Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poster of the Week

Vote Commoner for President
Peace Press
Offset, 1980
Los Angeles, CA
CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorates Barry Commoner, a founder of the modern ecology movement.  Commoner was one of the movement’s most provocative thinkers and mobilizers in making environmentalism a people’s political cause.  He died on Sunday in Manhattan; he was 95.
In the late 1950s, Dr. Commoner became well known for his opposition to nuclear weapons testing, becoming part of the team which demonstrated the presence of Strontium 90 in children’s teeth as a direct result of nuclear fallout.  His work contributed materially to the adoption of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
In his bestselling 1971 book The Closing Circle, Dr. Commoner suggested that the American economy should be restructured to conform to the unbending laws of ecology. For example, he argued that polluting products (like detergents or synthetic textiles) should be replaced with natural products (like soap or cotton and wool). This book was one of the first to bring the idea of sustainability to a mass audience. Dr. Commoner suggested a left-wing, eco-socialist response to the limits to growth thesis, postulating that capitalist technologies were chiefly responsible for environmental degradation, as opposed to population pressures.
Dr. Commoner’s overarching concern was not ecology as such but rather a radical ideal of social justice in which everything was indeed connected to everything else. Like some other left-leaning dissenters of his time, he believed that environmental pollution, war, and racial and sexual inequality needed to be addressed as related issues of a central problem.
In 1980, Commoner founded the Citizens Party to serve as a vehicle for his ecological message, and he ran for President of the United States the same year. His official running mate was La Donna Harris. It is especially fitting to pay tribute to him during the season of presidential debates, when both the Democrats and Republicans strongly agree on at least one thing:  Not to allow Third Party Candidates  from participating in the debates!
One of Commoner's lasting legacies is his four laws of ecology, as written in The Closing Circle (1971). The four laws are:
  1. Everything is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
  2. Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no "waste" in nature and there is no "away" to which things can be thrown.
  3. Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, says Commoner, "likely to be detrimental to that system."
  4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.
Commoner wrote this over 40 years ago.  When will we ever learn.

1 comment:

  1. The history of the president is very informative.I gathered the lot of things from your blog.Keep update the blog.

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