Barry Commoner Citizens Party

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Black and white photo of Barry Commoner in the center, with a white background and black text on either side of the photograph

Curl Text © 1980 CBC Box 521 Santa Cruz, CA 95061
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Barry Commoner (1917-2012) was a cellular biologist, professor, ecologist, politician, writer, and a citizen who deeply cared about the environment. Known as the “Father of the environmental movement”, Commoner raised awareness of environmental issues such as radioactivity releases, energy, solid waste and recycling, global dispersion of pollutants, and the use of genetic knowledge. He founded the first Federally-funded environmental health sciences center in the United States, the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, in 1966. 

In 1980, Commoner ran as a presidential candidate representing the Citizen’s Party, a party he co-founded. The Citizen’s Party was created out of a dissatisfaction with the democratic and republican parties as well as then-president Carter's conservative economic and environmental views. The party's platform was progressive,  pro-science, environmentalist, and emphasized the need to use renewable energy. Commoner was a perfect candidate as he was the catalyst for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. The Citizen’s Party was not able to win five percent of the vote due to the candidacy of independent John Anderson as well as the influence and power of the media. However, Commoner dedicated the rest of his life to studying and bringing awareness to the causes of the environmental crisis. 


Barry Commoner Center for Health & the Environment. (n.d.). Barry Commoner. 

Ellison, K. (1979, August 2). New Citizens Party plans to field 1980 candidate. Washington Post.…;

Faux, J. (2012, October 9). Barry Commoner and the dream of a liberal third party. The American Prospect.…;

Weiss, S. (2016, December 2). Third-party candidate who scored with a shocking campaign ad. Time.  

Catalog ID PO1261