By Carl Teichrib
“What’s old is new again.”
To some extent Agenda 21 fits this mold. Emanating from the 1992 United Nations Rio Earth Summit, officially known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), concerns were raised by political researchers during the mid-to-late 1990s about the dangers posed by federal agencies looking to implement Agenda 21 management principles, particularly as it related to property rights, energy and industry, and agriculture.
Research articles were published, hearings took place, education campaigns were launched, and the topic was a talking point on some radio shows. Arguably, it wasn’t a mainstream issue – not in the sense of being a nationally recognized news story. Nevertheless, an energized effort to inform the public did make headway during that time.
Then came the “war on terror, instantly becoming the international talking point. Paralleling this was the intensified battle over climate change. Agenda 21, it appeared to many, had faded into the background. Ironically, and not unknown to the research community, the Kyoto convention on climate change was launched through the Earth Summit process and was an extension of the Agenda 21 concept. All of this said, researchers and environmental lobbyists understood the long-term relevance of Agenda 21, and a back-story political struggle continued between advocates of private property versus those pushing socialized management. In this sense Agenda 21 never went “out of style” although the general public was largely ignorant of the controversy.
Now, approximately 20 years after UNCED and the release of Agenda 21, it has once again become a political focal point, especially in the United States. Consider the following.
In 2012 the Republican Party passed a resolution opposing Agenda 21, and in January 2013 a Missouri House committee found itself with an Agenda 21 ban proposal. In Oklahoma, two Agenda 21 ban resolutions are on the table, and anti-Agenda 21 legislation is before the Virginia House of Delegates. Educational meetings are springing up across the country as political researchers seek to inform the public about this critical issue.
the Obama administration has put forward environmental and economic platforms that are reminiscent of Agenda 21, and has enhanced the federal funding of Local Governments for Sustainability, also known as ICLEI – a global Agenda 21 support organization working with more than 600 jurisdictions in the United States. On another front, agri-industry giant Monsanto joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on January 22, 2013. The WBCSD, established to draw global businesses into the Earth Summit framework, partners with more than 200 major corporations in the pursuit of Agenda 21 sustainability concepts.
And last year’s Rio+20 conference, meant to bolster the original 1992 UNCED package, helped reawaken the topic. Click here to continue reading.