After more than 15 years of trying to warn Americans about the dangers of Sustainable Development, finally, many in the freedom movement are beginning to understand that it is the root of most of the issues we are fighting today. But it is a vast, complicated issue that is difficult to comprehend - even for those of us who have been studying it for so long. It is critical that all freedom-loving Americans grasp the true destructive force of evil that is Sustainable Development.
To that end, I am herein reprinting an interview I gave recently to the Internet news site “The Post & Email.” I know I have been focusing a lot of my articles on this issue lately, but I think this interview is one of the most comprehensive explanations I have yet given. But it is also very simple to understand. Please make copies of this issue of the DeWeese Report and pass them on to all. —- Tom DeWeese
The interview for The Post & Email:
P&E: Sustainable Development is a buzz-word that one hears used frequently in discussions of government policy the world over. But like most Americans, I had no idea what it meant.
Q: Where and when did this phrase originate?
TAD: The term “sustainable development” was born in the pages of “Our Common Future,” the official report of the 1987 United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, authored by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Vice President of the World Socialist Party. For the first time the environment was tied to the tried and true Socialist goals of international redistribution of wealth.Said thereport, “Poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems. It is therefore futile to attempt to deal with environmental problems without a broader perspective that encompasses the factors underlying world poverty and international inequality.”
The term appeared in full force in 1992; in a United Nations initiative called the U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda 21, or as it has become known around the world, simply Agenda 21. It was unveiled at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), ballyhooed as the Earth Summit. In fact, the Earth Summit was one of the provisions called for in the Brundtland report as a means of implementing Sustainable Development around the world. More than 178 nations adopted Agenda 21 as official policy. President George H.W. Bush was the signatory for the United States.
Q: What kind of political groups promote this internationally?
TAD: At the top of the heap is the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Created in 1973 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP is the catalyst through which the global environmental agenda is implemented. Virtually all of the international environmental programs and policy changes that have occurred globally in the past three decades are the result of UNEP efforts.
But the UNEP doesn’t operate on its own. Influencing it and helping to write policy are thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
NGOs are not just any private group hoping to influence policy. True NGOs are officially sanctioned by the United Nations. Such status was created by UN Resolution 1296 in 1948, giving NGOs official “Consultative” status to the UN. That means they can not only sit in on international meetings, but can actively participate in creating policy, right along side government representatives.
Today these NGOs have power nearly equal to member nations when it comes to writing UN policy. In fact, most UN policy is first debated and then written by the NGOs and presented to national government officials at international meetings for approval and ratification. The policies sometimes come in the form of international treaties or simply as policy guidelines. It is through this system that Sustainable Development has become international policy.
The three most powerful NGOs influencing UNEP policy are three international NGOs. They are the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). These three groups have provided the philosophy, objectives and methodology for the international environmental agenda through a series of official reports and studies such as: World Conservation Strategy, published in 1980 by all three groups; Global Biodiversity Strategy, published in 1992; and Global Biodiversity Assessment, published in 1996.
These groups not only influence UNEP’s agenda, they also influence a staggering array of international and national NGOs around the world. Jay Hair, former head of the National Wildlife Federation, one of the U.S.’s largest environmental organizations, was once the president of the IUCN. Hair later turned up as co-chairman of the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development.
The IUCN, WWR, and WRI write the documents needed to implement the Sustainable Development agenda. These are provided to the WWF which maintains a network of national chapters around the world. These, in turn, influence, if not dominate NGO activities at the national level. It is at the national level where NGOs agitate and lobby national governments to implement those policies that are advanced by the UNEP. In this manner, the UN and its NGOs bring the world ever closer to global governance.
Q: What kinds of groups promote this in the U.S.A.?
TAD: In 1995, President Bill Clinton, in compliance with Agenda 21, created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. With great fanfare the Council issued a comprehensive report containing all the guidelines on how our government was to be reinvented under sustainable development. Those guidelines were created to direct policy for every single federal agency, state government and local community government.
Many Americans ask how dangerous international policies can suddenly turn up in state and local government, all seemingly uniform to those in communities across the nation and around the globe.
The answer - meet ICLEI, a non-profit, private foundation, dedicated to helping your mayor implement all of his promises. Originally known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), today the group simply calls itself “ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.”
In 1992, ICLEI was one of the groups instrumental in creating Agenda 21. The group’s mission is to push local communities to regulate the environment - and it’s having tremendous success.
Currently there are 544 American cities in which ICLEI is being paid with tax dollars from city councils to implement and enforce Sustainable Development. ICLEI is there to assure that the mayors keep their promises and meet their goals. Climate change, of course, is the ICLEI mantra.
Rather than protecting the environment; their programs are about reinventing government with a specific political agenda. ICLEI and others are dedicated to controlling your locally elected public officials to quietly implement an all encompassing tyranny over every community in the nation.
Like a disease, ICLEI (or others of its kind) is entrenched in most American cities, dictating policy to your locally elected officials, controlling policy and making sure they do not listen to your protests.
In addition to ICLEI, groups like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy and Audubon Society, NGOs which also helped write Sustainable Development policy have chapters in nearly every city. They know that Congress has written legislation providing grants for cities that implement Sustainablist policy. They agitate to get the cities to accept the grants. If a city rejects the plan, they then agitate to the public, telling them that their elected representatives have cost the city millions in “their” tax dollars. Finally, the NGOs usually get their way.
Q: Did promoting of “Sustainable Development” begin as part of some grass roots movement, or was it promoted centrally by socialist or Marxist circles?
TAD: As stated above, these are not grassroots organizations. They are part of an international cartel of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work together, particularly through the UN to write policy and influence its acceptance in local and national initiatives.
Q: What do these groups tell us “Sustainable Development” is for?
TAD: Here is the definition of a Sustainable community from the 1996 Report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development:
“Sustainable Communities encourage people to work together to create healthy communities where natural resources and historic resources are preserved, jobs are available, sprawl is contained, neighborhoods are secure, education is lifelong, transportation and health care are accessible, and all citizens have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.”
Here is a more revealing quote: “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 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.”
Q: What is it actually about, however?
TAD: Imagine an America in which a specific “ruling principle” is created to decide proper societal conduct for every citizen. That principle would be used to consider regulations guiding everything you eat, the kind of home you are allowed to live in, the method of transportation you use to get to work, what kind of work you may have, the way you dispose of waste, perhaps even the number of children you may have, as well as the quality and amount of education your children may receive. Sustainable development encompasses every aspect of our lives.
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?
In the Sustainablist’s world, everyone has a right to a job with a good wage, a right to health care and a right to housing. To assure those rights, wealth must be redistributed. In the language of the Sustianablists, “Capital ownership is systematically deconcen-trated and made directly available to every person.” That, they say, is Social Justice. That means there will be no single owner of property or business. All will be controlled by society for the common good.
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,” (read, government).
Under Sustainable Development individual human wants, needs, and desires are to be conformed to the views and dictates of social planners. Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chair of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) said: “individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective” in the process of implementing Sustainable Development.
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 America’s free-market of the past, most businesses were started by individuals who saw a need for a product or service and they set out to fill it. Some businesses prospered to become huge corporations, some remained small “mom and pop” shops, others failed and dissolved. Most business owners were happy to be left alone to take their chances to run their businesses on their own, not encumbered by a multiplicity of government regulations. If they failed, most found a way to try again. In the beginning of the American Republic, government’s only involvement was to guarantee they had the opportunity to try.
However, 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 visa 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.
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.
The Sustainable Development “partnerships” include some corporations both domestic and multinational. They in turn are partnered with the politicians who use their legislative and administrative powers to raid the treasury to fund and enforce the scheme.
Of course, as the new elite stomp out the need for competition through government power, the real loser is the consumer, who no longer counts in market decisions. Government grants are now being used by industry to create mandated green products like wind and solar power. Products are put on the market at little risk to the industry, leaving consumers a more limited selection from which to choose. True free markets are eliminated in favor of controlled economies which dictate the availability and quality of products.
Under Sustainable Development there can be no concern over individual rights, wants, or needs - as we must all sacrifice for the sake of the environment. The UN’s Commission on Global Governance said in its 1998 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.” Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chair of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) said, “Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.”
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.”
Q: What parts of our lives is it targeting; it is really all encompassing?
TAD: There are Sustainable Development papers, guidelines and regulations to impose the ruling principle:
On our public education system - to prepare our children to live in a sustainable world.
On our economy - to create partnerships between business and government, making sure business becomes a tool to help implement the policies.
On the environment - leading to controls on private property and business.
On health care - the new drive against obesity is leading directly toward controls on what we eat. The current debate on “rationed” health care is right out of the Sustainable play book as it considers older people ad the sick to be no longer valuable resources.
On farming - Sustainable Development policies affect farmer’s ability to produce more crops by regulating precious chemicals, biotechnology, and genetic engineering in the name of environmental protection. To fully understand the folly of sustainable farming, there are now agriculture courses in colleges and Ag symposiums on sustainable farming that feature the use of Oxen as replacements for non-sustainable tractors. Need I say more?
On our social and cultural environment - where political correctness is controlling policy-hiring practices, immigration policy, multiculturalism, marriage laws, and even what we can say.” Globally-acceptable truth” dictates the science and knowledge we are allowed to pursue.
On our mobility - with emphasis on carpools and public transportation. $4 per gallon gas is purely sustainable development policies designed to ban the drilling of more oil in order to create shortages and drive up the price to get us our of our cars and into public transportation.
And on public safety - where the rule of law and the court system are being challenged by new laws and regulations that affect the right to privacy and unreasonable search and seizures. REAL ID and the creation of a total surveillance society assures we are bring properly sustainable in our daily lives.
It is important to understand that these leading issues we face today are not just random concerns that accidentally find their way into the forefront of political debate. They are all interconnected to the policies of Sustainable Development and the restructuring of our way of life.
To quote a special Sustainable Development document prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): “A new ecologically
balanced economics will drive the pursuit of Community Sustainability within modem society’s all-encompassing urban-rural industrial civilization.... This global marketplace is destined to recast the meanings of industry, work, play, health, agriculture, communications, learning and much more.”
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.
Sustainable Development policy is built on something called the “precautionary principle.” That means that any activities that might threaten human health or the environment should be stopped - even if no clear cause and effect relationship has been established - and even if the potential threat is largely theoretical.
Q: Is this concept essential to care for the environment?
TAD: In reality, Sustainable Development has very little to do with protecting the environment. It has much more to do with redistributing wealth. The basis for Sustainablist policy is global warming. The excuse is that we must cut back on our carbon foot print. Yet, the Kyoto Accord, if fully implemented, would have done nothing to reduce carbon emissions, simply because it allowed some of the most industrialized nations like China, India and Brazil to be exempt. Cap and Trade does the same thing. How is the environment helped if there is no reduction of the pollutants they say causes the crisis? In fact, Sustainable Development has nothing to do with it. Instead, its policies specifically succeed in locking away American resources, like timber, oil and minerals, forcing us to import them from other countries. How does that help the environment? Again, it is about redistributing American dollars to other countries, reducing our power and independence. That forces us to rely on the global economy, leading to stronger global governance.
Q: Is there a rational basis for “sustainable development”, I mean are natural resources that in danger of being destroyed or consumed out of existence?
TAD: Scientific research shows that there is no shortage of natural resources. The United States appears to have more oil than anywhere else in the world. But it is locked away. Science is beginning to speak out quite forcefully about the lack of evidence of man-made global warming. It simply doesn’t exist. America has more trees today than in the last 200 years, simply because we no longer have to maintain massive fields for horses - because of the invention of the car. There is no shortage of land and there is no over population crisis. In fact, all of the people in the world could today live in an area the size of Texas, with a density equal to living in Paris, France.
The reasons for the ever-growing poverty and horrible living conditions in some parts of the world, is because of bad governments which refuse to allow their people the ability to create their own wealth. Economists such as Hernando de Soto advocate that ownership of private property is the only way to eliminate poverty - exactly why America is so rich and prosperous. Instead, these countries steal the labor of their people, forcing them to live in hovels, making the water filthy and scorching the fields where nothing will grow. Then the governments look to other nations to bail them out and the environmentalists scream about population explosions and destruction of the environment. The UN’s answer is aid, aid and more aid - taking from the producers - giving to those with nothing - forcing them to live in life-long bread lines. The UN and the “humanitarians” pat themselves on the back for such compassion - as the poor continue to suffer. Worse, Environmentalists work to stop development in Third World countries, saying the growing use of energy is not sustainable. They are much happier to have the poor live in their mud huts, walking five mile a day for their dirty water. Through their Public/Private Partnerships, many corporations and lending institutions now refuse to build development projects in such areas, claiming them to be unsustainable. They then give each other awards for their environmental stewardship.
Q:To what extent is the promotion of “Sustainable Development” fear-mongering?
TAD: Like its partner in crime Global Warming, Sustainable Development is nothing but fear mongering. During theCold Warm, the Soviet Union tried to get us to accept Marxism. We refused, seeing how horrible it was. But, when the Iron Curtain fell, many of the same policies were proposed to the world wrapped in a neat green blanket. We were warned that we had to “protect the environment” or we our foothold in the universe - planet earth - would die and us with it. Suddenly, the West started throwing its liberties on the bon fire like a good old fashioned book burning.
Q: Are the promoters of “Sustainable Development” cynical in their view of humanity, and in technology and mankind’s capacity to meet challenges and solve them radically with science, rather than juridical strictures?
TAD: They basically take the attitude that man is not part of the ecology and is a danger to the earth. If only man could be eliminated, they say, the earth and the animals could have a chance. Think that is too outrageous? I’ll let them tell you in their own words:
“The native ecosystems and the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.” Reed Noss, a developer of the Wildlands Project
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrial nations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” Mau rice Strong, Chairman, 1992 Earth Summit
“Endangered species is the wedge for imposing a new land ethic that compares land ownership to slaves and involves discarding that concept of property and trying to find a different understanding of the landscape.” Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior
“(We) will map the whole nation... determine development for the whole country, and regulate it all...” Thomas Lovejoy, scientific advisor to the Department of the Interior
“We reject the idea of private property” Peter Berle, National Audubon Society
“Among environmentalists sharing tow or three beers, the notion is quite common that if only some calamity could wipe out the human race, other species might once again have a chance.” Richard Conniff, Audubon Magazine
Q: So, in a word, would it be wrong to say that “Sustainable Development” is merely a code word for reorganizing society on the basis of socialist principles and a statist view of civil government?
TAD: In a word - No - it would not be wrong to say that.
Al Gore, in his book Earth in the Balance, said we must go through a “wrenching transformation of society” in order to cleanse us of the Twentieth Century’s industrial revolution. Sustainable Development is that wrenching transformation. When it is over, if they succeed, our civilization may again be one of cave dwellers responding to superstitions instead of knowledge.
Q: What do we most have to fear from the advocates of “Sustainable Development”, if they are only interested in peaceful lobbying?
TAD: There is no “peaceful” lobbying. The Sustainablist are entrenched in our communities (ICLEI). They control Congress and state houses across the nation. Sustainable Development is the ruling principle in every city, town and county in the nation. They have organized business into partnerships where “going green” is the mantra of the day. They are banning products like incandescent light bulbs, so they can make more money from the new, dangerous, mercury filled “green bulbs.” They are using programs like the “Wildlands Project” to lock away land, destroying ranches and the timber industry, in turn destroying whole towns. In that way they are herding people into human habitat areas - massive cities. In those cities they are forcing homeowners to make their homes “sustainable,” forcing them to put on new roofs, new windows, new appliances - all so they comply with sustainable regulations. In Oakland, CA, such new sustainable rules will force homeowners to spend an average of $35,000 per home. Smart Growth polices are locking away land outside the city, putting a premium on land, forcing housing costs to skyrocket and forcing the need to control populations inside the designated area. Soon, if allowed to go on, we sill see government enforcing population control on the number of babies a family may have. Use your imagination as to how that will be done. Some Sustainablists advocate that the Earth can only sustain a population of about 250 million.
Meanwhile in rural communities, farmers and land owners are unable to make money from their lands because of taxes, global “free trade” pacts like NAFTA, and strict regulations that are killing their ability to survive. So they are signing things like conservation agreements and selling their development rights, thinking these things will save their land. What they don’t understand is that groups like the Nature Conservancy are getting rich and powerful trading and selling those Easements to their fellow environmental groups. The farmers, thinking they have preserved the land to hand down to their children find to their horror that they have nothing to hand down. They no longer own the land. And if they try to sell it, they find no buyers, because no one wants to buy something they can’t control.
Q: What are some of the code words which advocates of “Sustainable Development” use to make it appear a worthwhile cause?
TAD: Partnership building, Consensus, Urban Redevelopment, Community Development, Land use, Collaborative Approaches, Purchase of Development Rights (IPDR), “Maintaining a strong diversified local economy,” Preserve open space, Preserving our heritage, Heritage Corridors, Heritage Areas, Historic Preservation, Quality Growth, Smart Growth, Innovative new development, Tax-free Zones, Use of Eminent Domain, Regional Governments, Regional Planning Boards, Water Control Boards, Urban Forest, Non-governmental Organizations (NGO), Conservation Easements, Sustainable Farming, Comprehensive Planning, Visioning Process, Growth Management, Resource Use, Social Justice.
If you hear your locally-elected leaders using these terms, Sustainable Development is what they mean.
Q: To what extent has this concept of “Sustainable Development” already been incorporated in our Federal and State laws?
TAD: First of all, Sustainable Development is not a partisan issue. It is being implemented equally by both Republicans and Democrats.
Most of the Sustainable policy coming from the federal level has not been through legislationfrom Congress. Instead, it has come from Executive Order from the Administration. Under the Clinton Administration, nearly every department of the government moved to impose Sustainable development by using existing programs and funding. Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown stated that his department could impose 60% of the policies they wanted in his department without any new legislation. In that way, Clinton was able to enforce almost the entire Biodiversity Treaty, even though it has never been ratified by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the UN has worked directly with local communities to recruit mayors and county commissioners to create Sustainable policy on their own. The National Conference of Mayors is a major promoter of Sustainable Development. Of course, with ICLEI in over 500 cities, literally every single local and state government is now involved in putting these polices in place.
Q: Is there anything more you would like to add?
TAD: Understand, it is not environmental protection that is the culprit - it is the PROCESS of Sustainable Development. Communities have dealt with local problems for 200 years. Some use zoning, some don’t. But locally elected town councils and commissioners which meet and discuss problems with the citizens are how this nation was built and prospered. Today, under Sustainable Development, NGOs like ICLEI move in to establish non-elected boards, councils and regional government bodies. They answer to no one and they are run by zealots with their own political agenda imposing international laws and regulations. Local homeowners have no say in the process and in most cases are shut out. Sometimes they are literally thrown out of council meetings because they want to discuss how a regulation is going to affect their property or livelihood. Essentially, this process of a series of non-elected councils and boards enforcing policy is the perfect description of a soviet.
Today, those who are taking to the streets in TEA Party protests are focusing on federal issues like taxes and health care. They must learn that they can never restore the Republic if their local community is a little soviet. This is the root of our fight against Sustainable Development.
Used by Permission from the DeWeese Report, February 2010.