Dr. Commoner was something of a hybrid scientist; he was a researcher and a professor, but he was also an activist.
His resume includes biology professor, government researcher, environmental and social rights advocate, even presidential candidate. His personal summation of the laws of biology almost reads like a moral creed: “Everything Is Connected to Everything Else. Everything Must Go Somewhere. Nature Knows Best. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.”
Because of Commoner’s work, we know about the pervasive dangers of radioactivity, greenhouse gases and toxic pesticides and fertilizers in commercial crops. His research and advocacy helped pass agreements like the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and establish Earth Day in 1970. Some even credit Commoner with being the father of modern ecology.
Even later in life, Commoner remained dedicated to solving the Earth’s environmental ills and awakening mankind to the dangers of a throwaway and hyper-consuming society, as you can see in an interview with the New York Times.
Commoner died Sunday in New York City.