ICLEI, Agenda 21 & Sustainable Development in Clallam County, WA
Clallam County for the last three years has been a dues paying member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. On the surface that sounds pretty good – after all, who is against the environment or local initiatives? But when you read ICLEI’s charter, strategy papers and other publications you come across a few interesting facts.
ICLEI’s existence is based on the belief in a ”massive human-made greenhouse effect” and that, quote, “the ecological footprint of humanity on this planet has become unsustainable.”
ICLEI promotes an “Earth Charter” with 16 principles that its members are asked to endorse and maintains a registry of members who have done so.
These principles include, for example, “adopt[ing] patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being.”
Now, this probably sounds like a good idea to many, but I question what business of our County government it is to attempt to change our patterns of production, consumption and reproduction.
ICLEI is not shy about announcing how it pursues these goals: quote, “We must … pursue more radical solutions”.
It defines itself as “an effective sustainability and environmental Agency strengthening local governments’ capacity to find radical solutions” and states that it “will request that our members commit to … radical action”.
ICLEI also states that it promotes the UN’s “Agenda 21” and “Habitat Agenda”.
Agenda 21 is the UN’s blueprint for what they call sustainable development.
A brief review of its table of contents shows headings such as “changing consumption patterns” and “strengthening the role of trade … unions.” The stated cost of implementing Agenda 21 is $600 billion per year (Chapter 33).
Agenda 21’s commitment to private property rights is questionable.
Chapter 7 states that its objective is to “ensure access to land to all households”, which it sees being accomplished through [quote] “the encouragement of communally and collectively owned and managed land.”
It goes on to recommend “developing national land-resource management plans.”
It clearly is friendly neither to private ownership of property nor to local control over land use decisions.
The Habitat Agenda states that “urban settlements … hold the promise for human development and the protection of the world’s natural resources through their ability to support large numbers of people while limiting their impact on the natural environment” (Section 7).
It goes on to say that “[t]o avoid unbalanced, unhealthy and unsustainable growth … it is necessary to promote land use patterns that minimize transportation” (Section 111).
The goal clearly is to encourage moving people out of rural areas into cities.
After reading this, I have to confess that I wondered why a rural County like ours decided to fund with our tax dollars an advocacy organization that has among its goals eliminating local control over land use decisions and moving people out of rural areas into cities.
ICLEI’s guide for “Outreach and Communications” also is instructive about the organization’s goals and means to achieve them.
The goals listed are first, “[r]aise awareness”, second, “[c]hange attitudes. Change the way people think and feel”, and, third, “[c]hange behavior … ensure compliance with climate change goals.”
I, for one, do not want my tax dollars to fund an organization that has as its goal to change how I think and feel.
ICLEI cautions that, quote, “solely … providing information rarely … change[s] people’s behavior”.
In case that is not clear enough it goes on to say that “not everyone needs to know every particular detail.”
Instead, they advise “[t]alk[ing] about traditional American values … such as ‘American leadership and ingenuity’, ‘Americans do what’s right’, ‘fairness’, and ‘good old American know-how’”.
Since, quote, “[t]he topic of global warming can be scary”, ICLEI advises its apologists “don’t be afraid to completely remove reference to climate change.”
Finally it advises to use children to, quote, “influence their parents’ … choices” and lauds a program in Maryland where students were asked to go home and “encourage their parents to commit to driving ten miles less every week”.
I frankly found this communications guide a little bit creepy. ICLEI sounds a lot like a propaganda organization with a collectivist agenda that recommends staying away the facts.
For the entire commentary on “Property Rights” – click here.