Environment: The Soviets Clean Up Their Act

A Moscow conference signals a new ecological activism

The capital of the Soviet Union, where religion was suppressed until recently, seemed an unlikely spot for a gathering that included hundreds of religious leaders, from a Russian Orthodox Metropolitan to the Grand Mufti of Syria. Equally unusual was the notion of holding a global environmental conference in a country where the environment has long had a low priority. Yet last week in Moscow the Soviets played host to some 1,000 delegates from 83 countries at a Global Forum designed to bring together scientists and political and religious leaders to discuss ways to combat the growing threats to the earth's environment.