2017 News

‘Social Justice and the Environment’ event honors Barry Commoner

The event “Social Justice and the Environment” commemorated what would have been Barry Commoner’s 100th year.

People gathered November 2 at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work to honor the man who ignited America’s modern environmental movement.

Barry Commoner, who died in 2012, was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 1947-1981. The New York Times called him “a founder of modern ecology,” and Time put him on its cover in 1970. “His four informal rules of ecology,” the Times said in Commoner’s obituary, “were catchy enough to print on a T-shirt and take to the street: Everything is connected to everything else. Everything must go somewhere. Nature knows best.”

Speakers at the event included Brown School Dean Mary McKay and Professor Himadri Pakrasi, director of the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (InCEES).

In addition, Phil Valko, assistant vice chancellor for sustainability, moderated “lightning talks” by sociocultural anthropology Professor Bret Gustafson, Professor Fernando Serrano of the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University, as well as two of the Brown School’s Buder Scholars, Stephen Bell and Julian Wahnee.

Another panel featured five community partners for environmental justice: Georgia de la Garza, of Shawnee Hill and Hollers, Sunni Hutton, of Dutchtown South Community Corp., Heather Navarro, of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, and Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, of Just Moms STL.

The Brown School, Center for Social Development, InCEES, the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Political Science sponsored the event.