Department of Political Science, University of
Seminar Teacher & Advisor: Kristina Riegert
Seminar Assistant: Lisbeth Aggestam
- The question
- Informal actions and actors
- To Look at or Act
- Turning international initiatives towards action
- Shaping the conference or mobilising people 1971
- The Semi-official and American intervention in
- The final battle for ideological territory
Patterned turbulence at
- Free speech and control of privileged space and
- The actors
The follow-up and stalemate
- The issues
- The actors
Power relations across national boundaries have
an increasing importance in todays world. Economical, ecological,
social and security issues call for solutions that go further
than governmental decisions.
The aim of this paper is to account for and analyse
popular and other non-state actors direct interaction with formal
inter-governmental negotiations in building the momentum towards
and at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm
(UNCHE) 1972. This will be used to put some light on global governance
and partly international regime theories of world politics.
The question is if non-state actors influenced the
formal level of the UN-system and the participating governments
and if this changed form and content of world politics.
When accounting for direct popular interaction with
inter-governmental negotiations, no limitations in the interstate
pre-history of UNCHE have been made as this inter-action has been
very limited. The main focus is how nonstate actors as a whole
as autonomous groups other actors developed capacity and influenced
the UNCHE process.
Those actors that during a long time and also in
the final end had impact are especially focused upon. When looking
at issues, particularly the conference days 5th to 16th of June
are important. Only those issues are included that caused most
controversy or were there is a sharp contrast between on one hand
the follow-up among the formal governmental policies and international
regimes and on the other hand informal popular movements and other
To explain world politics different schools have
developed. Realist and neorealist theories see states as the only
actor of importance in world politics and cooperation or conflict
as a result of the power relation between them giving the most
powerful, or hegemon a leader role. These theories
excludes from the outset any crucial role to popular or other
non-state actors or to international institutions. In a time were
such actors seems to play a progressively important role in international
politics have other theories developed. Here mainly the theory
of global governance will be considered with some reference to
the widely used theory focusing on international regimes. Both
encompass governmental and non-governmental actors cooperating
without any central authority.
The difference is that international regimes are
defined as converging in a given area of international relations
(note 1) or what has also been called an issue-area
while global governance (note 2) is not limited
to a single-sphere of efforts. It refers also to arrangements
that prevail in the lacunae between regimes and, perhaps more
importantly, to the principles, norms, rules, and procedures that
come into play when two or more regimes overlap, conflict, or
otherwise require arrangements that facilitate accommodation among
the competing interests (note 3). Where
international regime theorists focus on changes in specific issue-areas
of international politics global governance theory points at the
process as a whole in an era of turbulence in world politics.
Here a bifurcation of global structures is seen to take place.
A state-centric world is replaced by two increasingly autonomous
worlds. Alongside the traditional interstate system has a multi-centric
world of hundreds of thousands actors emerged, replete with processes
and decision rules of its own. This multitude of non-state actors
individually and sometimes jointly compete, conflict, cooperate,
or otherwise interact also with the states and their inter-state
world. This turbulence global governance theory is concerned about
publics and societal institutions but less with decision-making
in the multi-centric system and more with aggregation. A skill
revolution at micro-level is seen to have taken place making aggregation
possible at macro-level which makes a challenging of the authority
of the state possible (note 4).
Apart from these two autonomous variables further
variables can be of importance in the multi-centric pole of global
governance. Business and organisations working in their interest
with its base in the market is one autonomous variable that is
often included in different schools of thought. Another is elaborated
by theories emphasising the role of social movements. This school
is almost only limited to the national level but gives an empirical
and theoretical background for delineating one possible autonomous
variable that can be tested also at global level. The maybe most
consensual definition have been formulated by Raschke and emphasise
popular participation, challenging of established social roles,
a certain duration over time and multiple ways of action promoting
or hindering social change (note 5). Here specific
projects within such social movements will be called popular initiatives
or Popular organisations, POs. Social movement observers often
points out that a theory in its full sense is not possible to
develop about social movements as the phenomena is so in constant
flux but prefer to call their theoretical attempts provisory theory
or protheory (note 6). At the global level Nerfin
and others have developed normative notions of delineating between
governments, business and POs (note 7). The fact
that very small resources especially at the global level have
been given to research on popular initiatives and social movements
and the theoretical and empirical body of established knowledge
is small should no refrain us from looking at this factor and
see if it is a variable of importance.
A strong empirical evidence for international regimes
is the area of environmental issues (note 8).
In this area there are many regimes. They have developed early
and so has attempts to coordinate different environmental policies
internationally. Here special UN theme conferences in Stockholm
1972 and Rio de Janeiro 1992 have been important.
This paper examines the first UN environmental conference
held in Stockholm 1972 which is also the first broader theme conference
with public participation held by the UN. Most observers today
of UN conferences including nongovernmental activities account
for the institutional results or account for changes in the formal
relations between UN and NGOs (note 9). There
is a tendency in studies even when specifically emphasising the
role of NGOs to describe that extra-ordinary things happened at
Stockholm but not to account for them (note 10).
Only a research that goes beyond this formal level and also account
more fully for the non-state actors can give us knowledge of how
politics actually is acted out. In this way we can come a bit
closer to the question whether we should focus on global governance
or international regimes to get an accurate picture of world politics
To account for both the open public and more hidden
course of events in the preparations and during UNCHE different
methods is necessary to choose. One has been to look for literature
assessing the UN-NGO relations and popular activities at Stockholm.
Almost all academic articles and books cross-referring each other
have been checked together with articles by actors in scientific
and UN magazines, in all some 60 titles. Specially helpful have
been biographies and detailed journalistic books about the event
accounting for many informal processes. The event most controversial
and central to much of the NGO-UN relations was Environmental
Forum. Here four persons active in different central positions
have been interviewed. To account for the local popular movements
and their preparation and participation four more persons have
been interviewed and some internal documents and mainly unpublished
studies on the Stockholm alternative movement been checked. A
more systematic control of all the facts with a larger number
of persons have not been possible within the scope of this study.
As some of the persons interviewed at the time held quite contradictory
opinions and the literature also covers a broad range of opinions,
a certain degree of balanced account is achieved. If the result
of perceptions of others has strongly influenced the course of
events, such descriptions have been included. This as informal
processes are a main focus of the study and even if these perceptions
have not been possible to substantiate as true descriptions of
the other actor. Apart from articles, books and interviews the
press has been a source, Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Dagens
Nyheter and Göteborgs- Posten as well as a large number of
press clippings from Sweden and United States collected by Zacharias
Forum programs and information material, minutes
from meetings and private archives of Göran Folin, Elisabet
Viklund and Jan Fjellander have been used to verify parts of the
interviews. The material accounted for about the UN-NGO relations
at UNCHE is fairly extensive and the theory have not limited it
as almost all cross-referred texts have been checked. But they
are almost all in English and reflect angloamerican academic or
journalistic cultures. The interview focus on Environmental Forum
is motivated both by quantitative and qualitative criteria. In
the most encompassing accounts is the Environmental Forum mentioned
more then any other parallel activity or NGO. Almost all give,
comparably to others, most attention to the Environment Forum
and at the same time in contrasting ways which leaves many questions
open. The other interviews, focused on local popular movements
in Stockholm with international links, are motivated by the lack
of published material. That only Swedes have been interviewed
with one exception is motivated by the fairly rich amount of accounts
of anglo-american observers and the central involvement of the
Swedish organisations. Third world participants have not been
possible to reach for practical reasons but a number of third
world observers, mainly diplomats, have given their impressions
(note 11) and in the preparations third world
youth representatives gave their view (note 12).
The two actors that sustained the longest efforts
that influenced the relations between the formal and informal
levels at Stockholm have none been accounted for in academic literature,
at least in their main character. Both were generally well-prepared
and on their way to initiate processes on global issues but from
contradictory perspectives and models for participations before
UN decided to convene an environmental conference. One was a network
of foundations in the US with the executive seminar Aspen Institute
for Humanistic Studies as the key actor and the chairman of Atlantic
Richfield oil company as founder. Aspen Institute is mentioned
in the most detailed literature but then never as the business
think tank with executive seminars as the core of its activities
nor the scope of its early and wide role in influencing the process
(note 13). The other was a youth group deeply
involved with third world contacts of a Stockholm branch of a
movement inspired by Indian religious philosophy and vegetarianism.
This Teosofiska ungdomsgruppen, the Theosophic Youth Group, that
for more then ten years sustained a growing amount of solidarity
initiatives with the third world well integrated with peace, development,
youth counter-culture and the emerging environmental movement
since the early 1960s have never been accounted for in any published
literature. This motivates a more lengthy occupation with the
development of their initiative. Although the group as such did
not participate in their own name as a collective at the conference
their initiative ended with a coalition of a broad group of people
from the third world coming to Stockholm clashing with the perspectives
of the established Anglo-American new environmentalism, northern
governments and business think tanks. The criteria for giving
them space is not only that they are not accounted for by other
observers and that they earlier than all other popular movements
made qualified efforts giving them a central position in the preparations
for alternative popular and scientific activities at Stockholm
and linkages with the South. It is also that their initiative
in its content and international direction became highly provocative
for both established interests and competing left-wing forces
in the popular movements. Also the influential group of third
world people that with a theosophist as contact person could come
to Stockholm has to a high degree vanished from later accounts
and so are the local environmental groups. An affair for the northern
dominated international environmental organisations is what is
left (note 14).
Informal actions and actors
The informal level of intergovernmental negotiations
can be negatively defined as all actions not undertaken by governments
somehow linked to the process. The formal level can include both
the official public standpoints as well as secret diplomatic negotiations.
Informal actions from the point of view of governments would then
be all actions undertaken by all non-state actors like trade unions,
business, mass media, movements or unorganised youth activists
on the streets. Those non-state actors can of course work openly
in a way that makes them transparent, accountable, and participatory
for the public. This in the tradition of the association or the
democratic popular movement, both open for anyone supporting the
goal of the organisation. The openness can be protected either
by formal statutes or by informal democratic customs in a movement,
this kind of democratic organisations open to public participation
will here be called popular movements, and sometimes when speaking
of specific groups peoples organisations, POs. In the case
of business the openness for public participation do not exist
but other forms of accountability and transparence is possible.
In this studied process the interest of business
is mainly maintained by special business think-tanks. They belong
to a group of organisations that in the UN system is labelled
NGOs, non-governmental organisations. No consensual definition
of the concept of NGOs exist apart from the formal that they should
not have been established by governmental decision. Sometimes
also business corporations are excluded as they work for profit-making
motives but organisations working in the interest of business
like Chambers of Commerce are explicitly included (note
15). Many of the dominant NGOs, especially in the environmental
field are hard to separate from state or business interests. The
influential International Union for the Conservation of Nature,
IUCN has both governments and POs as members and is then a hybrid
NGO generally regarded as NGO. World Resource Institute, WRI,
World-Wide Fund for Nature, WWF and Greenpeace are other internationally
influential NGOs that are not POs. None of them have possibilities
for popular democratic participation in their decision-making
and WRI and WWF have strong presence of business and in the latter
case of nobility when possible in their boards.
Many also define popular democratic organisations
as NGOs. Here the concern is to study the open and hidden relations
between informal and formal level of politics both among governmental
and non-state actors and between them. This makes the conventional
distinction useful between NGOs and governmental levels including
both states and international organisations like the UN. Furthermore
is it useful with the distinction between POs built on possibilities
for democratic transparency, accountability and participation
and other NGOs lacking these criteria making it less possible
to openly follow their actions. Many that focus less on the conflictual
capacity of social movements and POs conflate the social movement
organisations with NGOs. Here they will be kept separate when
possible. Also governments can undertake actions that can be seen
as informal from the point of view of governments. This can take
the form of secret activities outside diplomatic channels to influence
the context of inter-governmental negotiations. More problematic
from the point of view of making clear definitions is interaction
mixing state actors and non-state actors participating in the
same events that directly or indirectly through different kind
of media influences the official course of events. When non-state
actors in such a chain of events in one sequence acts by themselves
it is defined as informal even if the initiator is a state actor.
The issues chosen to look closer at are those who
are controversial and the actors tries actively to avoid or proclaim
them as politically relevant, how these issues were influenced
and if it was done inside or outside the formal agenda and results
of the conference.
The present interstate system created by the Peace
of Westphalia in 1648 gave the political legitimacy over a geographical
territory only to one authority, the state. This inter-state institutional
level could gradually expand its topics from war and peace issues
to wider concerns. This gradual expansion took place without popular
and according to the rules of secret diplomacy.
But instead of popular participation directly at the level of
interstate institutions or at their meeting the interstate system
was much influenced by popular participation through other means.
The succession of the American, French and Haitian revolutions
or later the revolution of 1848 in most parts of Europe and rebellions
in the colonies all over the world changed the balances. The workers
movement formed the First International 1864 effectively supporting
strikes internationally. The Red Cross was formed for humanitarian
needs that the states caused by their wars but could not fulfil.
A political popular movement against the wars of the states and
militarism was mobilised with aims to build peace through destroying
the power of capitalist imperialism or through international law
and international institution building. Also a modern conservation
movement started, at first on the tropical islands from 1768 and
onwards (note 16) and later as part of the wave
of building associations in Europe and North America. At first
to defend animals which got wide spread popular support especially
from women which from 1867 and onwards created successful local,
national and international campaigning popular movements. Later
starting in the end of the 19th century more elitist organisations
with broader nature conservation aims were initiated. The first
international environmental law was established 1900 to preserve
wildlife in Africa and the first international environmental organisation
started 1903 with the aim to preserve wildlife in the British
empire. Attempts were made to start an international organisation
for conservation in the beginning of the century but without results
before World War II, but an international organisation for protecing
birds was established 1922. In 1909 separate North American and
European international conservation governmental meetings were
held an ideas promoted for an international conference that did
not materialise (note 17).
The confidence in national states were lost after
their system of managing international affairs ended with the
first world war. The earlier demands for international law and
institutions were now met by the creation of the League of Nations.
In spite of that it was a result of the failure of the states
and of massive popular mobilisations through decades is there
no reports in the literature of any popular mobilisation at the
meetings. The popular participation is limited to a few representatives
for trade unions and some other popular and non-governmental organisations
like chambers of commerce. At national level membership organisations
for the support of the League of Nations was successfully formed
that at the same time effectively split the peace movement. The
rest that did not put their main trust in the international arbitration
at the League of Nations were incapable of integrating the workers
anti-militarist and the pacifist wings in the way that was to
a high degree successfully done at the turn of the century.
Equally, the workers movement was split during
the war into those supporting their national governments war efforts
and those who didnt, following the anti militaristic strategy
of the whole social democratic movement before the war and eventually
advocated revolution now. Both movements saw the national state
and the conquering of its power as the main tool for bringing
about social and political change and for this purpose built the
Second and Third International in bitter competition. The stage
was set for a new world war and after it a new attempt at creating
an international institution, the United Nations.
The United Nations Conference on Human Environment
in Stockholm 1972 was the first time ever since the creation of
formal meetings in an inter-state system that popular participation
was enacted directly and open to wide lay person participation,
and not only through a limited number of representatives, with
a wide range of activities and interaction between popular and
governmental spheres. There had been popular activities at international
meetings before as when conflictual demonstrations were held against
the World Bank meeting in Copenhagen 1970 or at a meeting of finance
ministers of the ten leading industrial countries at Lidingö
in 1968 but the interaction between the popular activities and
the official meetings was minimal or non-existent except indirectly
through mass media and security arrangements. There was also in
the creation and at the start of the United Nations interaction
between NGOs and the governmental level. An NGO with strong business
links initiated 1939 the economical and political post-war research
in the US secretly for the public, a process that later merged
with the State Department planning and became the base for UN
and Bretton Woods system (note 18). There was
also ad hoc lobbying representation from popular and non-governmental
organisations at the establishing of the UN at San Fransisco 1945
(note 19). Later this NGO-UN relation was regulated
through accreditation but there were no open direct popular participation
in independent activities that through numerous ways interacted
with the official United Nations gathering (note
While corporate interests planned their ideas for
the post-war world there were also earlier attempts at international
cooperation in the field of natural resource management with the
UN system as one prime mover. Gradually an integrated process
emerged were it is hard to see were the official starts and the
non-governmental, scientific or more action-oriented, begin. Often
the same persons acting simultaneously in both governmental and
non-governmental roles. The UN agency for scientific and cultural
affairs UNESCO and its leader Julian Huxley was central both in
linking the scientific NGO ICSU to the UN system 1945 and in initiating
the conservation NGO, IUPN in 1948
(later renamed International Union for the Conservation of Nature
and Natural Resources, IUCN) with the youth branch IYF. ICSU gave
advice on the peaceful uses of atomic energy and applied ecology
among other scientific tasks, IUCN focused on wildlife and other
nature conservation (note 21). This symbiosis
reaches its highest result so far with the decision to arrange
By the end of the 1960s time new popular movements
had emerged. In Europe the peace movement and solidarity with
Algeria and later with other third world countries, in the US
the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war movement and in
many industrial countries but also some in the third world an
environmental movement building more on popular participation
than before and integrating human health and nature conservation
issues and sometimes questioning economic, political and cultural
causes of environmental degradation. The process for arranging
an international conference on the human environment emerged.
There are at least ten distinct forces at play during UNCHE in
Stockholm 1972 who were building a long-term momentum to influence
the process: National states, UN, Science and popular science
authors, UN accredited NGOs, Anglo-American New Environmentalism,
Anti-vietnam war movement linked with both established and new
Swedish political culture, the left, local socially oriented environmentalists,
young theosophists linked to third world activists and finally
business and business NGOs. Academic literature account for the
five first but little if at all of the others. This in spite of
that it was the five latter that to a high degree set the agenda
and were some of the strongest conflicts occurred.
To Look at or to Act
With Sweden and the US as lead countries domestic
but also world environmental issues became issues of public concerns
in Europe and North America (note 22). States
started to react. Sweden became the first country in setting up
a state authority for the environment and making a comprehensive
environmental law 1968, while at the same time responding to wide-spread
popular protests by forbidding the agricultural use of mercury.
Other nation states soon followed suit. Fuelled by oil and other
environmental catastrophes like the Torrey Canyon accident at
Cornwall 1967, the time had come for broader international initiatives.
The Swedish UN Delegation headed by Sverker Åström
brings up the proposal to make an environmental UN-conference
and it is approved in the General Assembly 1968. In the UN resolution
the formal original aim is to provide a framework for comprehensive
consideration within the UN of problems of the human environment
in order to focus the attention of governments and the public
opinion on the importance and urgency of this question.
The reaction were reluctant from different countries but preparations
went ahead. The established organisations whether UN, governmental
or nongovernmental already had their conceptual framework and
working methods clearly defined for a conventional scientifically
and not action-oriented conference.
The values of business and internal and external
colonialisation was challenged in the 1960s in the US by emerging
movements. How to not only react but also formulate new strategies
was discussed at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in
the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Here business leaders met together
with elite scientists, a few trade unionists and statesmen every
summer since 1950. In the early 1960s seminars on the public role
of science, field biology and long-term historical climate change
were held in at first disparate attempt to enlarge the scope of
issues beyond the core executive seminars focusing on the greatest
Western thinking. But it is first in the summer of 1967 things
starts to get a direction. Joe Slater from the Ford Foundation
becomes scholar in residence at Aspen Institute and gives his
lecture on Biology and Humanism for the Executive
Seminar. He is asked to become director of both the institute
and its main founder Anderson Foundation. After having finished
the task of setting up an international broadcast institute, a
free-floating university network of centres for advanced
studies and renew an institute for biological studies he finally
excepts in 1969. The main effort for his renewed humanistic strategy
for the institute was the environment. Slater saw a problem in
that the old-line conservation organisations tended to focus
only on single aspects of the environment". A positive solution
was the creation of an international environmental institute (note
23). The first step was to conduct a world-wide survey to
determine who was doing what.
After a first unsuccessful attempt Slater calls
late 1969 the civil servant Thomas W Wilson who is trying to get
the Secretary of State to move on the international front in environmental
matters but as he sees it without success. Wilson accepts the
offer to start working for Slater.
In the 1968 election the population control of the
third world got its strongest voice with the highly successful
book The Population Bomb written by the biologist Paul Ehrlich.
Business actors like the Rockefellers had a long interest in the
population control issue and now a person and a message they could
support, someone and something that caught wide-spread support
also from an alerted new young environmentalist opinion in the
Late 1960s sees a growing mobilisation of popular
movement all round the world. Trade unions in both the third world
and industrialised countries organise strikes and if they do not
striking committees are formed by the workers. Liberation
movements in the south are in war with dominating northern countries
or domestic elites, often supported by popular movements in the
north. The environmental movement in the industrialised countries
are much linked to the student and youth movements, the anti Vietnam
war movement and the opposition against nuclear weapons of the
era (note 24). But apart from the youth theosophist
with its linkages internationally and to the popular movements
in Stockholm, no independent international popular initiatives
of relevance for UNCHE are taken in Stockholm in this decade.
Teosofiska ungdomsgruppen (TUG), started to widen
their interest at the beginning of the 1960s. The youth group
had already in the 1950s adopted a Tibetan child and this idea
was expanded. With a group of young theosophists as the core organisers
support from schools all over Sweden to keep a refugee child,
from the Algerian liberation war, above starvation level succeeded
in collecting 600.000 Swedish crowns in most high schools in Sweden
in 1961-62. Meanwhile the young theosophists got involved in other
local and international peace, ecology, counter-culture and solidarity
movements in the early 1960s while maintaining TUG as a core group
for unlimited discussions and as a community. A decade followed
with every year bringing in new and wider concerns and organisational
contacts ending with a full-scale attempt to bring in the third
world perspective at the United Nations Conference on the Human
Environment 1972 (note 25).
Vegetarianism was strong in the group which led
to contacts with the health food movement 1962 and consciousness
about the problem of emissions before the notion of
environment was born and the influential book Silent Spring that
is seen as starting the environmental movement was published.
In 1966 TUG members inspired by the Dutch provos started a lively
youth ProVie movement in Stockholm struggling for public transport,
against no-return bottles and tobacco advertising. After a year
the movement decided to bury itself, which it promptly did with
a symbolic funeral coffin procession. The ProViemovement was soon
followed by others in 1968. Neighbourhood groups started to pull
down walls on backyards that had hindered people from the whole
block to come together or to build a playground. The movement
with support of a center for experience-exchange deliberately
closed new more open and spontaneous forms for cooperating avoiding
the more formal association with a board. Anti commercial groups
successfully stopped a teenager fair trade now immediately expanded
their work and arranged Alternative Christmas celebrations all
over Stockholm, the biggest at the art school Konstfack which
was occupied when the invited homeless had nowhere to go after
christmas. One of the immediate outcomes was the foundation of
Alternative City in February 1969, a group formed to continue
the struggle for an anti-commercial culture, defend egalitarian
and environmental values and mobilise against the prevailing city
In the summer of 1967 the world theosophical summer
camp took place in Sweden under the slogan Look In, Search Out,
Try Out Camp, LASITOC. It was turned into a highly ambitious summer
university trying to grasp the important global social, environmental
and scientific topics. A group was formed changing the meaning
of the last letter in LASITOC to committee. During the following
four years this international core group with some ten people
from Sweden, Great Britain, Netherlands, France and after a while
West Germany met almost every three months to discuss and coordinate
a wider and expanding ambitious agenda ending with an initiative
to link with third world people and arrange alternative activities
at UNCHE. The LASITOC group turned the idea of an informal university
into practice by systematically contacting well-known intellectuals
when the had their international meetings. In Stockholm, the youth
theosophist Jan Fjellander started to work for the Nobel Foundation
in the preparation together with an American scientific organisation
of to scientific symposiums in their attempt to prepare for the
start of a world university. A special youth group was set up
mainly with Swedish participation but also some international
members including the young theosophists Peter Harper and Juris
Brandt with the task to help prepare back ground material for
the meetings (note 26).
The participation at the conferences and in the
planning gave a lot of contacts with top scientists and especially
those trying to take public responsibility and LASITOC became
early aware of the UNCHE as one possibility to influence the world.
But it also became more and more clear that the established scientists
and the young theosophists had different agendas for their involvement.
Whereas scientists hoped to influence through lobbying LASITOC
tried another path to mobilise people to act and build alternative
public spaces not framed by the limitations of the content of
the official proceedings. Except for the somewhat reluctant UN
and the energetic executive seminar institute it is the young
theosophist that makes the most concentrated effort that leads
Turning international initiatives towards action 1970
Direct, indirect and parallel attempts started to
bear fruit. Wilson started making his international environment
report in February. At stake for spaceship earth if
none came and took charge of the crew through the politicalsocial
process were among other things access to resources
in global short supply (note 27) In planning
for the International Institute for Environmental Affairs (IIEA)
envisioned by Slater it was pointed at Stockholm as a crucial
political opportunity and at the same time that a real danger
exists that the outcome could be more divisive than anything else.
Almost inescapably, the Stockholm Conference will bring to a head
an incipient but necessary political collision between environmental
goals and development goals. (note 28)
In Europe 1970 was announced as a Conservation year and local
official and unofficial activities blossomed. The US administration
initiated with the financial support from Anderson (note
29) and others a nation-wide Earth Day in April with 300.000
participants or more (note 30). At UN began
the key phrase action-oriented to be widely used first
in March 1970 (note 31) when the 27-member preparatory
committee with strong representation from the third world started
its huge task to prepare organisation and documentation for the
Stockholm conference (note 32). But the head
of the conference still was supposed to become Director
of Studies (note 33).
In May 1970 Maurice Strong, a businessman and the
Head of the Canadian International Development Agency is approached
to become leader for the Stockholm conference (note
34). He is appointed in September for the time being as an
consultant taking up his post officially as Secretary-General
for the Stockholm Conference in January 1971 (note
Strong had not previously shown specific interest
for the environment (note 36). He was on untrodden
ground both concerning the content and the procedures and needed
help. Slater and Strong knew each other since years past and the
ideas in preparing and soon started IIEA showed to be useful.
One of Strongs first recruitments for the UNCHE secretariat
was Wilson as a special advisor. Understaffed and underfinanced
Strong needed help. Thus Strong, Wilson and Slater and others
at the UNCHE secretariat, Aspen Institute and IIEA came to continuously
cooperate closely in the preparations, during the UNCHE and the
follow-up. The cooperation concerned key areas like a conceptual
framework or ideology for UNCHE intended both for internal effects
and the broad public, explicitly not dealing with instutionalization
issues, instutionalization of UNCHE and cooperation with NGOs.
Business interests should have a low profile in the formal process
and in the informal participation aiming at publicity (note
37). Instead, the more invisible cooperation in core areas
was so much closer.
LASITOC becomes more ambitious and in the summer
1970 they arranged an international conference called Threats
and Promises of Science at Kings College in London. The conference
resulted in a broad strategy for working with the role of science
in society. One focus was to arrange an international parallel
event to the UNCHE. What was needed was an alternative scientific
third world oriented treatment of the issue of human environment.
Back in Stockholm the situation was favourable.
The local alternative and environmental movement flourished. Together
with groups in Amsterdam they initiated an international traffic
revolution with actions against cars in some 10 countries in October
1970. The Stockholm LASITOC group now expanded with some members
outside TUG and renamed late 1970 into the Powwow-group had a
key position. It was soon realised by the group that people from
the whole world and especially independent groups would come to
Stockholm and it was time to prepare for sending out information
and an address to contact.
Shaping the conference or mobilising people 1971
To manage the conference Strong separated three
abstract levels to make the conference manageable (note
38). The first was a intellectual-conceptual level and would
include what at Stockholm was called a Distinguished Lecture
Series, a report on the human environment setting
the stage and the mood for the conference and an official Declaration
on the Human Environment comprehensively affirming the human right
to a livable world. The second level was to be an action
plan with recommendations from the conference for national
and international action in different fields.
The third level was action completed
including the funding and initiating of a UN environmental Agency
and other measures that could be dealt with and completed during
the conference. To create the conceptual framework was René
Dubos and Barbara Ward commissioned to make the report Only One
Earth with the help of IIEA in managing consultations with experts
around the world and organize a workshop.
Strongs senior press advisor Stone who had
been very skeptic about the possibility of making a readable and
saleable book on such short time with so many writers that meddled
in its creation was also positive about the book. It
led one to understand and sympathise with the captains of industry
and their economic rationalisers who have got us into our present
pickle, but it also glowed with humane and zestful optimism, with
the sort of spirit that we need to get us out of the mess
(note 39). A streamlining of the preparations
took place by focusing on instruments making it easy for many
more to take active part like more easily readable preparatory
documents, regional preparatory meetings specially helped by a
third world expert report, asking for national reports including
NGO-input and extensive travelling by Strong to convince the hesitant.
But there was also a need for reaching the public and cooperating
with NGOs on a wider scale.
The interest among NGOs was small at the outset,
only 3 NGOs participated at the first PrepCom 1970. This changed
at next PrepCom in December 1970 when the NGO participation in
the formal preparatory process reach its peek with 39 organisations
present (note 40). Different observers sees
an orientation towards scientific and technical NGOs with ICSU
and IUCN pointed at as main cooperation partners (note
41). Willets assess that [t]here was little sense of
the intense political controversy that could surround environmental
questions and few signs of any desire to hear from NGOs at the
grass-roots, tackling local environmental problems, or all parts
of the environmental movement. Thus prior to the main conference
Strongs approach was to make sure that governments had sound
advice from experts, and NGOs were predominantly seen
as groupings of relevant experts (note 42).
But the interests of Strong and the information and public relations
officers of UNCHE as well as among close collaborators like Slater
indicated early interest for popular activities and youth participation.
Aspen Institute and Anderson were involved in Earth Day and the
senior information advisor Peter Stone chosen by Strong searched
for cooperation partners that could act as multiplicators
(note 43) to overcome the obstacles due to lack
This emphasis on participation with those having
an interest by themselves and willing to spread interest for UNCHE
caused unexpected endless controversy. In general,
the governments of the preparatory committee had been very positive
towards new ideas and mobilisation of public opinion. What caused
suspicion was projects involving uncontrolled participation
(note 44). The project which caused so much
conflict between those used to secret diplomacy and official messages
to the public and those in desperate need for multiplicators for
publicity was a forum for the environmental movement and NGOs.
One problem with this had never been far from our minds:
the risk that the Forum might turn into a counter conference.
(note 45). The idea Stone had was different
I had imagined an Environment Forum in the shadow of, but
apart from, the main conference. It would be arranged more or
less like an exhibition and anyone could put up a stall and do
their thing, provided they satisfied a few basic requirements
such as financial solvency and a genuine interest in the environment.
The plan to avoid obstacles at the central UN level was to give
the Swedish government responsibility for arranging the event.
The Swedish United Nations Association (UNA) and the Swedish National
Council for Youth Associations were commissioned to be responsible
for the management.
Meanwhile in Stockholm mass popular participation
emerged in the environmental movement. The local politicians had
decided to cut down the only huge trees, a group of elms, in the
city center were young people had their meeting place in Kungsträdgården
which was something that alarmed Alternative City. The trees became
a symbol for the struggle against environmentally unfriendly town
planning and the conflict polarised. Finally the local politicians
asked for support from the national government for their decisions
which they got and in secret arranged to cut down the trees 11th
of May 1971. This caused thousands of activist to confront police
with some coercive violence and occupy the trees. 250.000 people
is estimated to have participated some time during the month long
occupation and folk festival that followed and the politicians
changed their decision (note 46). All over the
country local environmental groups were formed and a national
The Powwow group start building their contacts in
early 1971. At Easter a Powwow manifesto is finalised for the
work and translated into several languages. The platform opened
up saying that [o]ur planet is ruined. Economic growth have
become a God in whose name all living is withering away, natural
resources plundered and man enslaved. The manifesto points
at both that we must create a new way of life and
that now we must find new ways of production that allow
us to live with the resources of the earth instead of poisoning
and eroding them. and we must solidarise us with the
oppressed fighting for their liberation in poor countries and
at other places. From the politicians, corporations and
international organisations was little expected. They were seen
as reacting on the intensified discussion of others and not able
to solve the problems we face. During the rest of the year
contacts are taken with local action groups internationally and
with other groups planning parallel activities in Stockholm like
the IFOR (international Christian peace movement) initiative Dai
Dong that among other things focused at ecological warfare and
had strong scientific bias. Powwow also sent Fjellander and one
other delegate to a global youth conference that was a cornerstone
in the UNCHE preparations.
Something unique happened with the International
Youth Conference on the Problems of the Human Environment, IYCHE.
For the first time in the whole process when popular organisations
met internationally the majority came from the third world. The
conference was held at Hamilton in Canada 20-30th of August 1971
and supported by the UNCHE Secretariat, UNESCO, IUCN, the International
Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature, IYF
and others. 163 young people gathered from 75 countries. The program
was filled with lectures by people from the North America and
British with overpopulation as one of the most dominating topics.
Growing disapproval among the many third world delegates and some
from the North led to a take over by the participants of the conference
and a complete shift of the program into working groups instead
of listening to lectures. A new actor on the scene emerged rejecting
the established Anglo-American environmental discourse and replacing
it with notions of the need to redistribute wealth and power
both nationally and internationally. Their programme was
comprehensive and wide in its environmental, social, cultural
and political scope forecasting the later stronger cooperation
in the 1990s of the environmental and development movements in
the South and the North. They demanded with UN non-accredited
NGOs and other independent voices in mind "that the U.N.
Stockholm Conference organisers initiate immediate machinery to
provide an independent parallel conference of such excluded parties
to be held in Stockholm itself for the duration of the Conference
or Environmental Forum at present being planned but completely
and distinct therefrom.
The popular movements were well-prepared in Stockholm
and linked internationally both among environmentalists in Europe
and with the Third world. A group of eleven third world participants
that started the change of the meeting at Hamilton formed the
Oi Committee International with Fjellander as a representative
Scientifically and more socially oriented environmental
discourse started to gain momentum with Barry Commoners
book Closing the Circle that got wide spread attention internationally.
UN was still on the defensive in getting the control of the NGOs,
public activities and the total public image in Stockholm. The
picture of a harmonious world were the powerful nations together
with everybody started to seriously deal with the global environmental
problems was challenged. Over 2.000 scientist had signed the Dai
Dong declaration and the global youth at Hamilton had chosen as
its spokesperson at the official UN Conference a Vietnamese Nguyen
The Semi-official and American intervention in Stockholm
The obstacles for non-accredited NGOs criticised
by the youth at Hamilton was partly solved at the third session
of the preparatory committee in September 1971. It was now formally
sanctioned by the UN to arrange a parallel Environmental Forum
under Swedish responsibility for wider participation from more
than selected NGOs. The forum is presented as independent for
interested Swedish organisations but this is constantly challenged
by suspicious organisations seeing it as a radical alibi
calling into question that all proposals for the program are supposed
to go to a advisory panel in Geneva for review. The
Powwow-group invites more organisations and preparations starts
for making an independent not by UN sanctioned alternative conference
called Peoples Forum without a leadership selected by the
state. Meanwhile changes takes place for the Environmental Forum.
The full decision-power was transferred to Stockholm and better
premises more suitable for debates and not as the first building
purposed for exhibitions in line with the original UNCHE secretariat
The Powwow group continued its preparations together
with the Peoples Forum. There are some problems rising at
the horizon although they do not seem to be grave. The most important
one was financing. Especially troublesome is the situation for
the third world people in the Oi Committee who have now grown
to become 60 members from all over the third world including a
handful from indigenous peoples preparing themselves to come to
Stockholm with reports. Another problem is a tendency among Peoples
Forum organisations to prioritise the needs of local inhabitants
and Swedes that do not understand English by demanding full consecutive
translation of everything said at public meetings into Swedish
and not allowing for a international discussion in English. But
there seems to be no bigger political divergence. Peoples
Forum is well linked to the most important international initiatives
Dai Dong and Oi Committee as well as new Swedish environmental
groups from Stockholm and the national level. During the spring
is there also an explosive interest internationally in new books
about the environment like Only One Earth , Limits to Growth and
Blueprint for Survival selling in million of copies and translated
into more than 20 languages. To be able to influence the UNCHE
Friends of the Earth in the United States initiated a Swedish
sister organisation. The first to be published was The Population
Bomb with its proposals for coerced vasectomy and giving up to
help the worst off countries to curb the population growth. Written
by the biologist Ehrlich and launched by an environmental organisation
the notion of population as the most grave environmental problem
was given legitimacy by environmentalists.
A more problematic American intervention came in
March from something called Life Forum represented by the Kaplan
Fund and the multi-millionaire Stewart Brand, a Californian drug
liberal that became rich when making and selling an alternative
lifestyle catalogue in 2 million copies. Life Forum met Peoples
Forum, Environmental Forum and the police. They offered help and
financial support but provided also information stating that some
hundred thousands of youth and street people were
on the way to come to Stockholm. To help bringing order in such
a youth gathering they had invited and given resources to the
drug liberal hippie commune Hog Farm wellexperienced from the
Woodstock festival in keeping a crowd calm. The authorities saw
the Americans as a possible help in a problematic situation. In
Peoples Forum the intervention caused a split between the
Swedish and international organisations. Oi Committee could not
guarantee that they refused any money from the Americans as the
Swedes wanted. Also political tensions became so intense that
Dai Dong and the Oi Committee saw no other solution than to leave
Peoples Forum. By the end of April the third world participation
was in jeopardy and nobody of his long-time Swedish cooperation
partners supported Fjellander when his position in the forum became
The final battle for ideological territory
1st of May the biggest demonstration since World
War II was organised in Stockholm. Five weeks before the UN Environmental
Conference two of the strands of the anti-Vietnam war movements
joined hands in a common and unprecedented demonstration. The
final meeting gathering 50.000 participants took place right outside
Folkets Hus, the venue of the coming UN conference. The more established
popular movements and the governing social democratic party had
accepted more radical demands of the youth radical left movement
saying not only peace in Vietnam but also specifying the US as
an aggressor that had to withdraw from Indochina.
Some days later Fjellander comes up to the office
of Environmental Forum. There is chaos and the employees are going
on strike against the conditions and lack of information. The
next day a news bill states Crisis in Environmental Forum,
the staff threatens to leave (note 47)
Among other things were the staff alarmed by the lack of information
shown when by coincidence they got to know that the director not
was employed by Environmental Forum but directly by the Swedish
government. The UNA Sweden leader Ingrid Segerstedt-Wibergs tries
to solve the situation. In the middle of the turmoil Fjellander
is asked to help the secretariat. One problem he dealt with was
wishes to have prominent lectures on the population growth issue
at the Environmental Forum. There was plans for a series of lectures
arranged by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
IUCN, WWF and other big international NGOs to be held at the Forum
with Ehrlich as one of the key note speakers. Fjellander phoned
Ehrlich and told him that the possibility for a key note speech
was cancelled. He instead told the arrangers that they had to
stand in the line as everybody else with their proposals, a panel
debate on the issue became the solution.
Everybody were supposed to be treated in the same
way without regard to richness or size nor possible prearrangements.
Newsweek accounts for the embarrassing result of the equal treatment
of everybody: On the side U.N. is also sponsoring an environmental
forum, originally intended as a high-level scientific seminar
on environmental issues but now degraded into political football
by the arbitrary exclusion of such prominent American environmentalists
as René Dubos (note 48). Also IIEA
was involved in pushing for the population issue to become central
at the Environmental Forum together with the Population Institute
in cooperation with the UNCHE secretariat. When they were refused
to have a dominant role at the forum for their Distinguished Lecture
Series they had to find other premises at the ball room of the
Grand Hotel in the last minute in a town were all suitable places
was more or less occupied.
By 20th of May Fjellander presented the situation
for the two responsible Swedish umbrella organisations. An Environmental
Forum could be held with a twelve day program on many scenes as
so many groups planned to come under all circumstances. The planning
had to be ad hoc. There was one great problem though. As it looked
the over-whelming majority of those that announced their participation
so far came from the US and almost all the rest from Britain or
Western Europe with a handful from the East bloc and the third
world. By chance Fjellander said he happened to be in contact
with 60 persons from the third world who since half a year had
prepared themselves for making contributions on environment and
development issues to international fora coinciding with the UN
conference. Their participation could solve the predicament if
the travel costs could be arranged. If this was not arranged Fjellander
would state to the press that it was a political scandal. In two
days development authorities pushed by Segerstedt-Wiberg had provided
the funding and the whole secretariat of Environmental Forum with
the approval of Wettergen worked day and night to arrange the
arrival of the third world participants.
Patterned turbulence at Stockholm
By 1st of June Stockholm is prepared for the conference.
The children care and alcohol authorities had closed Gamla Bro
and Alltinget, two centrally placed houses for homeless and chronic
alcoholic (note 49). The police regularly hassled
the alcoholics in the city center and learned them to not stay
there for a while during the visit of the prominent guests. At
the same time the media informed well about the liberal conditions
at Skarpnäck created were Hog Farm prepared for Life Forum
and people to come with the approval of the same authorities that
closed the central city places. Already in advance had international
press prepared for focusing on lively side activities rather than
politics. Our editorial idea was from the beginning not
to cover the conference but to write about groups like Hog Farm,
Free Stage and other people that present the problem in a dramatic
form. I am really much more interested in that - furthermore was
that the instruction, that my chief editor gave me. Basically
we have a predilection for covering the peripheral. Nobody expects
much. We had a meeting with Russell Train in a lunchroom before
we went, and he doesnt expect much coming out of the conference
either (note 50). Time and Newsweek tried
to spred the slogan Woodstockholm to describe what
happened but without much substance or success (note
51). Of the hundred thousand participants that Brand predicted
were on their way to Stockholm came a couple of hundreds.
Control of privileged space
The struggle about free speech, the forms of present
contributions in public and control of access to different spaces
continued all through the conference, with Hog Farmers contesting
Peoples Forum in particular, as the most critical forum
to the UN conference. At the first People's Forum press conference
Hog Farmers accredited as journalists take over the conference,
provoking questions about actions against the Vietnam war (note
52). Other questions dont get much time. This problem
continued until they in the end they are refused admission (note
53). At Life Forums own public manifestation for a ten
year moratorium on human beings at Sergels Torg Strong appeared
and spoke freely. He said that he was totally of the same opinion
as the Hog Farm that we should love each other and not kill each
other (note 54). Then somebody reacted, went
to the loudspeaker and said that this sounded very well, but that
a spokesman of UN should try to stop the genocide in Vietnam.
The audience applauded but one Hog Farmer tried to silence him
by putting a hand on his mouth. Also at the final evaluation plenary
session at the Environmental Forum the Hog Farmers intervened.
When the topic of the Vietnam genocide was going to be addressed
American hippies invaded the gallery throwing paper
swallows crying out action not politics. The
chair did nothing to stop the invasion on the contrary
silence was asked for to allow the hippies read parts from a book
Also the official conference had its share of extra-ordinary
treatment of those holding the microphone and formally at the
power. In the complicated negotiations about the declaration the
chairman of the drafting committee manoeuvred to include the Americans
and exclude the Chinese and later isolate them on tactical issues.
The Canadians seeing how disastrous the situation started to become
due to the unnecessarily provocative acting of the chairman frantically
contacted Maurice Strong and asked him to intervene to try to
persuade Slim to adjourn the meeting to allow tempers to cool.
Strong agreed, but Slim refused. Secretly, Strong then ordered
an aide to unplug the interpreting device. Faced with a gap in
translation, Slim had no choice, but adjourn when repairs
were effected, thus making possible informal discussion among
delegates on how to proceed (note 56).
The break-down of the negotiations was avoided.
At the official conference NGO speech was very limited.
The problems of bringing in the population and other issues was
effectively solved. [a]t the end of the opening plenary
session Strong rapped his gavel to say: Our first plenary
session stands adjourned, and we will now convene right here to
hear the first of the distinguished lectures series in the series
sponsored by the International Institute of Environmental Affairs
and the International Population Institute (note
What characterised the different activities taking
place in Stockholm was that everything became contested ground.
Politically four controversial issues came into
focus: drugs, whaling, the extensive spraying and destruction
of forests in Vietnam as a US warfare method, and what caused
the most heated ideological debate: population control. At the
same time a shift in the international environmental debate took
place to the benefit of the third world among both popular movements
Skarpnäck tent city was divided by the most
knowledgeably into four sections (note 58).
The first is the section of honest thiefs meaning
alcholics stealing for getting money to get drunk, escaping from
the closed downtown social centres and other places for homeless.
The second is the sniffer village of the thinner addicts,
young people from the suburbs mainly. The third is the grass
village of the hashish smokers with some 25% Swedes and
the rest foreigners and the fourth Hog Farm (note
59). The authorities had plans for handling the situation,
basically built on letting hog Farm take care of most immediate
problems and help them if serious problems occurred. A temporary
field unit for care of drug addicts had been established at two
narcotics information offices by the municipal social department
and the use of security guards with dogs with no police authority
protecting the municipal property instead of police inspection
at the tent city (note 60). The respect the
Hog Farm already had achieved from the local social authorities
and the police was confirmed by an interview 4.6 with the assistant
chief constable Hans Lagerhorn (note 61), and
by an agreement that the police should stay out of
Skarpnäck. Complaints from a detective inspector, from neighbours
and from newspapers about young people smoking hashish met no
response (note 62).
In a meeting at Peoples Forum the day after
Strongs visit to Skarpnäck a representative from Lowlands
Weed Compagnie Statement in Amsterdam spred a statement in favour
of legalisation of at least marijuana (note
63). But the meeting decided with a 53 to 3 vote for a statement
against drug liberalism and protesting against that Swedish
authorities tolerate and supports the American group Hog Farms
narcotics indoctrination of young people at the Skarpnäck
air field. Hog Farm is practising a cultural oppression with the
aim of making people passive, hiding societal problems and hindering
the solution of the problems. The statement demand that
the police breaks their agreement with Hog Farm and intervene
against the group in accordance with Swedish law. But Lagerhorn
the accusations: We dont know of any hashish distribution
At the next meeting Peoples Forum addressed
the imperialist Opium War to open up China for British drug dealers
and proclaimed continuation in the Golden Triangle a hundred years
after by CIA. Some 30 Hog Farmers turned up at the beginning,
spreading propaganda for smoking cannabis and demanded to show
a picture about themselves. A leaflet invited to Pot Party,
upon which a Hog Farmer remarked: Personally I dislike heavy
narcotics, but I like marijuana, it is good for me (note
65). The confrontation between Swedish meeting rules, giving
a majority the right to decide points of order, is controversial
for the hog Farmers. In the meeting, lasting for ten hours, the
Hog Farmers are on the brink of being thrown out but are in the
end allowed to stay (note 66). Environmental
Forums daily conference paper comments extensively on the
paper but avoids the political part its headline is Hog
Farm Meets the Fanatics (note 67).
At the closing day of the conference the authorities
make their first evaluation no problems had occurred: When
assessing the darker elements one should consider the raised level
of calm in other parts of the city and the closing of Gamla bro
and Alltinget (note 68).
The founder of Friends of the Earth, David Brower
and Ed Goldsmith the founder of the magazine the Ecologist each
put 3.000 dollars in a project that proved to be a useful idea
also for coming international events (note 69).
Brenton with his background as a long-time official diplomat cannot
hold his positive assessment of this daily undertaking back: In
particular they [NGOs] made the highly successful innovation,
which they have followed at every major environmental conference
since, of publishing a conference newspaper, ECO, which became
required reading among the delegates and thus exercised some real
influence on the proceedings (as, for example, in the run-up to
the whaling debate) (note 70). The first
issue of ECO had whaling as their cover story, an issue that was
made into a crucial topic for most Anglo-American organisations
at the conference, official, non-governmental and the hippies
with Friends of the Earth as the principal rallying environmental
organisation behind the cause. The whales have become a
symbol of the worlds endangered life, and of the success
of this Conference in being able to deal with that part of our
objectives. (note 71).
The US delegation was under pressure. According
to Time Magazine the problem that the U.S. with less than
6% of the worlds population consume 40% of the
worlds goods and necessarily causes by far the most pollution....
Another problem is the U.S. role in Vietnam. (note
72). Struggling to avoid letting these issues or the issue
of compensating developing countries be brought up, they seized
on whaling as a popular cause to forward. This was uncontroversial
since USA had no whaling industry, while Soviet Union or Japan
could be in focus. While the US delegation worked inside the conference
others worked outside. Everybody were supposed to support a whaling
demonstration. The UN official Stone went around trying to convince
NGOs and popular movements to participate in the unofficial action
against whaling. Björn Eriksson and Peoples Forum were
the only ones that were not convinced. Björn Eriksson told
him that whales are a good thing but that if any issue should
be focused on the streets it was the ecocide in Vietnam. The UN
street mobiliser turned to others in his efforts (note
On the eve of the decision at UN on the whaling
proposal put forward by the US a special whale ceremony was held
by Hog Farm at Skarpnäck. Here the two seemingly most afar
activities in Stockholm, the youth tent city and the official
conference met in unity for The Celebration for the Whale.
On Brands invitation (note 74) the Secretarygeneral
of the UN Conference Strong and US Former Interior Secretary Walter
Hickel had come to address the audience. Strong gave an
impromptu speech saying that he wasnt always able to say
everything that he would like to say and that he envied the kids
their freedom. He said hed rather be down there with them,
a sentiment which, coming from a millionaire, might have been
greeted with derision. Somehow the way he said it made it plain
clear that he meant it, which I think he really did. He also welcomed
their efforts to save the whales and said that the UN had to think
of some better way relating to the non-governmental organisations.
The applause overloaded the microphone on my tape recorder
The next day a full hundred, mainly Hog farmers
but also the US UN delegate Train with a save the whales
placard in his hand took part in a demonstration downtown with
a truck draped like a whale. The participation from local inhabitants
is so small that the press wonders where the normally so demonstration-willingly
Stockholmers had disappeared (note 76)
and so is the participation from the many international organisations
that say they support the issue. After some days Hog Farm makes
a last attempt to influence the streets of Stockholm by organising
a final Celebration of Life. Anglo-American observers
are positive. The peaceful demonstrators danced and sang,
some with painted faces, some with brightly coloured costumes,
some nude. Conference Secretary-General Maurice F. Strong was
presented with a call for a 10 year moratorium on the killing
of human beings. Strong said he sensed the love in the message.
Commenting on the participation of all the outside groups, Strong
said: We must add a new dimension to the discourse between
governments and peoples, engaging the best technological and managerial
abilities of the entire world. The global environment has a global
constituency. The community of the concerned is now no less than
the world community (note 77). The biggest
daily in Sweden was somewhat more reluctant. The event was illustrated
with a picture were the public turns their backs of three naked
persons and instead listens to what is been said from a platform
(note 78) The US whaling moratorium proposal
went through the UN conference with overwhelming majority.
The press was filled with positive comments on the
whaling decision (note 79). Less positive is
the British diplomat Brenton when assessing the results: There
was a farcical debate about whales. The US delegation, largely
to please the US press and NGOs, launched and had adopted (to
cheers from the public gallery), a demand for a ten year moratorium
on whaling. Within a month, however, this proposal was quietly
killed by the International Whaling Commission (the body which
as everybody knew, was formally responsible for the regulation
of whaling) with a number of countries reversing in private the
support for the proposal they had given in front of TV cameras
in Stockholm (note 80).
In his first speech at the conference Olof Palme,
the prime minister of Sweden, brought up the US warfare in Indochina.
The immense destruction brought about by indiscriminate
bombing, by large-scale use of bulldozers and herbicides is an
outrage sometimes described as ecocide, which require international
attention ... It is of paramount importance .. that ecological
warfare cease immediately (note 81). Russell
Train, the US delegation leader was pushed by his State department
at home to protest some days later The United States strongly
objects to what it considers a gratuitous politicising of our
environmental discussions ... The U.S. takes strong exceptions
to this remarks, as Sweden is serving as the host government
(note 82). The ecocide in Vietnam continued
to be a controversial issue all through the conference. Not only
Palme but also the only other head of state at the conference,
Indira Gandhi from India and the leader of the Chinese delegation
Tang Ke as well as delegates from Iceland, Tanzania, Rumania,
Algeria and Libya denounced the war on human and environmental
Almost every popular movement and group of NGOs
addressed the issue except Hog Farm. A demonstration with 7.000
participants was held getting much less mass media attention then
the whaling demonstration with 50 times less number of participants.
Swedish popular movement umbrella organisations with the governing
party as a member organised a hearing with experts on the effects
on nature and human health due to the mass-scale US techniques
for destroying large parts of the Vietnamese forests. Dai Dong
sponsored a convention on ecocidal war bringing many
scientists to Stockholm to prove the disastrous effects on the
US intentional ecological warfare in Vietnam. The transnational
peace effort initiated by IFOR through Dai Dong called for
peace in Vietnam, a demand that caused a split. Both
American experts and the Swedish Vietnam movement refused to cooperate
with people who didnt recognise USA as the aggressor and
the Vietnamese as defenders. But in the end the strong criticism
against US ecocidal warfare prevailed, while the lack of support
for the Vietnamese liberation front FNL went on fairly unnoticed
At Peoples Forum and at Environmental Forum
criticism of the ecocide and war in Vietnam was a recurrent theme.
Allen Nadler from Scientists Institute for Public Information,
SIPI, got enthusiastic response at Konstfack when he argued that
The prime export of my country is murder (note
84). Making the more prominent SIPI members and other US scientists
to speak up was not always as easy. The crucial point was when
the Vietnam war was on the formal agenda of the Environmental
Forum and a delegate from the official US delegation invited,
William D. Ruckelshaus, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator,
to discuss ecocide. The situation was tense. Ruckelshaus announced
to the press that he sensed lynching (note 85).
There was some hesitation also at the Environmental Forum to speak
up publicly against the Vietnam war. But the organiser Wettergren
convinced Commoner that he had to pay for the liberal use he had
made of the Forum (note 86), and with the anthropologist
Margaret Mead as a leader also convincing Commoner and other hesitant
prominent Americans the stage was set (note 87).
The overcrowded meeting with mainly young audience was aggressively
critical (note 88). But Ruckelshaus cleverly
avoids a total confrontation. On the question Are you going
to tell the president that everyone at the conference and everyone
you met demanded United States withdrawal from Vietnam he
answered: I shall tell him that I was invited to a very
interesting meeting where there were a lot of people who seemed
to regard the issue of war and environment as one and the same.
Margaret Mead was also the speaker for the NGOs at the official
conference. Here she introduced the joint NGO statement were the
problems with ecological warfare is addressed and war as in all
alternative declarations seen as the greatest threat to humanity
and the environment (note 89). But not explicitly
against the US ecocidal warfare as when Mead and others spoke
more freely at the Environmental Forum. When finally the representative
from the Boy Scouts International Bureau on behalf of his own
organisation, The World Association of Girl Guides and 9 other
international youth non-governmental organisations in their statement
to the official conference called for an end to the deliberate
destruction of the environment by warfare was the broadness
of the criticism fully clear. The scouting and student youth stated
that The United States Government disgraceful war of ecocide
in Indochina and similar wars in other parts of the world should
have been dealt with by this conference (note
90). Now there was no more a problem that the Vietnamese girl
originally elected at Hamilton for representing the world youth
at the UN conference not could come for personal reasons and someone
else from the youth conference at Hamilton to replace her as originally
planned had been sorted out by the official organisers (note
91). The criticism was overwhelming from all corners and the
message clear although no decision at the conference was made.
The main controversial clash between the dominant
Anglo-American new environmentalism with its support at highest
levels and the popular movements and the third world took place
at the Environmental Forum on the issue of population control.
In spite of many well-funded attempts has the population issue
never since this confrontation been able to catch the kind of
charismatic function it had for the Anglo-American attempt to
launch a global ideology for the environmental problems. The attempts
were as we have seen large from the side of business think tanks
and the biggest wildlife, nature conservation and population organisations
to make the population issue central at all levels in Stockholm.
They succeeded in making an issue at Grand Hotel for the selected
elite but it was more important to make it an issue also in a
more public debate.
At the Environmental Forum the population debates
proposed by the big NGOs had been dealt with by arranging the
kind open panel debates were the public can participate after
introductions. Peter Scott, en upper class Englishman from World
Wildlife Fund, had been given the task to chair Ehrlich, the Swede
Erland Hofsten and Landing Savane from Senegal. This composition
of the debate upsetted the third worlders in the Oi committee.
The way vasectomy was more or less forced upon oppressed and poor
people in the third world and the way development aid had diminished
while aid to family planning sky rocketed was for them highly
provocative. When the panel debate was going to start on Aspects
on the population issue Dora Obi Chizea, a biologist from
Ibadan in Nigeria was followed by three other Oi members not to
accept a discussion about population control of people in the
third world and wanting to take over the discussion. Chaos occurred
but the English gentleman and the proud female from Nigeria sorted
things out and both became chairpersons for a panel enlarged with
the three Oi committee members.
The third world intervention in the population debate
is the most controversial act during the UN conference 1972 for
most observers. At the time many Anglo-American observers dwell
upon the astonishing action. The conference newspaper ECO made
by Friends of the Earth and the Ecologist was especially upset
(note 92). The third world people were identified
as pseudo-leftist elite who claim to speak for the third
world and creating an atmosphere of elitist conspiracy.
Actually the third world people are not capable of leading themselves,
Commoner, masterminding the debunking, ... lurked in the
gallery (of the auditorium), ventriloquizing to his puppet army
by means of scribbled instructions carried downstairs, while Farvar,
his chief lieutenant, wandered round the forum prompting and orchestring
his O.I. boys. ECO asked itself not only how the population
debate could have gone so wrong, their accusation went a lot further,
they asked How did Barry and his band of lesser commoners
come to take over the Environment Forum and turn a potential meeting
place for many views into a semi-Marxist monologue. The
two books written about the conference at the time by Stone and
Rowlands draw heavily on the comments in ECO that starts a trend
to denounce the third world participation as incompetent and left-wing
irrelevance to the truly more objective and scientific discourse.
None of the books asks itself why in the first place the whole
discussion is so highly dominated by the Anglo-Americans and effectively
hides the political content of the global youth meeting at Hamilton.
Still in the 1990s a seminal book on environmental international
negotiations, The Greening of Machiavelli by the English
diplomat Brenton is upset about the way so highly esteemed
a figure as Ehrlich was treated (note 93).
What did actually happen? ECO says that Ehrlich
from the outset was facing a 2-1 panel against his
opinion, Savane and Hofsten being the opposition. In Ehrlichs
own account Savane is called bright and interested
while Hofsten, a leading Swedish demographer, is derided as innocent
of elementary demography. ECO also talks about how the
O.I. boys (and girls) moved in posse on to the platform and took
over the meeting, adding four of their number to the three panelists.
Stone says that free speech was somewhat neglected
at the Environmental Forum, giving the example of Ehrlich being
howled off the platform (note 94).
In his own account Ehrlich is strongly upset, but gives surprisingly
friendly accounts of the new co-chair "Ms. Obi Chizea proved
both intelligent and fair". Furthermore is also one of the
added Oi panelists, Yusuf Ali Eraj, given credit by Ehrlich for
his opinions against the other Oi committee panelists and "cohorts"
The content of the debate was heated but not totally
lacking consensus. Some Oi committee persons and third world participants
as de Castro at the first day of the Forum saw forced population
control as genocide and emphasised social justice as a solution
to overpopulation. Furthermore the need for self-determination
was stressed instead of unquestioned acceptance of Western prepackaged
birth control programs. Stanley Hoffsten from the UN Demographic
Office pointed at the possibility that the rich Western countries
advocated population control to preserve natural resources for
their own use (note 96). After that Ehrlich
pointed out that population control was only one half of the problem,
the other half consisting of two factors, affluence and technology,
influencing the environment the situation calmed down further
(note 97). But the Oi committee members still
pointed at a severe unbalance in Ehrlich points of view as he
did become specific when the environmental problem had to be addressed
by population control but refrained from being concrete when he
talked about redistribution of wealth.
At other fora outside the official conference, the
population issue was also discussed or at least promoted extensively.
At the Grand Hotel Aurelio Peccei, vice president of the transnational
corporation Olivetti and president of the Club of Rome (note
98) made the typical dualistic explanation of the environmental
crisis in population growth and something else, in his case urbanisation.
His nightmarish vision was of gargantuan megalopolis
and his solution was similar to so many Anglo-American environmentalists
close to business interest, a call for la dimension de lhomme,
the human dimension (note 99).
Also the UN conference discussed the population
issue although highly insufficiently in the eyes of the population
control advocates. Two recommendations to the World Health Organisation
and other UN agencies were made with the vote 55 for and 18 against
thus including support from quite a few third world countries
to increase assistance to family planning and intensify research
of human reproduction, so that serious consequences of population
explosion on the human environment can be prevented. (note
100). Also in the UN declaration was some general remarks
included on population growth as a problem for preserving the
environment and promotion of demographic policies, without
prejudice of basic human rights should be applied when appropriate.
The Oi committee in their final declaration opposed
the Club of Rome and others by wanting to reject models
of stagnation proposed by certain alarmist Western ecologists,
economists, industrialists and computer fans, ... We therefore
strongly condemn the international agencies and aid programs for
their involvement in population control policies which are against
Third World peoples and which will perpetuate their exploitation.
At Stockholm business was discreet as it had been
decided that it was untactful to involve industry too much. International
Chambers of Commerce, ICC, participated as one of many NGOs lobbying
in the corridors. But they did not answer the survey made about
NGO participation so their activities are not recorded in academic
literature. Strong and Raymond at IIEA had already seen to that
business was centrally involved. Sponsored by the magazines Realité
and Newsweek 150 leaders of international business enterprises
were flewn to a meeting on the eve of the UN Conference in Paris
and later others to a similar meeting in New York. The meeting
in Paris was convened and payed by ICC and in New York arranged
by the National Conference Board. Strong talked about why business
should support the UN environmental work (note
101). Business was sufficiently represented in Stockholm also
by other means than through the General-Secretary and businessman
Strong. The Club of Rome present at Stockholm had many industrialists
as members that influenced the public and the multimillionaire
Brand making money out of the counterculture was also a pro-capitalistic
ideologue in a maybe more effective way than the ICC. Much of
the core conceptual framework and institutional follow-up was
already well influenced through IIEA and others in congruence
with the interest of business.
The idea of starting an environmental UN body met
resistance from some Western countries at the official conference
but also from other established interests. Already in the preparations
had other UN agencies tried to stop any new UN body. Still on
the last day of the Stockholm conference ECO could publish a telegram
sent before the conference from the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) trying to stop the creation of a separate environmental
UN body (note 102). But the wish for a visible
result of action from the conference was to strong to block a
decision to start an UN environmental program with much less own
field work than specialised agencies. An action plan with some
109 points was decided and a fund started. Funding was made on
voluntary bases and in a time when still no bigger recession had
hit the industrial countries this was seen as possible to arrange
as rather small sums were asked for compared to other UN areas.
The Soviet bloc did participate due to diplomatic
problems with the right for GDR to attend as a delegate. Instead
China entered the scene as the great opponent of USA. At their
first appearance after entering the UN they wanted the carefully
prepared draft reopened for discussion, since they had not been
able to participate in the negotiations. Unexperienced with China
as diplomats many wondered what their real motives were, and Americans
thought that it was quite clear that the Chinese were
out to wreck the declaration (note
103). A diplomatic war started that continued all through
the conference. While countries like USA and France were not interested
in a declaration with legal precepts and thus not especially interested
in a declaration consisting in more than a preamble, smaller industrial
nations and the developing world wanted a declaration. The Chinese
leaked through the ECO newspaper that what they wanted was a full
discussion of their proposals but not necessarily everything included
in as formal statements. What they specifically wanted to fight
against was blaming the human being in general and population
growth in particular for causing environmental destruction. For
this they could find widespread support. More and more delegations
found that behind the Chinese ideological glossary the Chinese
wanted to strengthen the same legal principles as themselves.
Finally the declaration could be agreed to after negotiations
until 5.00 AM before the last days plenary (note
104). Rowlands notes that not only the US had hoped for less
substantive action and legal principles promoted in the declaration,
If it can be said that international law is habitually developed
by weaker nations to protect their interests from the stronger
nations (who can look after themselves), Stockholm was proving
to be no exception to the rule (note 105).
The strong Chinese ideological position for the
interest of the developing countries was also part of a general
trend of developing countries changing the hitherto environmental
discussion focusing on pollution to a more balanced view. Indira
Gandhi was present as the only other head of government apart
from the prime minister of Sweden. She saw hunger, disease and
poverty as the main environmental problems in her and other developing
countries. Many observers conclude that at the Stockholm conference
the developing nations dominated much of the discussion and changed
the narrow-minded pollution oriented and development uninterested
environmental discourse of the industrialised countries and Northern
environmental movements (note 106).
To be somebody at Stockholm one had to be a scientist
or in some cases for the press American hippie. In the more silent
part of the proceedings decisions were made to support more research
benefiting the scientists and hopefully better international environmental
action. A program for monitoring the condition of the biosphere,
as the scientific NGOs had been part of preparing, was unanimously
voted for. But also in most public arenas were scientists the
central figures. Margaret Mead represented all NGOs at the UN
conference and played a crucial and public role as a leading figure
for the NGO community also at Environmental Forum and in the press.
Barbara Ward presented what the NGOs did at the official conference
at Environmental Forum. Barry Commoner was central at Environmental
Forum together with mainly scientific colleagues from all over
the world. Special NGO initiatives presented as scientific like
Dai Dong and the Distinguished Lecture Series played central roles
building a public image of what was going on. Without scientific
credentials it was hard to get your voice heard at Stockholm.
But even if their visibility was high, especially when they had
active roles outside groups with only scientists and thus were
given a legitimacy as voices for broader public concerns, there
are critical comments. Some observers point at the problems groups
like Dai Dong had to make their own alternative declaration showing
that the criticism against the UN for the same thing was somewhat
naive. For the scientists are many options open and freely space
given. But their discourse is more pointing at problems and analysing
what governments do, not to discuss how people can participate
in a change.
For non-governmental organisations Stockholm became
an innovative experimental field, more or rather totally due to
initiatives from others than the already established and accredited
NGOs in the UN system. The governments themselves and the UNCHE
secretariat initiated many new avenues for NGOs wanting to influence
the official process. NGOs were invited to take part in writing
national reports or join national delegations or to participate
in a semi-official NGO forum. Peoples organisations themselves
had also taken initiatives to a forum and Friends of the Earth
and The Ecologist to a daily conference newspaper followed by
the NGO forum that published one more.
Peter Willets (1996:67) in his assessment of NGOs
and the UN sees these innovations as historical, Each of
these four procedures - input to reports, joining government delegations,
holding a forum and producing a newspaper - first became a feature
of a UN conference at the Stockholm environmental conference in
1972. There was also established mutual reporting between
the official conference and the NGO Forum as the main points at
each of the parallel meeting was reported to other at plenaries
and the forum daily paper distributed to all official delegates,
a degree of interaction not accounted for at later conferences.
As often NGOs were in the corridors lobbying, this
time with the help of the high presence of the international media
and the pressure from the many activities going on outside the
official conference. Many were also new which raised the expectations
combined with lack of experience of how to get in contact with
UN delegations that frustrated some. There were little interest
in making something in common and Mead and Ward had to push the
NGOs together at coffee lunch tables to make a joint statement.
The dominant NGO in the environmental field was
IUCN. They set a low priority for UNCHE but their leader Budowski
formulated what many other privileged NGOs at Stockholm felt:
Oh how we learned, everybody had a great education.
The kind of atmosphere these kind of professional participants
experienced is expressed by Stone (1973:137): I have not
yet met anyone who did not express a feeling of bewilderment at
trying to find out what actually did go on at Stockholm. Everybody
had the feeling that they missed something vital ... It
is also stressed what happened informally in the corridors. These
contacts are seen as probably more important contributing to such
projects as World Ecological Areas programme or Friends of the
World Heritage (note 107) and discussions leading
to the initiating of the European Environmental Bureau (note
108). For the privileged NGOs the Stockholm conference was
a way to gain more influence in the UN system without doing very
much, they could surf on many others efforts and use the time
for effective other business.
What provokes more lively descriptions than the
NGO lobbying is the Environmental Forum (note 109).
The atmosphere of the building where the Forum was held
was charged with excitement and controversy. At some sessions,
more than 700 people jammed into the space of 500, filling the
balcony, flowing out into the corridors which were already crowded
by exhibits (note 110). Many Anglo-American
observers are critical against the Swedish organisers for letting
the control over the forum come into the hands of a pseudo-leftist
elite master-minded by Commoner (note 111).
It is as if the only explanation to the change in favour of some
more third world participation could only be the result of outside
pressure from the US and not rest in internal interest of a majority
of both Swedish organisations and globally as expressed at Hamilton.
Even after the invitation of more third world participants were
Anglo-Americans dominating. 68 out of totally 149 panelists and
chairs were Anglo-American, out of them 59 from the US. If we
take away the added panelists and others during the population
debate and also takes away the podium participants on criticised
issues of political and cultural self-determination Anglo-Americans
are in majority, 63 our of 121 podium participants. The winners
of the additions to the population issue and liberation themes
were especially Africans who raised their participation from 9
to 20. The Swedish organisers felt pushed by the Americans wanting
to be on the program and were unused to the kind of promotional
attitude for books and services that Americans unashamed used
the meeting for (note 112). That the planning
was late was not made any secret but the Swedish organisers with
UNA Sweden and the secretariat maintained influence of the program
together with other persons like Mead that represented the NGO
community at the official conference. They met daily to finally
decide about the coming day. The content of the final program
except for the interventions by Oi Committee which was solved
and the Hog Farmers which was not solved was an expression of
what the organisers wanted. A closer look in the program also
shows that the main emphasis is on more narrow environmental themes.
A difference from later environmental NGO fora is that working
environment clearly is included and that most politically controversial
issues was discussed.
The accusations against the Swedish organisers for
being dominated by a pseudo-leftist take-over motivates some investigation.
The two key persons doing practical job after SIDA gave the money
were Fjellander and Melander, none of them ever belonging to a
leftist group but rather being considered by leftists to belong
to the opposite pole. The key politician was Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg,
chairman of UNA Sweden. She was a senior liberal MP having a strong
position in UNA circles, dominated by trade unions, churches and
other organisations of different political colours. So the key
actors rather stood to the right of the social democrat Wettergren
in party terms.
Any attempts of the Swedish government would have
caused problems. Segerstedt-Wibergs position, anchored both
in parliament and popular movements and with a long record of
independent opinions, made her hard to assail. Furthermore, unwritten
law in Sweden says that once government and popular movement organisations
have agreed on a mandate, movement organisations are supposed
to have full independence so far they adhere to the agreement.
The change towards more third world participation that made Anglo-Americans
believe in a leftist take-over was thus caused by non-socialists
with approval of the officially appointed Wettergen, long before
the accused Commoner had arrived. Rather than reflecting leftist
manipulations against scientific views, it reflected an unusual
Anglo-American loss of control of international events. Both at
Environment Forum and at Hamilton another kind of view succeeded
in making its voice heard.
In spite of the tensions due to internal contradictory
intentions from the official initiators and insecure practical
arrangements the result was that Environmental Forum became an
arena for independent voices from all over the world. The program
and participation was such that it also by todays standard
is surprisingly wide and relevant. The internal controversy among
the Swedish organisers did not change a common attitude in relation
to the importance of criticism of American involvement in the
Vietnam war and third world opinions except when it came to the
take over of the population panel. Without the change in some
favour of the third world the program would have been biased towards
The New environmentalism that had exploded in the
US in 1970 with the joint governmental, popular and business sponsored
Earth Day had produced a lot of strong expressions capable of
making itself heard even if the noise level was raised dramatically.
It was according to the US press already before the UN conference
truly transformed into a professionalised actor that no longer
were present at the streets. At Stockholm this internal need for
Anglo-American new environmentalism to transform itself also into
a more coherent ideology dominated the global popular scene. The
way this change is described by an Anglo-American observer as
if it is a question of how the whole global environment movement
is transformed is clearly expressed by John McCormick in his assessment
of the Stockholm conference in his book Reclaiming Paradise: The
Global Environmental Movement : It [the UN conference] also
marked a transition: from the emotional and occasionally naive
New Environmentalism of the 1960s to the more rational, political,
and global perspectives of the 1970s. Above all, it brought the
debate between LDCs and MDCs - with their differing perceptions
of environmental priorities - into open forum and caused a fundamental
shift in the direction of global environmentalism. (note
113). Rather than being a description of the transformation
of the global environmental movement it describes the change in
Anglo-American new environmentalism and coming to fore of such
actors as IIEA and FOE.
Some of the Anglo-American initiatives are fruitful.
ECO becomes a key instrument for making NGOs important and influential
and a standard model for almost all coming international events
beginning at a meeting on nuclear power and energy already 1972.
Friends of the Earth became the strongest international democratic
PO increasingly more socially oriented as third world members
joined. The counter-cultural faction of the movement is effectively
used by the Stockholm municipal authorities as baby-sitters for
the problematic youth to keep them outside the sight of official
delegates and in the interest of UN security arrangements. They
are also effectively used by the US government, UNCHE Secretary-General,
the US press and environmental organisations for the double purpose
of giving a youth image to established forces and promoting environmental
symbol issues that is helpful in commercialisation and professionalisation
of the urban environmental opinion and not threatening to US economic
interests. The highly articulate Anglo-American presence at Stockholm
is also producing the knowledge basis for much of the popular
movement mobilisation on ecocide in Vietnam or nuclear power and
The US press was afraid of the conference and wrote
that: It will provide a conspicuous soapbox for demonstrators
against the US role in Vietnam. For the joint Swedish and
American anti-Vietnam war movement, the UN conference was a success.
The FNL-movement had strong influence at both important public
fora, the Peoples Forum and the Environmental Forum. The
many years of polarised relations with the Swedish Vietnam Committee
ended with the many cooperative actions taken during the conference.
The American critical voices were welcomed everywhere accept at
Skarpnäck. Demonstrations, a special Swedish hearing on ecocidal
warfare, interventions by NGOs and governments in the official
proceedings and the Dai Dong effort accumulated a strong effect.
After the split in April Powwow and the Peoples
Forum never regained their spirit. The cross-political movements
had won the struggle over the platform for the forum but only
with the help of the votes from Dai Dong and Oi committee who
directly afterwards saw no other option for them then to leave
a majority hostile to them. The main idea of the strong local
environmental group that the movement should be decentralised
made it less interested in using the Stockholm event for building
an independent international environmental movement. The strength
of Alternative City was its capacity to mobilise the inhabitants
of Stockholm, not to defend and contribute to the formulation
of an identity and ideology for an emerging independent movement.
The Powwow group were unable to break out of the progressively
more narrow message from Peoples Forum and build a long
term alliance with the third world position from Hamilton so close
to their own original declaration. When the first conflicts emerged
of the nature of Peoples Forum the Powwow-group did not
defend the view that the Stockholm conference was an important
occasion for a qualified discussion for forming an international
movement and not only a possibility for a Swedish speaking audience
to listen and form its opinion. What was left from the hopes of
occupying Skeppsholmen was an exhibition at the same island about
alternative technology. Thus the utopian core of the environmental
movement was protected and an image of the Powwow-group produced
that also met positive response from the UNCHE information advisor:
They blazed with earnestness and sincerity and made one
wish that the world really were so simple (note
The left could gradually more dominate Peoples
Forum. A polarised position was strengthened all through the conference
by the interaction with Hog Farm. In its final declaration Peoples
Forum became outspoken against profit maximising of the
companies and finance groups. A socialistic planned economy
was necessary for solving the environmental problem although not
automatically solving all of them. The cross-political protested.
The United FNL-groups called the declaration of the majority an
act of activists of disruption and Alternative City
and the Powwow group distance themselves from the final documents.
One outside observer sees a positive aspect in Peoples Forum,
Only the Folkets Forum, with its openly and unambiguously
left-wing political bias, was able to avoid the mire of opportunism
and recrimination which had been the nemesis of the other conscience
conferences (note 115).
Another action causing splits in Peoples Forum
was a press release examining which organisations had received
funding from Kaplan Fund. Not only Life Forum but also Oi Committee,
SIPI with Commoner and Mead and others critical to US warfare.
The observer that saw some merit in Peoples Forums
unambiguous bias is harder in his criticism against the press
release. Whether or not the charge was true (...) it had
just the right tone to provide a fitting conclusion to the activities
of the alternative conferences. If these meetings had achieved
little else, they had served to highlight the success of the U.N.
conference (note 116).
Even if one accepts the point of view of a strategy
that maintains a strong independent position before compromising
to get resources, the strategy of Peoples Forum is problematic
in another sense. The self-chosen isolation from others that can
accept money from CIA related funds is not necessary to combine
with the selfchosen isolation from the same groups political message.
The political illoyality towards the environmental positions of
the third world by the Peoples Forum is shown by the disinterest
for the Hamilton documents. Instead of systematically linking
and building on the message that here had defeated the kind of
Anglo-American focus on population and apolitical environmentalism
did Peoples Forum change itself into a school for local
inhabitants. Their disinterest in supporting the political momentum
from Hamilton and contribute to the building of a third world
oriented independent environmental movement delayed such a development
with a decade and opened for the established and new Anglo-American
environmental NGOs to dominate the international scene.
But the task of both maintaining a dividing line
between popular movements and drug liberals as well as CIArelated
funds was maybe ambitious enough. The strong independence of Peoples
Forum left enabled also others to have opinions in conflict with
established interests. But basically Peoples Forum internationally
became part of a colourful background for the professional NGO
system and UN to educate and reform itself.
The youth theosophist attempt to get the third world
perspective into the global environmental discourse came to an
end. The discussions about how to continue the Oi Committee became
coloured by extensive demands for representation from different
regions and sub-regions while there were no resources and ended
without any building of a third world dominated organisation.
The follow-up and stalemate outcome
Mainly unnoticed at the time the Stockholm conference
became more of a transformation of the environmental popular movement
than the level of inter-governmental negotiations and institutions.
The UNCHE decision on whaling that was made such
a prominent issue at Stockholm by the US and Anglo-American NGOs
proved not only to be without effect on separate International
Whaling Commission (IWC) negotiations. It also lowered the respect
for UNCHE that decisions were made at Stockholm and then changed
or simply ignored by some of the same states that had supported
the whaling moratorium at Stockholm,it is scarcely necessarily
to point out that the actions of I.W.C, predictable as though
they have been, did nothing to enhance the prestige of the Stockholm
conference (note 117).
The lack of UNCHE decision on ecological warfare
in Vietnam proved more politically effective. The denunciation
of the US ecocide had been overwhelming at Stockholm although
no formal decision was taken. The US closed to end its use of
defoliants and ecological warfare before the war ended in Indochina.
The genetic damage among newborn children is very high in Vietnam
with their parents from the generations born during the time when
spraying of chemicals was intensive during the war.
Drug liberalism still is a controversial issue with
some tendency to win proponents but never close to that what Lowlands
Weed Compagnie hoped for at Stockholm. The kind of open propaganda
for use of lighter drugs that was prominent at Stockholm did not
come back at other alternative or counter activities in the future.
Nor did the positive treatment from the police towards youth activists.
Population maintained its popular role among UN
circles and private foundations. But the UN conference on population
in 1974 became a continuation of the battle between North and
South. Developing countries asked for more help to become more
economically prosperous and thus making their population rate
fall, the North did not want to give the help and thus were all
population targets removed from the plan of action of the conference.
Shifts in the domestic politics in the US towards more Christian
moral values proved more important in deciding the deemphasising
on population control than its popularity among global NGOs and
intergovernmental organisations. A steadily increase of bilateral
and multilateral population projects have anyway taken place and
help curtailed the growth. Especially China that opposed much
of the ideas of blaming the environmental problem on the growth
of the masses in the third world have carried out effective population
control programmes partly with rather coercive means in line of
what Ehrlich suggested. The catastrophic predictions of exponential
population growth until cut off by famine is now less common in
Development was made an issue by the third world
governments together with NGO-experts to address the issue in
the dualistic way of seeing environmental destruction as caused
by poverty and lack of development in the South and by lack of
pollution control in the North. This view was included in UNCHE
documents but development was of secondary priority and not really
addressed in the official follow-up of the conference.
The broader less dualistic economical, political
and cultural development critique of independent third world activists
and the Powwow group was maintained among socially oriented environmental
movements in the North and popular movements in the South but
had difficulties to establish any more elaborated conceptual framework.
What became an issue at Stockholm in spite of its
low priority on the agenda was energy. All non-state actors at
Stockholm that had made early attempts to influence the UN conference
made energy their next main point on their environmental agenda,
the youth theosophists, the Powwow-group, the left-wing environmentalists
in Sweden, Friends of the Earth, ECO and Aspen Institute. Energy
also became the most controversial environmental issue during
the coming decade in the industrialised countries. Furthermore
the activities at Stockholm radicalised the environmental movement
in the energy issue. The peace movement was present with their
long time experience of struggling against nuclear interests.
They together with New Zealand raised the issue of nuclear bomb
tests with some success. Womens International League for
Peace and Freedom also opposed nuclear power before most environmental
organisations and made an exhibition about it at Stockholm.
Aspen Institute was well-prepared for continuing
its central role in influencing the global environmental discourse
focusing next on energy and population issues. Strong offered
Ward the role of leader for IIEA and she accepted under the condition
that the headquarter moved to London and that the integration
of environment and development became central. Thus IIEA changed
name to International Institute for Environment and Development,
IIED continuing its close collaboration with Aspen Institute.
Strong had a key role at both Aspen Institute, IIED and other
organisations as the Trilateral commission initiated by Rockefeller
aiming at uniting the interests of the leading businessmen and
politicians in Japan, Europe and North America. Business was well-placed
and institutionalised for continuing their work for a conceptual
framework of global environmental problems compatible with their
For the UN the Stockholm conference became a new
model for helping the image by arranging a series of theme conferences.
The most successful one in terms of popular participation in the
1970s was the world conference to start the womens decade
in Mexico 1975 (note 118). The institutional
outcome of the Stockholm conference was United Nations Environmental
Program, an UN unit without full power as an executive body with
Strong as director (note 119).
Basically information, education and trying to coordinate
others efforts became the way UNEP worked including administrating
a smaller fund for environmental programs in developing countries.
The problems for UNEP with other UN agencies continued after Stockholm.
The more successful part of UNEP was its help in fostering a boom
in the creation of environmental agreements, especially was there
an upsurge in regional negotiations with substantial results.
The great influence of the Stockholm conference
on the governmental level was the growth of nation state environmental
machineries from about ten at Stockholm to 100 ten years later
(note 120), by 1985 more than 140 countries
had environmental agencies (note 121). The
result was a solution to acute pollution problems in rich countries
while the environmental degradation was becoming more complex
and dispersed over larger areas (note 122).
On virtually every front there has been a marked deterioration
in the quality of our shared environment, Mostafa Tolba,
the director of UNEP summed up the situation ten years later (note
The wider societal knowledge interest of the environmental
movement changed with the Stockholm conference and early 1970s
towards specialisation. Systematic holism was often separated
into instrumental and fragmented energy research and philosophical
deep ecology (note 124). Established science
and the political institutions need for scientific legitimation
renewed itself by meeting the broader knowledge interest with
elitist advanced study networks and future study institutionalisation
outside the control of popular movements (note
125). The direct outcome of the Stockholm conference also
boosted natural science through a specific global environment
assessment network program to research, monitor and evaluate environmental
risks and the status of crucial natural resources (note
For the established NGOs the follow-up of the Stockholm
conference was times of open doors. Conference after conference
was held were they were invited to discuss how the cooperation
between UN and NGOs in the environmental field should continue.
Also at the regional level in Western Europe an intermediary organisation
started 1974 in Brussels to influence EEC and disseminate information
having its roots in discussions at the Stockholm conference, the
European Environmental Bureau. On the global level the result
was finally the creation of Environment Liaison Center (ELC, Later
ELCI, the I added for International) with its headquarter in Nairobi
as UNEP. The ideology of the NGOs is already stated in the characteristic
part of the name, liaison, middlemen between popular and other
environmental organisations and the UN. What made Stockholm dynamic
The organising of actions and the central role of
popular movements emphasising their own role as changers of society
critisising business, politicians and the UN. Not even the NGOs
themselves had energy to make much out of their self-limiting
role that made them popular guests at official meetings. In 1974
more than 150 NGOs had registered to attend the annual UNEP Governing
Council and by 1980 it had fallen to less then 20 (note
The predictions made by Feraru (1974) were fulfilled.
When she assessed the Stockholm conference and concluded that
UNEP would listen to those NGOs that could provide scientific
experts and getting their constituencies support for UN work.
But this process was as much promoted by the dominant NGOs as
UNEP. Other broad meetings for environmental NGOs did not gather
many groups either (note 128). First by 1982
a large number of environmental NGOs met again for the first time
since Stockholm at the UNEP special session in Nairobi. One observer
that attended both the Stockholm and the Nairobi meetings wrote
in the New Scientist: Their [the NGOs] statements to the
conference was as statemenlike, as carefully qualified and as
boring as the speeches of most governments (note
Instead of broader dialogues with popular movements
the big international environmental NGOs IUCN and WWF developed
together with UNEP a general World Conservation Strategy 1980
with the aim to integrate environmental concerns in all different
policies. In a way were the distinctions between NGOs and official
organisations are more totally blurred (note 130)
then in any other sector was the ideology of sustainable development
born. It was further promoted by the Brundtland report and sustainable
development based in the dualistic perceptions of the cause of
environmental degradation from the Founex and Stockholm meetings
became overarching ideology for all UN theme conferences in the
1990s and a global partnership between business, the majority
of other NGOs and the governments. Environmental Forum and ECO
proved to be models for the future, the forum idea though more
in line with the controlling interest of the UN as a side-show
and exhibition rather than independent political actor. .
The Anglo-American environmentalism successfully
instutionalised itself in professions and organisations like Friends
of the Earth while the public opinion in both the US and UK slumped
(note 131). In the US the kind of dense networking
between different social movements building a movement culture
was not fulfilled as in Northern Europe. The colourful counter-culture
Hog Farm activists had been useful for the US government and environmental
organisations in their media work but after Stockholm they were
not needed anymore. The attitude towards the street people
is shown when Train, US delegation head at UNCHE and later head
of WWF in the US later commented Stockholm: It was a time
of easy enthusiasm and relatively simplistic approaches to complex
issues (note 132). The influence reversed
across the Atlantic and in the late 1970s Northern Europe popular
movements with their occupations of nuclear power sites were inspiring
the Americans at Seabrook (note 133).
For popular movements in general the Stockholm conference
ended in a stalemate. Business, governments and established NGOs
were not capable of creating an ideology and practice that got
hegemonial acceptance. Nor could the popular movements build a
sufficiently broad vision about their task. The struggle continued
after Stockholm now within in more narrow issue areas with nuclear
power as the central way to challenge established economic, political
and military interest, especially in Europe and Latin America
(note 134). Its global strength to challenge
business and the established NGO way of working started with the
International Baby Food Action Network in the beginning of the
1980s shortly followed by a series of global single-issue action
networks on pesticides, rivers and rain forests. Gradually the
third world showed their organisational strength and made the
environmental movement more aware of political and issues of social
justice. In Malaysia a dense cooperation between the consumer
union, an environmental organisation belonging to Friends of the
Earth and global coordination of rain forest activism created
a powerful counterweight to the Northern domination. In 1984 the
kind of initiative that Oi Committee represented finally could
be instutionalised when Third World Network was established with
Malaysia as its headquarter. Social issues could no longer be
separated from environmental questions for popular movements when
working on global level. With this emergence of lay person international
action commitment and the growing organisational strength of the
third world did the trend change towards more interest and a new
UN Conference on environment, this time including development
from the outset in the title and stressing NGO participation in
both the preparations and the follow-up.
In Sweden it would take 23 years before the development
of the Swedish environmental movement could rid itself of splits
stemming from the extra-ordinary course of events in the Stockholm
conference process. The Powwow-group and a commune initiated by
the youth theosophists played crucial roles in establishing the
first cross-political anti-nuclear power movement in Stockholm
and Sweden. This movement joined with others in forming the Environmental
Federation. A special network for socialist environmental groups
developed initiated by many active in Peoples Forum which
was unique for Sweden and flourished for some year during the
1970s. This also split Alternative City. The special Friends of
the Earth organisation in Sweden initiated by Anglo-American Friends
of the Earth also was a separate group dividing the environmental
movement differently from other countries. In 1995 different strands
including Alternative City, Environmental Federation and Friends
of the Earth merged.
We have seen that non-state actors and especially
popular movements played a crucial role in establishing a new
pattern for interaction at the global level between governments
and non-governmental organisations. At every step in the process
popular actors were ahead or parallel in their efforts and through
their sustained independent endeavour the semi-official forum
initiated by the UN developed into an independent NGO forum with
direct linkages to the official conference. This is of historic
importance as it is the first time since the establishment of
the modern interstate system in the 17th century that such a parallel
process and independent level in direct linkage to an inter-state
meeting is established. This new pattern have since the Stockholm
conference become regular not only at UN theme conferences but
also for the World Bank as well as outside the formal UN system
when EU, APEC or G-7 meets, with different balances between a
more popular independent character and a semi-official NGO process.
This pattern have also included issues within the sphere of high
politics normally considered to be the most strict realm for excluding
all others than sovereign states from negotiations: in 1982 at
the UN General Assembly the 2nd Special Session on Disarmament
was held, with presence and with speeches of POs and research
institutions (note 135).
The bifurcation thesis of global governance theory
is thus substantiated on a macro-level. The new bifurcated pattern
is also not limited to one issue-area or one international institution
which shows the limitations of international regime theories.
It is shown that non-state business and popular
actors can influence the outcome of how controversial issues are
settled and that if issues are formally decided or only informally
handled have little to do with the result and how in the end governments
act. The whaling issue was formally included in the Stockholm
conference decisions but had no impact on the outcome of the next
governmental international regime negotiations within this issue-area.
The US ecological warfare in Vietnam was formally excluded from
the decisions but the popular and governmental protests had impact
on the US government and the ecological warfare ended well before
the war. The pressure from the NGOs and POs and their direct connections
with governments differ also significantly in these two issue
The popular whaling demonstration have a very wide
NGO support from many organisations and US governmental delegates
participates but very few people. The popular anti-Vietnam war
and ecocide demonstration engage much less of the international
NGOs but 50 times more people participates but no governmental
delegates. The popular participation is strongest on the issue
that also gets an impact on governmental action and is further
away from conventional international environmental regime building
while weakest on the issue that is at the core of internationally
instutionalised environmental issues, the managing of the seas.
Drug policy issues was by no means part of the formal
agenda of the conference and for an international regime analyst
outside any possible new issue-area that could be added to the
environmental theme and thus accounted for.
From a bifurcation point of view when looking at
the multi-centric pole of global governance it thus play a role
as it is decisive for creating a split in PO and NGO parallel
activities. Furthermore it is the drug liberals who most consistently
oppose bringing up the US warfare in Vietnam while at the same
time they link up with the US governmental initiatives for a whaling
moratorium and thus being part of the governmental and NGO mainstream.
They also are the ones among the PO and NGO actors
most opposed to politisation of environmental issues and do not
consider themselves as involved in politics. At the same time
some of them use the Stockholm conference for promoting specific
drug liberal governmental policies. The kind of cognitive struggle
over what should be defined as legitimate environmental issues
and what as political or who is an agent of governments
due to suspect funding is used by key actors in all different
categories to promote their issues and exclude others from the
Drug liberalism was accepted in practice by the
Swedish authorities and they neglected the reports on breaking
laws and wishes to intervene from the public and lower levels
of authority. This was a rational decision when accounting for
the information at hand and prioritising the need to live up to
the security agreement with the UN before the principal of equality
before the law. At the same time it fueled suspicion against the
intentions of the Swedish state and to what degree foreign actors
could intervene in the relation between the sovereign Swedish
state and the equal treatment of persons on Swedish territory.
While whaling and ecocide issues were discussed
widely at the official conference the population issue had a lower
priority. Some actors wanted population control to become a central
environmental issue but had given up the formal level in beforehand.
Instead the same actors tried to make this issue important in
the parallel activities were the views of well-funded foundations
with promotion from business NGOs clashed with that of other independent
voices and the participating public. In spite of the high concentration
of material resources behind this ideological attempt and numerous
continued efforts it failed. Instead of becoming a central environmental
issue it gradually became more an issue of social rights and the
question of consumption replaced much of the role of population
numbers in the environmental discourse. The invitation of third
world participants to the parallel activities was here decisive
for the strong rejection of the population issue as a central
international environmental topic.
Both governments and non-state actors emphasise
informally and formally a strong relation between issues and attempts
to exclude or include them in the group of relevant political
themes as well as make clear priorities in the Stockholm conference
process. This makes the Stockholm conference a strong case for
theories of global governance. When issues are less controversial
the establishment of international regimes within specific issue
areas can account for much of the relevant political process.
But these negotiations within specific issue areas are embedded
in a larger contested order of important issues and broader settlement
of world politics. This makes the international regime theory
less useful for understanding the generation of hierarchy between
issues and dominant models for relations between governmental,
science, business, popular and other non-state actors in world
The conventional distinction of hierarchy between
high politics concerning issues of national security and low politics
concerning social, economical, environmental, and other issues
is clearly at stake at Stockholm due to the war in Vietnam. Environmental
governmental and NGO delegates in the US delegation to the official
conference feels that Pentagon and the State department prioritise
foreign security policy matters in the UNCHE process before the
settling of environmental concerns (note 136).
Other actors are also aware of this hierarchy and the need to
challenge and focus on controversial issues possible to extend
or limit the scope of relevant issues. At Stockholm it is possible
to a high degree also challenge a super-power in its right to
exercise full sovereignty in high politics. The US that can be
seen as a hegemon in a neorealist conceptual frame-work in the
kind of issue-areas discussed at the environmental conference
had troubles also in other fields than high politics. This we
have seen to a large extent due to American and other POs and
NGOs challenging the US position. There is also much interaction
between the different levels and at times almost impossible to
separate if an initiative is governmental, UN, business NGO, popular
or other. Interestingly is to see how the Chinese delegation new
to UN global diplomacy quickly adapts to the situation and uses
the PO and NGO initiative ECO to influence the official proceedings.
The final judgment that the end result of the Stockholm
conference was a stalemate between the governmental, business
and popular actors is substantiated by the shift among almost
all leading popular actors in the UNCHE process chosing to focus
on nuclear power and energy issues with the beginning at Stockholm.
Although the issue
was not high on the formal agenda and not so controversial at
the time it rapidly became so. In this issue the popular movement
could regenerate their momentum and confront industry and governments,
now with Northern Europe as leaders and not the US. This outcome
and the ways the conflicts developed at Stockholm shows that the
views of Nerfin is substantiated beyond normative assumptions.
We have three main actors internationally based on the state,
market and popular participation respectively as independent factors.
More problematic is the role and delineation of
NGOs. Many do not differ at all between POs, business NGOs and
other NGOs. The view of aggregation in a non-state multi-centric
world system without accounting for different autonomous variables
also at the macro-level of this system is with other words questioned
as a sustained conflict in both form and content can be followed
between business NGOs and popular initiatives. Other attempts
to look at environmental NGOs excluding business NGOs is also
problematic as there is a clear polarisation between established
NGOs often closely related to governments and popular initiatives.
Furthermore, it is the popular initiatives that extends the form
and content of the process, often in conflict or ignored as much
as possible by established NGOs. Thus popular initiatives is an
autonomous variable at Stockholm with significant importance for
future world politics. The NGOs including scientific NGOs plays
a crucial role in limited fields but less in contested issues
and in expanding linkages between issue-areas. They can often
oppose the inclusion of new popular actors rather than expand
participation and can be seen as a partly autonomous consensual
middle ground with a role for establishing conventional knowledge
an exchange information influenced by the other more autonomous
three variables. Their role of contributing to establishing international
institutions or regimes and to social learning emphasised by many
observers that do not delineate between NGOs and popular movements
or POs has its importance, but as we have seen the role of popular
initiatives goes further than this. It is not only a question
of knowledge exchange, consultation and social learning but direct
physical struggle for getting space and long-time struggle for
material resources central to the process. This course of events
is manifested with the attempts and possibilities to occupy or
stopping people from entering central positions a public events.
Further research needs to be done both to find out
more about how states and business informally and maybe also intentional
in secret influenced the process. The opening of the archives
of correspondence between the US Embassy in Stockholm and Washington
have so far reached 1966 and already proven to put new light on
the relations between Sweden and the US in the Vietnam war issue
at stake at the Stockholm conference later. These and other US
state archives previously red taped can give more facts. Also
the third world participation is of interest to investigate further
to get a more balanced picture. But most important is to make
more empirical and theoretical global studies of popular initiatives
and their role in a broader world political picture not avoiding
their capacity to also be independent in conflicts with other
actors of the kind that is common when looking at states or business
sector. This study have hopefully made a small mainly empirical
contribution to such an attempt.
comments can be sent to:
Tord Björk, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
References on UNCHE-NGO-popular movements relations
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14 (6), July-Aug 1972.
Åström, Sverker, Ögonblick, Stockholm:
Bonnier Alba, 1992.
Bazell, Robert J., 'Human Environment Conference:
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Berry, R S, 'Only One World: An Awakening', Bulletin
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Brenton, Tony, The Greening of Machiavelli, London:
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Budowski, Gerardo, 'A Certain Pre-Event Anxiety,'
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Conca, Ken, 'Greening the United Nations: environmental
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Ehrlich, Paul, 'A Crying Need for Quiet Conferences:
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Eriksson, Björn, 'Det var så det började',
in Det förlorade försprånget, Björn Eriksson,
Liselott Falk, Lasse Herneklint and Peter Larsson eds., Göteborg:
Finger, Matthias, 'Politics of the UNCED Process',
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Finger, Matthias, 'Environmental NGOs in the UNCED
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and Matthias Finger eds. London: Routledge, 1994.
Galtung, Johan, 'Ekologi och klasspolitik', in Är
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Gendlin, Frances,'Voices from the Gallery', Bulletin
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Haley, Mary Jean, Open Options: A Guide to Stockholm's
Alternative Environment Conferences, Stockholm: 29 May 1972.
Hammarström, Tommy ed., FNL i Sverige: reportage
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Uniterra 1, 1982.
Hyman, Sidney, The Aspen Idea, Norman: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1975.
Jacobsen, Sally, 'A Call to Environmental Order',Bulletin
of Atomic Scientists, Sep 1972.
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Uniterra 1, 1982.
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Uniterra 1, 1982.
McCormick, John, Reclaiming Paradise: The Global
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Mencke-Glückert, Peter, 'Never Before Such
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Morphet, Sally, 'NGOs and the environment', in Peter
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Oi Committee, The Hamilton Documents, Lome, Marawi
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Activities 4th to 16th of June 1972 in Stockholm
coinciding with UNCHE,
(activities within brackets took place outside this time frame,
those only planned are underlined and included if they were important
as equivalent or symmetrical to actions that took place)
||Semi-official or with special oficial
permit or cooperation
Swedish Vietnam Committee conference
Distinguished - Lecture Series
Life Forum with Whaling teach-in
||Forum: Environment is politics
||Conference TV plan
||4th of June international Action
||(22nd of April Earth Day)
||(Later 5th of June action day World
Environment Day commemorating the opening of UNCHE)
||Anti Ecocide demonstration
||UNCHE rose ceremony
||Powwow symbol: Elm fist
||UNCHE symbol: Man
surrounded by leaves
||(The Battle of the Elms 12th of May 1971)
||US delegation meets Alternative City at the
||UNCHE tree planting
||Only One Earth
||Alternative city bikes
||UNCHE official white
|UNCHE limousin fleet
||Alternative city guide tours
||Official guide tours
|Police and illegal acts
||Plans to occupy Skeppsholmen and pro-claim a
||No police at drug liberal Hog Farm
festival in Skarpnäck
||Mounted police horse stables, Skeppsholmen
People's Forum declaration
Only One Earth
The Stockholm Conference: Only One Earth
Dai Dong declaration
|Scientists Compendium of papers
of the Jyväskylä scientific conference
||Dubos and Ward at
|Third World dominated discussions
||OI committee declaration
Hamilton regional documents
UN regional prep.
||Independent national reports
||Governmental national reports
||Anti-nuclear power, alternative & third
world solidarity movement
||ELC, EEB, IUCN, ICSU, WWF
Further UNCHE PR activity plans, sometimes far advanced
and sometimes only ideas: Industry exhibition, Global satellite
village TV program, Film competition, Vast audiovisual model of
the planetary environment, Children's painting competition, Environmental
song contest, Only One Earth quartet or orchestral piece, Interactive
TV program, Only One Earth pop song. Posters and other information
material was produced.
1 "Regimes can be defined as
sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making
procedures around which actors' expectations converge in a given
area of international relations." Stephen D. Krasner, 'Structural
Causes and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables,'
International Organization, 36, 1982, p 1.
2 Rosenau notes that some languages
like German lacks a word signifying governance - "The notion
of inter subjective systems of rule not backed by legal and constitutional
authority is too improbable an aspect of political processes in
the cultures that employ these languages to have allowed for convergence
around a simplified, single-word designation of the concept.",
Rosenau, James N., 'Governance, Order, and Change in World Politics',
in Rosenau, James N. and Ernst-Otto Czempiel eds., Governance
without government: order and change in world politics, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press 1992, p 6. Also Swedish lacks this
word but it can be questioned if at least in the Swedish case,
the lack of the word also reflects the lack of a political practice
of unconstitutional non-formal popular and other participation
in politics. It can be argued that there is in Sweden a rather
high tolerance even for popular actions that are in conflict with
the constitution, at least in the case of environmental conflicts.
3 Rosenau 1992, p 9.
4 Rosenau, James and Mary Durfee,
Thinking Theory Thoroughly: Coherent Approaches to an Incoherent
World, Boulder: Westview Press, 1995 p 41.
5 Presented by Alan Scott, 'Political
culture and social movements', in Political and Economic Forms
of Modernity, John Allen, Peter Braham and Paul Lewis eds., Cambridge:
Polity Press 1992, pp 161-2.
6 Bader, Veit Michael, Kollektives
Handeln: Protheorie sozialer Ungleichheit und kollektives Handelns
II, Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1991.
7 Nerfin, Marc, 'Neither Prince
nor Merchant - An Introduction into the Third System.', IFDA Dossier
56, 1986, pp 3-29.
8 Young, International Cooperation:
Building Regimes for the Natural Resources and Environment, 1989.
Finger and Princen, ed, Environmental NGOs in World Politics,
9 Willets 1996, Morphet 1995, Conca
1995. Also McCormick 1989 in his book Reclaiming Paradise: The
Global Enviromental Movement is extensive when accounting for
the Stockholm conference and its outcome but focus for the most
part on the official level. For literature explicitly accounting
for UNCHE see reference list.
10 In the book Environmental NGOs
in World Politics Finger (1994:195) writes "Strong had already
been the Secretary-General of the Stockholm Conference on the
Human Environment held in 1972 and was a member of the World Commission
on Environment and Development. Traumatised as he had been by
heavy social movement protest in Stockholm 1972, Strong was determined
from the very beginning to pre-empt any opposition to UNCED."
We get a picture of the reaction of the official representative
but not what made him so upset and made him try to arrange the
things different next time he was in the same position and could
influence the NGO arrangements.
11 In Uniterra 1, 1982.
12 Oi Committee, The Hamilton Documents,
Lome, Marawi City, Stockholm, Valdivia, St.Louis: Oi Committee/River
Styx Press 1972.
13 The main source of the role
of Aspen institute is The Aspen Idea, a book made for its 25th
anniversary 1975 by Sidney Hyman. The detailed listings of NGO
cooperation between the UNCHE secretariat and institutes confirms
a central role for Aspen Institute and other closely related foundations
and new environmental institutes (IIEA), Johnson, B. 1972, Feraru
1974. (McCormick 1989:96) also mentions Aspen institute but without
describing its character and only in the role of sponsorship for
IIEA. McCormick also mentions Robert O. Anderson, chairman of
an oil company, as a seed founder of IIEA but that at the core
of the network is regular meetings and seminars with up to a hundred
executives involved remains outside of the picture. The journalist
Mikael Nyberg (1996) have with the help of The Aspen Idea made
the role of this business NGO visible in his assessment of the
role of transnational corporations in international environment
and development processes the last 30 years.
14 McCormick 1989, Brenton 1994,
Morphet 1995, Conca 1995, Willets 1996. The last time the third
world initiative the Oi Committee International is mentioned is
1975 (Zacharias). Reminiscences of their voices are given by referring
in general to radical opinions. But explicitly mentioned after
1975 apart from the established NGOs ICSU, IUCN, SCOPE and Friends
of the Earth is only the American drug liberal hippie commune
the Hog Farm.
15 Both Council of Europe and the
UN includes among NGOs that can get status in relation to them
federations of manufacturers and other commercial interest while
at the same time excluding companies. The Council by explicitly
stating that an NGO should have "a non-profit aim",
UN implicitly by stating that the NGO's resources should come
from members or voluntary contributions, Willets, Peter, "The
Conscience of the World": the influence of non-governmental
organisations in the U.N. system, London: Hurst & Co. 1995,
p 3. For a discussion of the confusion concerning the definition
of NGOs, see Gordenker, Leon and Thomas G Weiss, 'Pluralizing
Global Governance: analytical approaches and dimensions', Third
World Quarterly 16 (3) 1995.
16 Grove, Robert, The Greening
of Imperialism, 1995.
17 McCormick 1989.
18 Shoup, Laurence H. and William
Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations
and United States Foreign Policy, New York: Monthly Review Press,
19 For accounts of NGO-UN relations
at the beginning see Seary, Bill, 'The Early History: From the
Congress of Vienna to the San Fransisco Conference,' in Willets,
Peter ed., "The Conscience of the World": the influence
of nongovernmental organisations in the U.N. system, London: Hurst
& Co. 1995, p 25-27.
20 If one should not include exhibitions
for the public arranged by the industry at Atoms for Peace conferences
organised by the UN.
21 Morphet 1995, pp 118-119.
22 For broader accounts see Jamison
1995 p 228-9, Brenton 1994 p 19-27, and McCormick 1989. All three
tend to give most examples from the US but Brenton points at statistics
from many countries showing similar growing public concern, mainly
for local and domestic environmental problems. For a comparative
in depth account on France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and
the US, see Brand, Karl-Werner ed., Neue soziale Bewegungen in
Westeuropa und den USA : Ein internationaler Vergleich, Frankfurt/Main:
23 Hyman 1975, p 252.
24 McCormick 1989, Brenton 1994,
25 The young theosophists sustained
and fruitful solidarity, cultural and environmental efforts has
not been described in any literature. Academicians have either
been interested in formalised organisations like states, companies
or non-governmental organisations within defined issue area or
their interest have been social movements at their peak of national
mass mobilisation. Diffusion of ideas between countries have only
recently been object for more intensive study and then only between
movements within the same issue area. The kind of qualitatively
influential movement in both its local and international context
here described falls outside the frameworks made by hitherto academic
26 Mimeographed document FAQUEST
27 Hyman 1975, p 275.
28 Quoted by McCormick 1989 from
Thomas W. Wilson, Draft Plan for the International Institute for
Environmental Affairs, 21 September 1970 (unpubl.).
29 Hyman 1975, p 252.
30 McCormick 1989, p 47.
31 Stone 1973, p 19.
32 Rowlands 1973, p 35.
33 Stone 1973, p 19.
34 Åström 1992, p 164.
35 Stone 1973, p 20.
36 Åström 1992, p 163.
See also McCormick 1989 p 110.
37 Stone 1975 notes: "just
about everyone or at least everybody that seemed worthy of consultation
had a chance to provide some input to the conference. There was
only one exception and that was industry." p 25, and "large
scale involvement of industry was ruled out on political grounds"
38 Quotes and the description of
abstract levels from Rowlands 1973, pp 38-9.
39 Stone 1973, pp 45-6.
40 All NGOs at the 1st and 2nd
PrepCom were accredited to ECOSOC. At the 3rd and 4th PrepCom
25 and 22 respectively participated, one each time not accredited.
41 Feraru 1974, Morphet 1995, Willets
1996. In spite of the clear linkage between the Strong and the
closely related Anderson Foundation, Aspen Institute and IIEA
through key UNCHE projects is this grouping not mentioned accept
at random by the most comprehensive accounts as a technical help
to the UNCHE secretariat for different initiatives.
42 Willets 1996, p 69.
43 Stone 1973.
44 Ibid, p 57-8.
45 Ibid, p 65.
46 Folin, Göran, 'En rörelse
i tiden', in Beathe Sydhoff et al eds., 1930/80 arkitektur-form-konst,
Stockholm: Stockholms kulturförvaltning konstavdelningen,
1980, p 113.
47 GP, Göteborgs-Posten 11.5
48 Newsweek 12.6 1972.
49 Zacharias 1975, p 49.
50 From an interview with a reporter
from Time magazine in Ramparts sep 1972.
51 Time and Newsweek 12 June 1972.
52 Zacharias 1975 p 55.
53 One observer makes criticism
against this decision to curtail the freedom of some journalists
so important that he puts it on his first page in his book about
the conference without explaining the background, Rowlands 1973,
54 DN 15.6 1972.
55 Zacharias 1975, p 80. None of
the two examples from how Hog Farmers tried or succeed in stopping
criticism against the US war in Indochina is accounted for by
56 Rowlands 1973, p 97.
57 Hyman 1975, p 291. book: 1973
Who Speaks for Earth.
58 Interview with "Schäferkåren",
a dog security guard staff commissioned by the municipal sports
authorities to protect the sport installations at Skarpnäck
17.6 1972, appendix 1 in Zacharias 1975.
59 Expressen accounts for the sniffer
village and the grass village as well, 13.6 1972.
60 Sociala avdelningens PM av den
30 maj 1972.
61 The interview is reported in
extenso by Zacharias 1975, p 62-66.
62 DN Syd 7.6 1972 and SvD 8.6
63 Press release: Lowlands Weed
Compagnie Statement III.
64 Kvällsposten 10.6 1972.
65 John Lambert, Forum Environment
is Politics, June 12 1972.
66 Zacharias 1975, p 97.
67 John Lambert, Forum Environment
is Politics, June 12 1972.
68 Stockholmspolisen Verksamheten
69 Interview with Ed Goldsmith,
70 Brenton 1994, p
71 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Sep 1972, p 23.
72 Time June 19.
73 Interview with Björn Eriksson
74 Stone 1973, p
75 Stone 1973, p 133. New York
Times June 9 1972 also emphasise the whaling ceremony and its
character of reconciliation between generations organised by the
Whole Earth Catalog and National Book Award winner Brand. "Strong
urged the youths to continue grading the conscience of the world's
governments. Mr. Strong remarks reached across the generation
gap and his audience, rich in beards, long hair and blue jeans
gave him an ovation."
76 Norra Västerbotten 9.6
1972 saying that almost all participants were from the US and
at least half of them Hog farmers. More positive is New York Times
who continues to report on whaling indicating sustained protests,
"After two days of demonstrations" June 10 1972, later
anti US ecocide demonstrations with 50 times as many participants
are not accounted for by the same paper.
77 Gedlin, 1972, p 29. In contrast
a newspaper like Le Figaro in Paris only accounts for Anti-Vietnam
war protests with the FNL-flag.
78 DN 15.6 1972.
79 New York Times June 9 1972 made
a hopeful prediction, "If the resolution [On US initiative
for 10 years whaling moratorium] is passed the International Whaling
Commission which meets in London late this month will find it
hard to ignore."
80 Brenton 1994, p
81 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,
82 New York Times June 8 1972,
83 Rowlands 1973, p
84 Gendlin 1972, p 28.
85 Ibid, p 28.
86 Interview with Elisabet Vikund
(former Wettergren) Nov 1996.
87 Environmental Forum program
report, Wettergren 1972.
88 According to Gendlin 1972, others
do not account for this debate and it seems like no offence against
free speech is made except for "heckling" and the problem
that the floor when lining up behind the microphones is so critical.
89 Aaranson 1972, p 12.
90 New York Times, 13.6, 1972.
91 Stone 1973, p 113 informs about
that youth representations was a "problem area" but
without saying what specific options existed. It is hard to doubt
that the Hamilton youth conference initiated by the UNCHE secretariat
was as globally representative for youth as was possible. Stone
systematically excludes accounting for the Hamilton meeting but
at random informs about it through indirect sources like an article
by Bazell 1971 in Science and his remark about problematic youth
92 Today the ECO initiator Ted
Goldsmith have changed opinion and says that he and others were
wrong at Stockholm and that Commoner was right in the population
controversy between him and Ehrlich. Personal communication with
Goldsmith November 1996.
93 Brenton 1994, p 43. Instead
of informing the reader about Ehrlich support of coercive population
control against poor and oppressed people Brenton chose to talk
about Ehrlich scientific merits and in a footnote on p 41 how
Ehrlich puts an emphasis 1990 that the environmental impact of
an American is the same as that of 35 Indians or 280 Chadians
or Haitians. The advocating of coercive population control is
still part of the first Swedish edition 1972 of Ehrlichs
book the Population Bomb made in a Swedish edition to influence
UNCHE. Ehrlich gradually emphasised population and consumption
and then blaming especially industrial countries while deemphasising
the coercive part of his message, especially after the controversy
in Stockholm. This ignorance in accounting for the content of
Ehrlichs ideas is systematic the case of those making the
protest against his free speech the only important part of the
story as if the third worlder's had no other reason for their
protests than pseudo-leftism and undemocratic wishes to restrict
the free scientific discussion. Apart from this narrative of suppressed
scientific Anglo-American open debate in a global setting Brenton's
book is highly informative and often less biased and above all
daring in evaluating international environmental politics.
94 Furthermore Stone is upset about
that those organisations rich enough to invite those they want
to deliver speeches is hindered full access to the public. Paul
Ehrlich was not only "howled off the platform at the Forum",
he was also "speaking on the invitation and the expense of
the International Planned Parenthood Federation." (my italics)
Stone 1973, p 133.
95 Ehrlich 1972.
96 The account of the discussion
basically from Aaranson 1972.
97 Gendlin 1972, p 28.
98 Initiator of the influential
report Limits to Growth 1972.
99 Gendlin 1972, p 29.
100 Quoted by Rowlands 1973, p
101 Hyman 1975, p 289-290.
102 ECO, June 16 1972, p 3.
103 Rowlands 1973, p 90.
104 Stone 1973,
105 Rowlands 1973, p 100.
106 Aaronson 1972, Rowlands 1973,
McCormick 1989, Williams, 1993.
107 Stone 1973, p 135.
108 McCormick 1989, p 101.
109 For the most comprehensive
description of the Environmental Forum see Aaranson 1972.
110 Gendlin 1972, p 28.
111 Stone, Rowlands, Ehrlich,
Gendlin all quote ECO and their criticism against the Environmental
Forum for being captured by Commoner and third worlders. Rowlands
talks about a leader crisis among the Swedish organisers . The
exception among Anglo-American observers is Aaranson. The dominant
Anglo-American criticism still today survives in the literature,
Brenton 1994, p 43: "This mass of bodies [NGOs] pursued a
debate in their own forum, which displayed an energy and enthusiasm
often depressingly absent form the formal negotiations, but also
taking on a heavily new left and third worldist flavour "
112 Interview with Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg.
113 McCormick, 1989, p 88. LDC
and MDC is here abbreviations for Less Developed Countries and
More Developed Countries or third world countries and industrialised
114 Stone 1973, p 130.
115 Rowlands 1973, p 131.
116 Ibid, p 131.
117 Ibid, p 125.
118 Alter Chen, Martha, 'Engendering
world Conferences: the international women's movement and the
United Nations', Third World Quarterly, 16 (3), 1995, Connors,
Jane, NGOs and the Human Rights of Women at the UN', in Willets,
Peter, ed. 1995.
119 McCormick 1989, chapter 6.
120 Mostafa Tolba opening address
on the session of Special Character of the Governing Council of
UNEP, in Uniterra 2, 1982.
121 McCormick 1989 p 125.
122 For accounts of the problems
facing the governmental agencies, see McCormick, 1989 pp 125-7,
Brenton 1994, chapter 4.
123 Tolba, opening address, Uniterra
124 Jamison 1996, p 230.
125 Elzinga 1984.
126 Jun Ui criticize this UNEP's
lack of study of environmental issues in social science, Uniterra
1, 1982, p 50.
127 McCormick 1989, p 101.
128 But the number increased.
ELC assessed in 1982 that there were 2,230 environmental NGOs
in developing countries, of which 60% had been formed after Stockholm
and 13,000 in industrialised countries, of which 30% formed since
Stockholm. McCormick, 1989, p101.
129 Quoted in Uniterra 2 1982,
p 48 from World Environment Report.
130 Talbot's account for the non-governmental
organisation IUCN at Stockholm is illustrative: "Russell
Train, head of the US delegation, and I at that time were both
members of the IUCN executive Board and there were people associated
with IUCN who therefore had substantial background in conservation
serving on many if not most other delegations." Talbot 1982.
131 Brenton 1994, p 55 notes that
the intensity having rocketed in the 1960s fell back in the 1970s
but not to the same low level as before from which it had started.
In opinion polls in the US 40% had stated the environment as the
most important problem in 1970 and only 10% by 1974-75 after this
lowering further. In the UK and France interest dipped in a similar
way. Only in northern Europe was the popular environmental concern
132 Uniterra 1 1982.
133 Kitschelt, Herbert, 'Zur Dynamik
neuer sozialer Bewegungen in den USA. Strategien gesellschaftlichen
Wandels und 'American Exceptionalism' ', Karl-Werner Brand ed.,
134 Although later the internationalisation
of the popular environmental movement in Latin America came first
with anti-nuclear gatherings in the end of the 1980s, in a setting
were no division between nuclear power and nuclear weapons was
useful as the military often was responsible for both.
135 Thorson, Inga, 'NGOs inflytande
i FN,' Världen och vi nr 1-2, 1989.
136 Nation 10.7 1972.
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