In the first part of “Agenda 21 – Born in America, Raised by the United Nations” , I attempted to show how, the idea of “sustainable development”, which is the basic premise of the U.N.’s Agenda 21 may have gotten its start here in America.
I showed that as far back as 1948, with the publication of two books, the idea of population and environment was brought to the public’s attention. Now, I fully realize that there may have been other books and maybe other movements overseas, but I want to mainly show how some American politicians and others within America embraced this idea and push it into the “mainstream”. It was shown that although the idea of “population stabilization” was mainly an idea within the academic sector. This cause would be embraced by Steward Udall, the Interior Secretary under two Presidents, Senator Gaylord A. Nelson (D. WI) and even the President of the United States. From this embracement, President Nixon, signed into law, what was referred to as America’s “Environmental Magna Carta”, the National Environmental Policy Act. However, this would not be the only action President Nixon would take.
March 16, 1970, the Democratic congress passed Public Law 91-213 (91st Congress, S. 2701), to establish a Commission on Population Growth and the American Future. President Nixon signed this into law and the “President’s Commission on Population and The American Future” became reality. This commission was headed by American philanthropist and 1967 winner of the Margaret Sanger Award , John D. Rockefeller III and would become to be known as the Rockefeller Commission. This commission would release its findings two years later on March, 27, 1972. It is the findings of this commission that laid the ground work for the change in America’s national policies on population and the environment and may have lead to the first major conference on international environmental issues, the U.N.’s conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm, Sweden (also known as the Stockholm Conference). Is it a coincidence, this conference was held about two months after the release of the final report of the Rockefeller Commission on June 5-16, 1972? Is it a coincidence that this was the UN’s first major conference on international environmental issues, and in turn marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics ? Could this “turning point” eventually lead to implementation of the U.N.’s Agenda 21?
Before showing the relationship between the Rockefeller Commission report and Agenda 21, let’s review Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 lays or attempts to lay in its 40 chapters a foundation for the promotion of sustainable development in terms of social, economic and environmental progress. Its basic recommendations are divided into four main areas:
1. Social and economic issues such as international cooperation to accelerate sustainable development, combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, demographic dynamics and sustainability, and protecting and promoting human health.
2. Conservation and management of resources for development, such as protection of the atmosphere, combating deforestation, combating desertification and drought, promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development, conservation of biological diversity, protection of freshwater resources and the oceans, and the sound management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes.
3. Strengthening the role of major groups, including women, children and youth, indigenous people and their communities, NGOs, local authorities’ initiatives in support of Agenda 21, workers and their trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers.
4. Means of implementation, including financial resources and mechanisms, transfer of environmentally sound technology, promoting education, public awareness and training, international institutional arrangements, international legal instruments and mechanisms, and information for decision-making .
I fully realize that Agenda 21 is an international effort for control; however, I will (attempt to) show that what is proposed by Agenda 21, was recommended by the Rockefeller Commission and in some cases implemented into law by the United States.
Agenda 21 purposes, “Social and economic issues such as international cooperation to accelerate sustainable development, combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, demographic dynamics and sustainability, and protecting and promoting human health.” What does the Rockefeller Commission have to say?
The term “sustainable development” is not expressly used in the Commission’s report. They do address a population policy as it affects the environment…
“Population policy is no substitute for social, economic, and environmental policy. Successfully addressing population requires that we also address our problems of poverty, of minority and sex discrimination, of careless exploitation of resources, of environmental deterioration, and of spreading suburbs, decaying cities, and wasted countrysides. By the same token, because population is so tightly interwoven with all of these concerns, whatever success we have in resolving these problems will contribute to easing the complex system of pressures that impel population growth.”
The commission also addresses the “population problem in an ecological framework, one whose primary axiom asserts the functional interdependence of man and his environment. It calls for a far more fundamental shift in the operative values of modern society. The need for more education and knowledge and the need to eliminate poverty and racism are important, but not enough. For the population problem, and the growth ethic with which it is intimately connected, reflect deeper external conditions and more fundamental political, economic, and philosophical values. Consequently, to improve the quality of our existence while slowing growth, will require nothing less than a basic recasting of American values.”
“The numbers of people and the material conditions of human existence are limited by the external environment. Human life, like all forms of life on earth, is supported by intricate ecological systems that are limited in their ability to adapt to and tolerate changing conditions. Human culture, particularly science and technology, has given man an extraordinary power to alter and manipulate his environment. At the same time, he has also achieved the capacity virtually to destroy life on earth. Sadly, in the rush to produce, consume, and discard, he has too often chosen to plunder and destroy rather than to conserve and create. Not only have the land, air, and water, the flora and fauna suffered, but also the individual, the family, and the human community.”
The commission also “agree that population policy goals must be sought in full consonance with the fundamental values of American life: respect for human freedom, human dignity, and individual fulfillment; and concern for social justice and social welfare. To “solve” population problems at the cost of such values would be a Pyrrhic (achieved at excessive cost..OM) victory indeed. The issues are ethical in character, and their proper solution requires a deep sense of moral responsibility on the part of both the individual family and the national community: the former in considering another birth, the latter in considering appropriate policies to guide population growth into the American future.”
When the Commission addresses the economy and poverty, they do it in a novel way; they “conducted research to determine what effects different rates of population growth are likely to have on the economic well-being of the nation. We compared the effects of the 2-child population projection with the effects of the 3-child projection. Our overall conclusions from this research are:
1. Major economic changes are on the horizon regardless of future changes in population growth rates.
2. The nation has nothing to fear from a gradual approach to population stabilization.
3. From an economic point of view, a reduction in the rate of population growth would bring important benefits, especially if the United States develops policies to take advantage of the opportunities for social and economic improvement that slower population growth would provide.”
Why would the Commission look at the per capita income in a comparison between a 2 child and 3 child family projections? They state that “The rate of population growth will have a significant effect on per capita income. Our research indicates that in the year 2000, per capita income may be as much as 15 percent higher under the 2-child than under the 3-child population growth rate. The main reason for the higher per capita income under the 2-child projection is the shift in the age composition resulting from slower population growth; as we saw earlier, people of working age will constitute a larger fraction of the total population under conditions of slower population growth. A secondary reason is that with lower birthrates the percentage of women in the labor force is expected to rise somewhat faster than it would otherwise. Taken together, these trends mean relatively more workers and earners, and relatively fewer mouths to feed.”
As far as their view on poverty, again the projections are based on 2 children versus 3 children and concluded that “In a country as wealthy and resourceful as ours, there is no excuse for permitting deprivation. For the working poor and those who cannot find work, the solution is to eliminate racial and sex discrimination in employment, and to improve education and training. Beyond this, we need a serious reexamination of the status of the aged. Old people are healthier and better educated than ever before. They are often forced to stop working far before the end of their productive lives, because of outright discrimination and outdated restrictions against older workers, and because of fiscal disincentives against work built into our social security laws and other pension arrangements. Nevertheless, the country still has a number of people who cannot be helped by better access to the labor market. For these, the answer should be an increased public responsibility for maintaining a decent standard of living.
Measures to achieve an improved distribution of income should be beneficial demographically as well as socially. Evidence indicates that levels of childbearing —both wanted and unwanted— decline as income rises.”
Then of course the government has to do its part because “Despite higher average incomes, a slower rate of population growth will not eliminate poverty. As we have pointed out, if poverty is to be eliminated by the year 2000, economic growth must be accompanied by policies that redistribute income.
There are additional sectors of the economy, such as housing, transportation, and energy production, in which government is involved heavily. While the Commission studied in detail only the government involvement in education, health, and welfare, a general conclusion that can be drawn is that the country will have to spend more in absolute terms to provide public services for a population growing at the 3-child rate than at the 2-child rate. Also, slower growth would produce a higher income per capita. Under our present tax systems, this would mean that per capita government revenues would be greater.
However, these benefits of slower growth will not automatically guarantee a higher quality of life. This will be achieved only if we deliberately choose to take advantage of the opportunities that slower growth presents. The wise use of these opportunities depends on public and private decisions yet to be made.”
Although Agenda 21 is relativity new, as can be seen, when it comes to “Social and economic issues such as international cooperation to accelerate sustainable development”, the U.S. government’s commission was already laying plans for implementation of its own recommendations. These recommendations, ideas, were based on the population, the difference between a 2 children and a 3 children family when it comes to per capita income, government services and of course poverty. Now, ask yourself this, “Have you seen any policies / ideas being put into place in the past years?”
In part 3 of “Agenda 21 – Born in America, Raised by the United Nations” we will see what the Rockefeller Commission have to say about “conservation and management of resources for development, such as protection of the atmosphere, combating deforestation, combating desertification and drought, promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development, conservation of biological diversity, protection of freshwater resources and the oceans, and the sound management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes.”
Top Shot (Editor)
Old Marine (Research and Author)