on Agenda 21

“Human activity… combined with unprecedented increases in human numbers… are impinging on the planet’s basic life support system. Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks” ~ 1995 report from the UN’s Commission on Global Governance

There has been a lot of buzz lately in the news about something called Agenda 21. What is it? Why are so many against it? How does it affect how you and I live?

Back in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, member nations came up with a voluntary action plan for sustainable development. Under President Clinton, the United States became a signatory to the plan known as Agenda 21. Since it is not an official treaty, the Senate did not have to have a formal debate to ratify it, yet it is currently being implemented in over 528 US cities at the local level, guided and overseen by a sustainability organization called ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, now called the Local Governments for Sustainability). While it is not called Agenda 21 here in the US due to the increased toxicity attached to the term, aspects of each section of the plan can be found under such buzzwords as “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “green initiatives”, “bio-diversity’, “land preservation”, “environmental protection”, “comprehensive planning”, “public-private partnerships” and “social, ecological, or environmental justice”. Or they may even coin their own term, as did the Des Moines Area Regional Planning Organization, whose sustainability plan for the metro is called “The Tomorrow Plan”.

The four sections of Agenda 21 are as follows: Social & Economic Dimensions (changing consumption patterns, mandating healthy lifestyles, and population control); Conservation and Management of Resources for Development (pollution control, atmospheric protection, biodiversity, and environmental protection); Strengthening the Role of Major Groups (women, youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental agencies, local authorities, business); and the Means of Implementation (science, technology transfer, land transfer, financial incentives, and international institutions). While technically the implementation of Agenda 21 is voluntary, the definitions for what “sustainability” means are already predetermined under this plan and are not developed at all by the local community.

Therein lay the issue as to why so many are rising in opposition to Agenda 21, no matter what it happens to be locally named. People are finding out disturbing information as to what the UN exactly defines as unsustainable. According to the UN’s Biodiversity Assessment Report, items which are NOT sustainable include: “Ski runs, grazing of livestock, plowing of soil, building fences, industry, single family homes, paved and tarred roads, logging activities, dams and reservoirs, power line construction, and economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment (capitalism, free markets)”. In other words, the very things that allow us to live as free individuals in a modern society are considered a threat to sustainability.  Not only that, in order for this sustainability plan to work, decisions on land use must be made based on what is best for the region, instead of the local community. The protection of private property rights is nowhere to be found in any sustainability initiative or document; in fact, these rights are to be ceded for the good of the region and for the environment. Under a sustainability initiative, nature would become the central organizing principle for societal decisions, instead of the needs of the individual citizen.

Since the environment would be the priority for those that ascribe to Agenda 21, human needs must as a matter of course become secondary. Therefore cars are discouraged by increasing current road taxpayer funds and reallocating them to go to expand public transportation and the development of bike and walk paths in order to “encourage” walking and decrease personal driving. Zoning is changed in order to reduce single family homes in favor of “stack & pack” dwellings, where development goes upward, instead of outward so as to “smartly” limit growth. Private land is bought (or condemned) using public monies, both to control its resources and to restrict human activity on it. And ‘green’ ordinances, easements, and right of way rules are used to restrict even further how the remaining private property can be used by its owner.

Under the guise of sustainability, folks are attempting to make rules to control both the environment and their fellow citizens, all to theoretically increase their “quality of life”. While voluntary, there are lots of ‘carrots’ – or what I like to call bribes via state and federal grants – being handed out to elected officials to jump on board the idea of costly regional planning (where unelected boards actually develop the plans). It certainly makes it hard to resist, especially when politicians hear the saying of “well, if you don’t take the money someone else will”. But remember, all these ‘carrots’ actually come out of your paycheck, and are being used both to restrict your liberty and justify the increased taxes needed to fund these dubious environmental initiatives. Other people are using your money to both define and control what your quality of life should be – shouldn’t that only be you?

For more info check out http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/


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