Posted by: Green Knight | October 1, 2012

Dr. Barry Commoner, RIP

I just heard that Barry died at age 95, so I thought I’d share the news. He was a New Yorker, but taught at Washington University here in St. Louis, Missouri, for many years, well before I ever moved here, but he left a legacy. I voted for him in 1980 when he was running for president, with an American Indian woman as his running-mate, LaDonna Harris, a Comanche gal who’s still doing activist stuff for the original inhabitants. Rock on!

The Citizens Party (no apostrophe) only lasted that one election season. I was knocking on doors for Greenpeace in the San Francisco area in 1980; I don’t even know if CP ever had lapel buttons or bumper-stickers. I never got one, anyway. But they were running on a totally environmental platform, so I was happy to vote that way. We all thought that my former governor was a joke and wouldn’t stand a chance, but see how things shook out, eh?

What’s sort of, I guess, amusing is that in 1984 I wasn’t able to vote in the primaries because I was still registered with Citizens Party and they didn’t exist anymore. Life is weird.

Anyhoo, I still have a hardcover edition of Dr. Commoner’s book, “The Closing Circle,” which wasn’t as widely read as Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” but still did a lot to launch the modern environmental movement.  I just wish I’d met the guy and had it signed. My cool, weird, and interesting landlord, Harold, turns out to have worked for the Citizens Party all those years ago, and met the candidates. I’m all jealous and stuff. At any rate, here’s an article about Barry. I tip my pith helmet to a true legendary figure in the movement.


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