These are most of the quotations and excerpts used throughout this website.

Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product … counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

~ Robert F. Kennedy
Address at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

"The Theory of Anyway"
… 95% of what is needed to resolve the coming crises in energy depletion, or climate change, or most other global crises are the same sort of efforts. When in doubt about how to change, we should change our lives to reflect what we should be doing "Anyway."

Living more simply, more frugally, using less, leaving reserves for others, reconnecting with our food and our community, these are things we should be doing because they are the right thing to do on many levels. That they also have the potential to save our lives is merely a side benefit (a big one, though).

~ Sharon Astyk
The Theory of Anyway

Whether it’s a material item (shoes) or a non-material one (free time), how do you know when you have enough of something? “Enough” seems to reside at the sweet spot between needing more and wanting more. It’s a calm, settled, balanced place. Enough is a place where one easily feels gratitude and appreciation. At this sweet spot, we have access to the bigger picture and can gain perspective. When we stop at enough, the excess energy we would have used to secure more, becomes available for bringing creativity and ingenuity into our lives.

~ Suzita Cochran
What is "enough"?, Center for a New American Dream

Here's the bottom line: if the oil runs out, we won't be able to farm or trade this way any longer. And if we took global warming seriously, we'd stop doing it right now: compared with regional and local food systems, our national and international model releases five to seventeen times more carbon dioxide into the atmostphere.

~ Bill McKibben
Deep Economy, p. 66

"In a world of material goods and material exchange, trade is a zero-sum game," says inventor Dean Kamen. "I've got a hunk of gold and you have a watch. If we trade, then I have a watch and you have a hunk of gold. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange them, then we both have two ideas. It's nonzero."

~ Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Abundance, p. 46

Be it a small or big decision, unimportant or life changing, we’ve lost the habit of reflecting on why we are deciding things one way or another, or on whether our decision makes us happy, resonates with our values, and feeds our soul. I blame it on the crazy speed of life, the constant feeling that we might be wasting our time, that we should be doing things faster. And I blame it on this comfortable thing called inertia, the feeling that we can just go-with-the-flow and not think about anything.

~ Paula Abreu
The Lost Art of Asking Ourselves, Center for a New American Dream (It's worth reading the whole essay.)

The sustainability revolution will be organic. It will arise from the visions, insights, experiments and actions of billions of people. The burden of making it happen is not on the shoulders of any one person or group. No one will get the credit, but everyone can contribute.

Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows
Limits to Growth

"Wikipedia took one hundred million hours of volunteer time to create," says [Clay] Shirky. "How do we measure this relative to other uses of time? Well, TV watching, which is the largest use of time, takes two hundred billion hours every year—in the US alone. To put this in perspective, we spend a Wikipedia worth of time every weekend in the US watching advertisements alone. If we were to forgo our television addiction for just one year, the world would have over a trillion hours of cognitive surplus to commit to share projects." Imagine what we could do for the world's grand challenges with a trillion hours of focused attention.

Peter Diamandis and Steve Kotler
Abundance, p. 83

If some of these answers seem radical or far-fetched today, then I say wait until tomorrow. Soon it will be abundantly clear that it is business as usual that is utopian, whereas creating something very new and different is a practical necessity.

~ James Gustave Speth

Four basic human needs are:

  • Safety, security, and sustenance
  • Competence, efficacy, and self-esteem
  • Connectness
  • Autonomy and authenticity, pursuing activities that provide us with 'challenge, intent, and enjoyment,' and our ability to follow our own interests.

Our current way of doing things is unravelling community, pushing the biosphere to the edge of collapse, and leading to growing fragmentation, disempowerment and isolation.

Might it be that the Transition approach, of creating vibrant local economies with increased community ownership, meeting practical needs from as nearby as possible, and living well while consuming far less energy than we do today, could actually better meet our needs?

Rob Hopkins, The Transition Companion, describing Tim Kasser's work in The High Price of Materialism

I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.

~ Gilda Radner

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

~ Cicero

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.

Iris Murdoch
The Red and the Green

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.

Mark Twain
Taming the Bicycle

Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds. The airplane simply carries a man on its back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own.

Louis J. Helle, Jr
Spring in Washington

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

Ernest Hemingway

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.

John Howard

The history of clothing practices provides guidance for fashioning a new ethic that emphasizes quality over quantity, longevity over novelty, and versatility over specialization. With such an ethic, consumers would demand a shift toward more timeless design, away from fast-moving trends. Clothes could become more versatile in terms of what they can be used for, their ability to fit differently shaped bodies and to be altered.

~ Juliet Schor
Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the 21st Century

Striving for longevity through versatility facilitates what we might call an ecological or true materialism. … we are not truly materialist because we fail to invest deep or sacred meanings in material goods. Instead, our materialism connotes an unbounded desire to acquire followed by a throwaway mentality. True materialism could become part of a new ecological consciousness.

~ Juliet Schor
Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the 21st Century

It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.

Author Unknown

… an extraordinary and historic shift in how this country feeds, powers and houses itself is on the horizon, and we can all play a part in it. It will be a shift, or transition, that future generations will remember and celebrate.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, paraphrasing Rob Hopkins
The Transitions Companion, 2011

A bicycle does get you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun.

Bill Emerson,
"On Bicycling," Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967

Get ready for a smaller world. Soon, your food is going to come from a field much closer to home, and the things you buy will probably come from a factory down the road rather than one on the other side of the world. You will almost certainly drive less and walk more, and that means you will be shopping and working closer to home. Your neighbours and your neighbourhood are about to get a lot more important in the smaller tworld of the none-too-distant-future.

Jeff Rubin
Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, 2009

If we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late; if we act as individuals, it'll be too little; but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transitions movement

Sometimes I hear people respond to the disturbing facts of the climate crisis by saying, "Oh, this is so terrible, what a burden we have." I would like to ask you to reframe that. How many generations in all of human history have had the opportunity to rise to a challenge that is worthy of our best efforts, a challenge that can pull from us more that we knew we could do. I think we ought to approach this challenge with a sense of profound joy and gratitude that we are the generation about which a thousand years from now, philharmonic orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying, "They were the ones that found it within themselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future." Let's do that.

~ Al Gore, TED Talk

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.

H.G. Wells

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We have to go far quickly.

~ African proverb, extended by Al Gore,
TED Talk

As important as it is to change the lightbulbs, it is more important to change the laws.

~ Al Gore

I represent what is left of a vanishing race, and that is the pedestrian.... That I am still able to be here, I owe to a keen eye and a nimble pair of legs. But I know they'll get me someday.

~ Will Rogers

Walking takes longer … than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.

~ Edward Abbey, Walking

As a nation we are dedicated to keeping physically fit - and parking as close to the stadium as possibl

~ Bill Vaughan

The Americans never walk. In winter too cold and in summer too hot.

~ J.B. Yeats

As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.

~ John Locke

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

~ E.B. White

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.

~ Soren Kierkegaard

Riding a bicycle at reasonable speed on a good road is simply delightful. A speed three times that of walking is attained as easily as one rocks in a rocking chair. A ride at moonlight is a nerve tonic superior to all the compounds that Esculapius ever dreamed of.

~ E. C. Stearns & Company (based in Syracuse in the 1800s),
Advertisement - April 1893

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

~ Steven Wright

Sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

~ U.N. Commission on Environment and Development
Our Common Future

Since nature has the most sustainable ecosystem and since ultimately agriculture comes out of nature, our standard for a sustainable world should be nature's own ecosystem.

~ Wes Jackson

The great paradox is that there's not much we can actually do at a global level. The global condition is too multidimensional to respond to slam-bang solutions. It will only be through a multitude of diverse, localized strategies, each carried out with awareness of its larger context, that we will come together to alter the course of the planet in the next 20 years.

~ Steven Ames

If we attempt to preserve the consumer economy indefinitely, ecological forces will dismantle it savagely. If we proceed to dismantle it gradually ourselves, we will have the opportunity of replacing it with a low consumption economy that can endure.

~ Alan Thein Durning

Sustainable Extravagance: ... many of the loveliest, tastiest, most exciting pleasures on earth don't necessarily take a high toll on the environment. Occasional splurges—fancy cheese, a bubble bath, night on the town—offer far more satisfaction than the dreary day-to-day consumerism that demands so much time and money. And time itself can be the ultimate indulgence: Take a day away from working and shopping to do the things you really love

~ Jay Walljasper
Utne Reader March/April 1999

The interesting thing I learned was that if you're really concerned about your health, the best decisions for your health turn out to be the best decisions for the farmers and the best decisions for the environment—and that there is no contradiction there.

~ Michael Pollan
Table Talk: A Conversation with Michael Pollan

I think that there's some brainwashing going on with this idea that we don't have time to cook anymore. We have made cooking seem much more complicated than it is, and part of that comes from watching cooking shows on television—we've turned cooking into a spectator sport. …My wife and I both work, and we can get a very nice dinner on the table in a half hour. It would not take any less time for us to drive to a fast-food outlet and order, sit down, and bus our table.

~ Michael Pollan
Table Talk: A Conversation with Michael Pollan

It's easier to turn an aquarium into fish soup than to turn fish soup into an aquarium.

~ Russian saying

There's no sacrifice in eating well, there is no sacrifice in pleasure. To the contrary, the best-grown food is actually the tastiest.

~ Michael Pollan
Table Talk: A Conversation with Michael Pollan

If you send it halfway around the world before it is eaten, an organic food still may be 'good' for the consumer, but is it 'good' for the food system?

~ Gary Paul Nabhan

The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone.

~ Janine Benyus
author of Biomimicry

Throughout history, we have told stories of heroes who undertook extraordinary journeys, which combined an inner and an outer journey.

Often they go something like this: a likeable but flawed character (Frodo, Harry Potter, Jason of the Argonauts) is faced with a challenge/problem that seems impossible and for which they feel hopelessly unequipped. They set out on a journey (either literal or metaphorical), overcome the problem and in the process discover they are a hero.

To do this they have to go on a journey that transforms them, and on which they are required to take on challenges they feel unprepared for and find new strengths and inner resources.

The process of shifting our society on the scale it needs to shift, in the time that we have available, requires a story of such magnitude. At the moment it looks impossible, yet the situation demands courage, commitment and intention from us. In those stories, our heroes don't have a clear sense of where they are going, but they know which general direction to head in and some of the key stages their journey will need to pass through.

This book [The Transitions Companion] is designed as the companion for a hero, such as yourself, setting out on such an adventure, one that we need to be embarking on in our millions, and not as solitary heroes but working with others.

We can't do this alone.

The idea of the solitary hero can be quite an unhealthy one, and we need to pool our efforts and be heroic together!

Rob Hopkins,
The Transitions Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times, 2011

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and has has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.

~ Wendell Berry

Factory farming, of course, does not cause all the world's problems, but is is remarkable just how many of them intersect there.

~ Jonathan Safran Foer

What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?

~ Thoreau

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.

~ Wendell Berry

Americans import Danish sugar cookies, and Danes import American sugar cookies. Exchanging recipes would surely be more efficient.

Herman Daly, economist

If is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to imprrove the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope; and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

~ Robert F. Kennedy

The character of a whole society is the cumulative result of countless small actions, day in and day out, of millions of persons.

~ Duane Elgin

I like paper. I like it a lot—its weightless strength, its inviting blankness. I like how it waits, the clean white rectangle framed by the smooth oak of my desk. The oak grain ripples and catches the light like no petroleum byproduct ever could. … But despite my love affair with forest products, a log truck going by on the highway makes me sad, especially on a rainy day when clumps of moss still cling to the trunks, watered by the dirty spray of passing semis. Just days ago, when those logs were still trees, these same mosses were full of forest moisture and not the diesel wash thrown up by tires on I-5. I can't help but poke at my own inconsistency, like a tongue probing at a loose tooth. I surround myself with real forest products, yet rail against the clear-cuts my desires create. …I'm caught in the same conflict that we see on the fragmented landscape. ~ Robin Kimmerer, Gathering Moss, pp. 143-144

Only after the last tree has been cut; Only after the last river has been poisoned; Only after the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten

~ Cree Indian Prophecy

Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.
~ Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1833

Feeling that morality has nothing to do with the way you use the resources of the world is an idea that can't persist much longer. If it does, then we won't.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

We have inherited the past; we can create the future.
~ Unknown

At the individual level, we face two significant psychological barriers [to making these lifestyle changes]. First, we find it difficult to fully grasp the enormity of living at a time when we are destroying the natural systems on which all life (and the global economy) depends. Somehow that reality does not seem real.

Second, we are not able to respond to threats that are remote in time and space. For example, I might believe that future generations are threatened as certainly as a child on a railroad track in front of a speeding train. For that child, I might risk my life. For future generations, I find it difficult to even forego comforts.

~ DIck Roy, of the Northwest Earth Institute

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. . . . Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, 'Too late.' … Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

If it is reasonable action which is by nature beneficial to truth and justice, then by abandoning procrastination and discouragement, the more you encounter obstruction, the more you should strengthen your courage and make effort. That is the conduct of a wise and good person. There comes a time in all of our lives when silence is a betrayal.

~ Dalai Lama XIV

In years to come, as our children struggle with the deadly consequences of global warming, they will ask us the same terrible questions asked after the abolition of slavery, after the fall of Third Reich, after the civil rights movement finally put an end to the shame of legal segregation—the same awful and incredulous questions asked of every human being complacent in the face of evil: How could you not have known? Knowing what you knew, how could you have failed to act?

~ Rev. Fred Small, global warming activist, folksinger and composer

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.

~ Rabbi Kushner, Living a Life of Meaning

I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.

~ Albert Schweitzer

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.

~ Eric Hoffer

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

~ Cicero

Since the Earth is finite, and we will have to stop expanding sometime, should we do it before or after nature's diversity is gone?

~ Donella Meadows

Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don't want.

~ Marianne Williamson

Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.

~ Will Rogers

Our survival depends on the healing power of love, intimacy and relationships. As individuals. As communities. As a country. As a culture. Perhaps even as a species.

~ Dean Ornish

Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day.

~ E. B. White

The 20th Century was about getting around. The 21st Century will be about staying in a place worth staying in.

~ James Kuntsler

When you have Enough, you have everything you need. There's nothing extra to weigh you down, distract, or distress you. Enough is a fearless place. A trusting place. An honest and self-observant place … To let go of clutter, then, is not deprivation; it's lightening up and opening up space and time for something new and wonderful to happen.

~ Vicki Robin

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

For all objects and experiences, there is a quantity that has optimum vlaue. Above that quantity, the variable becomes toxic. To fall below that value is to be deprived.

~ Gregory Bateson

The food industrialists have by now persuaded millions of consumers to prefer food that is already prepared. They will grow, deliver, and cook your food for you and (just like your mother) beg you to eat it. That they do not yet offer to insert it, prechewed, into our mouth is only because they have found no profitable way to do so.

~ Wendell Berry

Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm. The genius of American farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and neatly divide it into two problems.

~ Wendell Berry

Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.

~ English proverb

Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.

~ Thomas Jefferson

I'm not sure if my involvement in causes, benefits, marches, and demonstrations has made a huge difference, but I know one thing: that involvement has connected me with the good people: people with the live hearts, the live eyes, the live heads.

~ Pete Seeger

You never change something by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

~ Buckminster Fuller

In the end this is about a change of heart. If that does not happen alongside the windmills, I'm not sure there's really any point.

Overheard at a Transition meeting
The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins

We are the leaders that we have been waiting for. We are the social innovators and entrepreneurs that we have been seeking.

~ Duane Elgin

It's time for a new way of valuing the world and our place in it. The good news is that curing the pandemic of overconsumption at both the personal and cultural scale is not about giving up the good life but getting it back.

~ David Wann
Simple Prosperity, pp. 1-2

Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don't want.

~ Marianne Williamson

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterpirses? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.

~ Henry David Thoreau

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Cooking for yourself is the only sure way to take back control of your diet from the food scientists and food processors, and to guarantee you're eating real food rather than edible foodlike substances, with their unhealthy oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and surfeit of salt.

~ Michael Pollan
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

~ Michael Pollan
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Time does not change us, it just unfolds us.

~ Mark Frisch

The great end of life is not knowledge but action.

~ T. H. Huxley

The revolution starts at the bottom.

~ Yvon Chouinard

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

~ William James

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow