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Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.
-- Pearl S. Buck

* In his scientific genius, man has wrought material miracles and has transformed his world. He has harnassed nature and has developed great civilizations. But he has never learned very well how to live with himself. The values he has created have been predominantly materialistic; his spiritual values have lagged far behind. He has demonstrated little spiritual genius and has made little progress toward the realization of human brotherhood. In the contemporary atomic age, this could prove man's fatal weakness.
-- Ralph J. Bunche

The right tools for solving disputes within our community are precision instruments such as reason, communication, empathy, curiosity, and understanding. They are also the right tools for building a global civilization of peace and prosperity.
-- Paul K. Chappell

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The family is the nucleus of civilization.
-- Ariel and Will Durant

Education is the transmission of civilization.
-- Will Durant

* "only world law can assure progress towards a civilized peaceful community."
-- Albert Einstein

* "The world no longer has a choice between force and law; if civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

* " A civilization built on dualism and war within and between persons, one that puts its most creative minds and its best engineers to sadistic work building more and more destructive weapons, is no civilization at all. It needs a radical transformation from the heart outwards. It needs to outgrow and outlaw war just as in the last century it outlawed slavery. The human race has outgrown war, but it hardly knows it yet." -- Matthew Fox "

...our civilization, so addicted to knowledge, has fled from wisdom. Knowledge is very, very powerful. If it is not tempered and contoured by greater visions, like justice, compassion, beauty, grace and thinking of the next generation and seven generations to come -- then indeed, it is dangerous. Unfortunately, many of our educational systems in the West are still very dangerous places." -- Matthew Fox

"The making of peace is a continuing process that must go on from day to day,
from year to year, so long as our civilization shall last."
-- J. William Fulbright

Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.
-- Mikhail Gorbachev

"While the farmer holds the title to the land, actually, it belongs to all the people because civilization itself rests upon the soil."
~ Thomas Jefferson


Tolerance is held to be a condition of mind which is encouraged by, and is necessary for, civilization.
-- Arthur Keith

"What we are fighting for is not just the fishes and the birds. We protect nature not for nature's sake but for our own sake because it's the infrastructure of our communities, and if we want to meet the obligations of our civilization and our culture which are to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment as the communities that our parents gave us, we've got to start by protecting that infrastructure; the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the landscapes that enrich us. We're not protecting nature for nature's sake. We're protecting it because it enriches us, yes, it enriches our economy and we ignore that at our peril. But it is also enriching us aesthetically, recreationally, culturally, historically and spiritually. Human beings have other appetites besides money. And if we don't feed them, we're not going to grow up…we're not going to become the kind of beings that our creator intended us to become."
~ Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Internationalism is a community theory of society which is founded on economic, spiritual, and biological facts. It maintains that respect for a healthy development of human society and of world civilization requires that mankind be organized internationally. Nationalities should form the constitutive links in a great world alliance, and must be guaranteed an independent life in the realm of the spiritual and for locally delimited tasks, while economic and political objectives must be guided internationally in a spirit of peaceful cooperation for the promotion of mankind's common interests. -- Christian Lange

Civilization has ceased to be that delicate flower which was preserved and painstakingly cultivated in one or two sheltered areas of a soil rich in wild species ... Mankind has opted for monoculture; it is in the process of creating a mass civilization, as beetroot is grown in the mass. Henceforth, man's daily bill of fare will consist only of this one item.
-- Claude Levi-Strauss

The great question is, can war be outlawed from the world?
If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount.
-- Douglas MacArthur

 * We must construct a new set of values and attitudes to replace the culture of war which, for centuries, has been influencing the course of civilization. Winning peace means the triumph of our pledge to establish, on a democratic basis, a new social framework of tolerance and generosity from which no one will feel excluded.
-- Federico Mayor

No festival of martial glory or warrior's renown is this; no pageant pomp of war-like conquest, no glory of fratricidal strife attend this day. It is dedicated to peace, civilization and the triumphs of industry. It is a demonstration of fraternity and the harbinger of a better age--a more chivalrous time, when labor shall be best honored and well rewarded.
-- Peter J. McGuire, Father of Labor Day

What little wilderness remains displays the patterns we must return to, if our species and as many others as now remain are to persist here a while. Ideally this would call for a broad cultural rapprochment with the wild, a long overdue armistice in civilization’s war upon it.
~ Stephanie Mills

War is a damnable, filthy thing and has destroyed civilization after civilization
-- Philip Noel-Baker

Only in a free society do individuals have the best chance to seek virtue, strive for excellence, improve their economic well-being, and achieve personal happiness... The worthy goals of civilization can only be achieved by freedom loving individuals. When government uses force, liberty is sacrificed and the goals are lost. It is freedom that is the source of all creative energy.
-- Ron Paul

"Our idea of what constitutes social good has advanced with the procession of the ages, from those desperate times when just to keep body and soul together was an achievement, to the great present when "good" includes an agreeable, stable civilization accessible to all, the opportunity of each to develop his particular genius and the privilege of mutual usefulness."
-- Frances Perkins

"Fairness is an efficiency parameter if we look at the whole global civilization. It is not an efficient way of meeting human needs if one billion people starve while another billion have excess. It would be more efficient to distribute resources so that at least vital needs were met everywhere. Otherwise, for example, if kids are starving somewhere, dad goes out to slash and burn the rain forest to feed them -- and so would I if my kids were dying. And this kind of destruction is everyone's problem, because we live in the same ecosphere."
-- Karl-Henrik Robert

* "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."
-- Franklin D.Roosevelt

We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. -- Carl Sagan

It is now almost 40 years since the invention of nuclear weapons. We have not yet experienced a global thermonuclear war -- although on more than one occasion we have come tremulously close. I do not think our luck can hold forever. Men and machines are fallible, as recent events remind us. Fools and madmen do exist, and sometimes rise to power. Concentrating always on the near future, we have ignored the long-term consequences of our actions. We have placed our civilization and our species in jeopardy. Fortunately, it is not yet too late. We can safeguard the planetary civilization and the human family if we so choose. There is no more important or more urgent issue. -- Carl Sagan

* "The Globalization of humanity is a natural, biological, evolutionary process. Yet we face an enormous crisis because the most central and important aspect of globalization-its economy-is currently being organized in a manner that so gravely violates the fundamental principles by which healthy living systems are organized that it threatens the demise of our whole civilization.
-- Elisabet Sahtouris


Our civilization is locked in the grip of an ideology - corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of this ideology leads to a worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the areas that don't
-- John Ralston Saul

* Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it -- a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
-- Albert Schweitzer

But once we recognize that many ideas that are taken to be quintessentially Western have also flourished in other civilizations, we also see that these ideas are not as culture-specific as is sometimes claimed. We need not begin with pessimism, at least on this ground, about the prospects of reasoned humanism in the world. -- Amartya Sen

Security, the chief pretense of civilization, cannot exist where the worst of dangers, the danger of poverty, hangs over everyone's head
-- George Bernard Shaw

* "Our expanding ethnic diversity of this century, a time when we will all be minorities, offers us an invitation to create a larger memory of who we are as Americans and to re-affirm our founding principle of equality. Let's put aside fears of the "disuniting of America" and warnings of the "clash of civilizations." As Langston Hughes sang, "Let America be America, where equality is in the air we breathe."
-- Ronald Takaki



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DO ONE THING and BetterWorld Kids Clubs are projects of The EMILY Fund (The Emily Silverstein Fund, Inc.)
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