Just because Glenn Beck says it doesn’t make it so…
To be sure, Agenda 21 is a real United Nations document that seeks to promote sustainability, some would say using Draconian measures. Some suggest that Agenda 21 intends to eliminate capitalism, national sovereignty, property rights, and personal freedom. However, agenda 21 is not a treaty and thus not law in the United States, and problems it addresses are real and not all of the ideas for sustainable growth are bad.
I do believe we need to move towards a sustainable future and we need to do it now but I don’t believe that means we have to stick all human population in 1% of the Earths’ land or that we have to eliminate many of the things we value such as the freedom to move about.
Agenda 21 makes the incorrect assumption that it is man verses nature. Inherent in that idea is that human beings are separate and distinct from nature and must, for natures sake, be separated from nature. We are part of nature and we must learn to peacefully co-exist with the rest of nature, not separate ourselves from it. Indeed, we’ve already separated ourselves from nature too much. This is what has lead to an insensitivity on our part to that which sustains us.
A second assumption agenda 21 makes is that the carrying capacity of the Earth is around a billion human beings. I think this assumption is wrong except that to carry a larger population in a sustainable manner we have to do things much differently than we are doing now. Without the use of oil, or some other energy source to replace it, we could not sustain anywhere near the level of food production that we have today. And without a substantial source of energy, water is going to soon become a problem because we are depleting aquifers faster than they are replenished naturally. With adequate energy, we could desalinate seawater and eliminate that issue but our current energy supplies are not adequate or sustainable.
There is also a quality of life verses quantity of life issue. Meat production takes about a hundred times as much resources as grain production. Therefore, the percentage of our diet that is meat is a huge factor in how large of a human population Earth can carry in a sustainable manner. This is bad news for me because I happen to like meat.
Some ideas presented in Agenda 21, I happen to agree with. Mixed use buildings in urban areas, that makes sense. It is convenient to be able to go from your apartment or condo downstairs and pick up whatever you might need, or go downstairs to work or maybe across the street, as opposed to driving a couple miles to a store or commuting ten miles to work. And having retail businesses, restaurants, and other such facilities at the ground level of multistory apartment or condominium buildings has the additional effect of reducing crime and creating a better urban environment.
The idea that less of the planet needs to be covered in asphalt, I agree with that. Asphalt relies on oil, which is running out, and we really use a large amount of land for our transportation needs, and it’s a non-sustainable form of transportation. For local transportation, cars are fine, they can be replaced by electric vehicles and the electricity for those vehicles can be generated from sustainable sources. For inter-city transportation, cars and trucking are not sustainable, and neither is our diesel powered railroads in this country. We should be electrifying our railway like every other continent except for North America has done.
I am concerned that although it’s not law in the United States now, it may become law given our current governments general disregard for the Constitution and our rights as declared in it. I am also less than thrilled with the way the UN decided to address the issue of sustainability. Rather than say, here’s the problem and here is A solution, not necessarily THE solution, they just say here is the problem and here is THE solution and if you don’t like it we’re going to jam it down your throats anyway.
In my view, if we solve the energy problem we’re about 90% of the way to solving all the other problems and the energy problems ARE solvable if we’re willing to commit the resources to doing it. Controlled hydrogen fusion, really the Holy Grail of energy production is technologically achievable, but it would have to be on a large scale with current technology. Right now there is no one place where the grid capacity is sufficient to carry away the power of a 10GW plant but why not build that grid?
The natural fusion reactor in the sky could also be tapped to a much greater degree. And in the US we have ABUNDANT Geo-thermal resources and in my view, we really ought to be taking away heat from Yellowstone as fast as we can anyway, because, if it blows, one-third of the US is gone in a flash and the rest of us will starve to death in time. So might as well let some of the steam out now, even if it means Old Faithful becomes a little less so, our survival really depends on it. Germany and Holland have both been very successful at tapping Wind energy, and in the mid-west we have ample resources. Again grid capacity is the issue, let’s fix that.
Once we get the energy problem solved, we’ve solved the water problem as well as their is plenty of water in the oceans and we need only the energy to desalinate it. And when the water problem is solved, so to a large degree is the land problem because we can then transform desert into arable land and eliminate the need to cut down all the forest for farmland. There are to be sure other things we need to do like get away from mono-crop agriculture and aerial sprinklers and chemical fertilizers. It’s all doable.
It’s interesting that some of the folks behind Agenda 21 are former oil company types, which leads me to believe that they’re not really interested in the environment at all, that rather this is a situation where people that have financial interests that are hampered by environmentalists are trying to create a situation so extreme everyone will rise up against it, and thus the restraints in their environmentally damaging agendas well be removed and they can go about plundering the planet as they desire.