Ralph Nader: One day in the spring, at Princeton, where I went to college, I noticed there were dead birds on the pavement between the campus buildings, where very large trees were. At first I didn’t think much of it, I just said, “There’s a bluebird or a robin.” They weren’t mutilated in any way, they just were on their back, dead. And, a few days later I saw more such birds, early in the morning before the groundskeepers picked them up. I noticed that during the day, we’d be going from one classroom to another, and the groundskeepers would be spraying with huge hoses these trees. It turns out it was DDT. At the time, in the early ’50s, no one thought DDT was dangerous to anybody but insects. Well, it turned out it was dangerous right there to birds. I went down to the Daily Princetonian, the college paper, and tried to persuade them to do a story. I had one of the birds with me to show them, and they said, “Naw, there’s nothing wrong. We have some of the best science professors in the world,” they told me. “Chemistry, biology, if they had any idea it was harmful, it would be stopped.” Well it continued on for years, into the ’60s and even later. And the students would wipe some of it off their face, it would be so thick at times. But that taught me a very important lesson. One, that newspaper people can get very jaded. The editor was a senior, he had his feet on the desk, leaning back in his swivel chair, which is always a sign that curiosity might have dimmed. Second, that you might know something, like an expert chemistry professor, but if you are not interested in a problem, or if you have a dual allegiance, like perhaps you might be a consultant to one of the chemical companies that produces the pesticide, you are not going to apply what you know. You are going to be in your little, pigeon-holed specialization, and become one of the world’s experts on some tiny little item. But when it comes to applying it to a problem right where you live and work, you are not necessarily the best person to start the ball rolling. It could be someone who doesn’t have a Ph.D., someone who has a sense of curiosity, and begins to ask questions. That’s why I always say there’s no ticket of admission for active citizenship. Anybody can get through that gate, and anybody can ask that basic question that gets the ball rolling.