Barry Commoner Way

Barry Commoner (1917-2012) is regarded as one of the founders of the environmental movement in the U.S. Born in Brooklyn and educated at Columbia and Harvard, he began teaching at Washington University in St. Louis in 1947, after serving in the Naval Air Corps during World War II. Starting in the 1950s, Commoner took on a series of important issues in his research, writing and speeches that would propel him into the public eye as a leading voice in the environmental debate. These included radioactivity releases, the energy crisis of the 1970s, solid waste and recycling, the global dispersion of pollutants, and most recently, the potential uses of genetic knowledge. In 1966, Commoner founded the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Washington University as the country's first federally funded environmental health sciences center. He moved the Center to Queens College in 1981, where it is now known as the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment. Commoner retired from Queens and the Center in 2000 but continued to research, write and lecture until his death in 2012.


Daniel Lewis, "Barry Commoner Dies at 95," The New York Times, October 1, 2012,

"About Barry Commoner," Barry Commoner Center for Health & the Environment, accessed October 11, 2023,