More Than Just Words: 8 Powerhouse Quotes for People Who Care

By Paula Fitzsimmons

Life can’t be boiled down to a sentence or two . . . it’s too complex for that. But good quotes are more than just strings of meaningless words or “kumbaya” sentiments. At least for me. They represent bigger thoughts and ideals, can propel you forward, and act as reminders of what’s important. And who can’t use a kickstart every now and then?

I chose the following quotes for you . . .the activist, the person who wants to make a difference, whether you work in the animal protection field, are seeking a job with animals, or are a volunteer activist. I hope these words and ideas speak to you as they do for me. I’ve added some commentary, and would also love to know your thoughts on these.

The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. –Jane Goodall

In spite of the horrible things chimpanzees, other species, and the environment are experiencing, Jane Goodall remains a constant beacon of hope. That’s not an easy task, either. Making animals your life’s work is a form of speaking out for them, as is volunteering your time, writing an editorial for your newspaper, calling your legislators, and becoming a mindful consumer.


Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. –H. Jackson Browne Jr.

Giving has its rewards. By stepping out of ourselves and doing good, we feel better, as this Harvard Health blog article “Volunteering May Be Good for Body and Mind” suggests.  Giving to the point of burnout, though, is counterproductive; and unfortunately people working in the animal protection and care field are prone to giving too much. Balance is imperative.



Be the change you wish to see in the world. — Mahatma Gandhi

It’s easy to place blame on everyone else for the state of the planet . . . but much harder to look inward to see how our own behaviors can have impact. Being the change (instead of just talking about it) means you’ve become part of the solution.


Forest leaf
Looking for actionable ways to be a positive part of the change? Check out “Feel Powerless? There’s an Antidote for That” for ideas.


Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

It shows great strength of character to speak up and take action for the defenseless – especially when it means having to stand alone.


The planet does not need more successful people. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it. –David W. Orr

I think our definition of success needs to change. There’s nothing wrong with earning a much-deserved promotion or having nice things, but when we let these cornerstones of “success” define us, or use them as justifications to destroy the planet . . .there’s a problem. How do you define success? For me it’s the ability to show compassion and empathy, to be genuine and full of integrity, to give of one’s time for good.



Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it. –Katharine Whitehorn

Figuring out what you enjoy is tougher than it appears. There are books on the market to help with self-discovery, including one of my personal favorites, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It

, by Barbara Sher. (Although I have read this book and recommend it, this is an affiliate link – which means that when you click on the link and purchase the book, I earn a commission.)


To avoid criticism – say nothing, be nothing, do nothing. –Elbert Hubbard

It’s easy to be quiet, to fear being unpopular, to let others do all the work. Have the courage of your convictions – even when it’s tough to do so.




You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give. –Edward O. Wilson

There are a lot of good points in this EO Wilson quote . . . I think by staying true to ourselves, we can contribute to the betterment of animals, the planet, and each other. It’s not an easy road, by any means.


Is there a certain quote that means a lot to you?

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