Agenda 21 – Part 1

Agenda 21 – Born inAmerica, Raised by the United Nations

Posted by OldMarine

Since Glenn Beck brought “Earth Summit – Agenda 21, The United Nation’s Programme of Action From Rio” (Agenda 21) [1] toAmerica’s attention, the web has been a buzz.

 There have been websites, blogs and news articles by some who have actually taken up the fight to inform the American people about this U.N. plan. A plan which would leadAmericato becoming a subject of the U.N. Unfortunately, there are the “opportunists”, who see the threat of Agenda 21 as the cause “de jour”, just another cause to be used as an attempt to gain fame and fortune for themselves or their website. Finally and sadly, there are those who just don’t care and may say, “It can never happen in theU.S.and it is just another ‘conspiracy theory’”, and will bury their heads in the sand. No matter which group you are in, Agenda 21 is real, and the sad part is that though it is now a U.N. agenda, it was born right here in the good old U.S.A.

 One of the main points of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration is that, “human beings are the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”[2] The key phase is “sustainable development”, and though it may be a new term for some, it is not. The term was first used after the 1972 U.N. meeting about the human environment held inStockholm,Sweden.  For those not familiar with the term, it basically means that there needs to be a balance the environment, and the human beings that occupy and use the earth, or in very simple words, control the population so that there is a balance between resources and people. This “balance” was expressed in two books published in 1948.

  In the book, In Our Plundered Planet by the chairman of the Conservation Foundation, Fairfield Osborn, wrote “The tide of the earth’s population is rising, the reservoir of the earth’s living resources is falling” [4]. In yet another book, Road To Survival, written by a former official of the Audubon Society and who would later become national director of Planned Parenthood, William Vogt proclaimed, “The Day of Judgment is at hand.”[5].

 Later, Steward Udall, who had served as the Secretary of the Interior in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, wrote in the book, The Quiet Crisis, “Dave Brower [then executive director of the Sierra Club] expressed the consensus of the environmental movement on the subject in 1966 when he said, ‘We feel you don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.’”[6]

  In 1968, a book was written that would surpass Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The book, The Population Bomb [7], written by the co-founder of the Zero Population Growth (ZPG) movement, Paul Ehrlich who had once stated, “The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children. [8]”.  His book would echo and amplify the same population concerns as the 1948 books by Osborn and Vogt. Ehrlich would later co-author a “text book” and other articles with John P. Holdren. Yes, President Obama’s science czar.

 While the environmental advocates envisioned making the transition toU.S.population stabilization within a generation, basically by the time the college activists of that period had children of their own attending college. For example, in 1969, the Sierra Club, urged, “the people of theUnited Statesto abandon population growth as a pattern and goal; to commit themselves to limit the total population of theUnited Statesin order to achieve a balance between population and resources; and to achieve a stable population no later than the year 1990. [9]”

 Until now, it would have seem that most of the environmental and “sustainable development” (population control) movement was confined to the academic world, this was not to be the case. Soon the President of theUnited Statesand a senator fromWisconsinwill bring these causes to nationwide attention.

  In 1969, President Nixon addressed the nation in an unprecedented speech about problems that theU.S.would face if population continued unabated. In this speech he said, “One of the most serious challenges to human destiny in the last third of this century will be the growth of the population. Whether man’s response to that challenge will be a cause for pride or for despair in the year 2000 will depend very much on what we do today.” [10].

 Later, onJanuary 1, 1970, Nixon would sign into law, what would be referred to as the nation’s “environmental Magna Carta” [11], the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) [12]. In Title I of the act, the “Declaration of National Environmental Policy” began: “The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the environment, particularly the profound influences of population growth…”[13]

 On January 19, of the same year, Senator Gaylord A. Nelson, Democrat,Wisconsin, presented his “environmental agenda,” in a major speech to the Senate. This “agenda” consisted of 11 items.

 The first item on his agenda was his proposal for a constitutional amendment that read: “Every person has the inalienable right to a decent environment. TheUnited Statesand every State shall guarantee this right.” Next, he proposed that immediate action “to ridAmericain the 1970s of the massive pollution from five of the most heavily used product of our affluent age.” These five are: internal combustion engine, hard pesticides, detergent pollution, aircraft pollution, and nonrefundable containers.

 The third item on his agenda was to enhance the quality of life by establishing family planning. Fourth on his agenda was, creating a new environmental advocacy agency to involve citizens in environmental policy activities. Fifth, reduce ocean pollution by regulating oil drilling. Number six was the establishment of an environmental education program for all levels of education. The seventh item was the development of mass transit to reduce the use of private automobiles. Eight, adoption of a national land use policy involving all levels of government to reduce the chaotic, unplanned combination of urban sprawl, industrial expansion, and air, water, land, and visual pollution. Number nine was the establishment of a national minerals and resources policy that encourages wise use and conservation. The tenth item in the agenda was the establishment of national air and water quality policies. Eleventh, creation of a nonpartisan national environmental political action organization which encourages public involvement at all levels of government. Over the decade that followed, Senator Nelson worked with other members of Congress and made progress on many of these items on his environmental agenda.

 1970 also brought Senator Nelson to the end of a personal quest, a quest which he had been engaged in for many years. This quest was to find a way to focus public attention on the environment. Having began this quest in 1963, when he thought he had found a way to bring the environment into the political limelight after he had persuaded President Kennedy to make a nationwide conservation tour. Although President Kennedy traveled throughPennsylvania,Michigan,Minnesota,Wisconsin,Wyoming,Utah,Washington, andCaliforniaspeaking about the need to conserve natural resources the effort received little media attention. It was then, that Senator Nelson realized he needed another mechanism for promoting environmental concern and asked himself “how are we going to get the nation to wake up and pay attention to the most important challenge the human specifies faces on the planet?”

 While reading an article on anti-Vietnam War teach-ins which were being organized on college campuses across the nation to protest the War, it occurred to him: Why not have a nationwide teach-in on the environment? When he returned toWashington, Nelson began raising the funds to get Earth Day started. He wrote letters to all 50 governors and the mayors of major cities asking them to issue Earth Day Proclamations. He sent an Earth Day article to all college newspapers explaining the event and one to Scholastic Magazine, which went to most high schools and grade schools.

 It worked. An estimated twenty million people participated in educational activities and community events demonstrating their interest in the environment. Congress recessed for the day so that House and Senate members could speak about the environment and attend community events. InNew York City, Mayor John Lindsay closedFifth Avenueto automobile traffic and 100,000 people attended an ecology fair inCentral Park.

 In Earth Day ceremonies at the University of Wisconsin, Senator Nelson declared: “Our goal is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human creatures and for all living creatures. . .The battle to restore a proper relationship between man and his environment, between man and other living creatures will require a long, sustained, political, moral, ethical, and financial commitment- -far beyond any effort made before.”[14]

 Looking back, 30 years after the first Earth Day, Sen. Nelson reportedly said, “Central to the theme of the first Earth Day in 1970 was the understanding thatU.S.population growth was a joint partner in the degradation of our nation’s environmental resources. Most of us involved in the creation of the modern national environmental movement understood clearly that we could not reach the environmental goals being set at the time if the United States did not quickly start stabilizing its population — and not repeat the Baby Boom we’d just been through. The good news was that by 1972, the American fertility rate had fallen to just below replacement level. We expected that by the end of the 20th century,U.S.population growth would be winding down, with stabilization near.”

 The die has been cast, but it will take a Presidential commission to lay the ground work for the U.N.’s Agenda 21. That ground work will be shown and explored in part 2 of “Agenda 21 – Born inAmerica, Raised by the United Nations”.

See Part 2


 [2] Principle 1, “Report of the United Nations Conference On Environment and Development”,12 August, 1992.


 [4] Stephen Fox. 1981. John Muir and His Legacy: The American Conservation Movement, 1890-1975.Boston: Little, Brown. p. 307.

 [5] Ibid. p. 307.

 [6] Steward L. Udall. 1963, 1988. The Quiet Crisis and the Next Generation.Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books. p. 239.

 [7] Paul R. Ehrlich. 1968. The Population Bomb.New York: Ballantine Books.


 [9] Sierra Club Board of Directors policy adoptedMay 3-4, 1969.

 [10] Quoted from the 1972 Rockefeller Commission Report.

 [11] R. B. Smythe. 1997. “The Historical Roots of NEPA.” At p. 12 in Ray Clark and Larry Canter (eds.) Environmental Policy and NEPA: Past, Present, and Future.Boca Raton:St.Lucie Press.

 [12] PL 91-190; 83 Stat. 852, 42 U.S.C. 4321.

 [13] 42 U.S.C. 4331.

 [14] Information about Senator Nelson from

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