MARK POPE: Behind The Scenes In Local Government [OPINION]
Behind the scenes at local government
Last month, we examined and defined “smart cities.” Now it’s time to examine the history behind this underhanded, insidious effort, and how it may affect our local governments, and ultimately we the citizens. Recall that the underlying theme behind smart cities is implementing unrealistic, costly, and unnecessary environmental policies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established by President Richard Nixon in 1970. The agency made great strides in immediately beginning to improve environmental transgressions being committed by industry and individuals. Like most government agencies, the regulations just kept coming, and after decades of improvement, the EPA had become a bloated agency bent on adding to voluminous, many times, overreaching regulations. Make no mistake, reasonable, common-sense environmental regulations are absolutely necessary to an advanced industrial society such as the United States.
Jump forward to 1992, when the U.N. convened the “Conference on Environment and Development.” The conference, deemed “the Earth Summit,” took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.N.’s Sustainable Development “Agenda 21” was revealed at the summit, with its focus being the implementation of sweeping environmental policies worldwide in the 21st Century. President George H.W. Bush signed the document, as did 177 other countries, but Congress never ratified it.
Here are the major components of Agenda 21. First, Social Equity is the right of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.” Second, Sustainability means that all societal decisions must be based on achieving reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity. Sustainability is achieved by controlling (a) global land use, (b) global education, and (c) global population control and reduction. Third, Economic Prosperity is provided to chosen organizations who implement Agenda 21, by providing the organizations with tax breaks, grants, and the government’s power of eminent domain. Those who do not play along with implementing Agenda 21 are ostracized, burdened with regulations, and of course, not given the perks that the “chosen organizations” receive.
Consider these quotes from various individuals and organizations in the years immediately following the Earth Summit:
Maurice Strong, U.N. Secretary General: “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
Environmental organization, Earth First: “We must make this place an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects – we must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers, and return to wilderness the tens of millions of acres of presently settled land.”
Harvey Ruvin, The Wildlands Project: “Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.”
Gary Lawrence, Sustainability Advisor to President Clinton: “Participating in a U.N. advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society. So we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth.”
Call it what you want folks, but Agenda 21 is here in Lafayette, being pushed by a group of like-minded individuals. They call it “smart city” growth. More coming in future columns.