Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Stewart Udall, Fully Stewart Lee Udall

American Political Leader, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

"A land ethic for tomorrow should be as honest as Thoreau's Walden, and as comprehensive as the sensitive science of ecology. It should stress the oneness of our resources and the live-and-help-live logic of the great chain of life. If, in our haste to "progress," the economics of ecology are disregarded by citizens and policy makers alike, the result will be an ugly America."

"If you want inner peace find it in solitude... and if you would find yourself, look to the land from which you came and to which you go."

"It is obvious that the best qualities in man must atrophy in a standing-room-only environment."

"The most common trait of all primitive peoples is a reverence for the life-giving earth, and the Native American shared this elemental ethic: the land was alive to his loving touch, and he, its son, was brother to all creatures."

"Intoxicated with the power to manipulate nature, some misguided men have produced a rationale to replace the Myth of Superabundance. It might be called the Myth of Scientific Supremacy, for it rests on the rationalization that the scientists can fix everything tomorrow."

"We have, I fear, confused power with greatness."

"Today the conservation movement finds itself turning back to ancient Indian land ideas, to the Indian understanding that we are not outside of nature, but of it... In recent decades we have slowly come back to some of the truths that the Indian knew from the beginning; that unborn generations have a claim on the land equal to our own; that men need to keep an ear to the earth, and to replenish their spirits in frequent contacts with animals and wild land."

"Where nature is concerned, familiarity breeds love and knowledge, not contempt."

"Gross National Product is our Holy Grail."

"If you want inner peace, find it in solitude, not speed, and if you would find yourself, look to the land from which you came and to which you go."

"I have the old-fashioned view that it’s important to have ties with the land. I feed my wife’s birds every morning. I’m losing a lot of my piñon trees, but I’m trying to water and save what I can. I think there’s hope. Maybe this big burst of growth will subside and people in the West will again see how rich they are in terms of the environment that surrounds them and how important it is to preserve it."

"Mining is like a search-and-destroy mission."

"Over the long haul of life on this planet, it is the ecologists, and not the bookkeepers of business, who are the ultimate accountants."

"The most common trait of all primitive peoples is a reverence for the life-giving earth, and the Native American shared this elemental ethic: The land was alive to his loving touch, and he, its son, was brother to all creatures."

"The Atomic Age was born in secrecy, and for two decades after Hiroshima, the high priests of the cult of the atom concealed vital information about the risks to human health posed by radiation. Dr. Alice Stewart, an audacious and insightful medical researcher, was one of the first experts to alert the world to the dangers of low-level radiation."

"Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man."

"We stand today poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space and of an overall environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight. This, in brief, is the quiet conservation crisis."

"America today stands poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space, and of an over-all environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight."

"A limit on the automobile population of the United States would be the best of news for our cities. The end of automania would save open spaces, encourage wiser land use, and contribute greatly to ending suburban sprawl."

"As the master politician navigates the ship of state, he both creates and responds to public opinion. Adept at tacking with the wind, he also succeeds, at times, in generating breezes of his own."

"Auto executives have shunned the limits-of-growth issues and concentrated nearly all their energies on the next quarter's sales and next year's models."

"Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth."

"Each generation has its own rendezvous with the land, for despite our fee titles and claims of ownership, we are all brief tenants on this planet. By choice, or by default, we will carve out a land legacy for our heirs."

"I like the story about Henry David Thoreau, who, when he was on his death bed, his family sent for a minister. The minister said, 'Henry, have you made your peace with God?' Thoreau said, 'I didn't know we'd quarreled.'"

"I plowed fields with horses and worked as a hired hand in high school for 50 cents a day."

"I think the Colorado Plateau is the most scenic area in the world - let's begin with that. Not just the United States."

"If, in our haste to 'progress,' the economics of ecology are disregarded by citizens and policy makers alike, the result will be an ugly America. We cannot afford an America where expedience tramples upon esthetics and development decisions are made with an eye only on the present."

"For those who want to understand the issues of the environmental crisis, Encounters with the Archdruid is a superb book. McPhee reveals more nuances of the value revolution that dominates the new age of ecology than most writers could pack into a volume twice as long. I marvel at his capacity to listen intently and extract the essence of a man and his philosophy in the fewest possible words."

"I am not proposing that we bring our oil and auto industries to a screeching halt. There is still time to begin a series of gradual steps toward new transportation and energy policies, livable cities, and more humane, efficient transit systems."

"I don't like the term 'dynasty.'"

"In a region with a growing population, if you're doing nothing, you're losing ground."

"In the first weeks after Hiroshima, extravagant statements by President Truman and other official spokesmen for the U.S. government transformed the inception of the atomic age into the most mythologized event in American history."

"Lady Bird Johnson did more than plant flowers in public places. She served the country superbly by planting environmental values in the minds of the nation's leaders and citizens."

"Nature will take precedence over the needs of the modern man."

"Nuclear energy people perceive the greenhouse effect as a fresh wind blowing at their back."

"One of the best things that came out of the Carter administration was the energy policy. The best things in it were renewable energy."

"Society as we know it is almost a conspiracy against human health. One of the main forces working to counteract that is the trailsman."

"The auto industry must acknowledge that a rational transportation policy should seek a balance between individual convenience, the efficient use of limited resources, and urban-living values that protect spaciousness, natural beauty, and human-scale mobility."

"The choice facing the American people is not between growth and stagnation, but between short-term growth and long-term disaster."

"The environmental effects of the automobile are well known: motor vehicles cause, for example, as much as 75 percent of the noise and 80 percent of the air pollution in our cities, and the industry must face mounting pressure from environmentalists."

"The Indians may have in their religion and culture a reverence for the land. But then they get into the pressures created by modern society. Unless they are reasonably well-educated, they can't deal with them."

"The real story of the settlement of the West was work, not conquest."

"There's not a single person in Arizona today who would say the Grand Canyon was a mistake."

"To those who complain of the complexity of modern life, he [Henry David Thoreau] might reply, If you want inner peace find it in solitude, not speed, and if you would find yourself, look to the land from which you came and to which you go."

"Wilderness, like the national park system, was an American idea."