These are some quotes that I have come across.
"If you ask them, 'Do you know the forest is disappearing?' they'll simply say,
'Oh no, there will always be a forest here.' Yet as soon as you ask them about
a particular species, for instance a palm they use for the floor of their
homes, they'll nod their head, 'Oh yes, we have to walk half a day now to find
that one.' But they still haven't made the connection between their own
individual actions and the final result: deforestation."
- Bruno Raterajaona Malagasy, adviser from Cooperative for Assistance and
Relief Everywhere (CARE) as quoted in Morell, V. (1999). "Restoring
Madagascar", National Geographic, 195(2):61-71.
I spoke to one young woman, named Irina, who worked in a Russian candy factory
but who had not been paid for six months. She gets by, as do all her friends
on this boat, by working for the Chinese, hauling back into Russia so-called
bricks of inbound trade goods. "I go over for the afternoon with my empty
bags--I meet my contact in the market, he fills my bag with stuff he wants to
sell back in Blagoveshchensk, and I carry it back. I get paid 150 rubles. Sure
it's humilliating, working for the Chinese, hauling their goods. But I need
the money, I can't argue. I just wish we had something to sell to them," she
said. "But we don't make anything. And you wait and see what I bring back.
It'll be good stuff."
... Later in the day I met another woman carrying a similar load: "Can you
imagine the real humiliation of that--the Chinese getting me, a Russian girl,
to lug Chinese-made vodka back into Russia to help them make money. It is
totally shameful, don't you think?"
- as quoted in Winchester, S. (2000). "On the Edge of Empires: Black
Dragon River", National Geographic, 197(2):2-33.
"Pity us poor Bushmen. Pity us who have so many problems facing us in this
world down here. We Bushmen, we were the first people here, so how come we are
the last in line to get anything? When people see we are a gentle people, they
just walk on us. We have to find the strength to make a place for ourselves in
this world. Otherwise there will soon be no more of us. We will all be gone.
And so will our memories. Only our paintings will remain behind to remind you
- Staff Sgt. Mario Mahongo, leader of the !Xu Traditional Council at
Schmidtsdrift and chairman of the !Xu and Khwe Communal Property Association,
as quoted in Godwin, P. (2001). "Bushmen: Last Stand for Southern Africa's
First People," National Geographic, 199(2):90-117.
"All that is happening to the Muslims of today is due to our easy acceptance of
the teachings which are selective. We propagate only those parts of the
religion which we, in our selfishness, want to perform for our own exclusive
merit in the afterlife."
- Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, on Malaysian
Muslim students shying away from science and engineering because they are told
that these are secular subjects, as quoted in Star, an online newspaper,
Wednesday, April 18, 2001.
"But tourism is a double-edged sword," El-Maawy said. "People come here
because they like to see the way we live. We are very traditional, even
conservative. We do not drink alcohol; we prefer that people dress modestly.
The tourists bring money, which we need, but they also bring influences that
are difficult for our young people to resist. Just recently I had to ask a
visitor to please wear a shirt while he was in town. And the tourists attract
people from the mainland who are after their money too. Between our young
people leaving and others coming from the mainland, only about 50 percent of
the population is actually from Lamu. This puts us in danger: The tourists
help us survive, but their money and ways may kill the thing they come here to
see. We elders must walk a fine line between accommodating them and
maintaining our traditions."
- Hussein Soud El-Maawy, Lamu, Kenya, as quoted in Caputo R. (2001).
Swahili Coast, National Geographic, 200(4):105-119.
"Old people always feel threatened by new things--not just here but all over the
world. They feel that culture is a fragile thing, to be preserved intact. But
you have to remember that swahili is a dynamic culture. It has never been
pure. Since the beginning, it has incorporated foreign elements, and it will
continue to do so."
- Professor Abdul Sherrif, Zanzibar, Tanzania, as quoted in Caputo R.
(2001). Swahili Coast, National Geographic,
"I was born a fisherman, I live like a fisherman. If you're born an engineer, you
live like an engineer. He eats out 15 times a month; I eat out once a month.
I have a wife and a son, and my work. Even if I earn less compared with other work,
I wouldn't change. No no. It's the tranquility."
- Mano Moretti, fisherman of Gorino Sullam, along river Po, as quoted in
Zmingle, E. (2002). Po: River of Pain and Plenty, National Geographic,
"But there is always the feeling that Sao Paulo is not Brazil. It's very ugly;
it's very expensive. We don't really believe it's so ugly, but it's very
difficult to speak about Sao Paulo, why we love it. I couldn't live anywhere
- Luciana "Luli" Artacho Penna, a young graphic artist, as quoted in
Zwingle, E. (2002). Mega Citites, National Geographic, 202(5):70-99.
"Do you know Han Heliu? He's from our village! He's gone to Beijing to work!
I was wondering if you've met him yet!"
- An old man, in rural Inner Mongolia, on learning that the author has
been to Beijing, as quoted in
Hessler, P. (2003). Chasing the Wall, National Geographic,
"People are absolutely multimedia when it comes to medicine. They come in here
and get vaccinated against measles or polio, and then they go to the monastery
and get an amulet from the lama to ward off the same disease."
- Heather Culbert, a Canadian doctor volunteering at Khunde, Nepal, as
quoted in Reid, T. R. (2003). The Sherpas, National Geographic,
"Someone like you comes to Mongolia and see how we live and thinks it is
romantic and you want to preserve it. But peole who live it don't think it's
romantic--it's a hard life. If they can buy a truck to do the work of ten
oxen, why not?"
- Mishig, a local guide, Mongolia, as quoted in Hodges, G. (2003).
Mongolian Crossing, National Geographic,
"No matter what system you live under, you always have to work hard. But you
also have to think. And sometimes you have to take risks."
- Stanislaw Nowak, a fruit grower in the hilly Malopolska region of
southern Poland, as quoted in Belt, D. (2004). Europe's Big Gamble,
National Geographic, 205(5):54-65.
"The English discusses the weather; we discuss the water. Before it comes, we
drink beer and talk about when it will arrive. When it's here, we drink bear
and talk about how much it has come. When it's gone, we just drink bear and
- A resident at Maun, Okavango Delta, Botswana, as quoted in Doubilet,
D. (2004). Africa's Micracle Delta, National Geographic,
"You know, sometimes all you can do is help to change one life at a time."
- Milen Kidane, a Eritrean protection officer with UNICEF, working as a
relief worker in northern Uganda, on that relief workers often wonder if
they're making any difference at all after two decades of facing down relentless
kidnapping, murder, and mayhem, as quoted in D. Girardet, (2005). Hope in Hell:
Global Aid, National Geographic, 208(6):16-45.
"Our village is very nice, but sometimes you can't cross the road because car,
car, car coming .... Of course transport must be. We can't do without it. Do
we want to go back to using a horse? Or carrying goods on your backs? I don't
know. I don't know. You can't stop it."
- Inge Makkawi, Matrei (near Brenner Pass), Austria, as quoted in E.
Zwingle (2006). Meltdown: The Alps Under Pressure, National Geographic,
"My grandmother hated the park till her last day on Earth. But if it weren't
for the park, what would all this be now? Nothing but condos and hotels,
- Mike Maples, on Great Smokey Mountains National Park, as quoted in A.
Goodheart (2006). Season of Smoke, National Geographic,
"The price is cheap because more and more tuna are being caught. My only
weapon is to catch more fish. It's a vicious circle. If I catch my quota of a
thousand tuna, I can't live because the price is very cheap. I want to respect
the quota, but I can't because I need to live. If boats of all countries
respect the rules, tuna will not be finished. If only few countries respect
the rules, and others don't respect the rules, the fisherman who repects rules
- Alfonso Consiglio, as quoted in F. Montaigne (2007). Global Fish
Crisis: 1, National Geographic, 211(4):42-69.
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