„An idea, a relationship, can go extinct, just like an animal or a plant. The idea in this case is 'nature,' the separate and wild province, the world apart from man to which he adapted, under whose rules he was born and died. In the past, we spoiled and polluted parts of that nature, inflicted environmental 'damage.' But that was like stabbing a man with toothpicks: though it hurt, annoyed, degraded, it did not touch vital organs, block the path of lymph or blood. We never thought that we had wrecked nature. Deep down, we never really thought we could: it was too big and too old; its forces—the wind, the rain, the sun—were too strong, too elemental. But, quite by accident, it turned out that the carbon dioxide and other gases we were producing in our pursuit of a better life... could alter the power of the sun, could increase its heat. And that increase could change the patterns of moisture and dryness, breed storms in new places, breed deserts... We have produced the carbon dioxide—we are ending nature.“

—  Bill McKibben, p. 41
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„The idea of global unity is not new, but the absolute necessity of it has only just arrived, like a sudden radical alteration of the sun, and we shall have to adapt or disappear.“

—  Ted Hughes English poet and children's writer 1930 - 1998
Context: However rootedly national it may be, poetry is less and less the prisoner of its own language. It is beginning to represent as an ambassador, something far greater than itself. Or perhaps, it is only now being heard for what, among other thngs, it is — a universal language of understanding, coherent behind the many languages in which we can all hope to meet. … We now give more serious weight to the words of a country's poets than to the words of its politicians — though we know the latter may interfere more drastically with our lives. Religions, ideologies, mercantile competition divide us. The essential solidarity of the very diverse poets of the world, besides being mysterious fact is one we can be thankful for, since its terms are exclusively those of love, understanding and patience. It is one of the few spontaneous guarantees of possible unity that mankind can show, and the revival of an appetite for poetry is like a revival of an appetite for all man's saner possibilities, and a revulsion from the materialist cataclysms of recent years and the worse ones which the difference of nations threatens for the years ahead. The idea of global unity is not new, but the absolute necessity of it has only just arrived, like a sudden radical alteration of the sun, and we shall have to adapt or disappear. If the nations are ever to make a working synthesis of their ferocious contradictions, the plan will be created in spirit before it can be formulated or accepted in political fact. And it is in poetry that we can refresh our hope that such a unity is occupying people's imaginations everywhere, since poetry is the voice of spirit and imagination and all that is potential, as well as of the healing benevolence that used to be the privilege of the gods. Poetry International Programme note (1967); also in Selected Translations (2006), edited by Daniel Weissbort, p. 10

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„We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States“

—  George William Curtis American writer 1824 - 1892
Context: We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States. Forests falling, factories humming, gold glittering in every man's pocket! Above all, would the world please to take notice that it was a land of liberty, and that we offered a happy home to the oppressed of every clime? 'A wise and sensible man was John Rutledge of South Carolina', smiled the complacent country, smoothing its full pockets, 'morals have nothing to do with politics'. 'Good', mutters the ostrich, as he buries his head in the sand, 'now nobody sees me'.

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„Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man as now we do by accident.“

—  Bartolomeo Vanzetti Italian American anarchist executed by Massachusetts 1888 - 1927
Context: If it had not been for these things, I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man as now we do by accident. Our words — our lives — our pains — nothing! The taking of our lives — lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish-peddler — all! That last moment belongs to us — that agony is our triumph. Statement attributed to Vanzetti by Philip D. Stong, http://www.powys-lannion.net/Powys/America/S_V.htm a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance who visited Vanzetti in prison in May of 1927 shortly before he and Sacco were executed.

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