Barry Commoner Quotes

  • The methods that EPA introduced after 1970 to reduce air-pollutant emissions worked for a while, but over time have become progressively less effective.
  • There is no such thing as a free lunch.
  • 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.
  • The weapons were conceived and created by a small band of physicists and chemists; they remain a cataclysmic threat to the whole of human society and the natural environment.
  • The modern assault on the environment began about 50 years ago, during and immediately after World War II.
  • If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way.
  • Seen that way, the wholesale transformation of production technologies that is mandated by pollution prevention creates a new surge of economic development.
  • 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.
  • I don't believe in environmentalism as the solution to anything. What I believe is that environmentalism illuminates the things that need to be done to solve all of the problems together.
  • It is simply economically impossible to require controls that even approach zero emissions.
  • Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.
  • No action is without its side effects.
  • 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 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.
  • What is new is that environmentalism intensely illuminates the need to confront the corporate domain at its most powerful and guarded point - the exclusive right to govern the systems of production.
  • 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.
  • What is needed now is a transformation of the major systems of production more profound than even the sweeping post-World War II changes in production technology.
  • By adopting the control strategy, the nation's environmental program has created a built-in antagonism between environmental quality and economic growth.
  • 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.
  • The AEC had at its command an army of highly skilled scientists.
  • The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only global action will resolve it.
  • The most meaningful engine of change, powerful enough to confront corporate power, may be not so much environmental quality, as the economic development and growth associated with the effort to improve it.
  • The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else.
  • 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.