What the heck is Agenda 21?

By Susan Gibbs

Trying to figure out what Agenda 21 is can be mind-boggling if you search the Web, with groups out in cyberspace referring to it as a grand plan to impose socialism on the world.

Granted, that’s a difficult concept for us freedom-loving Americans to grasp. But the facts are enough to give one pause for thought.

The facts, taken from the Agenda 21 document, and related documents, are:

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action, made at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN System, governments, and major groups in every area in which human beings impact the environment.

President George H.W. Bush signed the document for the United States. In signing, he pledged that his country would adopt the goals of Agenda 21, which calls for the furtherance of world-wide sustainable development – a term popularized in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development.

The term “sustainable development” refers to a systematic approach to achieving human development in a way that sustains planetary resources, based on the recognition that human consumption is occurring at a rate that is beyond Earth’s capacity to support it. Population growth and the developmental pressures spawned by an unequal distribution of wealth are two major driving forces that are altering the planet in ways that threaten the long-term health of human beings and other species on the planet.

This map pinpoints area earmarked for conservation in Virginia

Sustainable development is based on the reasoning that human health is dependent on the healthy functioning of the earth’s ecosystem. Sustainable development requires alterations in the lifestyle of the wealthy to live within the carrying capacity of the environment.

To achieve sustainability, as defined above, there is a need for holistic responses to global issues and energy overconsumption, and there is a need for better measures of ecological and social sustainability.

Agenda 21 is an action plan to achieve sustainable development on a global scale through management of coasts, oceans and water, the monitoring and reduction of chemical waste, the eradication of radioactive waste, and the conservation of natural vegetation and soils.

It states that the conservation of natural vegetation and soils links with plans for the development of sustainable farming. Other socio-economic proposals include measures to improve health care, to reduce poverty, and to develop fair and environmentally friendly trade policies.

Agenda 21calls for local governments to develop their own “Local Agenda 21s (LA21s)” in order to spread understanding of, and action for, sustainable development.

It was in the early years of President Bill Clinton’s presidency, in 1994, that the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission created a sustainability council consisting of 34 people –farmers, business people, foresters, environmentalists, developers and elected officials “to describe a future where our economic, human, social, and environmental health are assured.”

A year later, in 1995, President Clinton created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development in order to “harmonize” US environmental policy with UN directives as outlined in Agenda 21. All agencies of the federal government were to work with state and local community governments in a joint effort “reinvent” government using the guidelines outlined in Agenda 21.

Reportedly, Agenda 21 now has tentacles that spread within United States governmental agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife, and more.

In addition, according to reports, non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, accredited by the UN, deeply influence and combine with government at all levels to implement Agenda 21. And, federalized local regional planning agencies are committed to implementing globalism through regional controls.

For example, in 1996, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency titled “Preserving Sustainability in Central Virginia Region.”

And then, in 1998, TJPDC created its Sustainability Accords, consisting of 15 statements that include: distribute the human population in ways that preserve vital resources; retain the natural habitat; optimize the use and re-use of developed land and promote clustering; promote appropriate scale for land uses; and retain farm and forest land.

The above housing development is an example of clustered "sustainable" housing

That same year, one of the advisors to the President’s Council on Sustainable Development wrote: “Participating in a UN-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizens militias and some members of Congress.

“This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So, we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth.”

By 2003, according to a report issued by the US General Accounting Office, EPA grants used to implement its programs to protect human health and the environment and awarded grants to thousands of recipients, including state and local governments, tribes, universities, and nonprofit organizations constituted about $4 billion annually, more than one-half of that agency’s budget.

In 2010 the Greene County Board of Supervisors approved an updated Comprehensive Plan written in collaboration with TJPDC. The county’s comprehensive plan calls for action in seven principal areas: future land use; natural resources, agriculture, transportation, infrastructure, tourism and economic development – with tourism highlighted as an economic development goal, even though the county has no tourism industry to speak of.

Reached by phone last week, TJPDC Executive Director Stephen W. Williams said that TJPDC had no connection to Agenda 21.

When asked about relevant dates: the signing of Agenda 21 by President George H.W. Bush, followed closely by the creation of TJPDC’s Sustainability Council, Williams explained, “A lot of people were thinking the same thing at the same time.”

One source that I found credible while searching the Web is The Heritage Foundation — a “think tank” consisting of at least 14 policy centers covering, among other things, international trade and economics, domestic and foreign policy, and legal and judicial studies.

The authors of an article published December 1, 2011 on The Heritage Foundation Web site made comments in line with what Williams said about a lot of people thinking the same thing at the same time.

It states: “Radical environmentalists, local business groups, and the ever-present Not in My Backyard crowd have been trying for decades to reshape American communities to conform to their preferred “smart growth” policies. These advocates work to impose land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans, and compel people to pay more for their houses and give up their cars in favor of subways, trolleys, buses, and bicycles.

“These efforts—often described as ‘New Urbanism,’ ‘sustainable development,’ or ‘open land preservation’—have long been resisted by some members of the community due to their negative impact on economic growth, competitiveness, and the nation’s standard of living.”

It urges those who oppose Agenda 21 to “not allow it to divert them from opposing the more ubiquitous, overarching agenda of homegrown environmental extremists.”

Agenda 21 is accessible online at http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/index.htm.

Posted in: Editorials

Leave a Reply