In 1972, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gained global attention with a speech she gave at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The presentation was, in a way, an early treatise on global environmental history. Although her pithy statement that “poverty is the worst form of pollution” grabbed the headlines, it was her critique of the hypocrisy of what were then referred to as the “developed” nations that has had the greatest impact. Gandhi noted how so much of the industrialized world, which had made its wealth (and pollution) through the pillage of its colonies, now insisted that those newly independent nations be held equally responsible for cleaning up the world. Her argument that the smaller wealthy nations use far more resources than the larger, poorer ones, is, as the events surrounding the Paris Climate Accord show, as relevant as ever.

It is of course a truism...

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