Local communities face onslaught from self-anointed planners

  • Agenda 21 Wreath

A growing number of initiatives by elitist organizations, working hand-in-glove with local kindred spirits, is transforming once-self-governing communities into instruments of environmental political correctness.

Cloaked in the mantle of providing for “sustainable” or “livable” communities, these programs include such fashionable ideas as “open space,” “heritage areas,” “view sheds,” ”smart growth,” “clean energy,” and “combatting climate change,” – just to name a few.

What was once largely the domain of far-away UN conferences and obscure academic journals has now made its way to Main Street. Planning commissions, which have spread like wildfire over the past couple of decades and whose members are unelected, produce an endless array of schemes designed to micro-manage every aspect of commercial, residential, and recreational life. No town, no matter how small, is safe from the meddling of planners in and outside of government.

The Shadow of Agenda 21

The proliferation of efforts by green elites to mold communities in their own image is a consequence of the rise of the environmental movement – both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Those efforts received a substantial boost with the adoption of something called Agenda 21 at the conclusion of the June 3-14, 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development in Rio de Janeiro. Agenda 21 is described by UNbuildingthe UN Division on Sustainable Development as “a comprehensive plan of development to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations Systems, Governments and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts (sic) on the environment.”

A 300-page document divided into 40 chapters, Agenda 21 has many goals, including changing consumption patterns, conserving biological diversity, protecting fragile environments and the atmosphere, and achieving more sustainable settlements. Agenda 21 provides a blueprint for the kinds of structural changes the proponents of sustainable development (a term left purposely vague) want to see take place.

Merely setting goals, however, was not enough; the task of implementing Agenda 21 fell to another UN body, the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Founded in 1990, ICLEI is an association of local and regional governments as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) – all sharing a commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI’s membership currently numbers over 1200 cities, towns, counties, and NGOs in 84 countries. In the United States, 528 cities belong to ICLEI, including New York, Los Angeles, Dubuque, Iowa, and Arlington, Texas.

ICLEI’s U.S. website, www.icleyus.org, informs its visitors that $618 million in funding for grants and technical assistance is available for state, local, and tribal governments. The largess comes courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Energy, Interior, and Transportation and is be used for climate and energy initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Lest they have any doubts about the organization’s commitment to combatting climate change, visitors also can read about ICLEI’s new emissions-management software.

Another organization spreading the gospel of sustainable development is the appropriately named American Planning Association (APA). Founded in 1978, APA provided a ready-made vehicle for taking the goals of Agenda 21 to the local level. A forum for the exchange of views and proposals among urban and regional planners of every description, APA has state chapters throughout the country. In addition to its well-attended conferences, APA uses its website, www.planning.org, to get the message out. Its website, for example, touts the virtues of solar power and bike-sharing as ways communities can reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.

When such “lofty” goals are adopted by local governments, they have real-world consequences for those on the receiving end of the elitists’ grand vision. Open space in a case in point. Thomas Sewell, senior fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, notes that open space comes at an enormous cost to perspective homeowners and those seeking affordable apartments to rent. “What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything,” he says. “Anybody who has taken Economics 101 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet demand means that prices are going to rise,” he explains. “Housing is no exception.” (Washington Times, April 23, 2014)

The “Plantocracy”

Indeed, all across the country, the lives of ordinary citizens are under siege by the grandiose schemes of what we will call the “plantocracy.” Consider:

  • In Ohio, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) teamed up with the Montgomery County Commission, the Washington Township Board, and an assortment of NGO “stakeholders” to have a bike path added to a road-widening project. The bike path comes within seven feet of the front door of a local resident’s 164-year-old farm house. In July 2013, bulldozers flattened hedges and trees in front of the historic farm house to make way for the bike path. The owner of the property protested vehemently, but to no avail. An official with the MVRPC justified the bike path and the destruction to private property it wrought by saying, “Doing so reduces the amount of carbon and harmful emissions into the atmosphere so that our air is cleaner.” (Range, Winter 2013-14)
  • In Washington, a bill, HB 2386, introduced in the legislature would create the State Maritime Heritage Area that would include “all federal, state, local, and tribal lands that allow public access and are partly located within one-quarter mile land inward of the saltwater shoreline (of the Pacific Ocean)…” Language in the bill assures the public that nothing in the legislation “creates any regulatory jurisdiction or grants any regulatory authority to any government or other entity” or “abridges the rights of any owner of public or private property within the designated area,” or “established any legal rights or obligations, including in regards to any environmental or administrative review process involving land use.” Opponents of the legislation ask why, if the designation is so benign, does Maryland have a 19-member Maryland Heritage Authority and a 10-member board appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s heritage areas. The question is a reflection of the well-founded mistrust of such schemes on the part of ordinary citizens.
  • In Isle of Wight County, Virginia, local officials are trying to prohibit a farmer from allowing a disable friend from staying overnight on his property in an RV. County officials claim that the use of the RV constitutes an unauthorized “campground” in violation of local zoning ordinances. “Cases such as this one are becoming increasingly common across the country as overzealous government officials routinely enforce laws that undermine the very property rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution,” says John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville, Va.-based Rutherford Institute.

Defenders of Agenda 21 and ICLEI are quick to point out that they have no regulatory authority and cannot enforce any of their recommendations. That’s true. But once the genie is out of the bottle and finds its way into the rules, regulations, ordinances, “green” building codes, and land-use restrictions of local governments, what comes out does have the force of law behind it. The plantocracy, with all the interlocking relationships it has with well-funded and well-connected interests, is a beast that is roaming the countryside searching for its next prey.

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About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

  • geo2man

    Perpetuating the Fraud of Climate change and eco fascism.

    • raven6

      Clarify geo2man

  • raven6

    Dr. Cohen with respect

    Thank you for the relevant and timely article on Agenda 21. Oregon has been involved in the issue for many years as our leftist Governor, signed Executive Orders mandating compliance, as well as several cities, Portland, for one are ICLEI cities.

    In my work as a military analyst in “Philosophy of Language” and other agency work, I built this historical Powerpoint program. Please understand, my intent is to attach and break long standing fallacies concerning the complete issue of Socialization of our society, with AG21 being just one tentacle.

    See: http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/27938724

    One of the challenges I have found as Chamber President and Military Instructor, is that the position of denial, is built into the AG21 program, and people seem to deny anything outside their current position ( Envelope )

    The Bundy issue is a classic example of “news” skimming for items that fit one party or the other. Then the comment wars begin.

    My request is, please review the powerpoint I have been using in speaking engagements about the state, and your critical evaluation is desired. I realize this is a bit cheeky, but this issue must be stopped, and people are confused, and connecting the dots is paramount.

    As well, is it possible to use snippets from your article, or most, to forward to interested parties I speak to, both online and in person. Your article is the most succinct to be available in quite some time.

    At Your Service
    Raven6

  • http://www.hamiltonsgarage.com/marmora_green/ Kathy Hamilton

    Note the following excerpts from Agenda 21 – Chapter 6: Protecting & Promoting Human Health:
    Section 6.32 “Urban growth exposes populations to serious environmental hazards”… “Environmental pollution in urban areas is associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Overcrowding and inadequate housing contribute to respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, meningitis and other diseases.”

    Next, consider these excerpts from Chapter 7: Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement Development:
    Section 7.19: [Therefore all countries should]… “concentrate on activities aimed at facilitating the transition from rural to urban lifestyles and settlement patterns”

    Seeing advocacy for “facilitating the transition from rural to urban lifestyles and settlement patterns” in Chapter 7 – the predictable outcomes of which had already been identified as being dangerous to human health in Chapter 6 – should raise a big red flag?

    • raven6

      Absolutly, the issue is a mis-direction campaign, tried before. In 1977 Time Magazine had on the cover, will we survive the Ice Age. The powerpoint in the comments below will detail the historical timeline of much not known in school learning. It brings you to the Brundtland report, and Max Eastman’s perfect explaination of “Politacal Correctness and the use to promote this fraud.

      Raven6

      See: http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/27938724

      • http://www.hamiltonsgarage.com/marmora_green/ Kathy Hamilton

        Very comprehensive – thank you for sharing!

      • wabby99

        I have tried a zillion ways to save this presentation but cannot. Slideshare is not very user friendly. Can you send this to me in a format that is easily saved….ppt or pdf Thanks
        karen.bracken@reagan.com

  • Chardonna

    Agenda 21′s main purpose is to bring the worlds population under control. The more you shove into the cities the chances are the less people will reproduce. The UN wants to redistribute the wealth of the USA and destroy are way of life. That is one of the reasons why so much of our country is becoming government land so they can control growth. Don’t be surprised if you own a large home that you will be forced to have outside minorities live with you because you have more room than you need and they have none. We are no longer going to be the land of opportunity and freedom, we will become another third world country. Thank you UN, George Soros and B Obama.

    • jea2comments

      Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. obama the Usurper has to go, and why we would ever listen to the UN is preposterous! and most know that George Soros, is a piece of CRAP as well.

  • voice

    Agenda 21, the UN are nothing more than an attempt by the global power elite to take back the world which they believe belongs to them. They belive they are the Gods of this world and until we wake up to the fact that the money is controlled by a pathologically disturbed elite——- then nothing is gonna change
    till the good Lord returns. So be it.

  • Clare Swinney

    One irony is that they are creating extremes in weather using toxic aerosols, that include aluminium, barium and strontium, which is being found in rainwater around the globe now. These aerosols are poisoning the air, soil and rain. The following is part of a presentation by Dr Joe Golden of the American Meterological Society talking about how aerosols can be used to manipulate the weather:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lPbuOMSlDbA

  • Chuck

    It is important to realize that the folks pushing Agenda 21 believe the maximum sustainable population of the earth is 500,000,000. This means that to achieve sustainability 85% of the current population has to be eliminated. So it is more than just control, it is life threatening as well. So they must gain control of the health care system so they can continue to work toward the sustainable population levels.

    • jea2comments

      It’s all about CONTROL. They want to control every everything, including the population. The latest SHAM is obama-care. Ever notice the Chem-trails that are being sprayed on us, by jets, on nearly a daily basis. Those chem-trails contain poisonous toxins which contain Aluminum, Strontium and Barium and who knows what else! It’s like we are “bugs” being sprayed – to the scummy elite.

  • Chancisify

    Can anybody get through to Fox News, or Beck or Rush and implore them to take one this issue??? Why hasn’t anybody had the guts to ask, “What is the purpose or mission statement of the United Nations? Why do we have to conform to treaties against our constitution? Human settlements? So the UN dictates who will live in which areas? the Bush boys and Clinton regime and Obama are in this up to their necks. Swearing a constitutional oath is nothing more than “procedure” to them.

    • Petra Nadal

      Beck has already taken this on couple of years ago. That’s hos I found out about it In the first place. You may still be able to go to his Web site and get the info

  • Gctd77

    They’re in Ct and Vt big time. The planning department in one town even tried to prohibit people from having garages. It Vt, they are required to have ridiculously expensive septic system engineering to build a house, and farmers are forced to use an aerosolized manure system that produces an almost unbearable (and possibly hazardous, I think) stench. Also, if they subdividing below 5 acres, they pay huge tax fee (- huge – for several decades now). They have EPA drones observing and harassing developers if they disturb a “wetland” which can literally be a 5 foot mud hole (I have witness to this). In Ct, the wording in one town planning website promotes the identifying of potential open spaces for acquisition as one of their functions. Stack & Packs are being built everywhere along rail-to-trails, but they refuse to build more desperately needed bridges (to encourage traffic jams, my guess). They have made a study to consider electronic tolling of the highways in Ct. Cameras and RFID’s are already up (this is also in the federal MAP-21 law, Agenda 21′s cousin). They had a “TransformCT” website to solicit public input on ideas, but made it known mostly to bicycle extremist groups, thus tailoring the input to create an illusion of consensus. It has the same radiant eye ‘vision’ symbol seen in A21 type literature.

  • NewHampshire

    NH will fight this tooth and nail! blog.granitestatefutures.org