A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, “Is the UN Using Bike Paths to Achieve World Domination?” by Andrew Cohen, drew my intense attention. It was not because I particularly cared for the author’s writings. It was his vitriolic description of people who oppose ICLEI and the United Nations-driven “sustainability initiatives” regarding land use in the United States as “right wing conspiracy theories,” promoted by “Agenders.”
Cohen calls ordinary American citizens who oppose the UN Agenda 21’s goals “Agenders,” people who object to “sustainable land uses” not on the merits of the plans themselves but on the basis that they are “beyond the realm of mainstream political thought.” In progressive language, “mainstream” is what they believe in and wish to impose on the rest of society because they are smarter and we are the dumb masses who can be manipulated by a Gaia-worshipping environmentalist minority.
Cohen continues, “the loudest argument is the most bizarre…a vast international conspiracy, orchestrated by the United Nations, which would ultimately result in international domination over the way Americans both live and breathe.” He paints the majority of Americans as Agenders who are not interested in sanitation, biodiversity, “sustainable growth,” renewable energy, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. According to Cohen, Americans want their constitutional rights “to rape the land, foul the air, dirty the water, and sprawl development wherever the hell they feel like it.”
Aside from the direct insults, Cohen does not mention the numerous bankrupted renewable energy companies such as Solyndra, Evergreen Energy Inc., Beacon, Ener1, Amonix Inc. that squandered billions of taxpayer dollars while failing to deliver any affordable renewable energy to American households.
The author misrepresents the intents and goals of UN Agenda 21, as well as the role of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) at the local and state governments in terms of rezoning of private land in the U.S. In his view, we are no longer a “Big Sky Country,” we are now a “Big Lie Country” because we have become aware, informed, and are fighting back, stopping some of the UN Agenda 21 driven initiatives around the country.
He continues to demonize “Agenders,” the “Tea Party crowd,” and their disdain for large government.” The majority is against big government not because it is our tradition as Americans to be self-sufficient and independent but because Glenn Beck, a former Fox News star, told us, “Sustainable development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control over all human life on earth.” Apparently, we are so simple-minded; we cannot think for ourselves or stand up for less government control when we see it.
To defend his argument that we are not intelligent, Cohen uses the La Plata County, Colorado as an example of “why smart professionals don’t want to be in government,” and as a “reminder of how much damage the Tea Party has wrought upon even local government.” Following his logic, then only dumb non-professionals comprise our government.
In La Plata County, Colorado, a “diverse, 17-member working group had the ambitious “vision” to rein in sprawl, encourage bicycling and public transportation, protect agriculture and promote sustainability.” “Responsible stewardship” of Mother Earth failed in this case because of pressure from “Agenders.”
Cohen sees “Agenders” as opponents of “sustainable growth” who will be able to “succeed all over the country in scuttling such plans without having to make a coherent, substantive argument against the actual initiatives contemplated in the plans.” He sees most Americans as unwilling to “cut back on pollution, the dangerous misuse of land, or just plain old-fashioned over-development.” Again, a minority of “progressive” Americans knows best what is good for America and what bogus science it presents to the rest of us.
I would like to make several coherent, substantive arguments against “sustainable growth” driven by UN Agenda 21 presented in Rio in 1992.
James Gustave Speth, chairman of President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality, head of the World Resources Institute, member of President Clinton’s transition team, and head of UN Development Program said at a conference called “Rio +5 meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1997:
“Global governance is here, here to stay, and, driven by economic and Environmental globalization, global governance will inevitably expand.”
Global governance was defined in the 1999 UN Human Development Report: “The framework of rules, institutions, and practices that set limits on behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies.”
Global governance can be further defined as those policies created by non-elected bureaucrats from international institutions that “limit the behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies.” (Freedom21.org)
Government control of land use is a fundamental principle of global governance. The rules of global governance limit the behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies before the community understands what is happening. Many in Congress support the principle of global governance.
Signed in 1992, Agenda 21 is not a Treaty; it is a soft-law document of 40 chapters with recommendations covering every facet of human life. The recommendations have been implemented mostly administratively with little Congressional input; however, some have been included in legislation.
Federal agencies, EPA in particular, developed and awarded “visioning” grants to communities and to the American Planning Association. The “visioning” process at the local level was usually initiated by a local planning agency, a non-government agency (NGO) or ICLEI. The International Council on Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is the international NGO created by the United Nations two years before the 1992 Rio conference, in order to advance the concept of “sustainable development.”
“Sustainable development” is a plan of action for bike paths, walkways, greenbelts, conservation areas, high-density areas, urban boundary zones, and other buzzwords that “progressive” environmentalists have developed.
The 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver declared government control of land use as “indispensable.” The same document recommended government mandates for population redistribution to accommodate the needs of biodiversity.
We are familiar with the Wildlands Project and its map of protected land areas required by the Convention on Biological Diversity: Core reserves (roadless areas), Corridors (extensions of reserves, several miles wide), and Buffer Zones (gradation of human use). Dr. Coffman showed this map to the Senate.
Farmers often sell some of their land to finance retirement to city dwellers who want to commute because they do not want to endure the chaotic city life. “Government control of land use enforced through comprehensive land use plans, deny farmers the right to sell their land to city dwellers because of an urban boundary zone, or greenbelt, or conservation area designation, or because of ‘unjust compensation tax.’”(Freedom21.org)
My response to “progressives” is that we do know the truth, we do have cogent arguments and we would like to preserve our freedoms while protecting the environment in a manner that does not fundamentally alter our way of life or rob us of our property and sovereignty to the benefit of UN third world nations who have devised such transformative plans for Americans without our approval.
The United Nations cannot govern us because it contradicts our historic system of freedom and self-governance. Government is not the source of our individual rights; rights cannot be given or denied to us by a benevolent government in the interest of the community. Our Creator is the source of our unalienable rights.
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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com
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