Barry Commoner Quotes

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Barry Commoner
Born (1917-05-28)May 28, 1917
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died September 30, 2012(2012-09-30) (aged 95)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Education Columbia University
Harvard University
Occupation Biologist
Spouse(s) Gloria Gordon (divorced; 2 children)
Lisa Feiner (m. 1980)
Awards Newcomb Cleveland Prize (1953)

By adopting the control strategy, the nation's environmental program has created a built-in antagonism between environmental quality and economic growth.
Barry Commoner
The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else.
Environmental quality was drastically improved while economic activity grew by the simple expedient of removing lead from gasoline – which prevented it from entering the environment.
Barry Commoner
The major source of photochemical smog – petroleum-fueled vehicles – can be replaced by emission-free electric vehicles.
Barry Commoner
All of the clean technologies are known, it's a question of simply applying them.
Barry Commoner
The weapons were conceived and created by a small band of physicists and chemists; they remain a cataclysmic threat to the whole of human society and the natural environment.
Barry Commoner
In certain ways, I'm not very different than I was when I was a teenager.
Barry Commoner
I don't believe in environmentalism as the solution to anything. What I believe is that environmentalism illuminates the things that need to be done to solve all of the problems together.
Barry Commoner
I see no reason to have my shirts ironed. It's irrational.
If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way.
Barry Commoner
What is new is that environmentalism intensely illuminates the need to confront the corporate domain at its most powerful and guarded point – the exclusive right to govern the systems of production.
Barry Commoner
The AEC had at its command an army of highly skilled scientists.
The most meaningful engine of change, powerful enough to confront corporate power, may be not so much environmental quality, as the economic development and growth associated with the effort to improve it.
Barry Commoner
In every case, the environmental hazards were made known only by independent scientists, who were often bitterly opposed by the corporations responsible for the hazards.
Barry Commoner
My entry into the environmental arena was through the issue that so dramatically – and destructively – demonstrates the link between science and social action: nuclear weapons.
Barry Commoner
It is simply economically impossible to require controls that even approach zero emissions.
Barry Commoner
Environmental concern is now firmly embedded in public life: in education, medicine and law; in journalism, literature and art.
Barry Commoner
The methods that EPA introduced after 1970 to reduce air-pollutant emissions worked for a while, but over time have become progressively less effective.
Barry Commoner
No action is without its side effects.
The environmental crisis arises from a fundamental fault: our systems of production – in industry, agriculture, energy and transportation – essential as they are, make people sick and die.
Barry Commoner
The wave of new productive enterprises would provide opportunities to remedy the unjust distribution of environmental hazards among economic classes and racial and ethnic communities.
Barry Commoner
Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.
What is needed now is a transformation of the major systems of production more profound than even the sweeping post-World War II changes in production technology.
Barry Commoner
Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.
Barry Commoner
Seen that way, the wholesale transformation of production technologies that is mandated by pollution prevention creates a new surge of economic development.
Barry Commoner
What I have experienced over time is that environmental problems are easier to deal with in ways that don't go into their interconnections to the rest of what we are.
Barry Commoner
World War II had a very important impact on the development of technology, as a whole.
Barry Commoner
When you fully understand the situation, it is worse than you think.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
The modern assault on the environment began about 50 years ago, during and immediately after World War II.
Barry Commoner
Earth Day 1970 was irrefutable evidence that the American people understood the environmental threat and wanted action to resolve it.
Barry Commoner
It reflects a prevailing myth that production technology is no more amenable to human judgment or social interests than the laws of thermodynamics, atomic structure or biological inheritance.
Barry Commoner
The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only global action will resolve it.
Barry Commoner
After all, despite the economic advantage to firms that employed child labor, it was in the social interest, as a national policy, to abolish it – removing that advantage for all firms.
Barry Commoner
Nature knows best.
As the earth spins through space, a view from above the North Pole would encompass most of the wealth of the world – most of its food, productive machines, doctors, engineers and teachers. A view from the opposite pole would encompass most of the world's poor.
Barry Commoner
The age of innocent faith in science and technology may be over.
The real abhorrent consequence of the invention of atomic bombs is the fact that we still have them and they're spreading.
Barry Commoner
Nothing ever goes away.
The AEC scientists were so narrowly focused on arming the United States for nuclear war that they failed to perceive facts – even widely known ones – that were outside their limited field of vision.
Barry Commoner
If you ask what you are going to do about global warming, the only rational answer is to change the way in which we do transportation, energy production, agriculture and a good deal of manufacturing. The problem originates in human activity in the form of the production of goods.
Barry Commoner