9 John Muir Quotes to Live By


John Muir is revered among out­door enthu­si­asts, nat­u­ral­ists, sports­men, and tree-hug­gers of all kinds. Right­ful­ly so because, per­haps more than any oth­er per­son, we have John Muir to thank for much of the pris­tine nature we con­tin­ue to enjoy to this day. He’s known as the “Father of the Nation­al Parks,” he found­ed the Sier­ra Club, and he brought envi­ron­men­tal issues into the nation­al debate dur­ing the indus­tri­al age. Trails, beach­es, moun­tains, glac­i­ers, col­leges, and nation­al mon­u­ments have all been named after him. He taught us so much about what is means to sim­ply be a part of this world and how…

To Be Mindful
“When we try to pick out any­thing by itself,
we find it hitched to every­thing else in the Universe.”
- My First Sum­mer in the Sier­ra , 1911

To Learn
“I am los­ing pre­cious days. I am degen­er­at­ing into a machine for mak­ing money.
I am learn­ing noth­ing in this triv­ial world of men. I must break away and get out into the moun­tains to learn the news.”
- Alas­ka Days with John Muir by Samuel Hall Young 

To Fight
“The bat­tle we have fought, and are still fight­ing for the forests is a part of the eter­nal con­flict between right and wrong, and we can­not expect to see the end of it. …So we must count on watch­ing and striv­ing for these trees, and should always be glad to find any­thing so sure­ly good and noble to strive for.”
— The Nation­al Parks and For­est Reservations”
in a speech pub­lished in the Sier­ra Club Bul­letin, 1896

Theodore Roo­sevelt (left) and John Muir on Glac­i­er Point in Yosemite Nation­al Park. 1906.

To Con­sid­er
“How many hearts with warm red blood in them are beat­ing under cov­er of the woods, and how many teeth and eyes are shin­ing! A mul­ti­tude of ani­mal peo­ple, inti­mate­ly relat­ed to us, but of whose lives we know almost noth­ing, are as busy about their own affairs as we are about ours.”
- Our National Parks, 1901

To Return Home
“Thou­sands of tired, nerve-shak­en, over-civ­i­lized peo­ple are begin­ning to find out that going to the moun­tains is going home; that wild­ness is a neces­si­ty; and that moun­tain parks and reser­va­tions are use­ful not only as foun­tains of tim­ber and irri­gat­ing rivers, but as foun­tains of life.”
- Our National Parks, 1901

To Lis­ten
“When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the still­ness is at once awful and sub­lime. Every leaf seems to speak.”
- John of the Moun­tains: The Unpub­lished Jour­nals of John Muir, 1938

To Breathe
“Anoth­er glo­ri­ous day, the air as deli­cious to the lungs as nec­tar to the tongue.”
- My First Sum­mer in the Sier­ra , 1911

To See
“The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the dark­ness of igno­rance and unbe­lief, for when the light comes, the heart of the peo­ple is always right.”
- John of the Moun­tains: The Unpub­lished Jour­nals of John Muir, 1938

by Adam Johnston