First, a little background. According to Wikipedia, ‘Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.’
Basically, it’s an action agenda for the United Nations, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at the local, national, and global levels. The “21” refers to the 21st century.
The final 300 page document resulted from consultation and negotiations which began in 1989 and culminated at the two week conference. 178 governments, including the United States, voted to adopt the program.
Without trying to over simplify, the manuscript is comprised of 40 Chapters and four sections, the first of which deals with social and economic issues, directed toward combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, and promoting health and sustainable practices in decision making.
Another section addresses conservation and management of resources for development, including atmospheric protection, combating deforestation, protecting fragile environments, biodiversity, pollution control and the management of biotechnology, and radioactive wastes.
The third section imagines a strengthening role for major groups including children, women, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, businesses, workers, farmers and indigenous peoples and their communities.
The final section considers the means of implementation in various categories including science, technology transfer, education, institutions and financial mechanisms.
It all sounds rather innocuous, wouldn’t you agree? After all, who could possibly argue against such an idealistic and universally supported effort to end poverty, protect the environment and raise the recognition level of undeserved groups?
Whoa, Nelly! Not so fast say the doubters and conspiracy theorists. According to Rosa Koire, the featured speaker at a recent seminar at a south Tulsa hotel, Agenda 21 is “a plan to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all information and all human beings in the world.”
As bizarre as this sounds, Ms Koire, is not alone in her opposition. The Republican National Committee has adopted a resolution opposing Agenda 21, and the Republican Party platform states “We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty.” Several state and local governments have also considered or passed motions and legislation opposing Agenda 21.
Alabama became the first state to prohibit government participation in Agenda 21. Not to be outdone, Oklahoma has considered legislation that would do much the same.
If you subscribe to the theory that “it takes a village,” then it can be presumed that we all have our village idiots. In Oklahoma, we know her as Bethany, Oklahoma Republican Rep. Sally Kern who authored HB 1412 to limit cities and counties from entering into agreements with United Nations-accredited organizations. A bill by the way that is strongly opposed by the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club and other outraged urban and community planners.
And then we have Sooner Tea Party Co-founder, Al Gerhart, who charged in April in Oklahoma County District Court with Blackmail and violation of the computer crime act, both felonies, over an email he admittedly sent about the issue.
An affidavit says Gerhart sent the email to state Sen. Cliff Branan of Oklahoma City concerning HB1412, pending in a committee that Branan chaired. Gerhart has been quoted in multiple media outlets as writing: “Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don’t hear that this bill will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, yoru (his misspelling, not ours) family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.” Branan refused to move the bill forward and turned the email over to investigators.
The really scary part is that HB1412 passed the House by a 67 – 17 vote including support from a number of Tulsa legislators.
Since it’s clear that most Oklahomans, like most Americans have never heard of Agenda 21, what conclusions can we draw from this House vote? An American Planning Association poll of 1,300 voters found that 9% supported Agenda 21, 6% opposed it, and 85% thought they didn’t have enough information to form an opinion.
Could it be that the unyielding and vociferous rants of the far right lunatic fringe of the Republican Party has so intimidated its rank and file members that they are afraid to oppose this legislation which is based upon a ridiculous conspiracy theory that ignores the noble and altruistic merits of Agenda 21?
If guilt by association alone were enough to fully debunk the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory, I would rest my case right here but there’s more.
Agenda 21 is quite simply a United Nations developed plan to assist cities and countries become more eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable. It is 100% voluntary and NOT a treaty. There is no enforcement machinery.
Some of the myths and objections voiced by opponents of the plan are so far-fetched and delusional it makes one question the mental stability of those who express them. Apparently, it is not what the plan actually says that concerns them, but what they think it really means, thus allowing us to label it a conspiracy theory.
Agenda 21 is not a plan to confiscate private property. It is not a front for infringing upon your personal freedoms. It is not a sinister plan conceived by a clandestine group bent on establishing an international tyrannical and totalitarian government intent on global domination. Balderdash! Don’t buy it and don’t take my word for it. Google it and inform yourself. That will be more than about 80% of your Oklahoma House Members have obviously done.
Published in Urban Tulsa Weekly – June 20, 2013