11th Hour Quotes



When you look at the history of humanity it’s basically a relationship between the two most complicated systems on Earth: human society and nature.

Our biosphere is sick. We have a planet that’s behaving like an infected organism.

What I hear in my dreams is generations in the future screaming back to us in time, saying “What are you doing, don’t you see?”

We’ve evolved to be the leaders of our biological community and we are mis-leading. We are causing the devastation to our very foundation of our life system that has given us birth. And we are ultimately committing suicide.

…the greatest challenge of our time: the collapse of our planet’s ecosystems and our search for solutions to create a sustainable future.

Life on Earth is possible only because a number of parameters lie in certain very narrow ranges.

A fundamental illusion in the world is that people are separate from nature.

Our culture is built on the assumption that we are the superior life form on Earth. That we are separate from all other life forms. That we have been given dominion over all other life forms.

In focusing on the economy we’ve I think we’ve forgotten these ancient truths. These ancient wisdoms that kept us plugged into nature…and understanding that “Gee, if we do something to offend the natural world we’ll pay a price for that.” We have to treat nature much more gently. That’s the lesson that we’ve forgotten and that we’re paying a price for today.

What happened after the industrial revolution was that nature was converted into a resource and that resource was seen as, essentially, eternally abundant. This led to the idea and the conception behind progress which is limitless growth, limitless expansion.

The real problem is that there are too many of us using too many resources too fast…oil has enabled us to do that. We use oil to increase the rate at which we extract all other resources…everything from topsoil to fresh water, from aluminium to zinc.

When we started feeding off of the fossil-fuel cycle we began living with a death-based cycle. That death cycle of dependency on extraction of those resources set in motion a sequence of events that has led us to our modern crisis of global disturbance known as climate change, or global warming.

One of the most serious consequences of our actions is global warming…the danger is that the temperature increase might become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already. Drought and deforestation…the warming of the seas and the melting of the ice sheets…will increase the temperature further.

The problem is that humans are competing with nature in that when we use tail pipes and smokestacks to put our wastes into the atmosphere as if it’s some kind of unpriced sewer.

What global warming does, or what the climate changes linked to global warming do, is add another dimension of uncertainty. It threatens your food security, for example, it threatens your water security, your sea-level security and your security against storms and hurricanes.

[A 10 meter sea level rise caused by global warming would led to an enormous amount of environmental refugees] USA – 23 million people displaced, China – 144 million people displaced; Netherlands – 21 million people displaced; Bangladesh – 63 million people displaced.

Global warming’s real and it’s destructive and its impacts defy the imagination…And Earth is hurting. And humans have not figured out how to change their ways. And we’re the culprit.

The problem that confronts us is that every living thing in the biosphere is in decline and the rate of decline is accelerating. Living systems are our coral reefs, they’re our climatic stability, forest cover, the oceans themselves, aquifers, water, the conditions of the soil, biodiversity…There isn’t one living system that is stable or is improving. And those living systems provide the basis for all life.

70 countries in the world no longer have any intact or original forests.

As we have removed trees from along the edges of very dry areas that desertification has spread to where there used to be forests.

Well over 39% of the soils of the planet have been put into the category of seriously degraded. And the practice of agriculture is eroding that ecological capital.

The simple fact is: ecosystems that sustain life are unraveling. Systems that have evolved for hundreds of millions of years. The evidence is now clear: Industrial civilization has caused irreparable damage…and our impact is only accelerating.

The greatest weapon of mass destruction is corporate economic globalization.

Today, ecosystems, forests, streams, lakes, rivers have no rights. They’re properties. Which means they can be bought, sold, destroyed, traded, carved up. Under this structure of law, you’re either property or you’re a person. And it’s very clear that nature is property.

People say, “Gee, why aren’t politicians responding to the global climate crisis?” It’s because they respond to a higher power, unfortunately. Right now, that higher power is the fossil-fuel industry.

What we need to do is find a harmony between people and nature. One of the only ways to do that is to recognize that nature has rights too.

the most basic thing to understand about our global economic system is that it’s a sub-system. And it’s a subsystem of a larger system. That larger system is the biosphere… The problem, of course, is that our subsystem, the economy, is geared for growth. It’s all set up to grow, to expand whereas the parent system doesn’t grow. It remains the same size. So as the economy grows, it displaces, it encroaches upon the biosphere.

It’s possible to do a crude estimate of what it would cost us to replace nature…$35 trillion a year to do what nature is doing for us for nothing. To put that into perspective, if you added up all of the annual economies of the world it comes to $18 trillion. Nature is doing twice as much service for us as the economies of the world. And in the madness of conventional economics [nature] isn’t even in the equation.

[Economic growth] is not an end, it’s a means. We’ve flipped the ends and the means. If we can get the end back, quality of life, we have to look at the contradictions because the wrong kind of growth reduced our quality of life.

For every truckload of product with lasting value 32 truckloads of waste are produced.

Clearly, we cannot continue to dig up the Earth and turn it to waste.

In our modern globalized world, growth continues to be the focus of many corporations and governments who deplete our environment for economic gain.

The problem is not a problem of technology. The problem is not a problem of too much carbon dioxide. The problem is not a problem of global warming. The problem is not a problem of waste. All of those things are symptoms of the problem. The problem is the way that we are thinking. The problem is fundamentally a cultural problem.

While everything’s getting bigger; our bathtubs, our houses, our vehicles, our waistlines – we’re running out of time. We have less of the things we really care about.

Anesthetized by our own wealth, we forget how most of the world lives.

You have to change the idea behind limitless expansion. In a phrase, from well-having to well-being.

We numb our senses from morning till night. Whether it’s with noise or loud music or light at night. Nobody sees the beauty. We’ve lost the beauty of the world, and we make up for it by attempting to conquer the world or own the world, possess the world.

One can see from space how the human race has changed the Earth. Nearly all the available land has been cleared of forest and is now used for agriculture or urban development. Human exploitation of the planet is reaching a critical limit. But human demands and expectations are ever-increasing. We cannot continue to pollute the atmosphere, poison the ocean and exhaust the land. There isn’t any more available.

50 to 55 000 species a year are going extinct because of us. The tragedy is not the immanent or potential extinction of humankind but the enormous extinction crisis that we’re causing right now.

If human beings are the source of the problem we can be the foundation of the solution

The great thing about the dilemma we’re in is that we get to re-imagine every single thing we do. What a great time to be born, what a great time to be alive because this generation gets to essentially completely change the world.

Taking action on climate change is good for jobs and good for the economy.

Anybody of any age can vote because you vote every day that you pay for something. Every time you lay money down on a counter to buy something you are saying that “I approve of this object. I approve of how it was made, the materials that are in it and what’s going to happen to it when I no longer need it and throw it away.”

We need to be slower and we need to be smarter. Slow movement means disengaging from consumerism as the main avenue of experience. It says “We’re not going to live our lives mediated by the marketplace or what’s being sold, we won’t make our identities and meaning based on that.” Instead of the long commute, the bigger car, the bigger house, understand that things are thieves of time. Because the more things you have, the more time you have to spend working, the more your life is chained to a rhythm to get those things.

The deterioration of the environment is an outward mirror of an inner condition. Like inside, like outside.

The Earth will regenerate. Because the Earth has all the time in the world and we don’t…




[It would cost about] $93 billion dollars a year [to restore the Earth]. This includes reforestation, it includes setting aside marine reserves so fisheries can recover, and it includes soil conservation. A whole series of things designed to stabilize the Earth’s ecosystem, to protect the natural systems on which the global economy depends. When you combine that with eradicating poverty and stabilizing population…then we’re looking at a total budget of something like $161 billion a year…only a third of the U.S. military budget.



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