THE GREEN AGENDA
“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” – Club of Rome The First Global Revolution
The environmental movement has been described as the largest and most influential social phenomenon in modern history. From relative obscurity just a few decades ago it has spawned thousands of organisations and claims millions of committed activists. Reading the newspaper today it is hard to imagine a time when global warming, resource depletion, environmental catastrophes and ‘saving the planet’ were barely mentioned. They now rank among the top priorities on the social, political and economic global agenda.
Environmental awareness is considered to be the mark of any good honest decent citizen. Multi-national companies compete fiercely to promote their environmental credentials and ‘out-green’ each other. The threat of impending ecological disasters is uniting the world through a plethora of international treaties and conventions. But where did this phenomenon come from, how did it rise to such prominence, and more importantly, where is it going?
While researching for these articles, and during my academic studies, I have come across many references to the The Club of Rome (CoR), and reports produced by them. Initially I assumed that they were just another high-level environmental think-tank and dismissed the conspiracy theories found on many websites claiming that the CoR is a group of global elitists attempting to impose some kind of one world government.
I am not a conspiratorial person by nature and was faced with a dilemma when I first read their reports. But it’s all there – in black and white. The CoR claims that “we are facing an imminent catastrophic ecological collapse” and “our only hope is to transform humanity into a global interdependent sustainable society, based on respect and reverence for the Earth.” In the end I came to the conclusion that there are two possibilities –either the CoR wrote all these reports and setup a vast network ofsupporting organisations just for fun or they actually believe what they have written and are working hard to fulfill their role as the self-appointed saviours of Gaia.
Based on my close observation of their actions, and watching the recommendations made by the CoR many years ago now being adopted as official UN and government policy – well, I have become personally convinced that they are deadly serious. On this website I try to use quotes and excerpts as much as possible and let the reader reach their own conclusions.
So, what exactly is the Club of Rome and who are its members? Founded in 1968 at David Rockefeller’s estate in Bellagio, Italy, the CoR describes itself as “a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity.” It consists of current and former Heads of State, UN beaureacrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders from around the globe.
The Club of Rome subsequently founded two sibling organizations, the Club of Budapest and the Club of Madrid. The former is focused on social and cultural aspects of their agenda, while the latter concentrates on the political aspects. All three of these ‘Clubs’ share many common members and hold joint meetings and conferences. As explained in other articles on this website it is abundantly clear that these are three heads of the same beast. The CoR has also established a network of 33 National Associations. Membership of the ‘main Club’ is limited to 100 individuals at any one time. Some members, like Al Gore and Maurice Strong, are affiliated through their respective National Associations (e.g. USACOR,CACORetc).
I would like to start this analysis of the Club of Rome by listing some prominent members of the CoR and its two sub-groups, the Clubs of Budapest and Madrid. Personally it isn’t what the CoR is that I find so astonishing; it is WHO the CoR is! This isn’t some quirky little group of green activists or obscure politicians. They are the most senior officials in the United Nations, current and ex-world leaders, and the founders of some of the most influential environmental organisations. When you read their reports in the context of who they are – its gives an entirely new, and frightening, context to their extreme claims.
Some current members of the Club of Rome or its two siblings:
Al Gore –former VP of the USA, leading climate change campaigner, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner, Emmy winner. Gore lead the US delegations to the Rio Earth Summit and Kyoto Climate Change conference. He chaired a meeting of the full Club of Rome held in Washington DC in 1997.
Javier Solana –Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, High Representative for EU Foreign Policy.
Maurice Strong– former Head of the UN Environment Programme, Chief Policy Advisor to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit, co-author (with Gorbachev) of the Earth Charter, co-author of the Kyoto Protocol, founder of theEarth Council, devout Baha’i.
Mikhail Gorbachev –CoRexecutive member, former President of the Soviet Union, founder of Green Cross International and the Gorbachev Foundation, Nobel Peace Prize winner, co-founder (with Hidalgo) of the Club of Madrid, co-author (with Strong) of the Earth Charter.
Ervin Laszlo –founding member of the CoR, founder and President of the Club of Budapest, founder and Chairman of the World Wisdom Council.
Anne Ehrlich – Population Biologist. Married to Paul Ehrlich with whom she has authored many books on human overpopulation. Also a former director of Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, and a member of the UN’s Global Roll of Honor.
Sir Crispin Tickell– former British Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Representative on the Security Council, Chairman of the ‘Gaia Society’,Chairman of the Board of the Climate Institute, leading British climate change campaigner.
Kofi Annan –former Secretary General of the United Nations. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The Dalai Lama– The ‘Spiritual Leader’ of Tibet. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Father Berry Thomas –Catholic Priest who is one of the leading proponents of deep ecology, ecospirituality and global consciousness. (deceased RIP – he wasn’t a Catholic since he didn’t follow the Church’s teaching – one doubts that they got a replacement. http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/)
David Rockefeller– CoRexecutive member, former Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, founder of the Trilateral Commission, executive member of the World Economic Forum, donated land on which the United Nations stands.
Stephen Schneider –Stanford Professor of Biology andGlobal Change. Professor Schneider was among the earliest and most vocal proponents of man-made global warming and a lead author of many IPCC reports.
Bill Clinton –former President of the United States, founder of the Clinton Global Iniative.
Jimmy Carter –former President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Bill Gates –founder of Microsoft, philanthropist
Garret Hardin –Professor of Human Ecology. Originator of the ‘Global Commons‘ concept. Has authored many controversial papers on human overpopulation and eugenics. Other current influential members: (these can be found on the membership lists of the COR (here,here,and here), Club of Budapest,Club of Madrid and/orCoR National Association membership pages)
Ted Turner – media mogul, philanthropist, founder of CNN
George Soros – multibillionare, major donor to the UN
Tony Blair – former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Deepak Chopra – New Age Guru
Desmond Tutu – South African Bishop and activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Timothy Wirth – President of the United Nations Foundation
Henry Kissinger – former US Secretary of State
George Matthews – Chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation
Harlan Cleveland – former Assistant US Secretary of State and NATO Ambassador
Barbara Marx Hubbard – President of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution
Betty Williams – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Marianne Williamson – New Age ‘Spiritual Activist’
Robert Thurman – assistant to the Dalai Lama
Jane Goodall– Primatologist and Evolutionary Biologist
Juan Carlos I – King of Spain
Prince Philippe of Belgium
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Dona Sophia– Queen of Spain
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – current Prime Minister of Spain
Karan Singh – Former Prime Minister of India, Chairman of the Temple of Understanding
Daisaku Ikeda – founder of the Soka Gakkai cult
Martin Lees – CoR Secretary General, Rector of the UN University of Peace
Ernesto Zedillo –Director of The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
Frithjof Finkbeiner –Coordinator of the Global Marshall Plan
Franz Josef Radermacher –Founder of the Global Marshall Plan
Eduard Shevardnadze – former Soviet foreign minister and President of Georgia
Richard von Weizsacker – former President of Germany
Carl Bildt – former President of Sweden
Kim Campbell – former Prime Minister of Canada and Senior Fellow of the Gorbachev Foundation
Vincente Fox – former President of Mexico
Helmut Kohl – former Chancellor of Germany
Romano Prodi – former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the European Commission
Vaclav Havel – former President of the Czech Republic
Hans Kung – Founder of the Global Ethic Foundation
Ruud Lubbers – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Mary Robinson– United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Jerome Binde – Director of Foresight, UNESCO
Koïchiro Matsuura – Current Director General of UNESCO
Federico Mayor –Former Director General of UNESCO
Tapio Kanninen – Director of Policy and Planning, United Nations
Konrad Osterwalder –Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Peter Johnston – Director General of European Commission
Jacques Delors – Former President of the European Commission
Domingo Jimenez-Beltran – Executive Director of the European Environment Agency
Thomas Homer-Dixon –Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Toronto
Hazel Henderson – Futurist and ‘evoluntionary economist’
Emeka Anyaoku – former Commonwealth Secretary General, current President of the World Wildlife Fund
Wangari Maathai – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement and many more….
The concept of ‘environmental sustainability’ was first brought to widespread public attention in 1972 by the Club of Rome in their book entitled The Limits to Growth. The official summary can be read here. The report basically concluded that the growth of the human population, and an increase in prosperity, would cause an ecological collapse within the next hundred years:
“If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.”
“It is possible to alter these growth trendsand to establish a condition of ecological and economic stability that is sustainable far into the future. The state of global equilibrium could be designed so that the basic material needs of each person on earth are satisfied and each person has an equal opportunity to realize his individual human potential.”
“The overwhelming growth in world population caused by the positive birth-rate loop is a recent phenomenon, a result of mankind’s very successful reduction of worldwide mortality. The controlling negative feedback loop has been weakened, allowing the positive loop to operate virtually without constraint. There are only two ways to restore the resulting imbalance. Either the birth rate must be brought down to equal the new, lower death rate, or the death rate must rise again.”
“The result of stopping population growth in 1975 and industrial capital growth in 1985 with no other changes is that population and capital reach constant values at a relatively high level of food, industrial output and services per person. Eventually, however, resource shortages reduce industrial output and the temporarily stable state degenerates.”
“Man possesses, for a small moment in his history, the most powerful combination of knowledge, tools, and resources the world has ever known. He has all that is physically necessary to create a totally new form of human society – one that would be built to last for generations. The two missing ingredients are a realistic, long-term goal that can guide mankind to the equilibrium society and the Human Will to achieve that goal.”
“Without such a goal and a commitment to it, short-term concerns will generate the exponential growth that drives the world system toward the limits of the earth and ultimate collapse. With that goal and that commitment, mankind would be ready now to begin a controlled, orderly transition from growth to global equilibrium.”
So as you can see the even back in 1972 the Club considered modern industrial society to be completely unsustainable. They state that even if population was frozen at 1975 levels, and industrial activity at 1985 levels, then the earth’s ecosystems would still ultimately collapse. The CoR has not changed these views in the slightest, in fact, in the last three decades their warnings have become increasingly more urgent and alarmist. They call this imminent collapse the ‘World Problematique’ and their proposed solution the ‘World Resolutique.’
The Limits to Growth is considered to be the most successful environmental publication ever produced and propelled the Club of Rome to its current position of an environmental thought-leader and a major consultant to the United Nations. It has been translated into more than forty languages and sold more than 30 million copies. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the concept that humanity was irreparably damaging the earth gained popularity and facilitated the formation of mainstream and activist environmental groups.
All meetings of the CoR are held behind closed doors’ and no public records are kept. However the Club does produce many ‘discussion reports’ that can be found on its website. The United Nations contractsthe Club of Rome to prepare ‘Policy Guidance Documents’ which it uses in formulating its policies and programmes. A quick search for Club of Rome on the UNESCO publicationssite reveals 250 such documents. There are many other documents there authored by CoR members acting in other capacities. As many high ranking UN officials are actually CoR members, this is like a man asking himself for advice, and then agreeing with that advice. Not very objective! Various UN organisations also hold joint conferences with the CoR.
While checking the Club of Rome website this morning the first item in their ‘current news’ section refers to a briefing delivered by the CoR to G8 officials in preparation for the upcoming G8 meeting. The second item is a summary report from the Club of Romes ’strategy planning retreat’ with 150 senior UNESCO officials. The joint CoR/UNESCO communique states:
“We are at the end of an era – a turning point in history. We are approaching the threshold of runaway climate change. We underline the urgency of radical action to reduce emissions, by both immediate action and longer-term measures; to stress to political leaders the non-linear nature of the processes at work which will generate sudden change; and to assert that the overriding priority must be to avert the impending risk of catastrophic climate change.” -CoR/UNESCO communique.
Twenty years after the Limits to Growth the CoR published another major report that became an instant best-seller. In The First Global Revolution the Club of Rome claimed that the time to act had run out. It was now or never. Delay in beginning corrective measures will increase the damage to the world ecological system and ultimately reduce the human population that will eventually be supportable. They also stated that democratic governments are far too short-sighted to deal with the‘problematique’ and new forms of governance are urgently required.
In order not too violate any copyright protection I will not reproduce the text of the book on this site. However, it is permissible for me to quote a brief excerpt in the context of this wider discussion. The complete text(third ed.) can be read and searched online at Google Books. As you read the following quote (from page 75, first ed.), please remember the names of the leaders listed above. This is not some quirky little cult. This is the stated agenda of the leaders of the environmental movement:
“This is the way we are setting the scene for mankind’s encounter with the planet. The opposition between the two ideologies that have dominated the 20th century has collapsed, forming their own vacuum and leaving nothing but crass materialism.
It is a law of Nature that any vacuum will be filled and therefore eliminated unless this is physically prevented. “Nature,” as the saying goes, “abhors a vacuum.” And people, as children of Nature, can only feel uncomfortable, even though they may not recognize that they are living in a vacuum. How then is the vacuum to be eliminated?
It would seem that humans need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum; such a motivation must be found to bring the divided nations together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one invented for the purpose. New enemies therefore have to be identified. New strategies imagined, new weapons devised.
The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.
The old democracies have functioned reasonably well over the last 200 years, but they appear now to be in a phase of complacent stagnation with little evidence of real leadership and innovation.
Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. The complexity and the technical nature of many of today’s problems do not always allow elected representatives to make competent decisions at the right time.”
So, long before Global Warming became a well known issue Al Gore and his Club of Rome colleagues stated that they would use the threat of global warming to unite humanity and “set the scene for mankind’s encounter with the planet.” In the same way that shamans and sooth-sayers in medieval times used their advance knowledge of when eclipses would occur to control and terrify their followers, they would use a natural phenomenon as their ‘enemy’ to achieve their objectives. But then they state that although Global Warming would be presented as the initial enemy, the real enemy of humanity would be portrayed as man himself. I am already noticing how frequently the terms climate change and overpopulation are being uttered in the same breath.
Having discovered that all these influential environmental leaders were associated with the Club of Rome I set about reading all the reports, lectures and speeches on their website as well as the reports commissioned by the UN. I was amazed to find that they lay out their entire agenda for anyone who has eyes to see. Exactly the same themes, concepts and phrases are repeated continuously throughout their publications. They are full of references to ‘imminent collapse‘, ‘dying planet‘, ‘our mother Gaia‘, ‘wrenching transformation‘, ‘united global society‘, ‘global consciousness‘, ‘new forms of governance‘ etc. They truly intend to bring about the world’s First Global Revolution.
The Kosmos Journal provides perhaps the best insight into their worldview. This Journal was founded by the Club of Rome in partnership with with several of its sibling organizations. As described in my article, The Green Web,the CoR has established a network of supporting organizations, each focusing on a different aspect of their agenda. The Kosmos Journal contains many articles written by CoR members.
The basic premise of their worldview is:
“Modern industrial civilisation is fast outstripping the Earth’s natural regenerative and life-supporting capacity…”
“At current rates of resource depletion and environmental degradation a near complete collapse of ecological integrity will occur within the next 100 years…”
“Gaia, our Mother, who nutured humanity for countless millenia within her womb of evolution, is dying…”
“A small window of opportunity now exists to transform humanity into a sustainable global interdepedant society based on respect and reverence for Earth…”
“A radical change from the current trajectory is required, a complete reordering of global society…”
“Humans only truly unite when faced with a powerful external enemy…”
“At this time a new enemy must be found, one either real or invented for the purpose…”
“Democracy has failed us, a new system of global governance, based on environmental imperatives, must be implemented quickly…”
Now that Obama is firmly ensconced in the White House the Club of Rome and its affiliates are swinging into high gear.
The CoR recently unveiled a new 3-year programme entitled A New Path for World Development.
The Club of Madrid has launched the Road to Copenhagen, a joint programme with the UN Environment Programme intended to facilitate a binding global climate change treaty in 2009.
Perhaps most interesting is the State of Global Emergency declared by the Club of Budapest in October 2008.
The declaration states that we only have four or five years to prevent a total collapse of the Earth’s ecosystems.
To quote from the document:
“If we continue on our present unsustainable path, by mid-century the Earth may become largely uninhabitable for human and most other forms of life. Such a total systems collapse could occur much sooner, however, due to runaway global warming or other ecocatastrophes, and/or by nuclear wars triggered by religious, ethnic or geopolitical conflicts or access to diminishing natural resources. The macro-trends driving these global threats and challenges have been apparent for decades and are now building toward a threshold of irreversibility. The scientific modeling of complex systems shows that when systems reach a state of critical instability, they either break down to their components or break through to a higher order of integral functioning. At these “points of no return” maintaining the status quo, or returning to a previous mode of organization and functioning, are not a feasible option.
The acceleration of critical trends and cross-impacts among them indicates that the ‘window of opportunity’ for pulling out of the present global crisis and breaking through to a more peaceful and sustainable world is likely to be no more than four to five years from the end of 2008. This is close in time to the Mayan 2012 prophecy for the end of the current world. The period around the end of 2012 is likely to be a turbulent one for this and other reasons. Predictions coming from the physical sciences foresee disturbances in the geomagnetic, electromagnetic and related fields that embed the planet causing significant damage to telecommunications and impacting many aspects of human activity and health. For the esoteric traditions the end of 2012 will be the end of the known world, although the more optimistic intepretations speak of a new world taking the place of the old.”
This may seem very strange – a group of prominent world leaders talking about ancient Mayan prophecies, but as I describe in my article, Gaia’s Gurus, many leading global warming activists openly advocate earth-reverence and other New Age philosophies. Gaia, Global Warming, and Global Governance are intricately entwined, if one truly believes in Gaia, and that she is being fatally harmed by the current system, then a new system of global governance and control would appear to be the only answer. Global Warming provides the ideal ‘enemy’ to bring about this objective. It is easy for these global elitists to talk about sacrifice, wrenching transformation, population reduction and eliminating the use of fossil fuels but the implications are truely horrendous.
Even if you think this is all nonsense I would ask you to at least read these quotes and excerpts, and think about the implications of their agenda. Everyday I am amazed at how quickly things are changing. It is coming hard and fast. It’s almost like reading a book and then watching the television adaptation, except that this adaptation is not a movie – it’s on the evening news. As Al Gore said in the closing sentence of his statement after he won the Nobel Peace Prize … “This is just the beginning.”
We should all want to be wise and careful stewards of the beautiful planet we call home. But most of us realise that humans in general are not being good stewards. We are wasteful with our natural resources and have reduced biodiversity. Therefore, when we read about groups and organisations calling for a ‘green revolution’ and a new relationship between humanity and nature it is easy to agree with their ideas.
However, certain aspects of the modern green movement that is permeating every segment of our society are not about protecting the environment. You don’t have to dig very deep to discover the true beliefs of the influential leaders who are using genuine concerns about the environment to promote an agenda of fear and control. Please carefully consider the implications of the opinions that they so openly and freely express:
(references and sources for the quotes below can be found here)
“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” –Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations
“We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” – Prof. Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” – Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.” – Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research
“Themodels are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.” – Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “I believe it is appropriate to have an ‘over-representation’ of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.” –Al Gore, Climate Change activist
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” – Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace
“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift Global Consciousness to a higher level.”–Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis…” – David Rockefeller, Club of Rome executive member ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet’s climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced – a catastrophe of our own making.” – Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
“We are getting close to catastrophic tipping points, despite the fact that most people barely notice the warming yet.” – Dr James Hansen, NASA researcher
“By the end of this century climate change will reduce the human population to a few breeding pairs surviving near the Arctic.” – Sir James Lovelock, Revenge of Gaia
“Climate Change will result in a catastrophic global sea level rise of seven meters. That’s bye-bye most of Bangladesh, Netherlands, Florida and would make London the new Atlantis.” – Greenpeace International
“This planet is on course for a catastrophe. The existence of Life itself is at stake.” – Dr Tim Flannery, Principal Research Scientist
“Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It’s global warming. It’s ruining our country. It’s ruining our world.” – Harry Reid, U.S. Senate majority leader
“Climate Change is the greatest threat that human civilization has ever faced.” – Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
“Climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.” – Barack Obama, US President
“We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
“Climate change should be seen as the greatest challenge to ever face mankind.” – Prince Charles
“Climate change makes us all global citizens, we are truly all in this together.” – Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister
“We have reached the critical moment of decision on climate change. Failure to act to now would be deeply and unforgivably irresponsible. We urgently require a global environmental revolution.” – Tony Blair, former British PM
“We are close to a time when all of humankind will envision a global agenda that encompasses a kind of Global Marshall Plan to address the causes of poverty and suffering and environmental destruction all over the earth.“ –Al Gore, Earth in the Balance
“In Nature organic growth proceeds according to a Master Plan, a Blueprint. Such a ‘master plan’ is missing from the process of growth and development of the world system. Now is the time to draw up a master plan for sustainable growth and world development based on global allocation of all resources and a new global economic system. Ten or twenty years form today it will probably be too late.” – Club of Rome, Mankind at the Turning Point
“We need a new paradigm of development in which the environment will be a priority. World civilization as we know it will soon end. We have very little time and we must act. If we can address the environmental problem, it will have to be done within a new system, a new paradigm. We have to change our mindset, the way humankind views the world.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, founder of Green Cross International
“The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.“ –UN Commission on Global Governance report
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. The complexity and the technical nature of many of today’s problems do not always allow elected representatives to make competent decisions at the right time.” –Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The emerging ‘environmentalization’ of our civilization and the need for vigorous action in the interest of the entire global community will inevitably have multiple political consequences. Perhaps the most important of them will be a gradual change in the status of the United Nations. Inevitably, it must assume some aspects of a world government.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, State of the World Forum
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “I envisage the prinicles of the Earth Charter to be a new form of the ten commandments. They lay the foundation for a sustainable global earth community.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, co-author of The Earth Charter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “In my view, after fifty years of service in the United Nations system, I perceive the utmost urgency and absolute necessity for proper Earth government. There is no shadow of a doubt that the present political and economic systems are no longer appropriate and will lead to the end of life evolution on this planet. We must therefore absolutely and urgently look for new ways.” – Dr Robert Muller, UN Assistant Secretary General,
“Nations are in effect ceding portions of their sovereignty to the international community and beginning to create a new system of international environmental governance as a means of solving otherwise unmanageable crises.” – Lester Brown, WorldWatch Institute
“Regionalism must precede globalism. We foresee a seamless system of governance from local communities, individual states, regional unions and up through to the United Nations itself.” – UN Commission on Global Governance
“A keen and anxious awareness is evolving to suggest that fundamental changes will have to take place in the world order and its power structures, in the distribution of wealth and income. Perhaps only a new and enlightened humanism can permit mankind to negotiate this transition.” – Club of Rome, Mankind at the Turning Point
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The alternative to the existing world order can only emerge as a result of a new human dimension of progress. We envision a revolution of the mind, a new way of thinking.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, State of the World Forum
“We require a central organizing principle – one agreed to voluntarily. Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvement in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change – these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.” –Al Gore, Earth in the Balance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Adopting a central organizing principle… means embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution… to halt the destruction of the environment.” –Al Gore, Earth in the Balance
“Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.” – UN Agenda 21 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“The current course of development is thus clearly unsustainable. Current problems cannot be solved by piecemeal measures. More of the same is not enough. Radical change from the current trajectory is not an option, but an absolute necessity. Fundamental economic, social and cultural changes that address the root causes of poverty and environmental degradation are required and they are required now.” – from the Earth Charter website
“The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.” –David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth
“If we don’t overthrow capitalism, we don’t have a chance of saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have an ecologically sound society under socialism. I don’t think it is possible under capitalism” –Judi Bari, principal organiser of Earth First!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.” –Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.” –Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.” –Professor Maurice King
“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.” – David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.” – Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute
“The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” – Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation
“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Our insatiable drive to rummage deep beneath the surface of the earth is a willful expansion of our dysfunctional civilization into Nature.” – Al Gore, Earth in the Balance
“The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.” – Sir James Lovelock, BBC Interview
“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.” –Dave Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” –Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit
“Mankind is the most dangerous, destructive, selfish and unethical animal on the earth.” – Michael Fox, vice-president of The Humane Society
“Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” –John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic micro-organism, or like the cells of a tumor.” – Sir James Lovelock, Healing Gaia
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man.” – Club of Rome, Mankind at the Turning Point
“A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions.” – Prof Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb
“I don’t claim to have any special interest in natural history, but as a boy I was made aware of the annual fluctuations in the number of game animals and the need to adjust the cull to the size of the surplus population.” – Prince Philip, preface of Down to Earth ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion. At the more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible.” – United Nations, Global Biodiversity Assessment ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.” – Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major UN donor
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “…the resultant ideal sustainable population is hence more than 500 million but less than one billion.” –Club of Rome, Goals for Mankind
“One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population,we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.” –Jacques Cousteau, UNESCO Courier
“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, patron of the World Wildlife Fund
“I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.” – John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
“The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing.” – Christopher Manes, Earth First!
“The extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions, if not billions, of Earth-dwelling species. Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on Earth – social and environmental.” –Ingrid Newkirk, former President of PETA
“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” –David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club
“The fate of mankind, as well as of religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future. Armed with such a faith, we might find it possible to resanctify the earth.” –Al Gore, Earth in the Balance
“The greatest hope for the Earth lies in religionists and scientists uniting to awaken the world to its near fatal predicament and then leading mankind out of the bewildering maze of international crises into the future Utopia of humanist hope.“ –Club of Rome, Goals for Mankind
“What an incredible planet in the universe this will be when we will be one human family living in justice, peace, love and harmony with our divine Earth, with each other and with the heavens.” –Robert Muller, UN Assistant Secretary General
“The earth is literally our mother, not only because we depend on her for nurture and shelter but even more because the human species has been shaped by her in the womb of evolution…. Our salvation depends upon our ability to create a religion of nature.” –Rene Dubos, board member, Planetary Citizens
“Each element, plant, insect, fish and animal represents a certain aspect of Gaia’s – and our – being. In a way, we are Gaia’s intelligence and awareness – currently lost in self-destructive madness. We must acknowledge, respect and love her for being the Mother she is to us or we deny our very selves. Nurture the Mother as she nurtures us.” – Prof. Michael J. Cohen, Ecopsychologist
“It is the responsibility of each human being today to choose between the force of darkness and the force of light. We must therefore transform our attitudes, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior laws of Divine Nature.“ –Maurice Strong, first Secretary General of UNEP ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“The spirit of our planet is stirring! The Consciousness of Goddess Earth is now rising against all odds, in spite of millennia of suppression, repression and oppression inflicted on Her by a hubristic and misguided humanity.
The Earth is a living entity, a biological organism with psychic and spiritual dimensions. With the expansion of the patriarchal religions that focused on a male God majestically stationed in Heaven ruling over the Earth and the Universe, the memory of our planet’s innate Divinity was repressed and banished into the collective unconscious of humanity.” – Envision Earth
“Still more important is the implication that the evolution of homo sapiens, with his technological inventiveness and his increasingly subtle communications network, has vastly increased Gaia’s range of perception. She is now through us awake and aware of herself. She has seen the reflection of her fair face through the eyes of astronauts and the television cameras of orbiting spacecraft.
Our sensations of wonder and pleasure, our capacity for conscious thought and speculation, our restless curiosity and drive are hers to share. This new interrelationship of Gaia with man is by no means fully established; we are not yet a truly collective species, corralled and tamed as an integral part of the biosphere, as we are as individual creatures. It may be that the destiny of mankind is to become tamed, so that the fierce, destructive, and greedy forces of tribalism and nationalism are fused into a compulsive urge to belong to the commonwealth of all creatures which constitutes Gaia.“–Sir James Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look At Life
“Little by little a planetary prayer book is thus being composed by an increasingly united humanity seeking its oneness. Once again, but this time on a universal scale, humankind is seeking no less than its reunion with ‘divine,’ its transcendence into higher forms of life. Hindus call our earth Brahma, or God, for they rightly see no difference between our earth and the divine. This ancient simple truth is slowly dawning again upon humanity, as we are about to enter our cosmic age and become what we were always meant to be: the planet of god.” –Robert Muller, UN Assistant Secretary General
“What if Mary is another name for Gaia? Then her capacity for virgin birth is no miracle . . . it is a role of Gaia since life began . . . She is of this Universe and, conceivably, a part of God. On Earth, she is the source of life everlasting and is alive now; she gave birth to humankind and we are part of her.” –Sir James Lovelock, Ages of Gaia
“Nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International
“The spiritual sense of our place in nature… can be traced to the origins of human civilization…. The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity.” – Al Gore, Earth in the Balance
“Christianity is our foe. If animal rights is to succeed, we must destroy the Judeo-Christian Religious tradition.” – Peter Singer, founder of Animal Rights
“I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all its sacred parts. Its water, land and living things and all its human hearts.” –Global Education Associates, The Earth Pledge
“By fostering a deep sense of connection to others and to the earth in all its dimensions, holistic education encourages a sense of responsibility to self to others and to the planet.” –Global Alliance for Transforming Education
“The earth is not dead matter. She is alive. Now begin to speak to the earth as you walk. You can speak out loud, or just talk to her in your mind. Send your love into her with your exhalation. Feel your heart touching upon the heart of the planet. Say to her whatever words come to you: Mother Earth, I love you. Mother Earth, I bless you. May you be healed. May all your creatures be happy. Peace to you, Mother Earth. On behalf of the human race, I ask forgiveness for having injured you. Forgive us, Mother Earth“- US Student Textbook, “Prayer to the Earth”
Anticipating Agenda 21
Framework for Global Governance
By Carl Teichrib February 12, 2013
Forcing Change Volume 4, Issue 11
“What’s old is new again.”
To some extent Agenda 21 fits this mold. Emanating from the 1992 United Nations Rio Earth Summit, officially known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), concerns were raised by political researchers during the mid-to-late 1990s about the dangers posed by federal agencies looking to implement Agenda 21 management principles, particularly as it related to property rights, energy and industry, and agriculture.
Research articles were published, hearings took place, education campaigns were launched, and the topic was a talking point on some radio shows. Arguably, it wasn’t a mainstream issue – not in the sense of being a nationally recognized news story. Nevertheless, an energized effort to inform the public did make headway during that time.
Then came the “war on terror”, instantly becoming the international talking point. Paralleling this was the intensified battle over climate change. Agenda 21, it appeared to many, had faded into the background. Ironically, and not unknown to the research community, the Kyoto convention on climate change was launched through the Earth Summit process and was an extension of the Agenda 21 concept. All of this said, researchers and environmental lobbyists understood the long-term relevance of Agenda 21, and a back-story political struggle continued between advocates of private property versus those pushing socialized management. In this sense Agenda 21 never went “out of style” although the general public was largely ignorant of the controversy.
Now, approximately 20 years after UNCED and the release of Agenda 21, it has once again become a political focal point, especially in the United States. Consider the following.
In 2012 the Republican Party passed a resolution opposing Agenda 21, and in January 2013 a Missouri House committee found itself with an Agenda 21 ban proposal. In Oklahoma, two Agenda 21 ban resolutions are on the table, and anti-Agenda 21 legislation is before the Virginia House of Delegates. Educational meetings are springing up across the country as political researchers seek to inform the public about this critical issue.
The Obama administration has put forward environmental and economic platforms that are reminiscent of Agenda 21, and has enhanced the federal funding of Local Governments for Sustainability, also known as ICLEI – a global Agenda 21 support organization working with more than 600 jurisdictions in the United States. On another front, agri-industry giant Monsanto joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on January 22, 2013. The WBCSD, established to draw global businesses into the Earth Summit framework, partners with more than 200 major corporations in the pursuit of Agenda 21 sustainability concepts.
And last year’s Rio+20 conference, meant to bolster the original 1992 UNCED package, helped reawaken the topic.
Today, right or wrong, Agenda 21 is being dragged into an assortment of arguments, fueled in large part by the heated rhetoric of left-right pundits. This doesn’t mean it’s unimportant; It is, as it has already impacted national, state/provincial, and local management policies. But like so much else that can become emotionally charged, we tend to lose something in the noise.
That said, the purpose of this essay isn’t to explore the text of Agenda 21. Many other researchers and writers have done this. Rather, we need to focus on what Agenda 21 is, and what it was hoped to be. This second part represents an underlying story, revealing the heartbeat of Rio.
Revisiting Agenda 21
Agenda 21 is not a binding treaty. It does not have a legal and contractual mechanism in the same manner as multilateral treaties or conventions. However, this doesn’t mean it’s benign. Far from it.
Instead of being a treaty with enforcement mechanisms, this cornerstone UNCED document places the emphasis on voluntary implementation. Each country that signed Agenda 21 agreed to it as a framework, a structural instrument used by nations to shape their own domestic policies for a common “global good. In this sense it is a visioning blueprint meant to guide the planet’s citizens into “a new cooperative global partnership.3 Agenda 21, along with the other Rio agreements, act as a skeletal structure for global governance.
For those unfamiliar with global governance, it is a doctrine of pooled international cooperation based on governments voluntarily acting for the “general good through an agreed framework.
This governance theme floated throughout the Earth Summit, and was reflected in the post-Rio environmental literature. Consider a 1994 document from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a highly influential and government-founded policy organization based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Technical note: Maurice Strong, the Secretary-General of UNCED, was an IISD board member during the 1990s).
“UNCED also holds a broader significance. The environmental issue was set up as a global issue in need for global action. There were demands to strengthen international law, which could make nations toe the line. Non governmental organizations (NGOs) had been forming global networks and were working on global campaigns.
These efforts at the global level directly contributed to building a sense of global identity, or global citizenship which would be the first step towards global governance.
The global governance approach goes something like this:
1) Through the work of special interest groups (NGOs or “civil society actors) largely funded by “social change foundations, governments and the public become “educated to an impending “global crisis. Regardless if the crisis is real or perceived, it becomes a politically charged issue and a tool for global transformation. Maurice Strong, the godfather of Agenda 21, tells us; “Fundamental change almost always occurs in response to crisis or the perception of crisis.
2) The international community (UN agencies, regional bodies, etc), already networked with these same foundations and special interest groups, calls upon the world to “commit to action. A global facilitator, usually the United Nations, brings “stakeholders to the negotiating table; national governments, accredited non-governmental organizations, representatives from regional and global agencies, and significant business and financial players.
3) Brought together in a Global Summit, these stakeholders deliberate, make pronouncements, and engage in facilitated consensus building. The result: A “social contract emerges in the form of a treaty, accord, convention, or framework document. Now, depending on how it was penned and the legal structures invoked, this new code may be a binding contract or a voluntarily accepted strategy document – an official reference point, which fits the description of Agenda 21.
4) With the Summit wrapped up and armed with this treaty or action plan, federal administrators then add their own “national flavor to the “global change mandate, and begin pressuring civic departments to implement the agenda;
Regulations are written and enforced,
new offices are birthed,
endless rounds of policies are drafted,
funding is unleashed for “support projects,
private government-to-government and
government-to-industry associations pop up,
lobbying and lawsuits sharpen the focus,
information campaigns take place,
political leaders shamelessly engage in self-congratulation.
5) As the federal government swings toward “departmental implementation, something similar takes place with state/provincial and local administrations. These jurisdictional entities, at times without understanding the back-story, are pushed on board through federal “sustainable development funding grants, technical assistance, and regulatory mandates. Soon local governments mirror and shadow the federal directive. “Think globally, act locally becomes realized. This is how broad economic, social, and environmental creeds birthed at a United Nations event in New York or Montreal or Rio – in the spirit of global cooperation – become the unseen driver for “local management practices, in turn reflecting the global change agenda.
Mark Edward Vande Pol, a former Agenda 21 planner for Santa Cruz Country, understands this global-to-local regulatory reality.
“You will never see it. You will never vote on it. No matter which path they use, the agencies can pen new regulations under threat of lawsuit and down the pipe it comes: enforceable administrative rules without legislation.
6) One more layer is needed, however, to complete the cycle of global governance. Each national government that agreed to the treaty or framework document will, on a prescribed basis, report back to a permanent UN body on the successes and challenges they have had in implementing it. High level reviews will be held, reports will be issued, and more promises made by national leaders to “pull the load and “pay our fair share. And behind the country reporting mechanism is a gaggle of incessantly nagging special interest groups, lawyers, and their own media spin-doctors.
This is “global governance” – the sovereignty we supposedly have as an independent nation, that is, our liberty to determine what works best for our own citizenry, is “voluntarily hijacked” as part of a planetary partnership for the global “general good.
And this brings us back to Agenda 21. As a blueprint for what the world should be, it offered management guidance for practically every facet of life;
consumption patterns and health care,
calls on poverty reduction,
energy and resource development,
human population levels,
the role of women and youth,
science and technology,
agriculture and transportation,
education and citizenship,
capacity building and financial mechanisms,
north-south technology transfers… the list goes on.
By signing Agenda 21, governments in the developed world committed to following a road map that would align domestic priorities with global aspirations. Funding too was a central part of this package, and the Western world was expected to bleed heavily in order to reach Agenda goals.
Speaking on this aspect, the International Development Research Centre wrote in their 1993 review of Agenda 21,
“...the huge sustainable development programs of Agenda 21 will require… substantial new and additional financial resources… The UNCED Secretariat estimated that all of the listed Agenda 21 programs needed US $600 billion per year from 1993 to 2000 if they were properly implemented. That included US $125 billion per year in technical and economic assistance on grant or concessional terms from developed countries…
…Ultimately, all delegations agreed to the concept of building a global partnership for sustainable development, for which funds would be provided, and that a package approach of combining existing resource flows with new and additional funds would be fundamental to the agreement.
But there was more. Agenda 21 was certainly the keystone text, but four other documents were opened, and of these, two were binding agreements:
1) The Convention on Biological Diversity, which was used to justify the creation of limited human-use and no human-use biosphere reserves.
2) The Framework Convention on Climate Change, which formed the backdrop for the Kyoto Protocol and set in motion twenty-plus years of “climate change programs and the spending of vast swaths of money.”
These Earth Summit documents formed the backbone of the global sustainability agenda. And even if nations didn’t ratify a particular text, such as the case of the United States and the Convention on Biological Diversity, the spirit of the Convention was still applied domestically through partnerships between federal agencies and international environmental organizations. If you bought one part of the Earth Summit package, you worked to implement it all.
It was no surprise, therefore, that after the Rio conference a host of government sponsored “sustainable development campaigns came into existence. Every federal and state/provincial department lathered themselves in the “holy waters” of sustainability. It became a mantra, a creed, a guiding light. It became a policy industry unto itself. Governments had turned green, and forests of reports were generated to prove this fact. In Canada, even the military jumped on the bandwagon, producing a series of “sustainable development assessment documents titled Environmentally Sustainable Defence Activities: A Sustainable Development Strategy for National Defence. I’m sure a star was given for how many times the word “sustainable could be used.
I had a small taste of this industry in the mid-1990s when I was asked to co-chair a pilot Economic Roundtable for my community. This Roundtable was an extension of the Manitoba Rural Development agency and was linked to a provincial government program known as the Manitoba Round Table on Environment and Economy, itself heavily connected to Agenda 21 implementation goals.
The idea was simple: Establish local committees of handpicked people who could brainstorm on projects reflective of sustainable development, and then seek to implement these ideas by presenting a united front to municipal governments. However, in a town of 800 people, where everyone knows each other – and most are respective of jurisdictional boundaries – our unelected committee chose to be “small-time, limiting ourselves to a few low level “community beautification projects. In a couple of years we closed shop.
But the push for adopting the Agenda 21 blueprint was palpable in other locations. For example, Santa Cruz County was the first place in the US to adopt the United Nations Local Agenda 21 program. Thus, it became a proving ground of sorts for the creation of a locally administered and enforceable eco-bureaucracy.
Here, the new green reality was expressed in a myriad of regulatory measures;
prohibitive zoning requirements,
set-asides and green spaces,
extra fees and permitting stipulations,
pre-determined public hearings,
policies upon policies,
fines and lawsuits.
As one who swam in this current, saw the dangers and began speaking out against the bureaucratic nonsense – which, by the way, guarantees economic and environmental failure – Mark Edward Vande Pol gives us a taste of how “sustainability is plied against property owners.
“Local regulatory actions are usually funded by and under the direction of superseding regulatory authority. The policies are invoked one precedent at a time; the takings are accomplished one landowner at a time to be replicated elsewhere. Their technical premises are nearly always based upon how local conditions serve an agenda that is set at a higher level. Thus, all environmental politics ARE local.
Other cities and counties followed the lead of Santa Cruz. Today, hundreds of jurisdictions have adopted sustainable development action plans, many linked with the governmental association known as ICLEI. As local administrators tailor the agenda to fit their own community, residents and businesses often find themselves faced with the uneasy feeling of being managed.
Ultimately local authorities are tasked with implementing sustainable development mandates, but we need to remember that the initiative first emerged through federal commitments.
In the United States, Agenda 21 was expanded through the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), established under Bill Clinton “to begin translating the vision of Agenda 21 into U.S. action. 9The PCSD, which operated until 1999, worked to frame national priorities in this light, including population stabilization “in the United States and the world, 10transportation and energy planning, “sustainable agriculture, and “education for sustainability. Agenda 21 was further advanced by the US Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing, and the Department of the Interior.
In my country, Canada, Agenda 21 and the other Rio commitments were quickly attached to our own federal departments and branches; Environment Canada, External Affairs/Foreign Affairs, Canadian Parks Service/Parks Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Department of Natural Resources. The Government of Canada used the UNCED as a place-marker for sustainability targets.
Remember I was telling you a reporting mechanism existed to bring global governance full circle? Canada’s 1996 report to the UN on its work in implementing sustainable development was revealing. Here, Canada admitted to fostering “population levels consistent with sustainable development,” including “direct support for population programming through… the International Planned Parenthood Federation.”
Canada also expressed interest in the “establishment of an international financial and economic system that is conducive to sustainable development, and that this reformed global financial regime would “be a cornerstone in the effort “to implement Agenda 21.12 Domestic reform was necessary too.
“Environmental citizenship means changing personal decisions and broadening understanding of sustainable development issues… This clearly means reducing consumption by Canadians, which will require attitudinal and behavioural change…
How would this happen? Education was on top of the list. But more than that, the report admitted to financial experiments in the effort to re-orient personal behavior.
“Reducing personal and household consumption is a greater challenge, particularly in the area of personal transportation. A variety of programs now exist to help consumers understand the environmental impacts of their consumption decisions and to make choices that are better for the environment. Experiments in the pricing of goods and services are part of this process. (italics added)
Regional multi-national environmental programs were also explored, carrying the Agenda 21 framework across North American boundaries. Here are two brief, historical examples.
- The US-Mexico Border XXI Program was a bi-national project that sought to address environmental and social concerns along the US-Mexico border. Boarder XXI was openly tied to Agenda 21, using it as the setting to entrench its mandate.
- The Great Plains Partnership (GPP) was an experimental program that linked 13 Great Plains states, three Canadian prairie provinces, and a sliver of northern Mexico into a cooperative system of economic and environmental planning for a “sustainable future. It was launched with the support of many federal, state/provincial, and local agencies – and had the backing of the Western Governors’ Association. GPP symposium papers and research documents connected the project to Agenda 21. As one background document noted, “it has become clear that the implementation of Agenda 21, the ‘blueprint’ of sustainable development at the Rio Earth Summit, must be actively pursued on the local level.
From local to national to regional: Each level of jurisdiction was to play its part in what Maurice Strong dubbed, “the new world order called for at Rio”.
What Could Have Been
Like all major UN conferences, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit was preceded by a host of preparatory meetings and “stakeholder forums. In the years leading up to UNCED, dozens of such events filled the global calendar – each spitting out reams of reports and declarations.
One event, however, deserves special note: the 1990 World Environment Energy and Economic Conference (WEEEC). This gathering is now almost entirely forgotten, yet we need to examine what transpired, for the WEEEC demonstrated “what could have been, and what was hoped for by so many; ratcheting global governance up to the level of world government.
The WEEEC, also known as World ‘90, was sponsored by the Government of Manitoba, UNESCO, 17 and the International Council of Associations for Science Education. Maurice Strong was the patron of WEEEC. Colin N. Power, Assistant Director of UNESCO, attended the event and wrote the Preface to its final report. Gary Filmon, then Premier of Manitoba (equivalent to a US state governor) gave his public endorsement, as did Glen Cummings, then Minister of Environment for Manitoba. Numerous professors and experts from Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia participated. In fact, more than 3000 delegates from around the world attended, including representatives from government and special interest groups.
In other words, this event wasn’t small time.
Years later I talked with Glen Cummings, who was my provincial representative to the Manitoba Legislature, and asked him about World ‘90. He explained that while the event was successful, it didn’t translate into workable actions.
I’m so thankful, I thought to myself.
The purpose of WEEEC was clear: Influence the upcoming Earth Summit. And the World 90 theme was telling; “Sustainable Development Strategies and the New World Order. 18 The title of its final report mirrored this theme: Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda.
Chapter two chilled me: “Towards A Global Green Constitution.”
“The issues are not about if a global politics is necessary. The question is how do we achieve binding agreements in Law complete with effective programs for applying sanctions against non-compliance that would oblige each nation, regardless of size, to abide by a set of principles that are required to guarantee the survival of life on this earth. Perhaps we will find that there is no other alternative to a system of rigid controls that some would equate to a police state.
“Unfortunately, in order to save the planet from biocide, there have to be very powerful constraints from doing the ‘wrong’ things. The constraints must transcend national boundaries, be world-around and enforceable. There would be a need for an agency for preventing eco-vandals from acting unilaterally.“
This regime, the report laid out, would be equipped with a global environmental enforcement arm. The chapter explained; “Enforcement agencies would need the power to act without being invited by the offending nation. Non-compliance would invite sanctions, but “if sanctions do not work, then physical occupation and the installation of a World Trusteeship would be imposed upon the offending nations.
The heart of Chapter 2 was the idea of a “Global Green Constitution, an ethical and legal contract for global citizenship.
“The Constitution would need to be the world-around political expression of a radical new value system; values that ensure a sustainable society… governments would come to power that could most effectively formulate national policy implications of a Global Green Constitution.
The United Nations would be a signator and take responsibility for the global commons…
…Nation states would each be signators and take responsibility for the impacts of industrial and commercial activities that occur within territorial boundaries. A Global Environmental Congress having Constitutional authority and responsibility would inspect and determine the degree of compliance of each signator nation.
Under the subheading of “Social Justice,” it was explained that the new ethic would enshrine the “principle of global economic equality” through a system of “Energy Accounting” with engineered, pre-determined amounts of energy allocated to each human being. Resources such as oil have peaked, it was said, and an innovative green accounting system was needed for the planet—roughly paralleling what the Technocracy movement from the 1930s advocated. 21 Moreover, if we want to make this architecture of “Social Justice” efficient and feasible, then a “global policy of one child per family” would have to be implemented.22 Protecting the planet was paramount; de-humanized wilderness zones would have to be established, after all, “it is the human population that needs management, not wildlife.23 And tolerance would be imposed as a “Human Right,
“Popular or not, green governments will oppose any culture if it proves to be prejudicial by reasons of gender, age, color, race, religion, belief, sexual orientation, mental or physical condition, marital status, family composition, source of income, political belief, nationality, language preference, or place of origin.”
Chapter 2 also placed a heavy emphasis on educating children: “A massive and persuasive educational effort is required to develop a global perspective among the people of each nation state. Each nation’s degree of dedication to educating the people would be the first indication of green government.”
Other parts of the report echoed the importance of education; “Curriculum needs to emphasize values education, incorporating—on a need to know basis—knowledge, conceptual learning and skills. The task of educators would thus have to be re-configured; “The role of the teacher will inevitably have to change. They will become more involved in facilitating changes of attitudes and guiding students to gain values…
Here was an introduction to the concept of One World, fashioned as a coercive-styled global government operating under the pretext of stemming a planetary environmental breakdown, complete with a…
Technocracy-oriented green-energy economic order,
wealth redistribution piggy backed on Social Justice,
enforced political correctness under the guise of “human rights, and
the modification of beliefs and values to fit this new age.
But as noted previously, the far-reaching world government dream of the WEEEC – as laid out in chapter 2 – didn’t take shape at the Rio Earth Summit. Granted, we can discern elements of this “global green regime lurking in the subtext of UNCED – after all, the Forward to the World ‘90 document puts the connection into perspective; “We must learn to accept the fact that environmental considerations are part of a unified management of our planet.
Not only did the WEEEC “world government goal not come to fruition, I doubt that World ‘90 participants expected something this dangerous to even be considered at the Rio event. Sure, some special interest groups and influential figureheads world have been hopeful, but experienced politicians take a more pragmatic perspective.
So what was the point of introducing such a far-reaching plan? Simple: It embedded the progressive cause of global governance by providing a wall upon which to bounce ideas. A green “world government” of this proportion wasn’t going to emerge from Rio, but now global governance – the voluntary relinquishment of a proportional amount of national sovereignty and a change in domestic priorities for a “greater good – seemed reasonable and responsible in comparison. In other words, it gave a backdrop upon which to hang more realistic concepts.
It was also a psychological driver meant to advance the bigger vision of “world government.”
By opening the idea of supra-national management, it allowed participants to “consider futures,” reflecting the aspiration of what could be as shapers of society. It was a “visioneering exercise” that allowed participants to “feel their future and become comfortable with it.
For those attendees of the WEEEC who were oriented to “world government, and Maurice Strong himself has flirted in this camp, the prospect of an “international authority” would have been exciting to hear at such a prestigious venue. Yet, even to men like Strong, the UNCED Secretary-General, who is both a visionary and pragmatist, the realization of an authoritative and enforceable “global green constitution” was impracticable for Rio.
The very fact that World ‘90, as an important prequel to the Earth Summit, was willing to contemplate such an idea is troubling. Furthermore, World ‘90 wasn’t the only event that witnessed elevated “new world order” language. Similar talk, albeit less blatant in its pronouncements, permeated the run-up to Rio. Special interest groups from every corner screamed for “international law,” global “environmental courts,” and a redrawn world financial system.
Not surprisingly, after the Earth Summit ended, many special interest groups were upset by the fact that sweeping institutional changes didn’t happen – at least not to the measure they were anticipating. Instead of the United Nations emerging as the final global enforcement regime for sustainable development, nations committed to implement Agenda 21 the way they saw fit. Of course, this national angle doesn’t negate Agenda 21, it just puts it into the context of already existing powers and administrations, each equipped with an indwelling battery or regulatory regimes and enforcement agencies.
National, state/provincial, and local governments would do the bidding of global strategists.
The Rio Earth Summit and Agenda 21 did provide the framework for global governance, and it re-set domestic and international priorities for the post-Cold War era. This is the legacy of Agenda 21: It provided the justification for governments to manage resources and populations in the name of sustainable development.
This puts Agenda 21 into perspective. It also implies that federal lawmakers, especially in the Western world, will handle sustainable development goals in a similar fashion. This indeed is the case. At the same time, its “on-the-ground implementation still boils down to action at the local level. Here things can become murky, for county/municipal administrators might or may not understand how local policies fit with Agenda 21. And often they don’t grasp this connection, as the lineage can become blurred in a myriad of paperwork shuffles and administrative changes. Moreover, just because a local county/municipality uses the words “sustainable development, doesn’t mean the county is directly pursing Agenda 21 goals. It might be, but this is not necessarily the case: Keep in mind that since this term was introduced by higher jurisdictions during the 1990s, it has since become a general trend.
The bottom line: Don’t toss around unproven accusations of Agenda 21 or engage in knee-jerk reactions to what might, or may not be, Agenda 21 related issues. The reason I’m voicing this is because, as the political rhetoric heats up, people tend to say or do things that lower the effectiveness of their message – especially when operating with less than established facts. In other words, do some serious homework first and be tactful in your approach.
Moreover, if you’re concerned about this issue in your jurisdiction, particularly over land planning, take the time to inform yourself about the Rio process – especially in how it was pushed by your federal and state/provincial authorities. Then, armed with this background data, you can begin to piece together how this ties-in or doesn’t within your particular situation. This may require multiple trips to a law library or state/provincial archives. But do your homework! If there is a direct and documentable lineage, then you know where your local planning measures spin from, and you can start formulating a meaningful response.
But as I caution against overemphasizing Agenda 21, making it into a catch-all boogieman, a reverse mistake can be made; to not take it seriously. Remember, the Rio Earth Summit and Agenda 21 were purposely designed as catalysts for global governance and total transformation. This is not a “conspiracy theory,” political fantasy, or urban legend. It was the stated goal of the UNCED Secretary-General and almost the entire entourage of government delegates. It was also the desire of thousands of representatives from the NGO community, who, organized by Maurice Strong’s wife, Hanna, envisioned a far more radical outcome.
In this respect one more point needs to be made. The Rio Earth Summit entrenched a new cultural model whereby earth-loyalties takes precedence, and this meme rapidly spread into schools, churches, the media industry, and other institutions. Today we see the result of this across the board, for Rio set in motion the largest green propaganda industry the world has ever seen. It re-energized Earth Day, it placed the green agenda in the minds of countless youth, it invigorated a sense of global citizenship.
During the final hours of the 1992 Earth Summit, then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali closed with these words,
“I should like to conclude by saying that the spirit of Rio must create a new form of good citizenship. After loving his neighbor as the Bible required him to, post-Rio man must also love the world, including the flowers, birds and trees—every part of that natural environment that we are constantly destroying.
“Over and above the moral contract with God, over and above the social contract concluded with men, we must now conclude an ethical and political contract with nature, with this Earth to which we owe our very existence and which gives us life.
“To the ancients, the Nile was a god to be venerated, as was the Rhine, an infinite source of European myths, or the Amazonian forest, the mother of forests. Throughout the world, nature was the abode of the divinities that gave the forest, the desert or the mountains a personality which commanded worship and respect. The Earth had a soul. To find that soul again, to give it new life, that is the essence of Rio.”
At the risk of a small rabbit trail, it must be noted that this post-Rio “reality” was understood by Maurice Strong. Together with Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller, they took the UNCED experience – which included an Earth Charter component – and used it as a midwife to birth the Earth Charter, a green ethical constitution for the planet.
Speaking to the Rio-linked Earth Charter, Strong wrote that, “Collective behavior tends to change private behavior.” 32 Steven Rockefeller recognized it as “one way of promoting an ecological and social transformation of society.” 33 Gorbachev called it “a kind of Ten Commandments“34 and proclaimed,
“In its essence the Earth Charter shifts the focus to people on the Earth, their responsibilities, their morals and spirituality, their ways of consumption. To save humankind and all future generations, we must save the Earth. By saving the Earth, humankind saves himself; It is that easy to understand!”
This is identical to the base-flavor of Agenda 21, because it was built on that foundation.
Others too picked up on the new ethics of the post-Rio environment. As the International Institute for Sustainable Development reminds us,
“We have to completely revise our western understanding of what it is to be an inhabitant of the planet Earth, our human story and the western story…
“We must pass from a human-centred to an earth-centred sense of reality and value. We must now recognize the larger earth community, and not the human community, as normative as regards [to] reality and value.”
In closing, consider the following from the United Nations Environmental Programme publication, Ethics and Agenda 21,
“Let us by all means think globally and act locally. But let us also think locally as well as globally, and try to tune our global and local thinking as the several notes of a single and common chord.”
That’s Agenda 21 – you will assimilate in service to the Earth. Heaven help us.
Carl Teichrib is editor of Forcing Change (forcingchange.org), a monthly online journal documenting and analyzing the drive toward global governance. Carl is also a conference speaker and a frequent guest on radio talk shows.
Maurice Strong, Forward, The Earth Summit’s Agenda For Change – as reprinted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development website; http://www.iisd.org/rio+5/agenda/foreword.htm.
2 Lester R. Brown, “The New World Order – also titled, “A New Agenda for International Relations? Earth Summit: Setting the Global Agenda for the 21st Century, EDIT File 18, document 32. Originally printed as “The New World Order by WorldWatch Institute.
3 Guide to Agenda 21 (Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre, 1993), p.7.
4 Youth Sourcebook on Sustainable Development (Winnipeg, MB: International Institute on Sustainable Development, 1994), p.63. Earth Council, a post-Rio organization started by Maurice Strong, partnered in this publication.
5 Maurice Strong, Where on Earth are We Going? (Toronto, ON: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), p.28.
6 Mark Edward Vande Pol, Natural Process: That Environmental Laws May Serve the Laws of Nature (Redwood Estates, CA: Wildergarten Press, 2001), p.317.
7 Guide to Agenda 21 (Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre, 1993), pp.96-97.
8 Mark Edward Vande Pol, Natural Process: That Environmental Laws May Serve the Laws of Nature (Redwood Estates, CA: Wildergarten Press, 2001), p.44. Capitals in original.
9 President’s Council on Sustainable Development, Population and Consumption: Task Force Report (Washington, DC. 1996), p.1.
10 President’s Council on Sustainable Development, Sustainable America: A New Consensus (February 1996), p.21. Also see the PCSD report, Population and Consumption: Task Force Report.
11 Report of Canada to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada, 1996), p.38.
12 Ibid., p.25.
13 Ibid,. p.16.
14 Ibid, p.3.
15 US-Mexico Border XXI Program: Framework Document (Washington DC: United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1996), p.1.2.
16 Tammy Hays and Sandy Wolfe, “Community-based Decision Making and Collaborative Policy Development Strategies, Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Case of the North American Great Plains – Proceedings of a Symposium (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agricultural Meteorology, 1995), Part IV, Showcase Abstracts.
17 UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
18 The conference took place October 17-20, 1990. The final report was titled Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda, a statement slightly toned-down from the official theme.
19 Jim Bohlen, “Towards A Global Green Constitution, Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda (ICASE/STAM/CASE/Government of Manitoba, 1990), p.15.
20 For “world trusteeship, see page 15, for “radical new value system see page 16.
21 Technocracy wanted to replace the price/money system with a form of energy accounting.
22 Jim Bohlen, “Towards A Global Green Constitution, Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda, see pages 11- 13.
23 Ibid., p.14—under the section, “Environmental Protection.
24 Ibid., p.11—under the section “Social Justice and sub-title, “Human Rights.
25 Ibid., p.16.
26 Dennis Chisman and Jack Holbrook, “The Future Direction of Sustainable Development in the Curriculum, Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda, see pages 235 and 237.
27 See Forcing Change, Vol. 4, Iss. 9, for an historic review of Social Justice.
28 Evhan Uzwyshyn, “Forward, Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda, p.vi.
29 “Visioneering allows the participant to take ownership of the idea, and feel like he/she is actually guiding the process of human development. For an interesting fictional book on the role and importance of imagination in the quest for a New Age, see Desmond E. Berghofer, The Visioneers: A Courage Story About Belief in the Future (Vancouver, BC: Creative Learning International Press, 1992). Berghofer was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Advanced Education in the Government of Alberta, and a long-time participant in UNESCO events.
30 Maurice Strong was the 1973 recipient of the World Federalist Movement of Canada “World Peace Award. I also met Mr. Strong in 1999 at a World Federalist Association meeting in Dallas, TX. Here, he gave a presentation on global governance and United Nations reform.
31 Boutros Boutros-Ghali, closing remarks at UNCED, Report on the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, see Annex III: Closing Statements. A/CONF.151.26 (Volume IV).
32 Maurice Strong, Where on Earth Are We Going? (Toronto, ON: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), p.333.
33 Steven Rockefeller, “The Earth Charter and Human Rights, Human Rights, Environmental Law and the Earth Charter (Cambridge, MA: Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, 1998), p.23.
34 Mikhail Gorbachev, “Interview, Los Angeles Times, posted on Green Cross International, accessed March 20, 1998.35 Mikhail Gorbachev, “The Earth Charter, Speech at Rio+5 Forum, March 18, 1997, Green Cross International, accessed March 20, 1998.
36 Budd Hall and Edmund Sullivan, “Transformative Education and Environmental Action in the Ecozoic Era, Empowerment for Sustainable Development (Winnipeg, MB: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1995), pp.102-103.
37 J. Baird Callicott, “Toward a Global Environmental Ethic, Ethics and Agenda 21: Moral Implications of a Global Consensus (New York, NY: UNEP, 1994), p.12.
1 All of the wall quotes have been printed in a small brochure titled Chapel of Peace, and published by the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star at the International Peace Garden (Boissevain, Manitoba and Dunseith, North Dakota: No date available).
2 Joseph Fort Newton, The Builders: A Story and Study of Masonry (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1914), pp.243-244.
3 Bernard E. Jones, Freemason’s Guide and Compendium (London, UK: George G. Harrap and Company, 1956), p.281.
4 Foster Bailey, The Spirit of Masonry (London, UK: Lucis Press, 1957/1996), p.77.
5 Joseph Fort Newton, The Builders: A Story and Study of Masonry (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1914), pp.243.
6 Bernard E. Jones, Freemason’s Guide and Compendium, p.282.
7 Arthur Edward Waite, A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Volume II (Wings Books, 1996), p.329. A.E. Waite died in 1942.
8 Manly P. Hall, Lectures on Ancient Philosophy (Philosophical Research Society, 1929/1984), p.434.