Legislators concerned about Agenda 21
Published: Thursday, March 14th, 2013
While a resolution calling for the state to reject Agenda 21 did pass both the South Dakota House of Representatives and Senate this past legislative session, District 30 Rep. Mike Verchio hopes to add the force of law to the resolution next year, something that the legislation did not do this year.
HCR 1008, the resolution that was passed, draws attention to the United Nations (UN) treaty known as Agenda 21, something Verchio refers to as “a comprehensive plan of extremes—environmentalism, social engineering and global political control.”
Agenda 21 is essentially a blueprint for a “sustainable world” that was introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 according to sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 200 countries and it has been modified and updated at other UN environmental summits. The philosophy behind Agenda 21 is that the world’s environmental problems are the number one problem that we are facing, and that those problems are caused by human activity.
It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national and global levels. The 21 in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century.
Agenda 21 is a 300-page document divided into 40 chapters that have been grouped into four sections, including social and economic dimensions, conservation and management of resources for development, strengthening the role of major groups and means of implementation.
Critics of Agenda 21, such as Michael Snyder of Infowars, say Agenda 21 determines that human activity needs to be tightly monitored, regulated and controlled for the greater good. Individual liberties and freedoms must be sacrificed for the good of the planet.
“Many who promote the philosophy underlying Agenda 21 believe that human activity must be managed and that letting people make their own decisions is destructive and dangerous,” Snyder wrote. “Sadly, the principles behind Agenda 21 are being rammed down the throats of local communities all over America, and most of the people living in those communities don’t even realize it.”
Verchio said Agenda 21 declares national sovereignty a social injustice and views private property ownership, single family homes, private car ownership, individual travel choices and privately owned farms and ranches as destructive to the environment.
HCR 1008 encourages national, state and local governments to reject Agenda 21, Verchio said. Verchio said the treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate, which makes it non-binding.
District 30 Sen. Bruce Rampelberg said Agenda 21 “paves the way for extraordinary United Nations control,” saying there are nine basic tenants of Agenda 21:
• Move citizens off private land and into urban housing.
• Create vast wilderness spaces inhabited by large carnivores.
• Eliminate cars and create walkable cities.
• Support chosen private businesses with public funds for sustainable development.
• Make policy decisions that favor the greater good over individuals.
• Drastically reduce the use of power, water, and anything else that creates carbon pollution.
• Use bureaucracies to make sweeping decisions outside of democratic processes.
• Increase taxes, fees and regulations.
• Implement policies meant to incentivize a reduced population.
Rampelberg said Agenda 21 aims to control our every impact on the environment, which in turn means controlling every aspect of our lives, including how we eat, how we travel, how we live and where we live.
“In my opinion, Agenda 21 is the exact opposite of what the United States was built upon,” he said. “It is an attempt to repudiate the principles of our republic, our system of laws and courts and the dream that all can succeed if they put in the effort and the respect for individualism and being responsible. Agenda 21 is not in the best interests of the people of the United States.”
Verchio said HCR 1008 is well-meaning, but is “useless because it is toothless.” HB 1190, which failed in the Senate State Affairs Committee Feb. 15, would have had the force of law behind it.
“It prohibited the State of South Dakota and its political subdivisions from adopting any Agenda 21 policies,” he said. “This may lead us down the slippery slope and bears watching at the state, county, township, city and town level. I hope we can bring it back next session.”
It is believed over 500 cities in the U.S. are members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which some argue was established to help implement the goals of Agenda 21 in local communities. The U.S. is said to have nearly half of ICLEI’s global membership of 1,200 cities promoting sustainable development at a local level.
“As they try to implement their goals, they very rarely use the term Agenda 21 anymore,” Snyder wrote. “Instead, they use much more harmless sounding labels such as ‘smart growth,’ ‘comprehensive land use planning’ and especially ‘sustainable development.’'
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