Barry Commoner, environmental scientist and former third party candidate, dies at 95

(excerpt from) The Huffington Post
Barry Commoner, Pioneering Environmental Scientist and Activist, Dies at 95

Barry Commoner, a pioneering environmental scientist and activist, died Sunday (9/30/2102) at age 95…

…Many Americans embraced Commoner’s ideas about workplace hazards, nuclear power plants, and recycling. But he grew frustrated by the influence of corporate America over both political parties and by the failure of the mainstream environmental movement to join forces with other progressive movements to heed his warnings and challenge the basic tenets of the free-market system.

In 1979 Commoner helped form the Citizens Party, hoping it would gain influence similar to that of the Green Party in Europe. The next year Commoner ran as the party’s presidential candidate…

4 thoughts on “Barry Commoner, environmental scientist and former third party candidate, dies at 95

  1. Observant Reader

    Another third party legend gone. Like Benjamin Spock though, he should really be better known for his science and writing than for his attempts at being a politician.

  2. paulie


    For Immediate Release:
    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614,
    Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

    The Green Party salutes Barry Commoner for his environmental and
    political leadership

    WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party candidates and leaders remembered Barry
    Commoner, leader in the movement to build an alternative party in the
    US, who died on September 30 at the age of 95.

    “Barry Commoner was one of the first environmentalists who understood
    that saving the planet meant challenging the power of the corporate
    political parties in the U.S.,” said Jill Stein, Green candidate for
    President ( “He was a global leader in the
    effort to promote clean, renewable energy, especially solar, rather
    than dangerous nuclear power plants that maximized the profits of the
    wealthy. He warned us of the dangers of garbage incineration,
    promoting ‘reuse, reduce, and recycle’ as a saner solid waste
    strategy. More recently, he dismissed the genetic engineering of our
    food system as junk science.”

    Dr. Commoner was the Citizens Party candidate for President in 1980.
    He help created an international network of environmental parties in
    the early 80s, which included the Green Party in West Germany. His
    most vivid memory of the 1980 campaign was when a reporter in
    Albuquerque asked him, “Dr. Commoner, are you a serious candidate or
    are you just running on the issues?”

    Like the Green Party, Barry Commoner linked environmental issues to
    social and economic justice, peace, women’s rights, civil rights, and
    labor movements:

    “Nothing less than a change in the political and social system,
    including revision of the Constitution, is necessary to save the
    country from destroying the natural environment…. Capitalism is the
    earth’s number one enemy.”

    “Everything is connected to everything else. Everything must go
    somewhere. Nature knows best. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
    If you don’t put something in the ecology, it’s not there.”

    Barry Commoner argued that post-World War II industrial methods, with
    their reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels, were the root cause of
    modern environmental pollution. He was one of the first scientists to
    warn of the dangers of climate change. In 1970, the year of the First
    Earth Day, Time Magazine put Dr. Commoner on its front cover, calling
    him the Paul Revere of Ecology.

    “It’s very important that, in 1990, people understand that the control
    strategy has failed, that prevention is the only way to go, and that
    prevention means confronting the corporations where they live and
    where we live,” said Dr. Commoner.


    “Green Party prepares for Oct. 3 protests over Green nominee Jill
    Stein’s exclusion from the presidential debates”
    Green Party press release, October 2, 2012

    Jill Stein on Democracy Now!, hosted by Amy Goodman, live from Denver
    during the Obama-Romney debate on Oct. 3:

    Green Party of the United States
    • Green candidate database and campaign information:
    • News Center
    • Speakers Bureau
    • Ballot Access Page
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    Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of
    the United States

    ~ END ~

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