Fifty years ago, the United Nations brought the world together to talk about the damage humans were doing to the environment. The U.N. conference in Stockholm was a first, and it came at a crucial time. Cities were choking on pollution, acid rain was damaging forests, and nuclear contamination was a widespread concern. Outside the Stockholm Conference, young people held dramatic protests calling out corporate polluters. Inside, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spoke about the responsibilities of wealthy countries that had been polluting for decades.

Mihaela Papa, a professor of sustainable development and global governance at Tufts University, looks back on the accomplishments of the Stockholm Conference and the 50 years of environmental treaties and negotiations that followed. She also explores three themes to watch in the decades ahead.

The Atlantic hurricane season also starts tomorrow, and forecasters are expecting a dangerously actively year. See how engineers test building designs against Category 5 hurricane conditions in the Wall of Wind.

Also today:

Stacy Morford

Environment + Climate Editor

Negotiations over the years have aimed to protect forests, biodiversity and the climate. Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images

50 years of UN environmental diplomacy: What’s worked and the trends ahead

Mihaela Papa, Tufts University

The Stockholm Conference in June 1972 launched five decades of international negotiations on everything from biodiversity to climate change.

Politics + Society

  • The lasting consequences of school shootings on the students who survive them

    Maya Rossin-Slater, Stanford University; Bokyung Kim, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts; Hannes Schwandt, Northwestern University; Marika Cabral, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts; Molly Schnell, Northwestern University

    Research shows that school shootings can lead to years of health, educational and economic detriment for students who survive the attack.

  • Most people support abortion staying legal, but that may not matter in making law

    Tarah Williams, Allegheny College

    Americans have long said they generally support abortion rights, but understanding specific breakdowns of opinion across demographics, and the history of abortion beliefs, is also important.

Arts + Culture

Science + Technology

  • What are HeLa cells? A cancer biologist explains

    Ivan Martinez, West Virginia University

    The immortal cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks revolutionized the fields of science, medicine and bioethics. And they still survive today, more than 70 years after her death.

Environment + Energy

Ethics + Religion

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