This is part-1 of a series that breaks down the “sustainability” movement, and explains how some in NH are working to constrain individual liberties with it.
Fellow citizen, please ask yourself these questions.
- The state began taxing your private well-water usage, declaring ownership of it?
- You could no longer collect rain water on your property?
- The state taxed you on septic design and annual usage?
- You could not grow a vegetable garden without a permit?
- You were taxed on the number of miles driven yearly in your car?
- The state decided to build multi-story housing complexes in your town, for the purpose of housing low-income people from the nearest city?
- You were taxed based on the amount of CO2 your house produced?
- You could not choose the color of your house?
- Single-family houses were banned, and your town was forced to build 20 housing units per acre?
- Towns were required to keep 25% of their lands undeveloped?
- Your town was sued by a private group, for not complying with diversity and equity standards…which your town legally agreed to?
What if the federal government could not make this happen directly, but found a back door?
These days, it seems we hear the word “sustainable” everywhere; in advertising, the workplace, school, and politics. It has taken on a life of its own, often thrown around as an easy way to patronize the audience and consumer, giving the impression of an enlightened product, program, business, or candidate. It has become the feel-good, do-good buzzword of the times.
So, where did it come from, and why is it suddenly so prevalent?
President Obama didn’t invent the term or the concepts but he and his administration have taken the “sustainable” paradigm to new levels, and are to blame for its sudden popularity – and this should concern us all, greatly. Let me explain.
A Brief History
As far back at the early 1970’s, “sustainability” and “placemaking”, at the heart of the burgeoning environmental movement, evolved as concepts to address decaying cities and urban blight, and to get people to “see the world in a whole new way”. Granted, a number of these problems were real, and the movement gets credit for improving facets of our environment – particularly in cities – but its methods and practice have reached beyond the city, into suburban and rural America, and provide the undercurrent of the “transformative change” we heard about so loudly and clearly in 2008.
In 1983, the United Nations commissioned the Brundtland Report (known as the World Commission on Environment and Development, or WECD) with a goal to “unite countries to pursue sustainable development together.” The UN was concerned about “deterioration of the human environment and natural resources” as a result of industrialization and growth in developing countries, which could not compete with developed countries and thus “used cheaper methods with high environmental impact”. In fact, is it said that the distortion the UN observed stemmed from increased involvement by the World Bank, in the economic policies and development of Third World countries throughout the 1960’s and 70’s.
The Brundtland Commission, striving to balance “prosperity with ecology”, and focusing on the years beyond 2000, identified three pillars of sustainable development: 1) Economic Growth, 2) Environmental Protection, and 3) Social Equity.
In the 1993, President Clinton kept the sustainability machine moving in America, when he formed the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), which produced a document called “Sustainable America: A New Consensus for Prosperity, Opportunity, and a Healthy Environment for the Future”. Using the Brundtland report (which became the father of Agenda21) as an ideological foundation, they pursued sustainability vigorously, right here at home. The PCSD document produced 16 “We Believe” principles. Principle #3 tells us most of what we need to know about this movement, and how it had shifted heavily towards the pillar of social equity: “Steady progress in reducing disparities in education, opportunity, and environmental risk within society is essential to economic growth, environmental health, and social justice.”
In 1997, a progress report to this program was issued which made a series of recommendations. Key to these suggestions were “enhanced interagency (Federal) collaboration” (Vice-President Gore’s primary focus), establishing “metropolitan/regional cooperation and problem solving”, and to “fully participate in international sustainable development activities”.
Play Buzzword Bingo: sustainability, consensus, workforce housing, equity, regional, metropolitan, opportunity, environment, prosperity, development, transportation, community, smartgrowth.
In the next installment (read part-2 here!), we will see how President Obama has taken the sustainability paradigm to new heights, and how he is using the concepts of “interagency-collaboration” and “regionalization” to (slowly and quietly) implement a level of social engineering and control that every radical leftist dreams of…