Barry Commoner

Uncommon ecologist

"Dr. Commoner, are you a serious candidate, or are you just running on the issues?" So went a reporter's question to the biologist, environmentalist and chronic gadfly during his quixotic presidential campaign in 1980. Commoner, who died on Sept. 30 at 95, won just 234,000 votes, but he was never afraid of long odds and never shied away from the issues. His work on the dangers of atmospheric radiation helped spur the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and he was a key figure in the first Earth Day, in 1970. As a teacher and activist, he helped create the modern environmental...

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