Listening to the local news on the radio recently, I heard a report about how newly elected Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz plans to save $8 million by, among other things, merging the “Office of Sustainability” with the Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.
Office of Sustainability? In the county?
According to the story, “The new agency will be renamed the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability….”
The Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability
A county government has its own EPA? You must be kidding.
No, unfortunately not. We’re from the government and we’re here to help.
Baltimore County’s Office of Planning defines “sustainability” as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of current and future generations to meet their own needs.” Doesn’t that sound nice!
I checked some of the other county websites. Carroll County’s Sustainability Plan defines sustainability as: “…meeting the requirements of social, environmental, and economic circumstances without compromising the ability for future generations to meet the same need.”
Montgomery County’s says: “To live sustainably, one strives to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (my emphasis). People living sustainably recognize the fundamental and inextricable interdependence between the economy, the environment, and social equity, and work to promote each to the benefit of all.”
Howard County’s Office of Environmental Sustainability has similar blather. I didn’t look further, but you get the idea.
A curious coincidence perhaps, but these humble county governments’ definitions of “sustainability” look amazingly similar to the UN definition:
Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Of course it is no coincidence.
This definition was first articulated in a 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment & Development titled “Our Common Future.” (See p. 24.)
This has come to be known as the Brundtland Commission. It was chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway’s socialist former prime minister, who also served as vice-chair of the Socialist International.
It is worth mentioning here that Carol Browner, President Obama’s Energy and Environment Czar, also served on the Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, although her name was stripped from the masthead the minute she got that appointment. Why?
The Brundtland Commission included Maurice Strong (Canada’s version of George Soros, an exceedingly corrupt oil billionaire who, like Soros, has called for the destruction of the West), William Ruckelshaus (first head of the EPA — the only American) and luminaries from such enlightened states as Zimbabwe, Communist China, the USSR, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Cote D’Ivoire. These are environmental paradises to emulate for sure, but somehow they left out the important states of Togo and Burkina Faso. How could they?
In any event, “Sustainable Development” is a distinctly and entirely socialist idea, and it varies from typical socialist rhetoric only in the metaphors used. It demands redistribution of land, resources and private property into government hands. One particularly odious quote:
- Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.
Emphases are mine. The last sentence makes clear that land must be controlled by government.
But it doesn’t stop there. “Sustainable Development” has become the buzzword for a strategy under development since at least the early 1970s to completely control every aspect of our lives, including resettling entire populations. For example, the 1976 U.N. Conference on Human Settlements called for population redistribution:
Recommendation A.1 National Settlement Policy:
- All countries should establish as a matter of urgency a national policy on human settlements, embodying the distribution of population, and related economic and social activities, over the national territory.
Recommendation A.2 Human Settlements and Development:
- A national policy for human settlements and the environment should be an integral part of any national economic and social development policy.
Recommendation A.4 More Equitable Distribution:
- Human settlements in most countries are characterized by wide disparities in living standards from one region to another, between urban and rural areas, within individual settlements and among various social and ethnic groups. Such discrepancies exacerbate many human settlement problems, and, in some instances, reflect inadequate planning. Human settlement policies can be powerful tools for the more equitable distribution of income and opportunities.
They are not kidding. And there is much more.
In 1992, an initiative titled “Agenda 21” was proposed at the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It states:
- 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 impacts on the environment [sic.]
The Agenda is an all-encompassing prescription for regulating every aspect of human activity in the interest of “sustainable development.” Is it not troubling that they couldn’t even get their grammar right? 178 governments signed on, including the United States.
Thank you, George H.W. Bush. However, Agenda 21 was not ratified by the U.S. Senate. President Clinton then defied the Senate’s will by signing Executive Order 12852, which created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and got the ball rolling. Thank you, Bill Clinton!
While we all would like to assure natural resources are properly preserved for current and future generations, the U.N.’s prescriptions require that nations accept their definitions of “sustainable” and their recommendations for how to accomplish their goals. And it is all simply naked communism.
Let me repeat that:”sustainability” is codeword for communism.
Marxism has only survived because of Marxists’ ability to package and repackage the same odious ideas in flowery or obscure language. Consider the following phraseology. Everything in quotes comes directly from UN sustainability documents:
“Social justice” assures the right “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment” = equal distribution of wealth = communism.
“Social justice” assures that “every worker/person will be a direct capital owner” = dictatorship of the proletariat = communism.
“Sustainability” means that “individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.” How about that? Individual rights don’t matter, and as you should know, “collective” = communism.
“Public/private partnerships” = Government-subsidized competitive advantage, wipes out competing private business, allows for monopoly government control = communism. (Note: “Public/private partnerships” and grants for “sustainability” are features of the Kennedy Serve America Act, the law that created Obama’s civilian defense force, passed in honor of the deceased senator in 2009.)
Here’s another example. The Agenda’s Rio Declaration demands that:
- All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world. (Emphasis added.)
Under the guise of “saving the earth,” the socialists have explicitly demanded redistribution of income. What a surprise.
Agenda 21’s Millennium Development Project calls for “developed countries,” that’s you and me folks, to donate 0.7 percent of GDP every year. Lest 0.7 percent of GDP sound like a small number, for 2010 it equates to about $103 billion, an amount that would fund the Departments of State, Justice and Energy, as well as the entire legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government. Alternately, it could fund the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior and Housing and Urban Development! Take your pick. (Source: Office of Management and Budget).
And that is just the camel’s nose under the tent. Be sure that it will only increase. But why do it at all? How have our other efforts worked out for them?
Currently, the United States contributes by far the largest share of any nation to the U.N. Budget. (The two other most influential U.N. Security Council member countries, Russia and China, are not even in the top five). We provide the largest contribution to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and every other similar organization. We provide billions in loans, subsidies and grants to other nations through separate programs within multiple federal agencies and offer private loans subsidized or guaranteed by the government. Has that had a noticeable impact? Seems everyone just hates us all the more!
So, not only is this very anti-American body of foreign, unelected bureaucrats attempting to dictate practically every aspect of our lives, we are footing the bill.
At the Copenhagen Global Warming summit last year, Gordon Brown, the British Labor Party’s leader and Britain’s prime minister from 2007-2010, said:
- For 60 years we have measured our progress by economic gains and social justice. Now we know that the progress and even the survival of the only world we have depends on decisive action to protect that world. In the end, without environmental stewardship, there can be no sustainable prosperity and no sustainable social justice. (Emphasis added.)
The citation comes from a self-consciously conceited website titled “Make Wealth History,” run by two college-age brothers, who claim that:
- The lifestyle of the western world is unsustainable — environmentally, economically, and socially. We are living beyond our means, and sharing the earth’s resources unequally. To restore some balance, we need to learn to use less, want less, and be more generous.
I chose the quote above because it captures the simple-minded, emotion-drenched, pompous attitude that animates these people. And just as socialism mindlessly reduces life to a tug-of-war between the haves and have-nots, this shallow, vapid monument to political correctness reveals the utter ignorance of its practitioners.
Socialists everywhere and always see life as a zero-sum game: if someone is wealthy, he must have taken it from the poor; if we are rich today, it must follow that future generations will be weaker. Current generations greedily sap our resources, leaving less for the future. The sustainable development crowd has transformed this complaint into public policy, using the alarming specter of “Anthropogenic Climate Change” to force the issue.
We have exposed the greenhouse gas myth for the fraud it is, but their entire argument is fatally flawed. The most salient feature of a market economy is its ability to grow and adapt as market conditions change. When any resource becomes scarce, its price increases. This creates a multitude of responses: producers seek new sources of supply, engage in research to find alternatives, or invent methods of using the resource more efficiently. The market accomplishes this smoothly, quietly and without large disruptions, unless government gets involved to manage it.
A salient theme of college courses in environmental conservation is the “greediness” of American consumer society. They constantly repeat the mantra that “America consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources but is only 5 percent of the world’s population.” Barack Obama even reiterated this statement on the campaign trail.
The clear implication is that this is wasteful and unfair. We should only be consuming 5 percent. Going from 25 percent to 5 percent is an 80 percent reduction. What happens to the countries supplying those goods when we reduce our consumption by 80 percent? Do they magically get a wealth transfer? No. Their economic decline will be cataclysmic.
Another way to look at it is that we consume 25 percent of the world’s resources to produce 25 percent of the world’s GDP. Our economy buoys all the economies of the world through its consumption and production activities. Reducing our GDP to 5 percent would create an economic catastrophe that would make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park.
During the Great Depression, U.S. GDP declined by 27 percent. World industrial production fell 31 percent as a result. Worldwide calamity ensued, culminating in World War II. What would happen if we reduced GDP by 80 percent?
As it stands, the sustainability crowd wants to see carbon-based energy usage reduced by 80 percent. That goal was incorporated in the cap-and-trade bill that thankfully has not yet been enacted. Not quite the same as reducing GDP by that amount, but certain to cause a catastrophic decline in living standards nonetheless. Some analysts have even said that “planned recession” is the only way to reduce “greenhouse gasses” enough to make a difference.
These people are nuts.
If any true environmentalists understood this plan, they would be fleeing for their lives. It will ruin economies and cause widespread hardship. And we have plenty of evidence: every country that adopts the socialist/communist model so far has become an environmental disaster area.
But that is the intention, because socialism’s true objective is power — to the exclusion of everything else. And while the sustainability agenda will certainly destroy world economies, in the process of doing so it will hand absolute power to the people promoting it.
Using the Marxists’ deceptive language, the sustainability agenda has insinuated its way into government right down to the local level and is now firmly entrenched.
The good news is that this is something local tea party activists can focus on and may well be able to stop before it is too late. But make no mistake, that hour draws near.
This article was first posted at Right Side News.
Businessman and Examiner.com columnist Jim Simpson is a former White House staff economist and budget analyst. His writings have been published in Big Government.com, American Thinker, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, FrontPage Magazine, Soldier of Fortune and others. His blog is Truth & Consequences.