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Health

Lessons in Forging Global Change

A campaign to eliminate mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices that began 15 years ago at one Boston hospital blossomed into a worldwide movement that helped lead to an international treaty restricting the use of mercury. In this article three leaders of that movement discuss the campaign and the lessons they learned about how to create large-scale social change.

 

Early in the morning of January 19, 2013, after a marathon all-night session in a United Nations conference hall in Geneva, the gavel came down on the fifth and final round of negotiations for a global, legally binding treaty to restrict the use of mercury and its emission into the environment.

Hammered out over three years, the Minamata Convention was signed in southern Japan on October 11, named after the city where the most infamous case of mercury poisoning in history took place. The...


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