Dr. Barry Commoner, the scientist and environmental advocate whom the New York Times calls “Planet Earth’s Lifeguard,” and a resident of Brooklyn Heights, died Sunday after a long illness. He was a Brooklyn native, a graduate of James Madison High School and Columbia University, and received his doctorate at Harvard. On the occasion of the first Earth Day, in 1970, Time magazine put his image on its cover, and he was a candidate for President on the Citizens’ Party ticket in 1980. During that campaign, the Times notes, a reporter asked him, “Are you a serious candidate or are you just running on the issues?”
According to the Times:
Dr. Commoner was a leader among a generation of scientist-activists who recognized the toxic consequences of America’s post-World War II technology boom, and one of the first to stir the national debate over the public’s right to comprehend the risks and make decisions about them.
He is survived by his wife, Lisa Feiner, two children by a previous marriage, and a grandchild.