16 Jul Sustainable Development 101
July 16, 2004
As the American Policy Center steps up its war against Sustainable Development and the UN’s Agenda 21, many readers have asked me to supply an overview of the issue. To answer that request, I have gone to the foremost expert in the nation on the subjects of Sustainable Development and Agenda 21—Henry Lamb.
Below is a series of articles written by Henry back in 1996. These are the articles that first taught me about Sustainable Development. The only update necessary is to point out that most of what Henry warned about has now taken place. Every single community in the nation is now developing “sustainablism.” Read them, as I did years ago, learn, and begin the fight to take back your communities.
Sustainable Communities—Vanquished Freedom
By Henry Lamb
“Sustainability” is a term that is just beginning to reach Joe A. Citizen; in the months and years ahead, it will dominate virtually every aspect of American life. Since the concept was first defined in the 1987 report by Gro Harlem Brundtland (Vice-president of the World Socialist Party), it has swelled into a tidal wave that is washing across the world and has now crashed onto American shores and will soon inundate every American Community.
The “sustainability” paradigm rests upon the firm belief, as expressed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that: “Humanity’s collective imperative now is to shift modern society rapidly onto a sustainable path or have it dissolve of its own ecologically unsustainable doings.” The same document, prepared for the World Bank and for the United Nations Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, says that society has two choices. “One choice is to go as we go and do as we do.” Or, “We shift our consumption, extraction and harvesting patterns and technologies; reframe our ethical choices,” and reshape and redesign planned communities “within the dictates of natural ecology.”
The first choice, which to some may sound like freedom “to go as we go and do as we do,” is the unsustainable, unethical choice, according to HUD. The ethical choice is: “The vision for `Community Sustainability,’ defined as the condition of social, economic and ecological harmony that people require, deserve and must create where they live, if their lives and their inheritors’ lives are to be meaningful, wholesome and hopeful.” Joe A. Citizen, who now is pretty much free to go as he goes and do as he does, might be surprised to learn that HUD considers his life meaningless, unwholesome, and hopeless.
The HUD document, the report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), as well as the United Nations documents that call for the drastic reorganization of society, all claim that: “By science’s consensus we have but decades to recast the ways we operate as a modern society with respect to earth’s natural ecological systems of support.” Instead of producing specific, peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support such claims, the “precautionary principle” is offered, which says that if a serious threat is thought to exist, action must be taken even in the face of scientific uncertainty.
Every alleged ecological calamity—global warming, population explosion, and biodiversity loss—is widely challenged throughout the scientific community. For every scientist on the calamity bandwagon, there is another scientist of equal stature to refute the allegations. At the very least, society should be aware that there is no scientific consensus to justify the dramatic changes that are planned. Proponents of sustainability label detractors as unethical, and continue the push to recast society into planned communities, managed through an evolving system of “good governance” that dilutes the authority of elected officials and elevates the power of NGOs (non-government organizations).
The objective of “sustainability” is to integrate economic, social, and environmental policies to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and to preserve and restore biodiversity. “Sustainable communities” is but one facet of a much broader sustainable agenda. It is the initiative that will touch most Americans first, and in fact, is already being advanced throughout communities across the country. The U.S. Forest Service has awarded $700,000 to the Chicago Region Biodiversity Council, a collaborative effort of 34 federal agencies and environmental groups, established to begin the process of making Chicagoland into a “sustainable community.”
Similar processes are underway, funded by government and private foundations, all across America. The PCSD recommends that tax money be used to provide incentives to communities that engage in collaborative community planning for sustainability, and that funding authorized under other federal programs be denied or delayed for communities that are slow to begin the collaborative process toward sustainability.
Originated by the United Nations, embraced by the Clinton-Gore administration, implemented by an army of coordinated NGOs, the tidal wave of “sustainability” is crashing across America. Most Americans have not seen the warnings and will not recognize the dangers until they are drowning in sustainability.
Sustainable Communities: Yours Could Be Next
If your community has a population of 50,000 or more, someone is working to create a “sustainability council,” or it has already been done. Smaller communities, your time will come—soon. The federal government, in collaboration with selected NGOs, is encouraging the creation of local “sustainability councils” which are to become the driving force in the reorganization of society. These councils may have a variety of names. Regardless of the name, however, their function is pre-planned, their procedures are pre-conceived, and the outcome of their work is pre-determined. Your community is about to be reorganized, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, so your life will be “meaningful, wholesome, and hopeful,” whether you like it or not.
The initiative in your community could come from any federal agency through a grant to a municipality or directly to an NGO. Or the initiative could be funded by a private foundation and coordinated by an NGO. By using a variety of start-up mechanisms and an assortment of names, the well-coordinated effort disguises the appearance of the massive federal/international social re-engineering project that is underway.
The council, by whatever name, will enlist the support of all relevant local, state, and federal government agencies, then add representatives from the academic community, carefully selected individuals from the business community, and the leaders of cooperating NGOs. This phase is usually completed before the community at large knows it has been done. Frequently, the first few meetings of the council will be attended only by invited guests, chosen from the membership lists of participating NGOs, or for some other strategic purpose. Sympathetic individuals in the media will have been provided background material and enlisted to support the effort. Most community residents will become aware of the effort through a 60-second TV news item or a brief story in the local newspaper. The story will make it appear that the entire community has come together to solve common problems and build a beautiful future.
Exactly what that future includes will not be revealed. Each of the reorganizational components will be revealed over time, only as necessary, to avoid the inevitable backlash from private citizens as they learn how their lives will be impacted. The work of the council is to devise whatever mechanisms may be necessary to achieve several objectives: reduce consumption—especially energy; restore biodiversity through an ecosystem management approach; stop urban sprawl; and convince local residents that they are “unethical” if they fail to support whatever it takes to achieve these objectives, through massive, coordinated re-education and propaganda campaigns.
Here is a picture of your community when it has been reorganized to become “sustainable,” taken from HUD’s report to the United Nations:
For this hopeful future we may envision an entirely fresh set of infrastructures that use fully automated, very light, elevated rail systems for daytime metro region travel and nighttime goods movement, such as have been conceptualized and being positioned for production at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; we will see all settlements linked up by extensive bike, recreation and agro-forestry “E-ways” (environment-ways) such as in Madison, Wisconsin; we will find healthy, productive soils where there is decline and erosion through the widespread use of remineralization from igneous and volcanic rock sources (much of it the surplus quarry fines or “rockdust,” from concrete and asphalt-type road construction or from reservoir silts); we will be growing foods, dietary supplements and herbs that make over our unsustainable reliance upon foods and medicines that have adverse soil, environmental, or health side-effects; less and less land will go for animal husbandry and more for grains, tubers, and legumes. Gradually, decent standards of equity will be in place for women, for children and for the disadvantaged; the “peace dividend” will be forced upon us as the insane costs of military armament become challenged globally.
The purpose of the “sustainability council” is to give the appearance that the reorganization of society is the result of local initiative and reflects local desires. The fact of the matter is that how you are to live in your own community has been determined in Gland, Switzerland, confirmed by the United Nations in Rio de Janeiro, embraced by Al Gore in Washington, and is now being imposed upon you in the name of “sustainability.”
Sustainable Communities in the Bioregion
The Sierra Club has proposed the reorganization of North America into 21 bioregions delineated by their ecological characteristics (Sierra, March/April, 1994). Each bioregion includes several states, counties, municipalities, and communities. The “sustainable communities” initiative is the first building-block toward the construction of bioregions and the total reorganization of America into a “sustainable” society as envisioned by the United Nations.
Sustainable communities must be seen in the context of the broader, published agenda, which limits privately owned property to no more than 25% of the total land area, removes human populations from at least 50% of the total land area, and requires that the remaining land be managed by government/NGO partnerships. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggests that the time frame for reorganizing sustainable societies can be no more than three decades. Others believe it will take 50 to 100 years. Whatever the time frame, the process has begun with the sustainable communities initiative.
Each community, regardless of size, will have its own “sustainability council.” A common characteristic of these councils is that they are dominated by individuals from government agencies charged with the implementation of the government’s sustainability agenda, supported by representatives from NGOs whose salaries are paid by grants from the federal government or by cooperating foundations. Local government officials, who are enticed by incentive grants from the feds, and local residents are typically outnumbered and outmaneuvered. The first function of the sustainability council is to complete the “visioning” process. This process produces a document that describes how the community should be organized to achieve the goals required to make the community sustainable. In the context of bioregions, individual communities cannot be left to design their own future. HUD says “there will be the linking up of networks of communities of varied sizes within quite varied and multiple regional contexts, such as `community constellations’ linked by compacts based upon common interests. Between communities will be rural landscapes—highly functional landscapes— based upon entirely fresh understandings of landscape ecology and its integral relationship to the sustainability of urbanization.”
Translated into plain English, this means that sustainability councils will coordinate their “visions” to achieve a regional or bioregional vision consistent with the ultimate outcome that has already been determined. To achieve the predetermined outcome, some smaller communities will have to be completely shut down. That process is already underway in the northwest and other parts of the country near federal forests and public lands. By banning logging on public lands, as the Sierra Club has proposed, residents of logging-dependent communities have no choice but to move out to find new sources of income. By denying grazing and mining permits, still more communities are evacuated and gobbled up by the wilderness required by the bioregional agenda.
It is the mid-size communities, suburbs, and bedroom communities that will feel the next crunch. These are the communities that are described as “urban sprawl” which is to be stopped. These are the communities that have devastated “greenfields” and are destroying ecosystems. Visions of sustainable communities will put an immediate stop to future geographical growth. The vision documents will also reveal a planned reduction or elimination of infrastructure support to communities outside the “approved” area of urbanization. Financing for activities outside the approved “greenlined” area will become impossible. Land use restrictions outside the approved area will tighten. Farming outside the approved “management” areas will become impossible, and people who choose to live outside the approved sustainability ethic will be ridiculed and made to feel inferior. People who do not get on the sustainability bandwagon can expect to be treated very much like the people who choose to smoke cigarettes.
The common thread that weaves the various councils together is the NGO. Coordinated by their national and international headquarters, and fueled by federal and foundation funding, NGOs will see that the various community vision documents mesh into a bioregional vision that is consistent with the global agenda.
When your community’s sustainability council is formed, look for a representative from the Sierra Club, whose International Vice President, Michelle Perrault, is a member of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, and whose Board member, Dave Foreman, is largely responsible for developing “The Wildlands Project,” the master plan for bioregions.
Sustainable Communities Means Managed Societies
“Sustainability”—sustainable communities, sustainable development, sustainable agriculture—is not simply a comprehensive approach to environmental protection. The recurring theme throughout the sustainability literature is the integration of “economic, equity, and environmental” policies. That grandiose language is translated by specific policy recommendations which use the environment as an excuse to manage the economy to achieve social equity. Throughout the literature, terms such as “harness market forces” describe proposals to impose consumption taxes on products that “management” deems to be unsustainable. Air conditioning, convenience foods, single-family housing, and cars are among the products already determined to be unsustainable. “Equity” means forcing those who produce an income to provide for those who do not. “Environmental protection” means constraining individual freedom to accommodate “management” to prevent the impending impoverishment of the planet.
“Management” is not the government. The government is simply the instrument for enforcing the dictates of management. Management is actually the NGOs, headed by the big three—the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); and the World Resources Institute (WRI). These three NGOs have set the ideological agenda. They have created a world-wide network of affiliated NGOs, well-positioned and adequately funded to implement the agenda. And they are acquiring the legal status to manage national, state, and local governments, as well as the lives of individual citizens.
Sustainability councils, dominated by NGOs and public officials paid to implement the sustainability policy, are being formed in every community. These councils coordinate their activity with regional councils also dominated by NGOs. Ultimately, each bioregion is to have a bioregional council to coordinate, or manage, the activities within the bioregion. The function of governments within the bioregion will be simply to enforce the dictates of the council. Ultimate enforcement is to come from the United Nations.
Official documents now published by the UN call for the creation of a Petitions Council, and an Assembly of the People, both selected from representatives of accredited NGOs. The function of the Assembly of the People is to review resolutions of the General Assembly. The function of the Petitions Council is to review compliance petitions from bioregional councils and direct the petitions to the appropriate agency within the UN for enforcement. All of the environment—including private property—is to be placed under the “trusteeship” of the UN Trusteeship Council, consisting of no more than 23 individuals selected from accredited NGOs. The existing World Trade Organization as well as the proposed Economic Security Council, have unlimited authority to impose a wide range of sanctions—including military action by a standing UN army—against any nation deemed to be not in compliance with any treaty or UN dictate.
The Law of the Seas Treaty has already created the International Seabed Authority which has legal jurisdiction over all non-territorial waters. Anyone wishing to salvage a shipwreck or harvest ocean resources must obtain a permit and pay annual royalties. Application fees may be a quarter-million dollars or more, and unspecified royalties are authorized by the treaty. The United States has not ratified the treaty, but Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, told a Stanford University audience on April 9, that ratification of the Law of the Seas Treaty and the Biodiversity Treaty would be top priority items on the Clinton/Gore agenda for 1997.
The plan for a world-wide, managed society is in place, published extensively in the literature of the United Nations . The plan is so massive, so complex, so bizarre, that it is difficult to comprehend in its totality . The public has seen only small segments of the plan at any one time . The various world conferences over the past four years have drawn only limited publicity for a short time. The President’s Council on Sustainable Development has conducted its work in a public vacuum. And any negative discussion about the UN or about the environment is quickly denied and cast aside by the administration and the media as nothing more than the rantings of right-wing extremist wackos. All the while, day by day, the plan unfolds. In every community, a net is being deployed to surround every American. Over the next few years, expect the net to be slowly drawn around all individual freedoms, and tightened relentlessly until the managed activities of human beings produce the sustainability envisioned by the international managers.
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.