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State of Alabama “Bans” Sustainable Development (aka “Agenda 21″)

RP Siegel | Monday June 11th, 2012 | 93 Comments

So, I guess this shows that we really don’t all want the same thing after all. Anyone who, like me, naively thought that we all wanted to find our way to a future where the air was still breathable, the water still drinkable, and the climate still livable are in for a surprise. The folks in Alabama have just passed a law that says quite clearly that they don’t want anything to do with sustainability. Though they might not have any problem with clean air and water and all that, it seems to be the planning for it that is the problem. Because planning, after all, is apparently what communists do.

Here is what the new law says:

The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to “Agenda 21,” adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama.

I bet you were surprised to learn that the folks in Alabama were so well informed that they actually followed the proceedings of the Conference on Environment and Development. Well, in fact they didn’t. What they do follow, apparently in large numbers is the Koch Brothers’ paid public relations organization, otherwise known as the Tea Party, which has made Agenda 21 a centerpiece of their outrage.

It turns out, according to these folks, that Agenda 21, also known as the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, is part of a vast international conspiracy,  that is also known by other innocent sounding names such as sustainable development, smart growth, social justice, green energy, carbon free, and livable communities. I bet you thought that these were all good things. I know I did. But it turns out that they are all part of one big attempt to TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOM!

I do have to give these folks credit for recognizing the fact that if the human race has any chance of surviving in anything close to its present form, things are going to have to change pretty dramatically. And being at the cutting edge of reactionary politics as they are, right along with Arizona, which has a similar bill ready to be voted on (against the protests of the mayor of Phoenix), they are going to do everything they possibly can to make sure that nothing changes.

So while all this brouhaha over Agenda 21, which has been brewing for quite a while now, makes for great sloganeering for these extremist groups, is there any truth to their claims?

At the risk of being struck down by lightning, I actually looked at the document itself and here is what I found (excerpt):

  • Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development.  They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
  • States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.
  • The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.

I suspect it’s this last one that has folks riled up. We don’t like equity around here, especially the folks at the bottom. That seems to be a uniquely American phenomenon. It appears (video) that the concern is that planning groups, in an effort to comply with these principles, will exercise their right of eminent domain, a right which has always existed in this country, in the name of “equitably meeting developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations,” and take away their property

The fact of the matter is that the world is changing and there is nothing that anyone in Alabama or any place else can do to stop it. They can drag their heels and try to behave like a separate entity, but it won’t do any good in the end. Because when things get bad enough, we’ll be glad to have any options at all, and we’re going to have to do what we have to do.

But the sooner we all recognize that we are all in this together, the less bad it has to get. That means all of you folks in Alabama too, because every time you start your car, it impacts someone in the Maldives, just inches above sea level who is about to lose all of his private property. And every time a new coal plant goes up in China (about once a week, now) because of all the stuff you are buying at WalMart, your lovely Gulf coast beaches just got a little narrower.

In the meantime, I urge you to read the 27 principles of this UN proposition and see for yourself if this is really anything more than a tempest in a teapot.

[Image credit: chadao: Flickr Creative Commons]

RP Siegel, PE, is the President of Rain Mountain LLC. He is also the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water in an exciting and entertaining format. Now available on Kindle.

Follow RP Siegel on Twitter


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  • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

    Great article.  The saddest part about this is the belief that the UN actually has some kind of power here.    Agenda 21 is nothing more than a set of guidelines and suggestions, most of which have long been agreed upon by most urban planners and other folks in the field.  For some reason the tin foil hat crowd have lost their minds about it and are now actually influencing legislation…  it’s pretty stunning really.

    • tmock

      I agree Nick and thanks to RP Siegel for tackling another thorny issue related to sustainability.

      The fact is that the UN did not invent and does not own “sustainable development”, and those of us who have been involved in the evolution of real “triple-bottom-line” sustainable development for decades resent being dragged into this kind of conspiracy discussion. Even good concepts can be misdirected by forces with self-serving agendas. However, this does not mean that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater!

      Sustainable Land Development Initiative
      Origin of Sustainability Movement Leads to Current Challenges
      http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/08/origin-of-sustainability-movement-leads-to-current-challenges/

    • Gvscott

      If you actually researched this, you would know that since it wouldn’t pass Congress the only other way for them to try and implement these principles is at the local level.  It’s not just that simple.  If you like your freedoms and rights afforded you by our U.S. Constitution then you don’t want the Agenda 21.  They conflict.  You choose one or the other.  I say if you don’t like America’s freedoms and rights, then move to another country and see what it’s like there.  Otherwise don’t be so quick to give up all Americans rights for a United Nations Policy.

      • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

        Agenda 21 does absolutely nothing to impact your rights.  In fact it does absolutely nothing at all (aside from making some pretty reasonable recommendations). 
        Frankly, this legislation doesn’t do anything either other than re-state the already existing common sense notion that the government can’t take away your property rights without due process.  It’s just theatre.

        The problem here is that this pumps out the idea that “sustainability” is some kind of plot, which is complete nonsense. 

        • Gvscott

          If it doesn’t do anything, then why care if Alabama or whatever state writes a law to make sure it doesn’t?  And if you think giving up your property rights is nothing, you must not own any property.  You don’t work hard for years to buy property to have zoning laws changed so you aren’t able to develop it, or have it taken by eminent domain.  Or how about just taking over the family ranch because it’s in a rural area and the zoning ordinances have changed (hint: planning dept) so that it costs too much to maintain the property. (I live on a ranch).  But have you read the entire plan and seen the maps showing how they are taking over 50% of all land and humans won’t be able to use it?  That’s just one aspect of the whole plan. The sustainability is all a guise.  First you have a crisis- the earth after all these years is all of a sudden unsustainable (according to who? based on what? no proof)  Then once you buy into the crisis, you’ll go along with the whole sustainability issue.  The bottom line is that it’s redistribution of America’s wealth to the rest of the world.  We eat too much meat, drive too many cars, etc,.have too many children. (their words not mine).  Hopefully you see the whole picture and not just what they want you to see.   BTW, this isn’t a partisian issue, have you read anything on http://www.democratsagainstUSAgenda21?. It‘s really all about keeping our freedoms. 

        • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

          I care because the whole theatre is designed to make people think that the idea of “sustainability” has something to do with the UN, which it does not. Secondly, the idea that this has anything to do with taking away anyone’s property rights is completely absurd.   There is zero chance that anyone is going to “take away” 50% of all land.

        • Anderson

          GVScott – “We eat too much meat, drive too many cars, etc,.have too many children.” …

          Well that’s a true statement.  Doesn’t mean I’m trying to control you, it’s just a fact.  Either we do something about it of we’re done as a species.  Fact.

        • Gvscott

          Could you cite the sources of your “fact” please? 

      • David R Velasquez

        Be my guest. Let industries under the auspices of ‘private property rights’ pollute your air, your water and bulldoze under every green thing in sight. Maybe not all the citizens want to live in a libertarian hell hole ala Somalia …just because some pinheaded morons got all paranoid or listened to the propaganda of some mega rich guys. Not everyone is that stupid.

        • Don

          Not all of us are communist. Some of us actually work for the things and land that we own. Why don’t you get up off your mom’s couch and try to buy your own future instead of siding with a government that is going to take what I have and give it to you and your kind.

        • David R Velasquez

          “Communist”….”my mother’s couch” …”work for what you own”???? Lovely bunch of cliches to wrap around yourself whenever you don’t like what you hear.
          You may not care that what you earn while “working for what you have” is less because these same people influence lawmakers and weaken collective bargaining so that whatever it is you are earning is far less…or that your buying power is far less or that the banks take your home through robosigning but they’re protected by the very same people you’re spouting support for. If that makes me a “communist” because I think that’s wrong …fine, …whateverthef**k….whatever comforts you in your chosen abject stupidity.
          I work enough to know what I will or won’t accept. I’ve earned that right.
          And btw, however you make your money, you don’t earn that in a vacuum…someone pays you, a customer, or a boss (paid by his customers)…you are part of a community. If you use services then you are paying into those services just as everyone else does. Nobody gets nothing for free…unless you think that you should be.

    • Pchandler

       Agree Nick.
      It’s important to know the difference between policies and recommendations. While this is a grabbing title,  I would imagine most states don’t even know much about Agenda 21. I also find the leap between recommendations from UN and State legislation quite astonishing.  The goal is to try and work with policy makers to understand how to develop policies that work for their constituencies and future generations.

    • Gvscott

      Are you unaware of “The Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide” which is distributed by ICLEI – INTERNATIONAL Council for Local Environmental Inititiatives – (A U.N. organization) which is most cities & counties Planning Dept? Ref: http://web.idrc.ca/openebooks/448-2/  You are so naive to think they aren’t implementing Agenda 21 principles.  Read it.  It states  “The Guide [Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide]offers tested and practical advice on how local governments can implement the United Nations‘ Agenda 21 action plan for sustainable development and the related United Nations’ Habitat Agenda.  Their words not mine.  You can’t possibly dispute that these U.N. Agenda 21 principles aren’t currently being implemented in local planning departments all over the U.S.  So when you wonder why Alabama passed a law, that’s why.  At least they are intelligent enough to realize that U.N. principles contridict U.S. Policy.   That’s why it didn’t pass the U.S. Congress.  So since they couldn’t pass these U.N. principles the proper way- by voting on them, since we ARE a republic, they decided to do it in secret at the local level by sneaking it through the local planning departments.  Thank goodness Alabama sees that when you have to lie to the people and sneak U.N. principles that were previously voted down in through deceptive means (without telling the public or allowing them to vote on it) that something is wrong.  Kudos to those intelligent Alabama citizens who actually VOTED against U.N. Agenda 21!!

      • Chadbraden

        I am aware of it because I am presently using it to help a local community rebuild to these recommendations after a disaster. The local city officials (mostly conservative by the way) are very excited to have a chance to redesign their communities in a way that individual rights (i.e. the right for corporate polluters to spew into my air space) do not trump the space that we all have to share. All your points about individual rights seem to fall apart if my rights trump yours. Lets say that you own property and I erect a power plant on my land next to yours and spew coal ash all over your property. It is my right, correct? After all it is my land. You may say “well not if it directly impacts my rights”. Well we all share such things as air, climate, global resources, responsibility for the temperature of the earth. Why does it matter any less that someones property does not directly border yours if your actions affect their individual rights? Lets address your point about the policies not passing congress. We both know that congress is bought and paid for by special interest like the Koch brothers and corps that want to pollute. The dollars they spend to buy our government are the same dollars they spend to convince people like you and the poor people in Alabama that this is about rights and freedom. Well I believe that it is as well. It is about my children having the rights to future resources and chances of future enjoyment of their lives. That is the problem with your argument. To work it has to be narrow and very specific and take for granted that individual rights trump collective. In the long run that argument will never work because the collective is the majority and will always lose under your rules and the people will not stand for it. It may work in small areas in which the message can be bought and controlled ( i.e. Alabama) but not in the larger collective of states and nations. 

        • fishman2000

          The situation on the
          Island in Alabama is very different. 
          There is a vast amount of parks, and no pollution on the Island.  The deed’s building restrictions and
          covenants are already very restrictive, even the Town cannot break them,
          meaning no condos except in certain places.  The community is very strong. There are walking paths and
          bike paths over the whole area.  
          The Environment is pristine. The Island is a model of conservation of the ecosystem. The citizens are in
          harmony with nature. 

           

          In come the Developers,
          which consider the area a clean slate for them to use at will.  Next comes, the Corps and the State
          Docks that want more shipping and are tired of hearing us complaining that the
          dredging of the harbor deeper and wider per the Chinese canal is eroding away
          the Island.  Next, the gas/oil
          industries that are putting gas in the cavern under the island, the pipelines
          are going through the far west end of the Island, and don’t want the Islanders
          questioning them or talking to the press. 

           

          And finally, the
          scientist, that I feel have published documents and made media comments that
          negatively and, falsely portrayed the Island. I feel they have manipulative the
          media by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false
          conclusions. I feel their tactic is to mix some truth with false conclusions
          and lies, or only to reveal part of the truth. With the Scientists positions,
          they have, and will continue to have, significant influence on the lawmaking,
          and funding bodies that might otherwise have been willing to help the
          Island.  But at the same time the
          scientists have been under contract to almost every one of the gas/oil
          industries in the region.  Also, at
          the same time, they have been under contract to the State Docks, and been on
          The Corps of engineers advisory Boards.

           

          The true sustainable
          development plans have been hidden from the property owners. 

           

          With all of the hundreds
          of millions of dollars coming in from BP, the “experts” will convince
          the small town leaders that this is the right thing to do.

           

          So your post about what
          is best for the majority, who is the majority, the property owners or the big
          businesses with money using sustainable development theory to steal land?

           

          Isn’t the rule of
          science to question everything?  
          Does everyone realize that this theory can backfire and can help the big
          business to get rid of all the people that own the properties that stand in the way of
          big businesses?

    • just me

      We here in Alabama already have “sustainability”, It’s called Farming, and having natural recourses, and a weather patten that supports this.The three largest cities are eat up with agenda 21 groups and ordnances. Heaven forbid if you want to sink a well in the city footprint or want to pump water out of a storm overflow pond to water your field.
      It also helps to keep foreign laws from being used (good or bad) in our court system.

  • Randy Mathers

    *sigh* … it’s really scary that these people are able to equate “sustainability” with something bad.   It’s just some nasty people controlling the hopelessly ignorant.   With all due respect to Alabama, talk about living up to your stereotype!  Get smart people!

    • Beth Albright Johns

       I live in my home state of Alabama and my husband works in environmental sustainability. I will say it is quite – ahem- embarrassing again.. to live and work here. I just wish that everyone would realize that there are those of us who vote, advocate and work for similar issues as you who are throwing stones. We are what my father used to call the immoral minority. While my vote rarely counts I write letters to the Alabama senators and representatives constantly. Just know we are out here.

    • Don

      I’ll bet you don’t own anything but a cell phone so it’s easy for you to sit back and take the land that the government is taking from people who have paid for it.

  • Jlaumer

    This is coming from the poisonous root of John Birch Society, the original wingnuts.

  • Rolandbow1

    Hilarious. The proposition that a group of people could be that stupid had me in stitches. The claim was so outrageous I had to verify it from an external source. Unfourtunately, it is true : (  

    Truly then, Alabama lives up to the stereotype of being the most arrogant and backward place in the entire universe.

  • Trowbridgetina

    Hay, this is Alabama.  So they’re at the end of the line again.  Who cares?  The rest of the states will move into the 21st Century and ‘Bama’ can continue to fight the civil war.  So what.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GJ2BHBAFNLFOB2TCIUOPWQW2TM michael reese

    As an architect and an alumnus of Tuskegee University, I am appalled and ashame of the manipulation of the 99% by the 1%ers. As spoken before, Alabama lives DOWN to the sterotype, YAAHOOOO yall! The south has not risen but sunken!

  • anon

    call them derps, but they’re your derps, American

    • anon

      Americans*

  • Velehman

    Like they would say about the noxious pollution of the Detroit smelters: “That’s the smell of MONEY!”, and as the working people there were pretty much dependent on the “old school” technology, they took the brunt of it, including the poverty once the Steel Belt became the Rust belt. There was no investment into the economic future of the place as long as fast money was flowing…then they took their production to the Third World, their new Detroit, and Alabama is still in thrall….

  • Jschmuki

    Bama doesn’t, but I do.

  • anon

    The Tea Party is focused on their perceived enemies – a destructive
    way of doing political business and that is what motivates their efforts. Their
    issue is not really so much about sustainability, but about fighting.

  • I Can Smell the Insanity

    They are trying to change our behavior. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read from this posting and the clones offering commentary here, the propaganda is being bought completely by the delusional.  The Koch brothers are no different than Soros and the other mega-rich global agenda building bankers, central bankers, governments, favored parties and various other global government wanna-be bureaucrats and brokers that are operating and influencing the UN and associated groups to garner more power to maintain the interest they are getting while abusing the global monetary apparatus! To reduce this as fault by the Tea Party and politics is obvious evidence that the plan is firmly in place and the true agenda is in good shape and moving forward.  Take your heads out of your asses and do your homework before you get all excited about holding the line for their greedy purposes!

  • Steven Kacsmar

    You can also check out http://earthcharter.org for information on some non-binding principles that we can adopt as an ideal to strive towards.

  • Nancy

    Pretty interesting and informative from both sides.

  • klz

    The moment this article lumped all Alabama natives into the same category was the same moment I lost interest. Extreme cases of ignorance exist everywhere, not just in Alabama, but the voting voice, while occasionally representative of a majority, is not all-inclusive. Sarcasm and insults as a bridge to solutions? Not interested in whatever you are serving.

    • Lskdjfklsj

      a majority voted for and elected the people who did it.  in a democracy, yes, you are all lumped in.  sorry dude.

      • not sorry

        sorry dude… the American majority voted for and also elected a president, who in turn lied to justify a war that killed a lot of innocent people. did everyone that voted for him support that? i know i didnt. the problem with the “democracy” that you refer to is that we attempt to elect those that we hope have our best beliefs at heart yet, unfortunately fall short. it is outright condescending and derogatory to lump all of Alabama into the category of those who voted for this. and you know that. quit being selfrighteous.

        • Dave Shires

          Well, technically the majority of Americans did NOT vote for George Bush. But your point is still a good one :-)

    • Torbie P

      I don’t think anyone is saying *everyone* in Alabama supports this. 

      • klz

        I feel like the first paragraph of this article, especially if read alone, says precisely that. The first two sentences suggests that everyone but Alabamians support sustainablity. Followed by, “The folks in Alabama have just passed a law that says quite clearly that they don’t want anything to do with sustainability.” Change the sentence to: “A law has just passed in Alabama that sadly suggests sustainability is a low to no priority.” I’m listening. Clean out the sarcastic “planning = communism” type comments, I’ll read more still. State the facts without the condescension. Why should I consider a perspective that offers no respect? It’s disappointing.

        • Bobolink52

           When I wrote that the folks in Alabama have passed a law, I was referring to the folks whose job it is to pass laws, (i.e. elected officials) who presumably represent the majority of Alabamans. And the law, if you read the excerpt I included, does not say low or no priority. It says “may not adopt” which means prohibited. And the “planning=Communism” rhetoric was not an invention of mine, but can be found in and among the tea-party “literature.”

  • Stacey Champion

    Hi. I was one of the main people who fought hard against the Rio Declaration Prohibition bill – SB1507 in Arizona. (I wrote a TriplePundit piece on it as well.) the bill died when our session ended, but it was a long 2+ month fight that was only won by finding a journalist to break the story (Emily Gersema with the AZ Republic) and putting pressure on the city and business community through the story eventually going national. Bottom line – crazy is bad for business. My hope is that we won’t see a copycat piece of legislation in AZ next year – we all need to vote- but if we do, I’ll be ready to fight it from the onset. Alabama would have been wise to read the fiscal review Tennessee did when they had a similar pending bill. It wasn’t pretty, and I’ll be very curious to see how this turns out.

  • Scarlotti

    Just makes me slap my forehead. Those of us who have been talking about sustainable development for years really don’t appreciate being dragged into this idiotic conspiracy theory. We have nothing to do with the UN.

  • RaptureNow

    So Alabama joins the Canadian federal
    government in specifically outlawing sustainability! The inmates have
    definitely taken over the asylum! Although the Canadians have gone
    one better (worse) by categorising all environmentalists as
    terrorists and enemies of the state. Expect more of this as big money
    consolidates its power. Revolution lumbers ever closer… Cake
    anyone?

  • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bob-siegel/ RP Siegel

    When I wrote that the folks in Alabama have passed a law, I was referring to the folks whose job it is to pass laws, (i.e. elected officials) who presumably represent the majority of Alabamans. And the law, if you read the excerpt I included, does not say low or no priority. It says “may not adopt” which means prohibited. And the “planning=Communism” rhetoric was not an invention of mine, but can be found in and among the tea-party “literature.”

  • Gvscott

    Wow, so nice of you to assume where the folks of Alabama get their information. And I’m so amazed that a reporter actually “looked at the document” he’s reporting on.  What a concept.  Too bad you didn’t actually read it.  You might have a better idea of what it’s about.  While you’re at it you might want to read the U.S. Constitution also.  Then maybe you’d see how the rights Americans have under the U.S. Constitution go against U.N. policies.  Last I checked we lived in America and our laws supercede U.N. laws.  (Thank goodness!) That’s why ICLEI (International Council on local Environmental Initiatives) who is backed by George Soros money and who you conveniently forgot to mention, writes and distributes the The Local Agenda 21 Planning guide which is in most local cities and counties.  If you can’t even research an article thoroughly I doubt you can understand the truth about Agenda 21 let alone to have such a strong opinion.   Apparently you’re style of writing doesn’t require actual facts or research in order to write a biased article.  If you disagree with someone you just trash them in your article.  I don’t appreciate people like you offering to give up MY U.S. Constitutional rights.  I love living in the land of the free and the home of the brave – Brave enough to tell you if you don’t like here, feel free to move out of the U.S.   I’m sure many of us won’t mind at all.

    • RPSiegel

      Gvscott said
      “If you disagree with someone you just trash them ..”
      I guess what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      Soros, ICLEI and the UN are not the bogeymen to me that they clearly are to you and your brethren, but to each his own.

      And I don’t find asking someone you disagree with to leave brave at all. Quite the contrary.
      But thank you for the invitation, all the same. However, the last time I checked, it was my constitutional right to stay (though I expect you would change that if you could).

      • Gvscott

        Wow, you must be a very angry person.  What did I ever do to you?  And no, I wouldn’t change that if I could because I believe in our Country’s rights.  I just think if you don’t like your country, or your Country’s laws (i.e. Constitution) instead of trying to change them to what another Country has, why not just go somewhere else where you will like it?

        • Flo

          passing laws against slavery was an ammendment to the US Constitution. i think the document outlines a process for it’s own revision for very good reasons. those who propose to do so are brave visionaries, not “naive” fools who should be shown the exit.

  • Karl

    I suggest we move Yucca Mountain nuclear repository that Nevada rejected to Alabama – sounds like they’d be happy to have it.  And while we’re at it how about all the nation’s toxic waste gets shipped there?  How about all regular trash too?  Might as well go for the gusto and build all the nuclear plants we need in Alabama too.  I have a feeling they would then all turn into rabid environmentalists.  I kind of liked what the Tea Party stood for when they first started out but things like this are destroying any shred of credibility they had.

  • DominoSustainability

    Am I the only who finds this article more than a little offensive?
    “I bet you were surprised to learn that the folks in Alabama were so well
    informed that they actually followed the proceedings of the Conference
    on Environment and Development.”

    We can discuss all day how they should have not put restrictions on sustainable development, but broad-sweeping, prejudicial stereotypes are just unprofessional and poor journalistic practice. When you begin a discussion by insulting the people involved, you lose any hope of legitimacy or actually engaging these stakeholders for change.

    Bad show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Mahler/641723344 Steven Mahler

    What a surprise from the same state that brought us George Wallace and the KKK.
    Sweet Home Alabama will not be so sweet anymore with its natural resources gone

  • BB

    Only the uninformed and undereducated can take such unconscionable actions.

  • Sanity in the Darkness

    Did nobody else pay attention when ClimateGate happened?  The science the UN uses as the basis for its findings is flawed and frequently incorrect.  So let’s use some moderation in discussing a quite complicated topic.  

    Regardless of how you feel about the environment, this should be something all Americans can agree upon.  The United Nations should never be permitted to create domestic policy that is binding upon American citizens.  And while this particular text has never been used in the US (so far), judges across the nation (most recently in New York City) have been using UN treaties or other policies (which haven’t been ratified by the Senate) as customary international law and extending it to the actions of American individuals.  The threat is not fake, it is simply in its infancy.  This is a precautionary method to keep local governments and activist judges from using an unratified UN treaty.  This has nothing to do with “sustainable development” or conservation, it has everything to do with sovereignty.

    And to the author, it is quite clear, and has been for some time, that Americans do not all want the same thing.  Some of us want equality of opportunity, others want equality of outcomes, and then there are those that just want everyone to get along.  The challenge is to find a unifying set of core beliefs, if it still exists, which will require people on all sides to stop vilifying each other and start finding areas of common ground to work towards. 

  • TheSuburbanCapitalist

    Posted this earlier but it vanished…not sure why…these are 21 simple truths about the sustainability movement and it’s origins and goals…

    21 Truths About Agenda 21 & Sustainable Development

    1) From the largest metropolitan cities to the smallest towns of
    Main Street America, communities all across our nation are being
    influenced with a new political philosophy known as Sustainable
    Development and its primary framework for implementation called Agenda
    21.

    2) Agenda 21 is the global blueprint of implementation for Sustainable
    Development devised by the United Nations and was signed by 178 world
    leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

    3) Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 call for a complete
    re-orientation of the world system of governance in every area in which
    human impacts on the environment.

    4) Sustainable Development, like Communism or
    Fascism, is a doctrine or philosophy of governance complete with its
    own agenda, beliefs, and goals.

    5)  On June 29th, 1993 President Clinton signed Executive Order 12852
    creating The President’s Council on Sustainable Development. This step
    began the full-scale implementation of Agenda 21 and Sustainable
    Development within the United States of America.

    6) Sustainable Development is entrenched throughout
    our government at every level from federal, state and regional agencies
    to county, city and community councils and planning boards.

    7) Sustainable Development or “Sustainability” is
    often promoted with the environmental message of “going green”, or
    “being a good steward” but in reality there is actually a much, much
    deeper political philosophy of control and governance at work.

    8) Sustainable Development is a political philosophy
    that is built upon three pillars.   These three pillars are known as
    the “3E’s”, or “the triple bottom line”.  The three pillars of sustainable development are Ecological Integrity, Economic Prosperity and Social Equity.

    9) Sustainable Development demands that the perfect balance of “the triple bottom line”
    be the deciding lens through which all community development, growth,
    and decisions are viewed. All growth which fails to achieve this
    perfect balance is considered unsustainable.

    10) Communities are being drawn down the path of
    Sustainable Development by the lure of numerous monetary grants and
    incentives from state and federal government agencies as well as
    non-governmental organizations.

    11) Sustainable Development views traditional
    capitalism and the American way of life as a failing and inequitable
    system that must be replaced with a new governance system in order to
    achieve sustainability and a just world.

    12) An overwhelming number of businesses and
    corporations have began shifting to a Sustainable Development
    operational model and in so doing have rejected the traditional “bottom
    line” of American Capitalism replacing it with the “triple bottom line”
    of United Nations Sustainable Development.

    13) Almost every College and University in the nation
    has become indoctrinated with the philosophy of Sustainable
    Development. From campus infrastructure and administration to student
    life and the curriculum America’s Colleges and Universities are awash
    in this radical, collectivist philosophy.

    14) The philosophy of Sustainable Development calls
    for a complete change in the lifestyle of the average American citizen.
    Numerous aspects of normal American life are subject to intense
    scrutiny under this radical new philosophy. Where and how we build our
    homes, what products we use, which foods we eat, what and how much we
    consume, and which methods of transportation we choose, are just a few
    examples of American life that United Nations Sustainable Development
    seeks to bring under its controlling grasp.

    15) Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 promote a
    paradigm shift in attitudes away from the norm of national borders and
    individual nation-states toward a globalist, collective, one-world,
    interdependent, and interconnected planetary mindset.

    16) Sustainable Development philosophy teaches that
    mankind is living beyond the “carrying capacity” of the Earth and that
    we are in the midst of multiple crises that are converging to create
    conditions that are not livable unless they are halted by a rapid
    global transition to a sustainable development system. Some of these
    perceived crises include overpopulation, global poverty and wealth
    inequality, manmade global climate change, and rampant environmental
    destruction.

    17) Across our nation numerous communities of all
    sizes are putting into place the radical policies of Sustainable
    Development and United Nations Agenda 21.  From new comprehensive land
    use plans, to smart growth, and sustainable community planning, the
    ideas and infrastructure of Sustainable Development are being
    implemented and added to daily.

    18) The policies of sustainable development and
    Agenda 21 seek to change the way people live and build their cities and
    towns. Sustainable Development promotes high density, urban,
    pedestrian oriented, low carbon, walkable communities and discourages
    traditional American automobile usage, suburban lifestyles and
    development.

    19) The Sustainable Development philosophy perceives
    the automobile and the ongoing use of fossil fuels as unsustainable.

    20) In addition to the high level efforts within the
    United Nations and other similar globalist organizations, much of the
    work in promotion of Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development is being
    carried out by a massive network of Non Governmental Organizations
    (NGOs). These organizations have been fully consumed by this radical
    collectivist philosophy and are working overwhelmingly to advance the
    Sustainable Development Agenda.

    21) Sustainable Development and the implementation of
    Agenda 21 are not some far off future possibility.  In fact, America
    and the world are in the midst of what the sustainable development
    movement calls “the great transition” to a sustainable new model of
    living. 

    • RPSiegel

      …and you think this is a bad thing? All though a number of these items are exaggerated  and somewhat rigidly defined, these are basically the kinds of steps that will be required to bring us to a survivable future. The alternative, to keep doing what we’ve been doing, has been widely shown to be leading to disaster. If you don’t see that, you need to read more. I recommend something other than tea party propaganda.

      • Gvscott

        The problem with your comments is that you confuse facts with your opinion.  First off, much of what you think is exaggerated and ridgly defined came directly out of the Agenda 21 document.  Their words which is a fact not an opinion.  You also said “what we’ve been doing has been widley shown (by who?) to be leading to disaster.  Can you cite your source (that is credible) that verifies what you are saying is a fact?  I didn’t think so, because it doesn’t exist.  BTW, I would gladly apoligize if I’m  wrong and you can prove it with substantiated facts.

        • RPSiegel

           So you mean, all I have to do to get you to
          apologize to me is to convince you that we’re headed for disaster?

          It seems like we haven’t been looking at the same world. If the meltdown of the economy, or the rampant pollution, or the heinous inequality, the poverty and starvation in this country and all
          around the world, the alarming rate of species extinction, the obscene influence of money in our government, the over-leveraging of the land, the upcoming water crisis, the takeover of all the major economies by the hyper-rich uncaring elite who are fattening themselves through the soul-sucking exploitation of ignorant addicted consumers, the global depletion of phosphorus, the frivolous wars and the festering foment of the disenfranchised all across the globe, along with our complete and total dependence (encouraged by above-mentioned elite) on things that we know we are going to run out of including not only fossil fuels, but also our planetary system’s ability to safely absorb carbon dioxide and still maintain thermal equilibrium, haven’t convinced you already,  what could I possibly say that would? You’d just tell me that any attempt to address any of this is part of some international conspiracy to take away your freedom anyway.
          You want references for all of this, just look it up in any self-respecting newspaper. I am putting together a book on all this, but it will be a little while before it’s ready. In the mean time, look up Johan Rockstrom and the Stockholm Resiliency Institute. These scientists have articulated the nine planetary boundaries which need to be maintained for the planet to be able to continue to support life as know it. We are moving dangerously close to several of them. Let me just leave you with this final thought, my friend. If your house was burning down and the firemen told you to get out of there, you could say “it’s my house, so I don’t have to,” and you’d be right. Dead right.

        • Gvscott

          IN REPLY TO RP Siegel:  “So you mean, all I have to do to get you to apologize to me is to convince you that we’re headed for disaster?”

          I stated “Can you cite your source (that is credible) that verifies what you are saying is a fact?”

          Thank you for making my point.  You can’t.  Apparently you aren’t even able to understand what I said.  I said nothing about you tyring to convince me with your unsustantiated opinions.  I simply asked you to cite credible sources that support your opinions.  You couldn’t, thus proving my point, that you can’t and your so called facts are just opinions.  Opinions are great but you shouldn’t be writing articles where you make statements of fact but when asked to cite your source – you can’t .  I just invalidates your article and leaves you with no credibility.  Only a fool would believe something that can’t be verified.   

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=585732892 Ralph R. Zerbonia

          “Only a fool would believe something that can’t be verified.”

          Like God, Religion, Souls?

          Ms. Scott, certainly you can see that many of this poorly named Agenda 21’s outcomes are good for us (the whole world). The very word sustainable is a good word, a good concept. Perhaps the association with the UN is bothersome to you, I don’t know how else to get worldwide cooperation on any matter.
          Is it bad to use building materials that don’t harm you, and don’t harm the environment? Is it bad to say to business if you break it you must fix it? Is it bad to notice that there really isn’t a good way yet to make coal, ‘clean’? Is it wrong to try and develop ways to power our modern life that doesn’t involve polluting the Gulf or the Ogallala Aquifer?
          Certainly you have noticed that the entire Southwest US is running out of water? That will make life unsustainable in that part of the country if left unchecked, should we do nothing when we can do something?

          I don’t believe you to be a fool. I have read your many comments and believe you are thoughtful. However, you seem to be holding an animosity to the UN’s involvement in the subject of sustainability. If they were not involved, would it change any of this for you? An example of sustainability is the idea of ‘energy independence’. To some this means continuing to drill and frack our land. To others it means figuring out the best way to use the power of our Sun. But clearly something must be done differently to become energy independent. It won’t happen without change. It seems like a national security issue to me that we become energy independent.
          Anyhow, I just wish people would look past the UN’s involvement and look at the concept of doing things that don’t harm you, the environment or the future.

        • RPSiegel

           http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    • Gvscott

      Finally, someone who actually has facts that aren’t just their opinion stated as facts.  Thanks.

      • RPSiegel

        Mr. Scott, I’m not going to waste any more time on you. I thought maybe I could get you to really think about what’s going on in this country, but I can see that’s not going to happen. Thank you for your comments. You have indeed taught me something–just how deep the level of denial is out there.

        • Gvscott

          This is a typical liberal answer, when you don’t have an answer to the issue being discussed – change the subject and personally attack the person with the differing viewpoint to detract from your inability to answer.  I really hope you learn to be more professional, however you strike me as the type who seems to always need to have the last word.  By the way, I’m not Mr. I’m a Mrs., but thats just one more of your unsubstantiated facts.

        • RPSiegel
    • John R. De Lude

      It’s TRUE name is Communism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.s.miller Debra Sudlow Miller

    I live in Alabama and build in Alabama. I am not going to let this change anything I do. Of course, I build LEED homes for Habitat. I will say that there can be groups of people who don’t see the whole picture and therefore anything for the greater good isn’t important to them. I have seen this with historic buildings and neighborhoods as well as sustainablity. However, what we at Habitat is ask them if they would rather pay the utility company or the doctors or keep the money in their pocket, and suddenly they are all for energy conservation and healthy living environments.
    I also have observed that North Alabama with its scientists and military is much more likely to embrace “green” concepts. I am a member of GreenDrinks, for example.

  • Reade

    My Grandfather was a Marine from Alabama who fought in the Pacific, before meeting my Grandmother in Australia…so this story makes me more concerned than I already am that our two countries are going backwards!

    I would like to applaud those innovative and inspirational folk concerned by the future we are currently creating, who have placed a post on this page and also show my concern to those who seem to have their grey coat and tinfoil UFO caps at the ready and absolutely no concern for the future of their family, country and planet.His grandson, me, has proudly been a local government politician for over 12 years.  I have also been a member of the local planning committee, and occasionally chairman, for over 12 years among many other responsibilities and memberships relevant to this topic.  I am inspired by the innovative and environmentally aware designers, architects and builders who want to build ‘sustainable’ building that not only provides a quality product to the purchaser, but a quality product to future owners…a product that actually reduces the utility costs of those who live in the homes and reduces the pollution and contamination that our ‘standard’ buildings emit, both during their construction and during their ‘lifetime’.  Any person who thinks this is bad (and a conspiracy) obviously has no pride in themselves or their fellow man, prefers to only purchase crap products whenever they do the consumer thing and has his/her head firmly stuck up his/her backside!  Forgive my sloppy comparisons but comparing sustainable building design to standard ‘generic’ design is like comparing a finely tuned factory customised car to a mass produced boring standard car…like comparing a hand made suit to one purchased at a discount department store and made by a machine, or like comparing premium freshly roasted coffee to a cheap tasteless generic coffee powder …if you want quality you have the right and the freedom to pay for it!  Which would you prefer?So, to the naysayer’s, why is the State of  Alabama taking away your right to purchase and own a premium product of your choosing and making you purchase only a sub standard product??  Now I would say that by making a home buyer/builder have little to no choice, by giving them few, standard or uniform designs to choose from, and by limiting your choice to one that causes you the owner to spend more and more on expensive utility bills…would have to be more of a controlling communist act than allowing you the freedom to build the best possible building that you can!

  • fishman

    Has any of you ever
    thought there was another reason behind the Alabama law.  

     

    It could be that the
    scientist and the officials with fancy titles that are recommending the “sustainable development”  are really using it as a underhanded
    technique to get rid of the people for the big shipping industry and the
    gas/oil industries.  Have you ever
    thought that maybe the so-called experts in Alabama that are

    recommending
    “sustainable development” have been under contract with the Alabama
    State Docks and the Gas/oil industries? I feel it is all about money and thief
    of property.

  • ScienceIsGolden

    RPSiegel
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I found this to be a very well written article!

    Also Reade, I appreciated your comment as well.

    And to Gvscott, re- your comments:

    “Can you cite your source (that is credible) that verifies what you are saying is a fact?  I didn’t think so, because it doesn’t exist.  BTW, I would gladly apoligize if I’m  wrong and you can prove it with substantiated facts.”
    “By the way, I’m not Mr. I’m a Mrs., but thats just one more of your unsubstantiated facts.”___
    You demand that those with whom you disagree provide you with substantiated facts, in order to convince you of something.  Then, you seem to take offense and rebuke RPSiegel for making the simple, and usually harmless assumption, that you might be male, by addressing you as “Mr.”.
    Well Gvscott, I challenge you to convince us of something simple.  In your most professional manner, please… if you can, provide any substantiated fact that proves you are female.

    • Gvscott

      You already made my point thank-you.  Whether RPSiegel makes harmful or “harmless” assumptions is irrelevant.  The FACT is, he makes them.  A journalist should check his/her facts before writing/speaking.  And whether or not I am female or male is irrelevant to the subject.  Unless of course race is an issue to you?  Nice try in deflecting.

      • ScienceIsGolden

        Is that a picture of your Aunt?  If I claimed to be an Eagle, and posted a picture of an Eagle, would that constitute proof that I am one?

        Anyway, you did not get my point at all. The point is, that it is very difficult, in a public forum such as this, to challenge someone to provide facts and proof.

        And, it is relevant, since you brought it up. To be more precise, you made a statement which you claim is true, to trip up RPSiegel, for the purpose of demonstrating that he must be wrong in his assumption about your gender, and therefore must be considered wrong about everything else he has written. And yet, when you are challenged for proof of what you say, you brush it off.  Talk about deflection!

        You deflect away from my point that it is difficult to prove things to people in on-line forums.

        You deflected away from the content of the article with the gender side-issue.

        You deflect further by implying that I must be a racist… by saying “Unless of course race is an issue to you”  . By your own words, you “change the subject and personally attack the person with the differing viewpoint to detract from your inability to answer”.

        (Big point here… Being male or female is a question of gender, and has nothing to do with race.  So first-shame on you for your implied insult to me, and second-you really need to spend some time to get educated on these issues.)

        All this indicates to me that you are probably a male. I can only assume that you made up the fake “Mr/Mrs” issue to hit RPSiegel on the head with it, to try and get away with damaging his credibility on the rest of the article, in order to try to sway the audience.  All this, for what ultimate purpose?

          

        RPSiegel is definitely right when he said “…I’m not going to waste any more time on you”.

        __

        And so Audience, my conclusion is that, Sustainability is a good thing.  The only drawback is that it implies change, and for many, change is a very scary thing. For those who are working for positive change, keep at it!  Ignore the fearful, and walk quickly past the trolls. At the end of the day, those who work for positive change will make the world a better place. Even the naysayers will benefit from your contributions… funny how that works out.

        • Gvscott

          I will ignore you ridiculous comment on my picture.  Apparently you are unable to grasp the concept that my identity/gender/picture has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of Sustainable Development/Agenda 21/Alabama law.  I do have a question for you though.  Are you RPSiegal’s self designated “battle fighter?”  I suspect you think he can’t respond on his own so he needs your help?  Personally I think he does just fine. As for your other ridiculous comment “ that it is very difficult, in a public forum such as this, to challenge someone to provide facts and proof.”  Are you serious?  FYI, when a journalist is writing a piece for others to read it is of the utmost importance for the writer to be able to provide facts of proof otherwise your piece is just fluff, unsubstantiated, junk.  Comprende?   As for being educated on these issues, I’d run circles around you with the little knowledge you have on this subject.  But since you are through with me I won’t have to waste my time trying to educate you.  You’ll just have to read it via the other posts.  One final comment, you don’t appear to be a rational type person so I suspect you’ll just have to have the last word.  Am I right?

  • RPSiegel

    I see a picture, but I have no way of knowing if that is really you. It would require a second independent source to substantiate it as a fact that you are indeed a woman. But leaving all that aside, the thing that bothers me about you “Ms. Scott” or whatever your gender is, is that, it seems to me, this is all some kind of arcade game to you. “Let’s see if we can trip up the liberal journalist.” Meanwhile you don’t appear to have listened to anything I’ve said. That would be fine, too, except for the fact that what we are talking about here is very serious. I, for one am very concerned about my children’s future on this planet, and I know I’m not alone in that concern (here’s a reference for you: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/). Maybe everything’s honky-dory up at your place; you’re getting all the rain you need, and your cows are not getting sick, or what have you, but things don’t look so rosy from where I sit. My job is to look at the big picture, which I have been doing for quite a while. now. I have seen clearly where we are headed and believe me, it keeps me up at night. All I can do about it though, is to try and convince people like you that things need to change. Clearly I have my work cut out for me, especially with things like this Alabama law which is little more than massive denial made manifest.

    • Gvscott

      First off, I do care immensely about this issue otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my time trying to prove how important it is to report facts and not opinions or assumptions.  I am a Forensic Technician and rely on details and facts.  I can’t assume anything.  If I did I could potentially put someone in jail for life over an assumption.    That isn’t allowed in my line of work not to mention it is a career ender.  As for whether or not that is my picture, as I said it’s irrelevant.  If you want to give me a way to contact you, I’d be happy to call you or whatever to prove that’s who I am, if it’s that important to you.  I have absolutely no reason to lie.  I am curious though, the last time you wrote to me you said you were through with me.  What happened?  I too am extremely worried about my daughter and her future mostly because she won’t be able to enjoy the freedoms and liberties we’ve enjoyed up to this point but not due to the things you seem to be worried over.  I don’t buy into all the hype about global warming now known as “global climate change.”   As I said, I rely on facts and when the AP and The Wallstreet Journal reported that hackers attacked the U.N.’s top Global Warming adviser and posted online emails and documents that proved scientists under the pressure of Government lied about global warming, it didn’t do anything to help me want to start believing in it.  As for Agenda 21, the documents speak for themselves and tell you all you need to know about what they intend to do.  I care about the environment, but  how Agenda 21 is currently being implemented under the “guise” of environmentalism is far more dangerous.  They could care less about environmentalism.  Did you happen to see the pictures from the recent ICLEI conference in Brazil where they are dressed to the hilt, eating and drinking like pigs and they have the nerve to tell us OUR lifestyles are unsustainable?  What hypocrites!  http://www.cfact.tv/2012/06/17/champagne-flows-as-eviros-demand-lower-living-standards/  You’ve heard of lead by example, well they certianly don’t do anything to want to convince me they are concerned at all about sustainable development.  The worst thing is that since they were unable to get any bills passed through the Senate promoting Agenda 21, they had to deceptively implement Agenda 21 via our local planning departments.  Did you ever ask yourself, if this is such a great thing, this Sustainable Development/Agenda 21 why didn’t it pass through the Senate?  Or by democratic means whereby the people vote on it?  Or any other transparent means without being so deceptive?   I have no problem with some of the good things we can do to protect our planet, I’m all for that, but our planet has been around just fine for many many years and sustained its self just fine.  So until there are proven facts (unlike the unreproducibile facts of  the scientists in the Global Warming scam) I just can’t buy into the earth is dying crisis and oh by the way, Sustainable Development Agenda 21 is the answer.   

      • http://www.facebook.com/jen.boynton Jen Boynton

        Thanks for sticking around to share your perspective Gvscott. It must be really awful to feel like your liberties and freedom are at risk, and I can see why you’d do everything in your power to protect them. 

        I think we can all agree that freedom and liberty are what make the US great – the fact that we can even be having this discourse is truly remarkable. 

        I happen to think that protecting our liberties and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive. We need to fight for both.  Why should big businesses get to pollute for free? I can’t pollute for free! I’d get fined if I went outside and set a bonfire – yet the laws are set up to support corporate pollution with no consequences. 

        Global warming is having impacts – really expensive impacts – right now. Left unabated it’s going to have catastrophic impacts on agriculture and cause drought throughout the south. It is possible to protect those resources and fight for the individual right to liberty at the same time. 

  • RPSiegel

    I guess I came back because I hate to give up and I am always trying to learn. Also, I thought that  maybe if we stopped throwing stones at each other we might actually communicate. So I think now I understand where you are coming from. Clearly we disagree about global warming and Agenda 21. I’m not sure where you are getting your information from, but when you say things like “They could care less about environmentalism,” I’m not sure exactly who “they” are, but it sounds a lot like someone is passing off opinion as fact, as you have accused me of doing. I’m not sure what story you are talking about regarding posted emails, but I assume you are referring to the East Anglia  incident in the UK, also known as “Climategate.” If you had followed up, you would have seen that the scientists involved were totally cleared of any wrongdoing by the British Government (ref: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/04/climategate-science-committee/). True, the scientists may have made some less-than-professional comments in their personal emails, expressing their frustration that not enough people were listening to their warnings, but that doesn’t make them liars or invalidate their findings, any more than the fact that certain ICLEI people behaved like pigs at a conference, during their time off, means that everything they are trying to accomplish in their work is somehow corrupt. There are very few perfect people running around this place. As for Agenda 21, you say, “the documents speak for themselves and tell you all you need to know about what they intend to do.” Aren’t you, once again trying to pass off opinion as fact? You see it as some kind of diabolical scheme to take away your ranch, and I see it as some very smart, well-intentioned people, trying to help chart a course away from disaster. But then, since you don’t believe we’re heading for disaster in the first place, you assume that their intentions must be questionable. The world is changing Ms. Scott, more quickly and more dramatically than any of us might want it to. Our industrial-consumer way of life is threatening to run out of control, endangering all of us.If you choose not to believe that, it’s your prerogative, But I urge you to continue to stay informed.

    • Gvscott

      RPSiegal, thank you.  I agree.  (about the the throwing stones at each other).  Truce.  I just think that if you write your articles more objectively and not put people reading them  on the defense to begin with, you will be more apt to get them to listen to your side a lot easier.  And I mean that in a constructive way not a sarcastic way.  It’s Ok for us to agree to disagree on certain issues and it’s even better if we can understand each other’s point of view and try to connect on the issues we do agree upon. I agree with you that implementing ways to help save our planet is good.  We just seem to disagree on how to do that.  I see Agenda 21 as a bigger threat to America by the damage it will do than the good it will do.  I am not a big fan of  government, Democrats or Republicans.   They appear to be more self serving than caring about the people they are sworn to serve, in my opinion.  I don’t trust government to protect our rights and freedoms and that scares me.  From your picture you appear to be about the same age as me, so I would think you can relate to where I’m coming from.  I am a patriot.  I LOVE my country, America and the freedoms we have here.  I believe in American exceptionalism and believe that’s why so many foriegners want to live here.  I am NOT a fan of socialism and I’ve never seen it work anywhere in the world.  I see Sustainable Development/Agenda 21 as a pathway to socialism.  In fact, the term Sustainable Development was coined by Gro Harlem Brundtland (Vice chair of the world Socialist Party). When the concept of sustainable development came about (after 1974 U.N. adoption of a “New International Economic Order”, http://www.un-documents.net/s6r3201.htm  the document showed the delegates to the U.N. accepted the idea that governments should virtually control the economy having equity as the underlying theme.  Stop.  I have aproblem with this.  Why?  First, I don’t trust our current government let alone trust the U.N.  Second, it this concept conflicts with our U.S. Constitution.  We are a sovreign Nation have certain unalienable rights that the U.N. doesn’t believe in. (i.e.property rights.)  The exerpt from the Preamble of the 1976 U.N. conference on Human Settlements reads: “”Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable….” http://habitat.igc.org/vancouver/vp-d.htm  Excuse me?  Where do I begin.  I don’t believe in Social Justice.  Life isn’t fair and no matter how much you try, Government isn’t the answer in making it fair.  Try personal responsibility.  Enough on that.  What about with “the planning and implementation of development schemes.”  Who’s P&I of dev. schemes?  Certainly not America’s. I’m sure we Americans are able to plan & develop our own property according to our own U.S. policies all by ourselves without the help of the U.N.  Which brings us to the primary reason for Alabama’s law.  I didn’t work hard all my life to have the government come and decide to re-zone or blight my property in order to comply with U.N. principles implemented by ICLEI through their “Local Agenda 21 Planning Guides” they’ve distributed to most U.S. cities & counties.  Are you beginning to see the bigger picture yet?  I don’t think many people do.  Many individuals are innocently helping to implement Agenda 21 without ever knowing what’s behind it.  They just see people like me, as being against the whole “Sustainable Development” Issue and it’s not that at all.   Land is being controlled through local zoning & land-use planning all over America.  Many don’t think twice about where these Planning Guides came from.  They are just pawns being innocently used to promote Agenda 21 principles.  Try reading Rosa Kiore’s “Behind the Green Mask.” http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/buy-behind-the-green-mask.html she’s a forensic commercial real estate appraiser specializing in eminent domain valuation whose seen it happen all over America. I’ve spent a lot if time reading all the U.N. documents and the goal of the U.N. is to control ALL.  It’s not a conspiracy their documents state so.  They state that they want to redistribute population, control land use through zoning and land-use planning, …(i.e. Local Agenda Planning Guide http://web.idrc.ca/openebooks/448-2/) etc.  You can read it all for yourself.  What people don’t seem to understand is that the U.N. is trying so hard to get the U.S. on board with U.N. ideas to implement their “Sustainable Development/Agenda 21” principles so they can re-distribute OUR wealth, that they are willing to do by any means. You never answered my question.  If this Agenda 21 is so wonderful, why didn’t it pass the U.S. Congress?  Why don’t they want the people to be able to vote it in?  Why is ICLEI operate as a stealth organization that most people have never heard of?  Can you answer those questions?   It’s because it’s not good.  The concepts of sustaining the environment may be good on their own, but they are hiding behind the real agenda, which are the principles of the U.N., i.e. Agenda 21.  Most people who like the concept of “sustainable Development” think it’s great but have NO idea that it’s all a part of a bigger U.N. plan.  It’s too complex for the average person to spend time researching.  It takes a LOT of time to understand this.  So the concept of Sustainable Development is good – but Agenda 21 (the document and it’s principles) is bad.  Does that make sense?  I hope I’ve explained it clearly enough to see that it’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s a deceptive plan to implement U.N. principles into the U.S without the peoples knowledge.  So are we on talking terms now?  
      I promise I’ll be nice. 

      • RPSiegel

        Good that we agree about something. And the truce is good too. I think we are on talking terms now. Not sure if we will reach consensus, but I’d be satisfied if we both learned something and expanded our awareness. I totally get that you worked hard to acquire and improve a piece of land, which I am sure you love, and I can also see how that informs your worldview. The government already has the right of eminent domain and they could take your land away today (with “fair” compensation), without any help from the UN. And you are concerned that the UN, through principles like Agenda 21 could nudge them in that direction. I get it. I, too, love the land, though I don’t own any myself and and have most of my outdoor experiences on public land. So you can see that we are already coming at this from a very different perspective. As for the role of government in our society, here too we are concerned about different things. I am most concerned about ever-increasing power of big business and the ruthlessness with which they disregard both the little people and the land in their incessant drive for more and more. Who else is going to stand up to them, if not the government? To the extent that the government still reflects the will of the people, I believe in its ability to do good. Sadly, more and more influence is being purchased every day and we seem to heading down a path where the government will simply be a puppet of the wealthy. After the Soviet Union fell, we had a huge surge of enthusiasm, that basically said, “communism failed, so unlimited capitalism must be the only way.” But anything taken too far can be dangerous, and I believe that at this point the pendulum has swung too far. Look at the Gulf oil spill, or the economic meltdown, both of which occurred as the result of excessive deregulation, part of that wild enthusiasm. Different perspective, different opinion. But I think there needs to be a balance. As for global warming, we totally disagree on that despite the overwhelming scientific evidence. Apparently no amount of hard evidence can stand up to the perpetually repeated opinions of talk radio hosts with no science background whatsoever. Has your weather been “normal” this year, or any of the past several years? I assume that you are involved in agriculture and would think that you’d be concerned about that, though I fear that you won’t acknowledge it until it shows up at your front door.
        I am also totally for social justice. I believe that if any people are sufficiently downtrodden, they will eventually rise up, either as individuals, leading to crime, or as a group leading to a revolution, or as terrorists. You can see it happening now, all around the world. And is that not what we Americans did 236 years ago? Or do you think that that was somehow different? The more interdependent we all become, the more vulnerable we are to disruptions. Our modern world requires stability. Look at how the price of oil shoots up every time there is trouble. This will only become worse as oil becomes scarcer and as the poor get even poorer and more desperate to find a way to survive and feed their families. Do you think you could look at a starving family in Africa or Latin America and talk to them about personal responsibility, when in fact many of them are starving because of exploitative US policies that have been aggressively pushed, and lobbied for, by major corporations, because it helped to increase their profits.No, we are becoming a connected web of people, and as the world gets smaller, this fact becomes more and more relevant. We need to work things out so that everyone has enough to live on. That’s not charity, that’s practicality. Because if we don’t work together, we will end up destroying each other. The sea level rise predicted from global warming, could lead to as many as 100 million refugees by the end of this century. Those people will need a place to live and are entitled to one. After all, it was our emissions that made them homeless. How ironic would it be if your ranch got taken away to make room for them? Hopefully, that will never happen, but we need to take our heads out of the sand and start working together to deal with this now, to make sure that it never will.
        Thanks for sharing the links. I will check them out. And thanks for taking the time to clarify your position. I don’t expect either of us will change, but like I said, hopefully we both learned something from the exchange, I know I did.

        • Gvscott

          Thanks for being a stand up guy and discussing this issue from a more subjective perspective.  (that’s a compliment).  I enjoyed working through this topic with you.  I learned a lot from your perspective also.  Hope to talk more about this in the future.  :  ) 

        • GVScott

          I’m sorry I meant to say objective, not subjective. 

  • SF

    This whole debate is pretty pathetic. If both sides turned around they would be shocked to find out they are simply different sides of the same coin. If people could stop thier ideological bantering maybe just maybe we can find even a better way forward. Isn’t this what “they” want – for we the people to be divided and divisive?  As long as we are fighting each other “they” can easily take control of us, our natural resources, our future etc.  Can you see that it does not make a bit of difference which side of this debate you are on?  What happened to common sense?

  • fishman

    Isn’t this discussion about the
    reason Alabama passed the law about “Agenda 21″ or is this discussion
    about which of you can bully the other.

     

    I thought Journalism and Science
    was about reporting the truth.  Or
    do all of you only believe what you read. 

     

    This is not about liberal or
    conservative; it is about big money and the different ways they can manipulate
    people.

     

    For Alabama, it is about the
    Chinese new Panama Canal route, the big containerships and the dredging of the
    big ports in America to accept the massive containerships.

     

    Also, if you check you might see
    the money being poured in by BP, and what the so-called scientists want to do
    with the money. 

     

    Check out the
    “experts” and the manipulating of the smaller Towns and who they have
    been under contract to for the last 20 to 30 years.

     

    Doesn’t anybody believe in the
    rights of the individual to own property anymore or is it the theory what is
    best for the masses. This is hedging on Communism.

     

    You are being led down the
    garden path.  

    • Gvscott

      Be patient- we’re trying to come to a consensus!  :  )
        Isn’t that what rational people do?

  • fishman2000

    I am amazed to read the comments on this board.  Mr. Siegel, property is property, whether it is real or personal.  Your comment  “though I don’t own any myself and  have most of my outdoor experiences on public land. So you can see that we are already coming at this from a very different perspective.” 

    Is this the same as I take your computer, to give the people that do not have one, or that you have to share it with the world as a part of social justice?  I want your clothes to give to society as a part of social justice.  I want your car as a part of social justice.  Where does it stop?
    Let’s just get to what is right and wrong and what the Constitution states.  I have forgotten who said the following quote  “No matter how officials are selected, they are only
    human beings and they have no rights or claims that are higher than those of any
    other human beings. Regardless of the imaginative labels for their behavior or
    the numbers of people encouraging them, officials have no right to murder, to
    enslave, or to steal”.If you could understand the corruption on one small Island, where the scientist have been telling everybody no more building, and learn that it is because of the Corps of engineers dredging the Harbor. Then losing the Corps of engineers lawsuit, and the Corps can erode away the whole island and there is nothing we can do about it.   Next to learn the federal government does not want to pay the class attorneys anymore so the class attorneys settle the suit for $1,500,000 for the whole island.  Next to learn that the Corps did a study for Mississippi a 7 billion redo after Katrina, and of course the Corps support documentation states our island is eroding  because the Corps dredging of the Harbors.  But the Corps does not release the information to the public before the lawsuit ends.I went  to a Mineral and Mining Management meeting and learned that there are going to be so many new oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico that they are going to have to put hospital rigs in between at 100 miles.The scientists are under contract to the oil/gas companies and the Harbor, etc.We just want the Corp to do the right thing and do sand bypassing.  But you will love this one, the Corps requires an expert study to the tune of millions of dollars ever though there have been numerous studies that have already been done for the last 40 years. It is all about putting more gas pipelines  into Alabama and the Chinese shipping goods in huge container-ships to the Mobile Harbor that go back empty to China.

     

    • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

      Fishman.  I’m not sure what island you’re referring to, but it would be interesting to hear the backstory on that.  Sounds like a boondoggle to me.  

      I just want to reiterate that there seems to be a disconnect on definitions.   Sustainability has nothing to do with taking away anyone’s property.  If anything, it’s about preserving people’s property.   

      That said, I can assure you, if we ignore sustainability then the issue of your island will be a moot point because sea level rise will end the argument for you, no matter what the government does.

  • Angela

    Why not acknowledge that this legislation brings about an interesting set of issues about where personal property rights end and where eminent domain for the purpose of “sustainability” principles begin?  (I work for a local government in an office of sustainability, and I only put the word in quotes because it is still a rather nebulous term to most people.)  We who support sustainable planning and development must be prepared to deal with the complex legal issues that surround this issue. Let’s not once again get tangled up in ideals and miss the opportunity to be able to explain how, in the long run, protecting natural resources actually protects personal property. In fact there are economic instrument such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES) that create win-win situations for both property owners and government planners and prevent property seizures and other such extreme measures. Let’s use this as an opportunity to present these ideas to the Alabama legislature rather than labeling them as ignorants, and thus being ingorants ourselves.

  • jacqueline nelson

    This same kind of powerful thinking can be found in Canada right at the top with our PM Mr. Harper.  In the province of Alberta the opposition Wildrose  party in the legislature got their foothold by fear mongering about the loss of property rights.   

  • RPSiegel

    Angela, I agree that there are plenty of win-win situations, where sustainable development can peacefully co-exist with private property values, and where, as you say, “protecting natural resources, protects personal property.” Indeed, it is only in the most extreme scenarios, like massive coastal flooding where the two value systems may find themselves competing for priority. But those who erect fearful walls, or laws against taking actions that make sense for the long term, or by ignoring the issues (as in North Carolina), are actually doing more to precipitate those far-flung, worst-case scenarios, than if they simply began to deal with the problems today, by promoting and making more sustainable choices, like the ones recommended by the Rio Declaration and others like it.
    Thanks for the tip on PES. Here is a link I found that explains how it works.
    http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/OccPapers/OP-42.pdf

    • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

      Thanks again RP for having the guts and tenacity to tackle this thorny issue and wrestle it to the ground. When it is all said and done, I think we all have much more in common here than is first apparent. Now, I’d appreciate it if you and TriplePundit would look into a related current issue that appears to be a more plausible and evil global conspiracy theory:

      America: Fire Sale to Foreign Corporations – http://j.mp/MJ6Kwv 

      “…the unfolding business agreement between the US and eight Pacific
      nations –the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — should cause every US
      citizen, from the Sierra Club to the Tea Party to get their pitch forks
      and torches out of the closet… The TPP negotiations have been going on for two years under extreme
      secrecy, no information has been made available to either the press or
      Congress about the US position.  But on June 12th a document was leaked
      to the watchdog group, Public Citizen, revealing the current US
      position and the reason for the secrecy.  The contents are surreal and
      shocking, and prima facia evidence for how corporations have become the master puppeteers of our government…”

  • levertal

    The vitriol in the article by the author is sadly typical of much of passes today as commentary. Further the gentleman does not appear to understand the issue he is attempting to comment on. From his comments it appears he was previously unfamiliar with Agenda 21 to any depth and misunderstands why there might be opposition. The opposition to Agenda 21 by the state is fundamentally not rooted in the central precepts of whether sustainability is good or not. Rather it is related to the issue that has dogged Agenda 21’s interpretation and rollout: namely national sovereignty. I must be candid and say that this is the type of blather that I find personally embarrassing to be associated with indirectly as an environmentalist. Additionally, I would posit without evidence that it reflects the type of prejudice one finds in the US towards the residents of Southern states which is particularly rampant in the North East which is where the author resides.

  • Andy

    It looks like a re-run of the conflict over climate change, whether it a left-wing hoax or is occurring and whether we should do anything in response. Sadly, I wonder whether the increasing brouhahas over UN Agenda 21 will be the smoke screen reaction to coming to grips with sustainability of human activities.

  • KB

    Really? My thriving Alabama private property-owning family appreciates that our SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD business isn’t going to be snatched out from under us by the UN. You better believe it. If you really think we care nothing about sustainability here, you are delusional in addition to condescending and deceptive.

    • KB

      I’m sure you’ll find some kind of twisted response even though I said we have sustainable development in Alabama. You should be happy to be so wrong, but I have a feeling your ego will prevent that. Stop lying to people with your over-sensationalized article.

  • Gulf Coast Girl

    The entire Alabama Coast is known and respected for its sustainable seafood industry, which is celebrated throughout the entire Southeast region of the US, and it continues to grow and thrive. You, sir, have no business insulting Alabama as you clearly have no Earthly idea who you’re talking about.