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I'm writing this diary to ask for help from the community. My SW CO county has been attempting to craft a county comprehensive plan that will guide the new land use code. We've been working on this for YEARS, largely because there's a group of folks in the county who see planning as a threat to their 'unalienable constitutional rights'.

We're reading the same words, but talking two different planetary languages. Maybe you can help me frame this to take out some of their fear, or - alternatively - make the rest of the county see just how crazy they are.

I encourage you to participate, because unfortunately, this fear is coming to a community near you, too.

Agenda 21 came out of the 1992 Rio Summit. It's a document that speaks to helping developing - and developed - countries deal with managing their environments for long term growth and, yes, sustainability. Hot, scary topics like,

2.     International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related domestic policies    
3.     Combating poverty
4.     Changing consumption patterns    
5.     Demographic dynamics and sustainability    
6     Protecting and promoting human health conditions    
7.     Promoting sustainable human settlement development
8.     Integrating environment and development in decision-making
9.     Protection of the atmosphere
10.     Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources    
11.     Combating deforestation
12.     Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
13.     Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development    
14.     Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development    
15.     Conservation of biological diversity
16.     Environmentally sound management of biotechnology
17.     Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources    
18.     Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources    
19.     Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products
20.     Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes, Including Prevention of Illegal International Traffic in Hazardous Wastes
21.     Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues    
22.     Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes

I mean, I read this stuff and nod, thinking, "yeah, so what?"

Others aren't so sure. From Freedom Advocates, Daniel Beckett pronounces:

The American people need to be better informed so they understand that Sustainable Development is a pseudonym for centralized control over human life. The policies of Sustainable Development are changing the very fabric of America.

Oh my. The writer goes on to say,

So what could be wrong with the idea of being sustainable? We don't want to be unsustainable, do we? The problem with Sustainable Development is that it flies in the face of man's will to advance. America is the greatest country in the world. Why? Because its citizens were allowed the use of its bountiful resources. There was no king or dictator to control man's creative action.

The idea behind Sustainable Development is to foster a mentality of guilt in people over the use of natural resources. Every time one starts their car... Every time one turns on a water faucet... Remember, be sustainable! Don't exceed your allotment of resources... Big Brother is watching you. We all must learn to live the same, think the same and most importantly... be sustainable!

America was not created using this mindset. America was created with the mindset of full speed ahead!!! I don't think NASA was concerned about being sustainable when they were going to the moon.

You see, the real agenda behind Sustainable Development has nothing to do with protecting the environment. It is about controlling the natural resources. If the resources are controlled, the people are controlled. The screws are already tightening on us. Does it make any sense that we must use poisonous, difficult to dispose of, fluorescent lighting in kitchens now? These things should be a personal choice. No doubt in time the use of all natural resources will be highly regulated.

[The bolding is mine. The hysteria, his].

Agenda 21 is evidently trying to limit the use / access to private property, ski resorts, fossil fuels, consumerism, irrigation, paved roads, pesticides, herbicides, farmlands, grazing of livestock, the family unit.

Agenda 21 - and its Norwegian communist executive director - even dares say that the "consumption patterns of the current middle class are not sustainable."

Go figure.

So, our new GOP-dominated county commissioners just appointed 3-4 new folks on the planning commission whose job is to review the planning document created after 150 public meetings, $400k++ in expenditures, and 2 years. The PC now appears to be dominated by folks who don't believe in planning, and are convinced that Agenda 21 is trying to control us all - to take away our rights.

For instance, we used to have a chapter in the Comp Plan devoted to Sustainable Development. Chapter 6 was deleted. Renewable energy and energy efficiency, it was said at the next meeting, should be moved to Chapter 6.

So, here's my question - how do we combat this crazy? We're doing a few obvious things, like getting the BOCC on record as to their opinions about Agenda 21 (don't tell me we should have done that BEFORE last fall's elections. I know that.) and LTEs and so on. But how do we speak to - how do we FRAME - Agenda 21 as what it was meant to be - something good for us all?

And how the hell do I get guys who don't believe in government off this governing panel? These are obvious questions that directly parallel what's going on with Grover Norquist and our government shrinking, light bulb freedom of choice Congress....


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Comment Preferences

  •  All of the above (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter, nzanne

    but don't clue in heroic anti-UN patriots like John Bolton about our nefarious plot. Keep it within the Politburo, comrades.

    snark off

    "My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism." --Karl Marx

    by Zutroy on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 09:21:21 AM PDT

  •  Suggestions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nzanne, ipsos, raines

    Go read some of Teddy Roosevelt's most impassioned conservation pronouncements.  Then quote the great REPUBLICAN presdient to them.

    Tell them when NASA went to the moon, they sent back the image of Earth from space, which did so much to help us understand the Earth as a whole but vulnerable planet.

    Ask them directly in public meetings what their RESPONSIBILITIES are to their neighbors, to future generations, to other spreies. and to God's creation.

    Go read some Aldo Leopold, and tell them he was ahunter and forester who came tyo understand the necessity of thinking ecologically and democratically, and that if you don't learn to do that, you will lose all of your "freedom" to the concentrated wealth of global corporations.

    Tell them there there is no "freeedom" in a ruined landscape that cannot support and sustain its soils, waters, plants, and animals, and a healthy local economy.

    Tell them America was nearly RUINED in the 1800s and well into the 1900s by the depletion and degradation of its abundant forests, prairies, wildlife, fisheries, rivers -- and that the conservation movement (so often led by Republicans) allowed us to live not just by depletion but regenration.

    Ask them to explain in detail the connection between conservation and conservatism.

    Go read Eric Freyfogle's book The Land We Share:  Private Property and the Common Good -- should be required for every environmentalist who has not ever taken the time to think about private property and conservation.

    Tell them that with 150 meetings and everything else, what is your problem is denying local people a say in their local landscape;  and just what kind of process would they prefer?  Or would they prefer to let corporations take over the process, as they will with unfettered fundamentalist free market ideology running the world.

    Spit the "mentality of guilt" meme RIGHT BACK IN THEIR FACE; tell them loud and proud and clear that its a mentaility of responsibility and care and neighborliness.

    Ask them how they would react if a toxic waste dump, or porn shop, or nuclear waste facility, or private groundwater exporting company, decided to set up shop NEXT DOOR to them... or to their church.

    Tell them:  Yes, indeed: it is ALL ABOUT controlling resources; and if the local community does not come together to express and develop a vision for taking responsibility and control of the health of its lands and waters and landscape, then big money will be happy to do it -- and you will have NO CONTROL over that.  Ask the people fighting mountaintop removal in Appalachia, or fracking all over the country.

    Tell them that the "will to advance" is of no use when you are heading toward a cliff; that progress from here forward for the rest of history depends on learning to live on the land, and with our neighbors (human and otherwise), in ways that don't degrade, but restore, human and antural communities.

    That's just for starters....  

    •  These are excellent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't know Eric Freyfogle's book The Land We Share:  Private Property and the Common Good, but will go read it.

      I like very much your idea about constantly throwing it back at them, and will work on that.

    •  I like the framing that sustainability is about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nzanne, strobusguy, raines

      responsibility, care, and neighborliness.  These are values everyone can recognize.

      Also, I strongly agree with the value of referring to Republican leaders like Teddy Roosevelt is excellent -- it breaks down the sense of environmental responsibility as some recent, foreign creation.

      You might also want to acknowledge that, yes,  Americans began by being very free to use up resources as they wished.  But we don't get a new continent every 200 years.  If we're going to leave a rich, productive country for the generations to come, we have to take care of it, by living sustainably.

  •  we have those guys here and they are concerned tha (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they won't be able to turn their 5 acre farm into a waste dump or the feds will come snooping on their trailer lot or that they will not be able to hunt on my land and shoot up no trespassing signs and so on.

    Problem is you have to convince the real stakeholders who may hold mistaken ideas what land management really means, basing them on propaganda that is still rehashing spotted owls

    •  I'd think about shortening the list a bit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So many points might be a little intimidating to some folk, regardless of how sensible it may be.
      If someone tries to tea-bag it, you might point out that governing 300 million people is a little different than governing the 3 million the founding fathers had in hand. That probably won't make much difference to them, but it does cut to the essence of the issue.

      "Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity." ~Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

      by Andhakari on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:03:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This would be news to NASA: (0+ / 0-)
    I don't think NASA was concerned about being sustainable when they were going to the moon.

    Put a few guys into an Apollo capsule and have them rebreathe their own CO2 for awhile...then they'd see how important sustainability was to NASA.  Remember the "CO2 scrubber" scene from Apollo 13?

    And good luck to you.  You're a better man than I am Gunga Din.

    Join us at the Amateur Radio Group. Serving the Left Side of the Dial since 2011.

    by briefer on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 05:52:26 PM PDT

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