Courtesy Reuters


Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being." He bears "a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations." And states have "the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other states or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction."

A year after the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment, few people have begun to grasp the radical implications of these principles, from the Declaration approved by their countries at Stockholm. Despite the worldwide growth in public awareness of complex and interrelated environmental problems, it is apparent that coping with these issues is a far more revolutionary matter than has yet been generally acknowledged or comprehended.

For environmental actions taken to date are still of fairly marginal significance compared with those yet to be confronted. The difficult choices-about the imbalances created by man's activities, about equity in the use of common resources, about the sharing of power both within national societies and internationally, about the fundamental purposes of growth and the sharing of its benefits as well as its costs-remain to be made. Above all are fundamental questions about participation in these decisions, to enable both peoples and societies to cope with, if you will to manage, world problems on a new scale.


Public awareness of the environmental problem has indeed expanded remarkably in a brief four and a half years. After all, it was only in the latter part of 1968 that the Swedish delegation to the United Nations first introduced a resolution in the General Assembly to convene a world conference in Stockholm, and only in mid-1969 that the consciousness of millions around the world was heightened dramatically by the view of Planet Earth as seen from outer space-that exhilarating yet sobering sight of a small, finite

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