By Henry Lamb
web posted May 27, 2002
The opposite side of sustainable development is unsustainable
freedom. Sustainable development means: government-managed
integration of economic development, environmental protection,
and social equity.
The concept of government-managed economic development is
the opposite of free enterprise and free markets. The concept of
government-managed environmental protection tramples the
concept of private property rights. The concept of government-
managed social equity penalizes individual achievement,
enterprise and excellence, and rewards the opposite.
Sustainable development is government-managed development;
freedom cannot survive in a government-managed society.
In a land that celebrates the recognition that "all men are created
equal," with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness, a person can no longer live wherever he chooses. If
the choice is outside the urban boundary; in a critical habitat
area; within the "view-shed" of a scenic byway; or is inconsistent
with any of the government's management requirements, freedom
is sacrificed on the altar of sustainable development.
Moreover, those people who have chosen to live within what has
been designated as a buffer zone, or a proposed connecting
corridor between wilderness areas, are being forced off their
land in order to reshape our free society into a sustainable
society. Klamath Basin farmers live in a proposed buffer zone.
The Endangered Species Act was the vehicle chosen to deprive
the farmers of their water to force them off the land. Although the
farmers have won the battle for now, it is a temporary victory.
Environmental organizations have sued to force the government
to protect the fish, and force the people off the land.
The bible of sustainability is Agenda 21, adopted at
the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.
The 10th anniversary of its adoption will be celebrated at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,
South Africa, August 26 - September 4, 2002. More than 40,
000 proponents of global governance are expected to gather to
adopt a Plan of Action to speed the "wrenching transformation of
society" into sustainability.
Agenda 21 was neither debated nor adopted by the United
States Congress. It was imposed by Executive Order in 1993.
Congress has allowed its implementation, and indeed, has
adopted piecemeal legislation that effectively moves America
closer to compliance. The Community Character Act, which
offers bribe money to states that adopt the "Growing Smart
Legislative Guidebook," is one example. This "guidebook"
provides model legislation that imposes sustainable development
on local governments.
The transformation of public education - Goals 2000 and
School-to-Work - is basic to transforming society to
sustainability. Schools no longer teach facts, knowledge and
information to prepare students to achieve their maximum
potential. They teach values, attitudes, and beliefs to prepare
students to cooperate in a managed, sustainable society.
Students are being required to choose their work field by the
eighth grade, and are guided toward the receipt of a "certificate
of competence" in their work field. Government-managed
development will hire only certified workers. Schools are being
transformed to provide a managed workforce for a managed
economy. In education too, freedom is being sacrificed on the
altar of sustainable development.
Six national organizations came together three years ago to
launch the Freedom 21
Campaign, in hopes of countering some of the negative
aspects of Agenda 21. Subsequently, Freedom 21 Santa Cruz,
was organized, to counter the impact of Local Agenda 21 in
Santa Cruz - the first local community to adopt a local version of
Compared to the full force of the President's Council on
Sustainable Development, supplemented by hundreds of well-
funded, orchestrated environmental organizations, the Freedom
21 campaign is hardly a blip on the Agenda 21 radar. But it is
Armed with a full understanding of Agenda 21 and its corrosive
effect on freedom, local grassroots organizations are confronting
elected officials, and winning battles for freedom. The "Smart
Growth" legislation proposed in Kentucky was soundly defeated.
A Sierra Club-sponsored Smart Growth initiative in Arizona was
also soundly defeated. Sanibel, Florida withdrew its
endorsement of the Earth Charter. Florida's five-year
"Sustainable Development" pilot program was not renewed.
With increasing frequency, freedom-loving individuals are
interjecting themselves into "visioning councils," and "stakeholder
councils" to insist that property rights and individual freedom be
identified, valued, and protected in all visions of the future.
Freedom cannot survive sustainable development. But then -
sustainable development cannot survive in a free society. Every
candidate in every election should be asked to publicly declare
his commitment to a free society, or a sustainable society - it
cannot be both.
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental
Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty
Enter Stage Right - http://www.enterstageright.com