Tea Partiers are against it, Newt Gingrich warns about it, Republicans scream in horror about it, and some Democrats are even against it! So, what is it? According to the United Nations website, Agenda 21 is “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human[s] [impact] on the environment.”
Agenda 21 is a document, available for viewing on the U.N. website, that merely suggests and defines the ways in which nations can promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices. But that’s not all, it also includes provisions for “protecting and promoting human health conditions”, “global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development”, “strengthening the role of workers and their trade unions”, and “national mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries”.
On its very basis, it is a collectivist and big-world-government approach to curing the ills of the earth. In fact, 178 governments including the United States have adopted agenda 21, along with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.
It must be said, though, that Agenda 21 is a non-legally binding document, therefore, the actual document itself is not the cause of worry. The worry arrives when government, at any level, adopts an Agenda 21 provision and institutes it as law. When a government wishes to adopt Agenda 21, it is supplied with a manual called “The Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide”, which guides states on how to implement their new communitarian vision for the future.
In the United States, there are many, many examples of how Agenda 21 has influenced our laws. First and foremost, in 1993 Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order which created the “President’s Council on Sustainable Development”. The purpose of the council was to make it easier to implement Agenda 21 recommendations throughout all levels of government. The president’s council members are informed by the EPA, and the council members, in turn, inform the president. Furthermore, the EPA proposes and gives grants to organizations and governments who implement Agenda 21.
For example: the federal government gave more than $5 million to the American Planning Association to produce a booklet called “Growing Smart: Legislative Guidebook”. This booklet provides a model for states, counties, and cities to legislate Agenda 21 provisions.
Of course, these laws have gotten out of hand. Smart Growth planning includes designating areas of the United States off-limits to human beings, meaning no development whatsoever. These designated areas turn out to be the majority of the U.S., while the designated “living areas” are represented as tiny dots across the map. Of course, there are no federal provisions on this yet, but the mindset, provided by guidebooks like “Growing Smart”, is slowly being implemented across the United States by local governments.
Sixteen states, including California, Arizona, Michigan, and Illinois have proposed and enacted legislation that is directly linked to the Growing Smart guidebook. Arizona passed a statewide land-use reform called the “Growing Smarter Act”. In 2004 the Governor of Michigan issued two executive orders and signed 17 bills that encouraged regional planning that was also directly connected the guidebook.
All in all, Agenda 21 is central planning at its worst. It hides behind the guise of “local planning”, but in reality it is a top-down attempt to control human action. Much of the legislation that comes from Agenda 21 initiatives destroys property rights by forcing property owners to do as government says.