She loved the serene brutality of the ocean, loved the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.
When you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.
I am not a religious man per se. My own cosmology is convoluted and not in line with any particular church or philosophy. But for me, to go to sea is to glimpse the face of God. At sea I am reminded of my insignificance — of all men’s insignificance. It is a wonderful feeling to be so humbled.
What if the catalyst or the key to understanding creation lay somewhere in the immense mind of the whale? . . . Suppose if God came back from wherever it is he’s been and asked us smilingly if we’d figured it out yet. Suppose he wanted to know if it had finally occurred to us to ask the whale. And then he sort of looked around and he said, “By the way, where are the whales?”
For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.
The animals of the planet are in desperate peril. . . . Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.
The time has come . . . to resist the impulse to control, to command, to force, to oppress, and to begin quite humbly to follow the guidance of the larger community on which all life depends. Our fulfillment is not in our isolated human grandeur, but in our intimacy with the larger earth community, for this is also the larger dimension of our being.
They keep saying that sea levels are rising and all this. It’s not to do with the icebergs melting; it’s because there are too many fish in it. Get rid of some of the fish and the water will drop. Simple. Basic science.
Climate change alone is probably the greatest challenge humans have ever faced throughout our entire existence. The challenge is so great because the battle is not with external enemies but a war within ourselves.
You can change the terms, you can change the allowable limits, you can do the risk assessment — all these things — but in the end, the fact is that you and I drink that water. You and I breathe that air. You and I live here.
Sustainability . . . requires both a thorough reorientation of our relationship to the world and a radical revision of certain assumptions we have made about good and meaningful living.
All places and all beings of the earth are sacred. It is dangerous to designate some places sacred when all are sacred. Such compromises imply that there is a hierarchy of value, with some places and some living beings not as important as others. No part of the earth is expendable; the earth is a whole that cannot be fragmented, as it has been by the destroyers’ mentality of the Industrial Age.
Our fates are tied. We have this strange notion on this planet that our fates are not tied. If it were not so, we would not be here together. It’s that simple.
[The waves] move across a faint horizon, the rush of love and the surge of grief, the respite of peace and then fear again, the heart that beats and then lies still, the rise and fall and rise and fall of all of it, the incoming and the outgoing, the infinite procession of life. And the ocean wraps the earth, a reminder. The mysteries come forward in waves.
For the sea lies all about us. . . . The continents themselves dissolve and pass to the sea, in grain after grain of eroded land. So the rains that rose from it return again in rivers. In its mysterious past it encompasses all the dim origins of life and receives in the end . . . the dead husks of that same life. For all at last return to the sea.