The battle over Agenda 21 is raging across the nation. City and County Councils have become war zones as citizens question the origins of development plans and planners deny any international connections to the UN’s Agenda 21. What is the truth? Since I helped start this war, I believe it is up to me to help with the answers.
The standard points made by those who deny any Agenda 21 connection is that:
- Local planning is a local idea.
- Agenda 21 is a non-binding resolution not a treaty, carries no legal authority from which any nation is bound to act. It has no teeth.
- The UN has no enforcement capability.
- There are no “Blue-Helmeted” UN troops at City Hall.
- Planners are simply honest professionals trying to do their job, and all these protests are wasting their valuable time.
- The main concern of Agenda 21 is that man is fouling the environment and using up resources for future generations and we just need a sensible plan to preserve and protect the earth. What is so bad about that?
- There is no hidden agenda.
- “I’ve read Agenda 21 and I can find no threatening language that says it is a global plot. What are you so afraid of?”
- And of course, the most often heard response – “Agenda 21, what’s that?”
- And after they have proudly stated these well thought out points, they arrogantly throw down the gauntlet and challenge us to “answer these facts.”
Will one of these “innocent” promoters of the “Agenda 21 is meaningless” party line, please answer the following:
If it all means nothing, why does the UN spend millions of dollars to hold massive international meetings in which hundreds of leaders, potentates and high priests attend, along with thousands of non-governmental organizations of every description, plus the international news media, which reports every action in breathless anticipation of its impact on the world?
It if all means nothing, why do those same NGO representatives (which are all officially sanctioned by the UN in order to participate) spend months (sometimes years) debating, discussing, compiling, and drafting policy documents?
If it all means nothing, why do leaders representing nearly every nation in the world attend and, with great fanfare, sign these policy documents?
Time after time we witness these massive international meetings, we read the documents that result from them, and when we question their meaning or possible impact on our nation, we are met with a dismissive shrug and a comment of “oh, probably not much…”
Really? Then why? Why the waste of money, time, and human energy? Could it be that the only purpose is to simply give diplomats, bureaucrats, and NGOs a feeling of purpose in their meaningless lives, or perhaps a chance to branch out of their lonely apartments? Or could it really be that these meetings and the documents they produce are exactly as we say they are – a blueprint for policy, rules, regulations, perhaps even global governance that will affect the lives, fortunes, property and futures of every person on earth? Which is it? You can’t have it both ways.
Why the fear of Agenda 21?
Those who simply read or quickly scan Agenda 21 are puzzled by our opposition to what they see as a harmless, non-controversial document which they read as voluntary suggestions for preserving natural resources and protecting the environment. Why the fear? What exactly bothers us so much?
The problem is, we who oppose Agenda 21 have read and studied much more than this one document and we’ve connected the dots. Many of us have attended those international meetings, rubbed elbows with the authors and leaders of the advocated policies, and overheard their insider (not for public distribution) comments about their real purpose.
Here are a few examples of those comments made by major leaders of this movement as to the true purpose of the policies coming out of these UN meetings:
“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart (former Canadian Minister of the Environment)
“The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” Report from the UN Commission on Global Governance.
“Regionalism must precede globalism. We foresee a seamless system of governance from local communities, individual states, regional unions and up through to the United Nations itself.” Report from the UN Commission on Global Governance.
All three of these quotes (and we have many) indicate using lies and rhetoric to achieve their goals, and that those goals include the elimination of national sovereignty and the creation of a “seamless system” for global governance. Again, do these quotes have meaning and purpose – do they reveal the true thoughts of the promoters of these policies, or were they just joking?
For the past three decades through the United Nations infrastructure, there have been a series of meetings, each producing another document or lynchpin to lay the groundwork for a centralized global economy, judicial system, military, and communications system, leading to what can only be described as a global government. From our study of these events, we have come to the conclusion that Agenda 21 represents the culmination of all of those efforts, indeed representing the step by step blueprint for the full imposition of those goals. Here’s just a sample of these meetings and the documents they produced:
In 1980, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt chaired the Commission on International Development. The document, or report coming out of this effort, entitled “North-South: A program for Survival,” stated “World development is not merely an economic process, [it] involves a profound transformation of the entire economic and social structure…not only the idea of economic betterment, but also of greater human dignity, security, justice and equality…The Commission realizes that mankind has to develop a concept of a ‘single community’ to develop global order.”
That same year Sean MacBride, a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize, headed up a commission on international communications which issued a report entitled “Many Voices, One World: Towards a New, More Just and More Efficient World Information and Communication Order.” The Commission, which included the head of the Soviet news Agency, TASS, believed that a “New World Information Order” was prerequisite to a new world economic order. The report was a blueprint for controlling the media, even to the point of suggesting that international journalists be licensed.
In 1982, Olof Palme, the man who single-handedly returned Socialism to Sweden, served as chairman of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues. His report, entitled “Common Security: A Blueprint for Survival,” said: “All States have the duty to promote the achievement of general and complete disarmament under effective international control…” The report went on to call for money that is saved from disarmament to be used to pay for social programs. The Commission also proposed a strategic shift from “collective security” such as the alliances like NATO, to one of “common security” through the United Nations.
Finally, in 1987, came the granddaddy commission of them all, The Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development. Headed by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Vice President of the World Socialist Party, the commission introduced the concept of “Sustainable Development.” For the first time the environment was tied to the tried and true Socialist goals of international redistribution of wealth. Said the report, “Poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems. It is therefore futile to attempt to deal with environmental problems without a broader perspective that encompasses the factors underlying world poverty and international inequality.”
These four commissions laid the groundwork for an agenda of global control; A controlled media would dictate the flow of information and ideas and prevent dissent; control of international development manages and redistributes wealth; full disarmament would put the power structure into the hands of those with armaments; and tying environmentalism to poverty and economic development would bring the entire agenda to the level of an international emergency.
One world, one media, one authority for development, one source of wealth, one international army. The construction of a “just society” with political and social equality rather than a free society with the individual as the sole possessor of rights. The next step was to pull it altogether into a simple blueprint for implementation.
During the 1990s, the UN sponsored a series of summits and conferences dealing with such issues as human rights, the rights of the child, forced abortion and sterilization as solutions for population control, and plans for global taxation through the UN.
Throughout each of these summits, hundreds of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worked behind the scenes to write policy documents pertaining to each of these issues, detailing goals and a process to achieve them. These NGO’s are specifically sanctioned by the United Nations in order to participate in the process. The UN views them as “civil society, the non governmental representatives of the people. In short, in the eyes of the UN, the NGOs are the “people.”
Who are they? They include activist groups with private political agendas including the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Zero Population Growth, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the National Education Association, an d hundreds more. These groups all have specific political agendas which they desire to become law of the land. Through work in these international summits and conferences, their political wish lists become official government policy.
In fact, through the UN infrastructure the NGOs sit in equality to government officials from member nations including the United States. One of the most powerful UN operations is the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Created in 1973 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP is the catalyst through which the global environmental agenda is implemented. Virtually all international environmental programs and policy changes that have occurred globally in the past three decades are a result of UNEP efforts. Sitting in on UNEP meetings, helping to write and implement policy, along with these powerful NGOs are government representatives, including U.S, federal agencies such as the Department of State, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
This, then, is a glimpse of the power structure behind the force that gathered in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 for the UN-sponsored Earth Summit. Here, five major documents, written primarily by NGOs with the guidance and assistance of government agencies, were introduced to the world. In fact, these final documents had been first drafted and honed though the long, arduous series of international conferences previously mentioned. Now, at Rio, they were ready for adoption as a blueprint for what could only be described as the transformation of human society.
The five documents were: the “Convention on Climate Change,” the precursor to the coming Kyoto Climate Change Protocol, later adopted in 1997; the “Biodiversity Treaty,” which would declare that massive amounts of land should be off limits to human development; the third document was called the “Rio Declaration,” which called for the eradication of poverty throughout the world through the redistribution of wealth; the fourth document was the “Convention on Forest Principles,” calling for international management of the world’s forests, essentially shutting down or severely regulating the timber industry; and the fifth document was Agenda 21, which contained the full agenda for implementing worldwide Sustainable Development. The 300 page document contains 40 chapters that address virtually every facet of human life and contains great detail as to how the concept of Sustainable Development should be implemented through every level of government.
What did the United Nations believe that process entailed? In 1993, to help explain the far-reaching aspects of the plan, the UN published “Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet.” Here’s how the UN described Agenda 21 in that document: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by every person on earth…it calls for specific changes in the activities of all people…Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.” I have never read a stronger, more powerful description of the use of government power.
However, critics of our efforts against Agenda 21 rush to point out that Agenda 21 is a “soft law” policy – not a treaty that must be ratified by the U.S. Senate to become law. So it is just a suggestion, nothing to be afraid of. To make such an argument means that these critics have failed to follow the bouncing ball of implementation.
Following the bouncing ball to implementation
It started when, at the Earth Summit, President George H.W. Bush, along with 179 other heads of state signed agreement to Agenda 21. One year later, newly elected President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order # 12852 to create the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). The Council consisted of 12 cabinet secretaries, top executives from business, and executives from six major environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, the World Resources Institute, and the National Wildlife Federation. These were all players in the creation of Agenda 21 at the international level – now openly serving on the PCSD with the specific mission to implement Agenda 21 into American policy.
It is interesting to note that in the pages of the PCSD report entitled “Sustainable America: A new Consensus for the Future, it directly quotes the Brundtland Commission’s report “Our Common Future” for a definition of Sustainable Development. That is about as direct a tie to the UN as one can get. The PCSD brought the concept of Sustainable Development into the policy process of every agencies of the US federal government
A major tool for implementation was the enormous grant-making power of the federal government. Grant programs were created through literally every agency to entice states and local communities to accept Sustainable Development policy in local programs. In fact, the green groups serving on the PCSD, which also wrote Agenda 21 in the first place, knew full well what programs needed to be implemented to enforce Sustainable Development policy, and they helped create the grant programs, complete with specific actions that must be taken by communities to assure the money is properly spent to implement Sustainable Development policy. Those are the “strings” to which we opponents refer. Such tactics make the grants effective weapons to insure the policy is moving forward.
From that point, these same NGOs sent their members into the state legislatures to lobby for and encourage policy and additional state grant programs. They have lobbied for states to produce legislation requiring local communities to implement comprehensive development plans. Once that legislation was in place, the same NGOs (authors of Agenda 21) quickly moved into the local communities to “help” local governments comply with the state mandates. And they pledged to help by showing communities how to acquire the grant money to pay for it – with the above mentioned strings attached.
We’re told over and over again that such policies are local, state and national, with no conspiracy of ties to the UN. Really? Then how are we to explain this message, taken from the Federal Register, August 24, 1998, (Volume 63, Number 163) from a discussion on the EPA Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program? It says, “The Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program is also a step in Implementing ‘Agenda 21, the Global Plan of Action on Sustainable Development,’ signed by the United Stats at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. All of these programs require broad community participation to identify and address environmental issues.”
Or consider this quote from a report by Phil Janik, Chief Operating Officer of the USDA – Forest Service, entitled “The USDA-Forest Service Commitment and Approach to Forest Sustainability” “In Our Common Future published in 1987, the Brundtland Commission explains that ‘the environment is where we all live; and development is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode.” In short, Janik was explaining to his audience (the Society of American Foresters) just where the Forest Service was getting its definition of Sustainable Development – the report from the UN Commission on Global Governance.
Meanwhile, the NGOs began to “partner” with other governmental organizations like the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of County Administrators and more organizations to which elected representatives belong to, assuring a near that a near universal message of Sustainable Development comes from every level of government.
Another NGO group which helped write Agenda 21 for the UN Earth Summit was a group originally called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). It now calls itself ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. After the Earth Summit in 1992, ICLEI set its mission to move into the policy process of local governments around the world to impose Sustainable Development policy. It now operates in more than 1200 cities globally, including 600 American cities, all of which pay dues for the privilege of working with ICLEI. Like a cancer, ICLEI begins to infest the local government policy, training city employees to think only in terms of Sustainable Development, and replacing local guidelines with international codes, rules and regulations.
So it’s true, there are no UN blue helmeted troops occupying city halls in America, and yes, the UN itself does not have enforcement capability for this “:non-binding” document called Agenda 21. However, it does have its own storm troopers in the person of the Non-governmental Organizations which the UN officially sanctions to carry on its work. And that is how Agenda 21, a UN policy, has become a direct threat to local American communities.
Why we oppose Agenda 21
It’s important to note that we fight Agenda 21 because we oppose its policies and its process, not just its origins. Why do we see it as a threat? Isn’t it just a plan to protect the environment and stop uncontrolled development and sprawl?
As Henry Lamb of Freedom 21 puts it, “Comprehensive land use planning that delivers sustainable development to local communities transforms both the process through which decisions that govern citizens are made, and the market place where citizens must earn their livelihood. The fundamental principle that government is empowered by the consent of the governed is completely by-passed in the process…the natural next step is for government to dictate the behavior of the people who own the land that the government controls.”
To enforce the policy, local government is being transformed by “stakeholder councils” created and enforced by the same NGO Agenda 21 authors. They are busy creating a matrix of non-elected boards, councils and regional governments that usurp the ability of citizens to have an impact on policy. It’s the demise of representative government. And the councils appear and grow almost overnight.
Sustainablists involve themselves in every aspect of society. Here are just a few of the programs and issues that can be found in the Agenda 21 blueprint and can be easily found in nearly every community’s “local” development plans: Wetlands, conservation easements, water sheds, view sheds, rails – to- trails, biosphere reserves, greenways, carbon footprints, partnerships, preservation, stakeholders, land use, environmental protection, development, diversity, visioning, open space, heritage areas and comprehensive planning. Every one of these programs leads to more government control, land grabs and restrictions on energy, water, and our own property. When we hear these terms we know that such policy originated on the pages of Agenda 21, regardless of the direct or indirect path it took to get to our community.
You’ll find Watershed Councils that regulate human action near every trickling stream, river, or lake. Meters are put on wells. Special “action” councils control home size, tree pruning, or removal, even the color you can paint your home or the height of your grass. Historic preservation councils control development in downtown areas, disallowing expansion and new building.
Regional governments are driven by NGOs and stakeholder councils with a few co-opted bureaucrats thrown in to look good. These are run by non-elected councils that don’t answer to the people. In short, elected officials become little more than a rubber stamp to provide official “approval” to the regional bureaucracy.
But the agenda outlined in Agenda 21 and by its proponents is a much bigger threat that just land use planning. They openly advocate massive reduction of human populations. Some actually call for as much as an 85% reduction in human populations in order to “save the planet.” David Brower of the Sierra Club said, “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license.” The UN’s Biodiversity Assessment says, “A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion.”
They also openly advocate the destruction of modern society as Maurice Strong, the head of the Earth Summit said, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrial nations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?
This issue then is not about simple environmental protection and modern planning. It is about a complete restructuring of our society, our values and our way of life. They use as their model an urgency based on global warming and climate change, claiming there is no need for discussion on these dire issues. Yet science is showing more and more proof that there is no man-made global warming. Are we to completely destroy our society based on such a shaky foundation?
And that is just what the proponents are rushing to do.
Barack Obama has issued a flurry of Executive Orders to bypass the Congressional process and dictate sustainable policy. In 2011 Obama issued EO # 13575 creating the White House Rural Council. It brings together 25 Cabinet Secretaries to enforce multi-jurisdictional enforcement of farming virtually controlling every decision for food production. It is a major assault on American farm production intended to enforce Sustainable farming practices. In truth it will only lead to food shortages and higher prices as farmers have no ability to make a decision without the approval of 25 government agencies, working at cross purposes and causing chaos in farm production.
On May1, 2012, Obama issued EO # 13609, dictating that the government must enforce coordination of international regulatory policy. Those international regulatory policies are UN-driven and the basic translation means enforcement of Sustainable Development policy.
But, again, skeptics of our fears of Agenda 21 continue to argue that it is all voluntary and if the US or local governments want to enforce it they are free to do so – nothing to fear but ourselves. Well, even if that were true, that’s all about to change. On June 15 – 23, international forces are again converging on Rio for Rio+20. The stated intention is to complete the work they began in 1992.
Specifically called for is a UN treaty on Sustainable Development. If passed by the Senate and signed by the Obama Administration, that will eliminate any ambiguity about where the policy is coming from. Moreover, documents produced so far for the summit call for a global council, new UN agencies, budgets and powers, and “genuine global actions” in every nation – to ensure “social justice,” poverty eradication, climate protection, biodiversity, “green growth,” and an end to “unsustainable patterns of consumption.” Again, thousands of NGOs, diplomats and world leaders will spend a lot of money and time in the Rio+20 effort. Is it all just for fun, or does it have a purpose with strong consequences for our way of life?
The fact is, we fight Agenda 21 because it is all-encompassing, designed to address literally every aspect of our lives. This is so because those promoting Agenda 21 believe we must modify our behavior, our way of doing everyday things, and even our belief system, in order to drastically transform human society into being “sustainable.”
We who oppose it don’t believe that the world is in such dire emergency environmentally that we must destroy the very human civilization that brought us from a life of nothing but survival against the elements into a world that gave us homes, health care, food, and even luxury. Sustainable Development advocates literally hope to roll back our civilization to the days of mere survival and we say NO. Why should we? We have found great deception in the promotion of the global warming argument. We believe in free markets and free societies where people make their own decisions, live and develop their own property. And we fully believe that the true path to a strong protection of the environment is through private property ownership and limited government. Those who promote Agenda 21 do not believe in those ideals. And so we will not agree on the path to the future. And our fight is just that – a clash of philosophy. There is very little room for middle ground.
The United States has never been part of a global village in which rules for life have been handed down by some self-appointed village elders. We are a nation of laws that were designed to protect our right to our property and our individual life choices while keeping government reined in. We oppose Agenda 21 precisely because it represents the exact opposite view of government.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information