Americans are so focused on Congress and Obama at the federal level of government right now that most are overlooking the socialism creeping in at the local level through Agenda 21. It is easy to overlook local government since people are saturated with too much information in the internet age. Compounding this is the fact that Agenda 21 is a dull topic, and it becomes understandable how it has been able to fly mostly under the radar since 1992, slowly working its way into our cities and counties.
Agenda 21, which reportedly means an agenda for the 21st century, is a United Nations program launched in 1992 for the vague purpose of achieving global "sustainable development." Congress never approved Agenda 21, although Presidents Obama, Clinton and George H.W. Bush have all signed Executive Orders implementing it. 178 other world leaders agreed to it in 1992 at the Rio Summit. Since then, the U.N. has mostly bypassed national governments, using Agenda 21’s International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (“ICLEI”) to make agreements directly with local governments. ICLEI's U.S. presence has grown to include agreements with over 600 cities, towns and counties here, which are now copying the land use plans prescribed in Agenda 21.
Some conservatives are trying to attract attention to Agenda 21 by labeling it a secret conspiracy to create a one world government. While that will wake some people up, it will turn off others. It does not matter whether it is a conspiracy or not. There are people on the left side of the political spectrum - who may even believe they have good intentions - working together to spread their vision for society worldwide. Whether they meet in dark rooms or openly in public meetings is irrelevant; they are having great success convincing local governments in the U.S. to adopt their socialist and extreme environmentalist programs under the guise of feel-good buzz words. Left wing billionaire George Soros's Open Society has provided $2,147,415 to ICLEI. Van Jones' Green for All and the Tides Foundations’ Apollo Alliance are also reportedly ICLEI contributors.
Agenda 21 ostensibly seeks to promote "sustainability" (the latest revisionist word for "environmentalism," since Americans have learned too many negative things about environmentalism). "Sustainability" is an amorphous concept that can be interpreted to an extreme degree that would regulate and restrict many parts of our lives. When will the level of carbon emissions be low enough? How much must we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels? Preserving the environment is a dubious science, and what steps are really necessary to protect the environment are anyone's guess.
Agenda 21 promotes European socialist goals that will erode our freedoms and liberties. Most of its vague, lofty sounding phrases cause the average person’s eyes to glaze over, making it easier to sneak into our communities. The environmentalist goals include atmospheric protection, combating pollution, protecting fragile environments, and conserving biological diversity. Agenda 21 goes well beyond environmentalism. Other broad goals include combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, and reducing private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership, and privately owned farms. It seeks to cram people into small livable areas and institute population control. There is a plan for “social justice” that will redistribute wealth.
Once these vague, overly broad goals are adopted, they are being interpreted to allow massive amounts of new, overreaching regulations. Joyce Morrison from Eco-logic Powerhouse says Agenda 21 is so broad it will affect the way we "live, eat, learn and communicate." Berit Kjos, author of Brave New Schools, warns that Agenda 21 "regulation would severely limit water, electricity, and transportation - even deny human access to our most treasured wilderness areas, it would monitor all lands and people. No one would be free from the watchful eye of the new global tracking and information system." Even one of the authors of Agenda 21 has admitted that it "…calls for specific changes in the activities of all people…" These steps are already being enacted little by little at the local levels.
Since the U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and uses more energy than any other country, it stands to lose the most from environmental regulations. The goal of "sustainability," which comes down to using government to heavy-handedly accomplish vague goals of caring for the earth, goes contrary to our free market capitalism. Even more unfair, struggling third world countries and communist countries that cannot financially afford to comply with the onerous environmental regulations will continue their high levels of fossil fuel consumption, and the U.S. will be forced by U.N. regulators to conserve even more to make up for those countries.
Obama signed Executive Order 13575 earlier this month, establishing a "White House Rural Council" prescribed by Agenda 21. The amount of government Obama has directed to administer this is staggering. Obama committed thousands of federal employees in 25 federal agencies to promote sustainability in rural areas, completely bypassing Congressional approval. Some of these agencies are unrelated to rural areas. The agencies will entice local communities into adopting Agenda 21 programs by providing them millions of dollars in grants. Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh writing for Canada Free Press analyzed the order and wrote, "it establishes unchecked federal control into rural America in education, food supply, land use, water use, recreation, property, energy, and the lives of 16% of the U.S. population."
Tea party groups, talk show host Glenn Beck, and organizations like Freedom Advocates, Catholic Investigative Agency and Sovereignty International are working hard to expose Agenda 21, but there is only so much a few can do. Some local governments have become aware of what Agenda 21 is really about and dropped out of ICLEI this year. The Carroll County Board of Commissioners, Montgomery County in Pennsylvania and the city of Edmond, Oklahoma have all withdrawn their participation.
It will be difficult to defeat Agenda 21 because it requires changing the attitudes of over 600 separate localities across the U.S. Ideally, a conservative president could roll back the executive orders implementing it, but considering Republican President H.W. Bush was a disappointment in this area that may be too much to hope for. If Republicans take over Congress they could challenge the huge power grab Obama made with Executive Order 13575 and ban Agenda 21 in the U.S. For now, local activists must champion this issue, much like Texans for Accountable Government has done, educating local boards and commissions and serving on them. Agenda 21 is a tedious and overwhelming topic, and until it can be explained in an easy-to-understand way that interests the average American, it will be tough to beat back.