Sustainable development: The root of all our problems
By Tom DeWeese
In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a "wrenching transformation" must take place to lead America away from the "horrors of the Industrial Revolution." The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and its' roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN's Earth Summit in 1992.
Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy - often referred to as top-down control. Truly, Sustainable Development is designed to change our way of life.
Many are now finding non-elected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations. As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing power and decision-making ability in their own communities. Most decisions are now being made behind the scenes in non-elected "sustainability councils" armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and grant money.
In fact, a recent study reported that elected city councils and commissioners have lost approximately 10% of their legislative power during the past 10 years, while, through the consensus process, the power of private groups called Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has increased by as much as 300%. It is a wrenching transformation, indeed.
The Three Es
According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social, and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.
The Sustainablists insist that society be transformed into feudal-like governance by making Nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society. As such, every societal decision would first be questioned as to how it might effect the environment. To achieve this, Sustainablist policy focuses on three components; land use, education, and population control and reduction.
The Sustainable Development logo used in most literature on the subject contains three connecting circles labeled Social Equity; Economic Prosperity; and Ecological Integrity (known commonly as the 3 Es).
Sustainable Development's Social Equity plank is based on a demand for something called "social justice." It should be noted that the first person to coin the phrase "social justice" was Karl Marx. Today, the phrase is used throughout Sustainablist literature. The Sustainablist system is based on the principle that individuals must give up selfish wants for the needs of the common good, or the "community." How does this differ from Communism?
This is the same policy behind the push to eliminate our nation's borders to allow the "migration" of those from other nations into the United States to share our individually-created wealth and our taxpayers-paid government social programs. Say the Sustainablists, "Justice and efficiency go hand in hand." "Borders," they say, "are unjust."
Under the Sustainablist system, private property is an evil that is used simply to create wealth for a few. So too, is business ownership. Instead, "every worker/person will be a direct capital owner." Property and businesses are to be kept in the name of the owner, keeping them responsible for taxes and other expenses, however control is in the hands of the "community."
Sustainable Development's economic policy is based on one overriding premise: that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor. It dictates that, if the conditions of the poor are to be improved, wealth must first be taken from the rich. Consequently, Sustainable Development's economic policy is based not on private enterprise but on public/private partnerships.
In order to give themselves an advantage over competition, some businesses - particularly large corporations - now find a great advantage in dealing directly with government, actively lobbying for legislation that will inundate smaller companies with regulations that they cannot possibly comply with or even keep up with. This government/big corporation back-scratching has always been a dangerous practice because economic power should be a positive check on government power, and vice versa. If the two should ever become combined, control of such massive power can lead only to tyranny. One of the best examples of this was the Italian model in the first half of the Twentieth Century under Mussolini's Fascism.
Together, select business leaders who have agreed to help government impose Sustainablist green positions in their business policies, and officials at all levels of government are indeed merging the power of the economy with the force of government in Public/Private Partnerships on the local, state and federal levels.
As a result, Sustainable Development policy is redefining free trade to mean centralized global trade "freely" crossing (or eliminating) national borders. It definitely does not mean people and companies trading freely with each other. Its real effect is to redistribute American manufacturing, wealth, and jobs out of our borders and to lock away American natural resources. After the regulations have been put in place, literally destroying whole industries, new "green" industries created with federal grants bring newfound wealth to the "partners." This is what Sustainablists refer to as economic prosperity.
"Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual and material) where humans are one strand in nature's web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature's rhythms." from the UN's Biodiversity Treaty presented at the 1992 UN Earth Summit.
This quote lays down the ground rules for the entire Sustainable Development agenda. It says humans are nothing special - just one strand in the nature of things or, put another way, humans are simply biological resources. Sustainablist policy is to oversee any issue in which man reacts with nature - which, of course, is literally everything. And because the environment always comes first, there must be great restrictions over private property ownership and control. This is necessary, Sustainablists say, because humans only defile nature. In fact, the report from the 1976 UN Habitat I conference said: "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 principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice."
Under Sustainable Development there can be no concern over individual rights - as we must all sacrifice for the sake of the environment. Individual human wants, needs, and desires are to be conformed to the views and dictates of social planners. The UN's Commission on Global Governance said in its 1995 report: "Human activity...combined with unprecedented increases in human numbers...are impinging on the planet's basic life support system. Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks."
Under Sustainable Development there can be no limited government, as advocated by our Founding Fathers, because, we are told, the real or perceived environmental crisis is too great. Maurice Strong, Chairman of the 1992 UN Earth Summit said: "A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally-damaging consumption patterns. The shift will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations."
The politically based environmental movement provides Sustainablists camouflage as they work to transform the American systems of government, justice, and economics. It is a masterful mixture of socialism (with its top down control of the tools of the economy) and fascism (where property is owned in name only - with no control). Sustainable Development is the worst of both the left and the right. It is not liberal, nor is it conservative. It is a new kind of tyranny that, if not stopped, will surely lead us to a new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind.
Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report.