Keywords: Environment; International Organizations; Italy.
This essay deals with the foreign policy dimension of Italian environmentalism in the early Seventies, when the environment became a crucial focus for International Organizations and the United Nations were busy with the organization of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972. The article is structured around the agenda and the issues raised at the conference, especially the environmentdevelopment nexus. It shows how in Italy preoccupation with the environment turned from an elite phenomenon into a topic of interest for a broader public and that the attention which Italian politics devoted to environmental issues was spurred by the emergence of a global discourse on the environment. It moves on to examine the ambiguous strategy adopted by the Italian delegation in Stockholm, its insistence in considering the Mezzogiorno experience as a model for Third World countries, and the inability to make the best use of available expertise. The article finally considers how politics, experts and the national press took part in the debate surrounding the Club of Rome's report on the Limits of Growth and how this influenced the Italian understanding on ways to reconcile economic development, distribution issues and the side effects of industrial development.