Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too and join with me in a discussion on what we can learn.

The proverb and quotes this week focus on environmental concerns.

I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn

– Nigerian Chief


The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river

– Ross Perot

and a final quote this week:

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them

– Albert Einstein

The Nigerian Chief recognized that we can never truly own the land. We are merely transient tenants. Inherent in this saying, is the understanding of the mortality of ourselves and of our planet.

Of environmental problems, can they be solved by increasing and augmenting awareness? Or can one team or sector of society make a difference? I think it needs to be a cooperative, collaborative team effort. A problem tackled by all, and for all, ages. Yet, in our our little corner of space, we can change the world for the better. But, if we heed Einstein’s quote – can everyone do that?

Linking also to the Three day Quote challenge over at Purple Pumpernickel.

Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder About


26 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom”

            1. A very disturbing and bleak period of history in the American continent. Thank you ever do much Andrew for sharing it. We have had, and continue to have, similar experiences, here in Australia, albeit on a smaller scale. People fixated on short term profits by necessity or greed might irrevocably damage the land and the fragile ecosystems in maintaining methods of agriculture that don’t sync naturally with that landscape and soil type. Pumping water and pesticides/ fertilizers on the land to force high yields/production seems dim-witted and counter productive, both environmentally and economically, in the long term. I fear the lesson and Roosevelt’s warning have not yet been properly learnt. How do we get that message through?


            2. Sad to say that is true. We never learn despite the history lessons and media exposure. Sometimes human beings are so ignorant. How do we stop that?


  1. oh how nice, new quotes on environmental protection!
    I think we are not even tenants, because we pay nothing … we are guests and should behave like that. And since we can not live without our host, we should be more careful. The activist is certainly the one who lives his life according to his conviction. Most people have a lack of discipline and persistence (I do not exclude myself). But laws are also important because some people need this official pressure. And most important is upbringing and education. If you have learned from an early age that you turned off lights and water when not needed and of course that you do not throw rubbish on the street,…. then you do not even come up with such thoughts.
    In order to solve problems, we must always look for something smaller and in the details. … as far as environmental protection is concerned … we can not undo anything and the problems are global. If we can solve it, it’s only if it is consistently tackled on a small scale … ideally, every person gets an “I-fight-for-my-environment-pill” and the problems would be solved from the bottom up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If only all of us considered ourselves guests on this planet. What a wonderfully rich and genetically diverse environment we would live in, Anie!
    To your second reference, I totally agree that many lack discipline/persistence/perseverance, but many also wish to enjoy life in a very relaxed way, thinking that others will do the job of stirring the pot/changing things for the better. I guess we all feel the need to put self -care first on the agenda at times, stepping back so that others can contribute and take the lead: in families, community groups,workplaces, or educational facilities. However, there may come a time when we all need to stand up tall, shout out loudly and use our voice. I hope that it is in a voluntary capacity, but more often our loud voices of protest, are only used when an issue reaches our own doorstep and we are forced to take action. I am not advocating being a serial activist protester, jumping on to each and every protest group around, however, I do feel that more community input would benefit our governments directions. Instead of complaining loudly at the television or smartphone in our own living room, get up and do something constructive about it!! Effect change in small and large ways – write that letter /email to the politician, spread awareness of issues in your family, (teaching your own kids as you mentioned), your own friendship or community groups, or even if you feel so moved, go out and launch a full campaign. Together we can achieve so much more than leaving it to the politicians to decide the future of our planet!!!
    Having said all that, I think the Perot quote definitely suggests small change at your own local level, rather than loud words alone! Just get in there and do the work that needs to be done, (in cleaning up the river). I agree with you, that children can be taught small things like cleaning away their own rubbish when eating at a park, or picking up a piece of plastic at the beach and placing it in a recyclable bin, being environmentally conscious in their product purchases, use of motor vehicles/public transport, and many more.
    Finally, what a wonderfully magic “pill” that would be! Interesting that you see problems being solved from the ground up, and in terms of the environment, it makes absolute sense. However, if the problem is extremely complex, we might also need knowledge from those much smarter than us, in order to solve the problem itself. Of course, it depends on the problem. Full awareness of the intricacies of the issues, and ‘big picture’ thinking can provide a level of understanding that others may never see.
    To reference Andrew’s point about the dust bowl: the small time landholder in Oklahoma in the 1930’s would have seen the dust bowl, as an act of God, or natural disadvantage from adverse weather conditions. Those with a higher level of awareness could see man’s contribution in causing the environmental disaster. Having said that, all levels of opinions and thoughts, have validity as the farmer might be able to offer more practical solutions, to proposed implementation methods, that the agronomist/ecologist might never dream up. To solve complex issues, a complex think tank, comprised of all walks of life, might result in complex solutions, but solutions nevertheless!


  3. If we could just be more balanced in our approach to sustainability. Here in Australia we tend to shout about freedom of choice and at the same time allow this to diminish our responsibility if it clashes with commercial interest. This is why we don’t have a sugar tax nor deposits on glass and plastic bottles. It would hurt the corporations and they are our Gods. That is a great pity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the multinational companies contribute little but profit a lot.
      I would love to see a refundable deposit on glasd and plastic. Our environment would be cleaner, the homeless would have a way to get ahead and the planet better off than dumping plastic in landfill.


  4. I find these quotes on the environment very timely. You probably know that the major supermarkets in Australia are not giving out single use plastic bags anymore in a few weeks.
    The first quote is interesting in that it questions who owns this land. Does it belong to us, do we all have a right to claim this land ours, and how do we own a piece of land? Do we buy it, is it rightful ascribed to us, or is it just by stepping on this world that it is ours?
    Activism comes in so many forms these days, and it’s probably why different problems have to be solved differently. On one hand there is banding together making a statement in public about the causes that matter to us, on the other hand there is doing our part quietly bit by bit – for instance limiting the use of plastic bags and recycling whenever we can. You bring up a good point in your comment to Anie – voluntary action as opposed to forced. I do see the limiting of plastic bags in supermarkets as a forced kind of action. It makes me wonder where am I going to get plastic bags now – for instance I need them to line my bins at home and I really am not keen on shelling out extra dollars for them. That said, a change like this will have many of us wondering why this is so and how the less plastic bags we use, the better it is for the environment. I do think it is the way in we use and dispose of plastic materials is issue here. Do you think there are other alternatives?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like the way you described your question re land ownership, Mabel. “…just stepping on this world that it is ours.” I think that would provoke some serious thought in anyone. What does it mean to own land? Why is it so important to many of us? Is it security we are really seeking?
      On activism: Many people already recycle plastic bags in a multitude of ways. I always re-used supermarket plastic bag until they ripped – which was all too soon. Because I am getting older (!) – I remember a time when we did not line our rubbish bins with plastic bags. They were receptacles for rubbish ( and of course smaller than what we have now), and we collected the rubbish in them until they were full, then wrapped the bin full of rubbish in newspaper and threw it in the outside garbage bin, washing out the inside bin each day. Seemed to work okay. I could perhaps go back to that. Is that feasible for you, Mabel?


      1. I don’t think wrapping my rubbish in newspaper would be feasible for me. For one, my household doesn’t buy newspapers or magazines, and the only magazines we get are the occasional free one from Coles. It is a suggestion though, but I’d be curious about whether or not woudn’t there be more paper (and trees) wasted this way. I will somehow need to get plastic bags one way or another, just not from Coles or Woolies.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Online news is much more prevalent than the hard copies, and we certainly can’t wrap our rubbish in that, Mabel. I use the free local newspaper that gets delivered to homes once a week, but it might not be enough. Still, we compost our vege scraps and don’t eat too much meat, so there is not too much wet garbage that needs wrapping in any case. In a comment to Marlene, I realized that I will have to purchase dog poo bags to use when walking my dog, as there is very little alternative for that use! I currently use thin plastic used fruit and vege bags, and Newspaper wouldn’t work for that purpose.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Somehow environmental issues always stir the pot a bit. Most shrug and say it’s not a problem. I agree with Anie, we are guests here and must treat everyone and everything as a fellow guest and traveler. These were great quotes. I liked all three. Roosevelt said it but here we are still damaging our soil. We clear cut lumber so fast no tree can grow fast enough to keep up. We were conscious of this even back in the 60’s. It’s why I chose to only have 2 children though I would have loved many more. We each take from this earth but give little in return. As for Einstein’s quote, I think the children will see the solution with new eyes and not from our archaic view. Ross Perot was a wise man and few gave him credit. We can talk about the problem and condemn those that create it, but few will to the work to fix things. I bring my own carry out boxes to take an uneaten part of lunch home. Reuse my own straws and take them with me so I don’t get them in a restaurant. It’s in the little things we can do to make it better. When you know better, you do better. Many years ago, we didn’t know better. Awareness is a wonderful thing but brings responsibility. Thanks for sharing these.


    1. “Awareness is a wonderful thing that brings responsibility.” – That in itself is profound, Marlene! And indeed awareness is. I absolutely admire you, as I consider myself to be pretty environmentally conscious, and yet, you have taught me a few things in your comment, especially about reducing plastic. I had never thought to bring along my own “takeout” containers, and perhaps one could even do this for the bulk of many purchased products. If we are buying rolls from a bakery, for instance, why not take a sealed container to put them straight into, rather than the bag for the rolls and then the second plastic carry bag. Especially if you are only walking two steps to a vehicle.
      Furthermore, I see there is a growing movement for biodegradable straws. Some places are using straws made of pasta, as the paper ones disintegrated quickly and steel almost requires an autoclave to remove nasty germs, but why not bring your own? There are so many things we can do in everyday life to preserve the integrity of our planet, as we know it. We just have to become aware and accustomed to doing it until it becomes a familiar routine. Having studied environmental science in the 80’s, I often felt despair at how slow awareness and real change is/was moving. But with each generation, things do improve. Which brings me to your reference to Einstein, that children will see things differently from their parents. This is often a point that adults might often lament in their nostalgic feelings, however, it also is one of the occasions where an alternate perspective might help. As progress moves so fast, our children live in a very different age from our own, and thus their thoughts and ideas will be different also. This might be an advantage in problem solving as new ideas can generate new solutions! When once I thought studies of the environment were filled with gloom and doom,( and they were), as well as a multitude of negative scenarios for the future, your comment gives me hope that there may be many more positives to come, in future years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is real hope, Amanda. We will always have contrast. It’s required by the Universe to continue moving forward. We make a problem then we solve it. It’s always been that way. I’m still using the same box of straws I started out with 8 years ago. Some have fallen apart from much use and cleaning but I have to use them to drink anything. One side of my face is paralyzed and leaks when using most cups or glasses. No bottled water for me. Save the planet there. Straw drops down in and I can’t get it back. I have embarrassed many by coming in with my own containers for carry out. Now the family is asking if I brought an extra. 🙂 I’ve watched many of our young people come up with some of the most wonderful things to help the world. This planet will be here long after we are gone. It knows how to erupt on us. 😦 We have encroached too far with little care. It’s like smacking the hand of child ready to touch a hot stove. We will learn the easy way, or the hard way. Our president needs his hands slapped hard. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There appears to be many that share your view on the President! But the lesson for all, is what kind of leader the world does NOT want to have, perhaps? I would adopt your practice here but already some of the restaurants refuse to give out doggy bags as they can’t control how and if the customer re-heats the food properly. We seem to live in a ‘Nanny state’ where we are incapable of knowing how to prepare leftovers or how to adequately refrigerate them!! Yet I might just experiment with that to see if I can at least do the bakery roll bag/container we discussed. The same could work with fruit and vegetables. Did you see the photo of that water bird with the thin plastic bag around its whole body, and just the beak poking out. ( it was all over the social media here) – it was enough to make one never want to ever see one of those thin plastic bags again. Although I recycle them as dog poo bags when walking my dog!!! NB @Mabel Kwong – I don’t know if I can carry newspaper to do the same job as plastic bags in this instance.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. They make biodegradable poo bags for dogs. I used them when my dog was still alive. They came on a roll and came with a container that clipped onto the leash handle. I’ll see if I can find a link for you to see what I’m talking about. I do still reuse those bags but I’ve had most of them for years since I always carry canvas bags to the store now. I put old paintbrushes that are worn out after the last use or some such thing. It’s like the whale that had 64 pounds of plastic in it’s stomach when it died. Yes, we all need to be more mindful but I agree about the nanny state. No one sees my containers. I just quietly slip my leftover meal into it and then back into the canvas bag I’m carrying in. They never know. Hope you can see this link.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks Marlene. There was an uproar in the local area, after it was discovered that the Council was NOT using biodegradable dog poo bags at the local dog parks. They had to replace them all. I do have access to some of those if I purchase some, (which I have done previously), or visit the dog park to take advantage of the free ones. I guess I have become used to re-using the vegetable ones, and so will have to form a new habit of buying some biodegradable ones. Thanks for the link. I love the idea of sneaking the leftovers into your containers. As well as being better for the environment, taking leftovers is much better than stuffing yourself with over-sized restaurant meals that are larger than what most people normally eat, and then throwing away the uneaten balance.

              Liked by 1 person

Everyone is important. What do you have to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.