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 Barry Commoner

Barry Commoner

Birth
New York, USA
Death 30 Sep 2012 (aged 95)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 98147479 · View Source
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Barry Commoner, the son of a Russian Jewish tailor and seamstress.

At Columbia University, he majored in zoology & at Harvard University, he received his doctorate in cellular biology. As a scientist & activist, he raised early concerns of radioactive fallout & was one of the pioneers of the environmental movement.

One of the late 1950 founders of a well-known survey of baby teeth in St Louis survey of baby teeth. This survey assessed the levels of strontium-90 in the teeth & showed how children were absorbing radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs that were being tested. This survey helped to ban some kinds of nuclear testing with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

Among his works are "Making Peace with the Planet", "Science and Survival", "The Closing Circle", "The Poverty of Power" & "The Politics of Energy". He was also an editor for Science Illustrated magazine.

His 4 Laws in "The Closing Circle":
1. Everything is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
2. Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no "waste" in nature and there is no "away" to which things can be thrown.
3. Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, Commoner said, "likely to be detrimental to that system."
4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.

In 1970, a Time magazine cover & story referred to him as the Paul Revere of Ecology.

In 1980 he ran as 3rd party Presidential nominee on his Citizens Party ticket.

1966 he founded the center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Washington University in St Louis in 1966 & moved 1981 moved it to Queens College, NY. Commoner headed it until 2000.

As quoted by his wife Lisa Feiner: "He had a very strong belief that scientists had a social responsibility, that the discoveries would be used for social good, and that scientists also had an obligation to educate the public about scientific issues so that the public could make informed political decisions."

He is also survived by two children from his 1st marriage to Gloria Gordon, Lucy Alison Commoner of New York City and Fredric Commoner, of Boston; and a granddaughter.

Bio by: Linda K


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  • Created by: Linda K
  • Added: 2 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 98147479
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Barry Commoner (28 May 1917–30 Sep 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 98147479, ; Maintained by Linda K (contributor 47400410) Unknown.