Agenda 21, what is it? Most Americans know nothing about it (so don’t feel left out). Here are a few details, then some comments on what it is really about.
It is a resolution being discussed currently by the U.N. The resolution has been in the making since 1992 and is not yet finalized. Here is the declaration. After reading through it it became clear that #1 the resolution is non-binding and #2 the principles laid out are something almost everyone can agree on. The caveat for that is that it places humans at the center of any accelerations of climate change with disastrous consequences (some have issue with that) and it does spell out a wish for international law, but encourages nations to make their own laws in accordance.
There is much alarm among libertarians around the confiscation of personal property in order to wrangle all humans into high density mixed use urban communities. All of these new green buzzwords like “high density mixed use urban communities” , “sustainable“, and “smart growth” are equated to the language of a New World Order for some. One website equated the use of the words and ideas behind sustainability with socialism.
I could not find any examples of the U.N. taking over personal property, or proposing to do so in the name of Agenda 21. Even the Heritage Foundation admits that the U.N. is not likely to have boots on the ground enforcing anything to do with Agenda 21 – they point to state and local governments that are now adopting sustainability and smart growth measures.
There are the 27 principles of Agenda 21 laid out in the document linked above, I’ll try to recap them here in laymen’s terms:
- Human being are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
- States are allowed to exploit their own resources, just not others (or ruin them).
- Development must consider now and future environmental concerns.
- Environment protections must be considered with any developments – not isolated from them.
- Eradicating poverty is key to sustainable development and must be treated as such.
- Environmentally vulnerable developing nations deserve special consideration and priority.
- States should act in global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the Earth’s ecosystem. Also, we’re looking at you developed countries because you control and use more resources.
- So everyone can have a higher quality of life, unsustainable practices should be stopped.
- We should try to be freer with our ideas and technology to further everyone in the sustainable tech game.
- States should act on a national level to educate their people about what is going on with conservation and sustainable practices. That info should be readily available.
- States should make environmental legislation but not cause undue stress on developing nations.
- Trade policies should lead to sustainable development in all nations. Environmental policies in international waters should be based on international consensus (not the nearest port).
- Compensation should be codified by law for the victims of environmental damage. We really should hurry up and make some international laws about this too.
- States should not allow any of their citizens or entities to transfer nasty pollution/waste to any other states.
- Even if we don’t have 100% of the studying done on all of the involved issues, we should be very cautious – there’s enough bad news that we can work on trying to reverse it.
- States should see that the polluters bear the cost of cleaning up the pollution.
- Use common sense and do some environmental impact assessments.
- One state should let another state know post haste if some environmental screw up is heading their way. The international community should chip in and help.
- Seriously, the polluting state needs to be up front and honest early on and help the state that is about to be polluted deal with it.
- Women are really important to get on board with sustainable practices.
- The youth have a lot to give too, we should listen to their ideas.
- The indigenous people too. They have a lot of knowledge to share and should be protected literally and culturally. They are key in the challenge to be sustainable.
- The environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination and occupation shall be protected.
- Warfare is not sustainable. It’s got to go – please obey international laws.
- Peace, development, and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.
- States should resolve their conflicts peacefully.
- Cooperate and work to develop international law around these principles.
The ideas listed above seem pretty common sense in the face of the global environmental crisis we have on our hands. Of course that does not mean that nations will adopt the measures.
If nations we only allowed to exploit their own resources and live in their own filth, Agenda 21 would be unnecessary. In this global economy, the worst living conditions and the worst environmental damage are heaped onto the same impoverished people who earn the least money on the planet.
There is a consensus, we are at a tipping point. Even if the principles above were directly enforceable by the U.N., it may be a good thing because obviously no nation in the world can stop the multinational polluters; the people of the earth are paying for it with their health, homes, children and lives.
Now that you know, go back and take yesterday’s poll on what you think of Agenda 21. Thanks.