when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money
- Native American saying.
1983 H. WASSERMAN America Born and Reborn 277 ‘When you have polluted the last river,’ goes an Osage saying, ‘when you have caught the very last fish, and when you have cut down the very last tree, it is too bad that then, and only then, will you realize that you can not eat all your money in the bank’.
1995 New York Times 17 Aug. (online) ‘A Modest Step to Save the Fish’..brings to mind a prophecy of the Cree Indians: ‘When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.’
2006 L. S. JOUBERT Scorched: South Africa’s Changing Climate 203 Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find that you cannot eat your money.
2007 Sun2Surf 5 Feb. (online) But that may be wishful thinking in the light of the Cree Indian prophecy that ‘only after the last tree has been cut down, the last river poisoned, the last fish caught, will man find that money cannot be eaten’.
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