Barry Commoner Dies: Ecologist Pioneer Passes Away At 95

Barry Commoner, a founder of the science of ecology and one of the pioneers of the environmental movement, died Sunday in New York at age 95.

His wife, Lisa Feiner, confirmed his death and said Commoner had been in a Manhattan hospital since Friday, September 28.

Always willing to speak out against environmental ills that science showed to be ecologically damaging, Commoner became well known for his opposition to nuclear testing in the 1950s.

At the time, Commoner documented the global affects of radioactive fall out — specifically pointing out concentrations of strontium 90 in the baby teeth of thousands of children — which helped persuade government officials to adopt the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

Beyond his nuclear fallout work, Commoner aggressively took on the role of educating the public on the impacts of pollution on human health, writing multiple books on the subject.

Among his works were The Closing Circle and The Poverty of Power.

In early 1970, he was on the cover of Time magazine, which referred to him as the Paul Revere of Ecology.


“He was a giant, a true hero,” says Robert Bullard, dean of the school of public affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, who is widely considered to be the father of environmental justice. “People respected him for his science, but also his activism. He proved that you can make policy changes based on your research and your principles.”

Commoner ran for President in 1980 on his Citizens Party ticket.

In addition to his wife, Barry Commoner is survived by two children from his first marriage and a grandchild.

via NY Times