from it and then wrote SAVE TREES on it.”

“In America today you can murder land for private profit.  You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops.”
–Paul Brooks, The Pursuit of Wilderness, 1971

“Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find.”
–Quoted in Time

“When a man throws an empty cigarette package from an automobile, he is liable to a fine of $50.  When a man throws a billboard across a view, he is richly rewarded.”
–Pat Brown, quoted in David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising, 1985

“Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us.”
–Henrik Tikkanen

“Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.”
–Michel de Montaigne, translated

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ”
–Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

“Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible – or even sinful – that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes!”
–Paul MacCready, Jr.

“Newspapers:  dead trees with information smeared on them.”
–Horizon, “Electronic Frontier”

“They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.”
–James G. Watt, quoted in Newsweek, 8 March 1982

“The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.”
–Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958

“I am the earth.  You are the earth.  The Earth is dying.  You and I are murderers.”
–Ymber Delecto

“The packaging for a microwavable “microwave” dinner is programmed for a shelf life of maybe six months, a cook time of two minutes and a landfill dead-time of centuries. ”
–David Wann, Buzzworm, November 1990

“So bleak is the picture… that the bulldozer and not the atomic bomb may turn out to be the most destructive invention of the 20th century.”
–Philip Shabecoff, New York Times Magazine, 4 June 1978

“Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress.”
–John Clapham, A Concise Economic History of Britain, 1957

“Why do people give each other flowers?  To celebrate various important occasions, they’re killing living creatures?  Why restrict it to plants?  “Sweetheart, let’s make up.  Have this deceased squirrel.”
–The Washington Post

“Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature.”
–Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future, 1964

“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.”
–Robert Lynd, The Blue Lion and Other Essays

“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty.  The activist is the man who cleans up the river.”
–Ross Perot

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”
-Elwyn Brooks White, Essays of E.B. White, 1977

“Civilization… wrecks the planet from seafloor to stratosphere.”
–Richard Bach

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ”
–Ansel Adams

“We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them.  We say we love trees, yet we cut them down.  And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved.”
–Author Unknown

“Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.”
–Motto of the Baltimore Grotto, a caving society

“Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?”
–Pierre Troubetzkoy

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
–Richard P. Feynman

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”
–Chief Seattle, 1855

“You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.”
–Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Understanding the laws of nature does not mean that we are immune to their operations.”
–David Gerrold

“Remember when atmospheric contaminants were romantically called stardust?”
–Lane Olinghouse

“Our environmental problems originate in the hubris of imagining ourselves as the central nervous system or the brain of nature.  We’re not the brain, we are a cancer on nature.”
–Dave Foreman, Harper’s, April 1990″The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.”
–Carl Sagan

“We have been god-like in the planned breeding of our domesticated plants, but rabbit-like in the unplanned breeding of ourselves.”
–Arnold Toynbee”As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us:  “With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas,” or, “They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them.”
–U Thant, speech, 1970

“The command “Be fruitful and multiply” was promulgated, according to our authorities, when the population of the world consisted of two people.”
–William Ralph Inge, More Lay Thoughts of a Dean, 1931

“The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves.  We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.”
–Al Gore

“This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature had proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.”
–Michael L. Fischer, Harper’s, July 1990

“The word “wilderness” occurs approximately three hundred times in the Bible, and all its meanings are derogatory.”
–René Dubos, The Wooing of Earth, 1980

“We’re finally going to get the bill for the Industrial Age.  If the projections are right, it’s going to be a big one:  the ecological collapse of the planet.”
–Jeremy Rifkin, World Press Review, 30 December 1989

“When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal.  When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.”
–Joseph Wood Krutch

“In its broadest ecological context, economic development is the development of more intensive ways of exploiting the natural environment.”
–Richard Wilkinson

“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”
-Cree Prophecy (American Indian Wisdom)

“When we show respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.”
-Arapaho Proverb

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
-Edward Hillary

“The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears or the sea.”
-Izac Dinesan

“The well-being of humans is dependent upon the ecological soundness and health of many plant and animal communities, while their soundness does not in the least depend upon human well-being. Indeed, from their standpoint, the very existence of humans is quite unncessary. On the contrary, many of them would be greatly benefited.”
-Paul Taylor, Biocentric Egalitarianism

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”
-William Wordsworth

BIG YELLOW TAXI (Joni Mitchell)

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
With a pink hotel, a boutique,
And a swinging hot spot.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum.
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Hey, farmer, farmer, put away that D.D.T., now!
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees, please!
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Late last night I heard the screen door slam.
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.