It was 1972, and to anyone who was paying attention, it was obvious that we humans were making a real mess of things. Tropical forests were falling at an alarming rate. Whale populations were in a death spiral. Our cities were choked with smog, our rivers had turned into fire traps, and we were getting the first inklings that all of our industrial activity might actually be warming the globe.
To right the course, representatives from 114 countries met in Stockholm, Sweden, at the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment -- the first major global effort to clean up our collective act -- and an era of environmental diplomacy was born.
Four decades later, what do we have to show for it?
First, the bad news: