BY TOM DEWEESE
It’s in every community in the nation. We hear it talked about in county commission meetings and state legislatures. It’s even used in advertising as a positive practice for food processing and auto sales. It’s used as the model for building materials, power sources and transportation policy. It’s sold as the bold visionary plan for the future. The nation is being transformed under the banner of “Sustainable Development.”
We are assured by elected officials that Sustainable Development is simply a tool or a guideline to help direct the carefully-planned growth of our cities and rural areas while protecting our natural resources for future generations. “We must guard against a chaotic, unregulated growth in our cities,” say its earnest proponents as they sell the concept through familiar, non-threatening words and beautiful pictures.
Citizens are assured by their community leaders that all such plans are just local, local, local, created with the participation of the whole community. Sustainable Development policy, they say, is just an environmental land conservation policy, a sensible development policy. Sustainable…what’s wrong with that?
As usual, the answers are hidden in the details. Are we hearing the truth? What are the consequences of the policy that has taken over every level of government? Are there hidden dangers most just can’t see? Or, as its proponents claim, is opposition to Sustainable Development really just a silly, overblown conspiracy theory found in a twenty-year-old meaningless document called Agenda 21?
The UN’s Brundtland Commission on Global Governance described Sustainable Development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.” It’s just common sense to assure we don’t overuse our resources, say proponents. If everyone will do their part, we can achieve total sustainability.
A couple of years later, in 1992, at the UN’s Earth Summit, 50,000 delegates approved a plan describing in great detail how to meet those future needs. They issued a document called Agenda 21, which the UN labeled as a “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.” The UN sold Agenda 21 as a “soft law” policy, meaning it was an idea that nations would need to take up and impose through their own mechanisms.
To that end, in 1993, newly elected President Bill Clinton created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Serving on the Council were the representative of nearly every federal agency, along with representatives of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) who had helped to write Agenda 21 on the international level. Also on the Council were representatives of major global corporations. Their task was to create the policies to turn the Agenda 21 goals into official government policy and provide the means to fund it.
The President’s Council released a report describing its Sustainable Development goals, saying, “Sustainable communities encourage people to work together to create healthy communities where natural resources and historic resources are preserved, jobs are available, sprawl is contained, neighborhoods are secure, education is lifelong, transportation and health care is accessible, and all citizens have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.”
It all sounds pretty neat. Nothing to fear here! It sounds like Utopia is truly ours for the taking. Again, what are the details? How do we put such ideas into action? What are the consequences? Is the environment better off? Are we better off? Well, let’s take each of these glowing ideas one at a time and just see where it all leads!
* “Sustainable communities encourage people to work together…” There certainly are members of our society who take the whole Sustainablist agenda to heart and love to get involved improving their community. They clean out riverbanks, collect trash along roadways, recycle, watch their thermostats, and ride their bikes whenever possible. Good for them. That’s their decision and they are free to make it.
But there are others who may have a different vision on how they want to live. Perhaps they don’t agree with the dire predictions that we must comply or face environmental Armageddon. How do they fit in the Agenda for the 21st Century?
They are dealt with. Children in the public schools are pummeled with the political correctness of being proper environmental stewards, as detailed in Agenda 21. Guilt plays a huge part in that indoctrination. It’s necessary that everyone think alike without questioning policy so future generations will be prepared to “work” together in their communities. In addition, in many schools now, the children are required to fulfill a certain number of hours of community service in order to qualify for their diploma. In a Sustainable world, proper attitude is more important than academic scholarship. Today’s curriculum to ensure proper citizenship is called Common Core. It is the curriculum of Agenda 21 and is intended to be “life-long, ” and the key focus is Sustainability.
Cooperation from adult citizens is just as structured. In the recent past, public meetings to discuss new policy were based on the guidelines called “Roberts Rules of Order” through which everyone got a fair chance to have their say and then a vote was taken. Today, in the Sustainable world, we have “facilitators” trained in psychology to assure they lead a gathering in exactly the direction needed for the predetermined and desired outcome of the community planners. If the facilitator is really good at his job, everyone in the meeting will believe the outcome was their idea. And those in charge hail the meeting as a huge success in which all in the community “worked together” to put these plans in place.
*…to create healthy communities…” This can mean many things. Healthy? We see the growing power of the food police today who have declared many things in our diet unhealthy. We see the Mayor of New York declaring large sodas unhealthy and banning their sale. We see fast food establishments picketed for selling fries made with grease or hamburgers that are cruel to animal rights. There are mandatory vaccinations, without which children can’t be enrolled in schools and parents are charged with child abuse. New policies are beginning to arise that lean toward mandatory exercise and controls on diets. These are called Blue Zones.
Local governments enforce grand comprehensive plans designed to pack and stack people on top of each other in massive highrise buildings. Is that what they mean by healthy? History would show that forcing people into massive containers reduces quality of life, spreads disease and promotes violence. These aren’t healthy communities. The Russians called them Gulags.
*… Natural resources are preserved… The message is that over-consumption will bring shortages of natural resources, and so the sustainable plan is to erect endless forests of windmills. That is the natural way, we are told. Man will live on the surface of the Earth doing no harm. Of course, they never seem to mention that the huge wind turbines will take more energy to build than they will ever generate in their lifetime. In addition, to bring the power online so it can be used by society requires a massive infrastructure of wires, cement and roads. While one nuclear power plant located on ten acres can supply enough energy for a megacity, wind power would require thousands of acres of clearcut, cement wastelands. Then the power proves to be unstable and unreliable, causing the power grid to falter, forcing controls on home thermostats that fail to hear or cool the homes when needed. How is that healthy for our communities? Moreover, there is the not insignificant side effect of millions of birds that are chopped up in the turbines, including “endangered” raptors like eagles. And they call that environmentally sound?
And one more question comes to mind as we lock away resources for future generations. At what point would these locked away resources ever be allowed to be used by a society so afraid of itself? Won’t there always be a future generation that might need them? Meanwhile, science keeps discovering that the dire predictions of resource depletion are outrageously overblown. It has recently been discovered that the United States has the largest oil and gas supplies in the world. Hydraulic fracturing is a benign American technology that is ecologically sound and economically advantageous. But it has been deemed “unsustainable” by those enforcing Sustainable policy as they quickly oppose any source of cheap energy. Yet, fracking stretches our energy reserves several hundred years into the future. That would certainly give science ample time to come up with new workable technology.
“…historic resources are preserved…” Frankly I have no idea what a historic “resource” is. But I do know that Sustainablists prey on America’s love of history as an excuse to lock away any land where once a historic person may have taken a walk. And they use it to generate massive federal grants so planners can stop development, even in towns where nothing of historic significance ever occurred. It’s a growth industry in the world of sustainable lock-aways.
* “…jobs are available…” What will magically happen in a Sustainable Community to suddenly create jobs that aren’t there now? Government doesn’t create jobs. Creative, driven, free people create jobs to fill needs they have discovered. No government-controlled economy would ever have created a factory that makes designer clothes, dandruff shampoo, or little pieces of plastic that go on the ends of your shoe laces. Bureaucrats don’t think that way. They only think in terms of need, urgency – bare minimum. Luxury is never part of the government plan. The fact is, Sustainable Development is one of the biggest killers of jobs. Its rules and regulation make it near impossible for many companies to survive. The EPA, enforcing Sustainable policies, is killing power plants, mines, and farms. They’re destroying economies of whole states. So where will these glorious Sustainable jobs come from? Government jobs! Perhaps the highrise apartments in the mega cities will need lots of NSA type eavesdroppers for mandatory surveillance to assure people are following the rules for compulsory health policy!
* “…Sprawl is contained…” Evil sprawl (suburbia to normal folk) — those areas of community growth where people run to escape the mega cities. In nearly every case, those new homes in their shiny developments are a place where families first opened the front door with smiles on their faces because this was their home. They have backyards where the kids can play. They have a real sense of community. And those terrible strip malls that spring up around the new developments that supple goods and services for the new residents also create jobs and enhance the economy. Stack and pack cities are not livable if you actually believe in fresh air and a place for the kids to play. Cities are full of government regulations, high taxes, drugs, and disease. Do the Sustainablists focus on stopping murders by drug cartels and beatings by gangs of illegal aliens? You never seem to hear anything about that in their plans. All of these facts were actually exposed in a report by the American Planning Association on the effects of Smart Growth. The report revealed that it doesn’t work. But that hasn’t changed the APA’s policies because Smart Growth is full of government grants. And that’s the real game – Sustainable income for Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
* “…Neighborhoods are secure…” How is this done? Massive police control? Cameras on every corner? Gun control? TSA in the subways and bus stations? NSA listening in on every conversation, and computer keystroke? Security over privacy and individual choice? Certainly, there is no Sustainable “freedom” in such a scheme.
* “…Transportation is accessible…” This one is easy. Public transportation. Trains for long distance, bikes for the quick run to the store. No cars. You will rarely leave your neighborhood. Imagine the hassle involved in taking the family on a trip to the beach using inconvenient train schedules? Of course, humans flocking to the beach are an unsustainable danger to the environment. Ban that too. Stay in the city.
*”…Healthcare accessible…” Well, we used to have accessible healthcare, then government got into the game. Perhaps you think it’s unfair to mention Obamacare in an article about Sustainable Development. Simply Google “Sustainable Medicine” and find more than 5,850,000 references on the subject, and you will find almost all the provisions of Obamacare.
*…all citizens have the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives…”Really? What part above leads to improvement of the quality of life? We used to call it tyranny – now we call it quality of life. As George Orwell said in his landmark book, 1984, it’s all called doublespeak. Look around you now as Sustainable policy is being forced on us. America’s economy is in shambles and not improving. Costs of everything, especially healthcare, food and energy are skyrocketing. These industries are the very first to be impacted by Sustainable Development. How will it improve under a policy of planned shortages and locked away resources? What or who are they counting on to pull us out? Answer: individuals who will continue to produce no matter how many shackles they lock them in. Eventually, even the most determined give up.
The Sustainablists use such innocent, attractive sounding descriptions of their plans for us. Then they deny they are even doing it, and anyone who calls them on it is labeled a fringe nut. But there is another way to say it, a much older description of Sustainable Development that explains the motivation behind the policy in a much more direct manner: “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.” If you recognize that quote, then you fully understand the true nature of Sustainable Development.
Here are two more quotes that will drive reality into daylight of the true purpose of Sustainable Development.
First, does this sound like something your local planners may have said? “The chaotic growth of cities will be replaced by a dynamic system of urban settlement…The region is formed by the economic interdependence of its development, from the industrial complex to the industrial region. The region has a single system of transportation, a centralized administration, and a united system of education and research.” This was written in 1968 by Alexei Gutnov. He was a Soviet Russian architect writing in a book titled The Ideal Communist City.
And finally there is this very recent quote from New York City Mayor William DeBlasio from an interview in New York magazine. “What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to lie in it, what the rent shall be.”
These quotes represent the true origin and process of Sustainable Development and its goal to reorganize human society. In such a process, there is no room for the independence of free enterprise, private property ownership or individual choice. This is why we fight to stop it.
This article is taken from information included in Tom DeWeese’s new book, “Sustainable, The WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.” Book details and ordering may be found at www.sustainabledevelopment.com
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor – Tom DeWeese – is the President of the American Policy Center.