Earth Day Information Center: Quotes About the Environment

  • “Using less wood is logically inconsistent with reducing C02 emissions on this planet. So the solution is to grow more trees and use more wood.  And the public is being told, unfortunately, the opposite by many people — and they’re getting the impression that by using less wood we can save the trees. 80% of all the timber produced in the United States, for example, is from private land. Why is that? Because private landowners can make money growing trees, because people want wood. If those private landowners had no market for wood, they’d clear the forest away and grow something else that they could make money from instead. When you go into a lumber yard, you’re given the impression that by buying wood you’re causing the forest to be lost, when in fact what you’re doing is sending a signal into the market to plant more trees. That’s why there’s just about the same area of forest in the United States today as there was a hundred years ago. And that’s why there’s no more land being used for agriculture today than there was a hundred years ago. It’s because of high-yield agriculture.” – Greenpeace cofounder and former director Patrick Moore, April 30, 2002, available at

  • “The United States made the connection between polluted air and public health decades ago and has worked steadily to reduce harmful emissions, down fully half in 30 years…  By virtually any measure, the air we breathe in the United States is cleaner today than at any time since we started monitoring air quality back in 1970.” – Jeffrey R. Holmstead, Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, June 2005 issue of the State Department’s electronic journal, Global Issues, available at

  • “The solutions that are being offered by the environmentalist movement are quite often in total opposition to the objectives that we are trying to achieve: protection of the environment, feeding people… And why? It’s because those solutions are designed to split people from the land and the water. They are designed to keep people further and further and further away from the realities of this world. And they are designed to take away from the debate and the protection and conservation of the environment, human elements such as creativeness, innovation, and initiative.” – World Conservation Trust Foundation president and former executive director of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species Eugene Lapointe, April 30, 2002, available at

  • “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.” – Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and father of the “Green Revolution,” available at

  • “Energy production techniques are as different today as the computer you are carrying is as different from the one you used two decades ago. If you imagine that the front page of your daily newspaper represents the total area of Alaska the footprint of energy development in a small section of ANWR would be represented by a single letter on that front page – 2,000 acres.” – Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, December 12, 2005, available at

  • “The U.S record of achievement in addressing environmental issues over the past 30 years is impressive. Today, we treasure the clear skylines of our great cities, the swimable waters of lakes and rivers, and our national parks, forests, and wilderness areas. The symbol of our nation, the bald eagle, can be seen again nesting within 35 kilometers of the nation’s capital.” – Dr. Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, June 2005 issue of the State Department’s electronic journal, Global Issues, available at

  • “What is clear to me after close to 20 years of trying to make ESA (Endangered Species Act) work, is that-from the outside, in deference to you trying to do it from the inside-is that on private lands at least, we don’t have very much to show for our efforts other than a lot of political headaches.  And so some new approaches, I think, desperately need to be tried because they’re not going to do much worse than the existing approaches.” – Environmental Defense president Michael Bean in a speech delivered at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service training seminar in 1994, available at

  • “The incentives are wrong here.  If a rare metal is on my property the value of my land goes up. But if a rare bird is on my property the value of my property goes down. We’ve got to turn it around to make the landowner want to have the bird on his property.” – US Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director Sam Hamilton, available at

  • “With all that has happened in the state, it’s understandable that the Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club may not have updated its website. But when its members get around to it, they may want to change the wording of one item in particular. The site brags that the group is ‘working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin,’ which adjoins the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans, ‘wet and wild.’…These words may seem especially inappropriate after the breaking of the levee that caused the tragic events in New Orleans last week. But ‘wet and wild’ has a larger significance in light of those events, and so does the group using the phrase. The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees.” – Competitive Enterprise Institute Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow John Berlau, available at

  • “Despite the mayor’s apparent incompetence, these floodgates environmental activists sued to prevent from being constructed may have kept a flood from consuming the city to the extent it did in the first place. The current programs aimed at reinforcing existing levees but would only prove effective against a level three hurricane; they were not adequate for a level five storm like Katrina. Moreover, they did not fortify the specific areas the government sought to protect, to keep Lake Pontchartrain from flooding the entire city, which everyone knew posed a danger to a city below sea level. In other words, this plan would have saved thousands of lives and kept one of the nation’s greatest cities from lying in ruins for a decade…  At a minimum, [the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Barrier Project] would have staved off a significant portion of the disaster that’s unfolded before our eyes…  Worse yet, the environmentalists’ ultimate decision to reinforce existing levees may have actually further harmed the Big Easy. There is at least one expert who claims the New Orleans levees made no difference – in fact, they contributed to the problem. Deputy Director of the LSU Hurricane Center and Director of the Center for the Study Public Health Impacts by Hurricanes Ivor van Heerden said, ‘The levees have literally starved our wetlands to death by directing all of that precious silt out into the Gulf of Mexico.'” – Michael P. Tremoglie, “New Orleans: A Green Genocide,” September 8, 2005, available at

  • “I believe we have learned how to master the problem of environmental quality. Both air and water pollution have been virtually eliminated in developed nations. The main problem now is poverty in the rest of the world; once that is solved, environmental problems will be taken care of.” – Dr. S. Fred Singer in an interview, available at

  • “Progress since the ‘good old days’ is even more dramatic. In 1905, average US life expectancy was 47 years; today it’s 78. Few homes had electricity; instead, coal and wood fires created clouds of pollution, and the average home generated 5,000 pounds of wood or coal ash a year… Over 3 million horses worked in American cities — producing 11 million tons of manure and 9 million gallons of urine annually. Most got left on streets or dumped into rivers; during summers, manure dust was a primary cause of tuberculosis. In New York City alone, crews had to remove 15,000 horse carcasses from streets every year… The arrival of automobiles changed all that. It also meant we no longer needed vast forage and pasture land for horses, modern farming began increasing production per acre, and we’ve been able to add a million acres of new US forestland annually since 1910.” – Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow Senior Fellow and Congress for Racial Equality Senior Policy Advisor Paul Driessen, April 22, 2005, available at

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.