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Barry Commoner Quotes


An American biologist, college professor, and eco-socialist.
(1917 - )

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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.
 

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.
 

By adopting the control strategy, the nation's environmental program has created a built-in antagonism between environmental quality and economic growth.
[Antagonism]
 

Earth Day 1970 was irrefutable evidence that the American people understood the environmental threat and wanted action to resolve it.
 

Environmental concern is now firmly embedded in public life: in education, medicine and law; in journalism, literature and art.
 

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.
 

If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way.
 

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.
 

It is simply economically impossible to require controls that even approach zero emissions.
 

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.
 

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.
 

No action is without its side effects.
 

Nothing ever goes away.
 

Seen that way, the wholesale transformation of production technologies that is mandated by pollution prevention creates a new surge of economic development.
 

The AEC had at its command an army of highly skilled scientists.
 

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.
 

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.
 

The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only global action will resolve it.
 

The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else.
 

The methods that EPA introduced after 1970 to reduce air-pollutant emissions worked for a while, but over time have become progressively less effective.
 


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