Category Archives: Agenda 21 & Plan Maryland

Sustainability Dilemma

Advocates for more environmental laws and regulations also call for a reduction in world-wide population.  According to environmentalists all environmental calamities are theoretically caused by mankind.  Ozone layer depletion, global warming, sea level rises, melting ice caps, species extinction, and a myriad of other environmental issues are a consequence of man.

Terms or slogans like sustainable development are used to promote ideas such as green living conditions, poverty eradication, reduction and elimination of fossil fuels, etc.  Sustainable development also encompasses population control.  Programs around fertility and reproductive policies are developed with the intention of reducing the overall world-wide population.  These policies include birth control, abortion, and even sterilization and forced abortions.

These policies are turned into politically divisive issues around themes such as reproductive rights, women’s rights, and poverty eradication.  In linking poverty to over-population, environmentalists also link so-called reproductive rights and environmental calamities to over-population.  Consequently, the agenda to reduce world-wide population is inextricably tied to other causes then advanced by making them politically divisive.  All of this is wrapped into a tidy term called sustainable development.  While this may look pretty from afar, it is far from pretty.

For purposes of this discussion let’s assume the environmentalists are right about man being the cause of global warming and other environmental calamities.  Naturally, a reduction in world-wide population is justified because science has determined environmental problems are caused by mankind.   Advocates for sustainable development developed plans such as Agenda 21 which encompasses:

  • Agricultural and rural resource land use
  • Transportation and land use systems
  • Water, sewer, schools and other public facilities
  • Water and natural resources protection
  • Lands subject to climate change impacts
  • Economic development
  • Community design
  • Social equity, safety, and education
  • Housing and neighborhood revitalization
  • Sustainability of energy, food, and water

This is as invasive as it gets.  But Agenda 21 primarily addresses what can be done to regulate and control activities of the living.  Population control is the opposite, yet complimentary, approach as its goal is to reduce the number of living people on the Earth.  Ultimately, these two go hand in glove with one another.  The origins of Agenda 21 can been found in the 400 page report titled “Our Common Future” which can be read here.  This is one excerpt from the report:

Present rates of population growth cannot continue. They already compromise many governments’ abilities to provide education, health care, and food security for people, much less their abilities to raise living standards. This gap between numbers and resources is all the more compelling because so much of the population growth is concentrated in low-income countries, ecologically disadvantaged regions, and poor households.

This one statement intends to link population growth to poverty, therefore, if you eradicate poverty you can lower population.  In other words, programs such as sterilization, access to free abortions, and birth control are promulgated throughout the world, but especially in third world countries.  Politically, this is sold as a reproductive rights issue or as a humanitarian effort to eradicate poverty.  Ultimately, these are population control programs.

Environmentalists and population control advocates also support increased government social programs.  Those include programs such as government provided free education, health care services, and social security programs.  Those with alternative solutions are demonized as wanting to push granny over the cliff or trying to interfere with a woman’s right to kill her unborn child.

Programs such as Medicare and Social Security programs are vigorously defended by those supporting big government.  The intersection of interests is dynamic.  Those in support of Social Security and Medicare programs are the very same people supporting a woman’s right to choose and more stringent environmental regulations.

Medicare and Social Security are premised upon a Ponzi scheme requiring more people at the bottom to support those at the top.  In other words, more young workers are needed to pay into systems such as Medicare and Social Security to support those receiving benefits from those programs.

Paradoxically, those calling for sustainable development pursue an agenda to reduce the overall world-wide population out of one side of their mouth also call for the retention and expansion of social security and Medicare out of the other side of their mouth.  These two stalwarts of the leftist, progressive agenda are at odds with one another.  Ironically, one side wants to reduce the population while the other side requires the population to increase to ensure the survival of social security and Medicare.   Demonstrably, both social security and Medicare are unsustainable as there are nearly $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities.   If the leftist progressive agenda truly believes in sustainability then use their Alinsky-like tactics and apply the sustainability mantra to Social Security and Medicare.

The triangulation among environmental advocates, social program advocates, and government is a self-created intractable problem.   Two agendas, both centered on population, have diametrically opposing requirements and both agendas are dependent upon government for enforcement and compliance.

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Plan Maryland – Why Counties Need a One Year Extension

Governor Martin O’Malley’s Plan Maryland initiative purports to be a comprehensive sustainability plan for the state ofMaryland.  The initial 188 page draft Plan was unveiled in April/May to an unsuspecting public by the Maryland Department of Planning with a ninety day public input and comment period.  The revised 100 page draft Plan was made public in September with a sixty day public input and comment period. 

What is PlanMaryland

Thirty seven years ago the Land Use Act of 1974 was signed into law and serves as the authorization for Governor O’Malley to implement PlanMaryland.  At public hearings, Maryland Department of Planning executive Richard Hall explained to citizens the plan was to improve the way state agencies work together to accomplish common goals and objectives for growth, development, and preservation. 

On the surface the goals and objectives may seem innocuous and worthwhile.  As one individual with deep knowledge of the plan said to me, “the plan looks pretty from afar but it is far from pretty.”  Upon further examination Plan Maryland invades every aspect of our lives including; food, water, sewer, safety, education, affordable housing (defined in the document as government subsidized housing), public transportation, land use, business, economy, deforestation, and social equity.  There was not a single reference to individual rights, property rights, or the Constitution in the first draft and only one reference to property rights in the revised draft.  Page 84 of PlanMaryland says:

Depending upon the Implementation Strategy, State agencies should use the following issue specific implementation guidelines as they align and coordinate their capital and non-capital plans, programs and procedures to achieve the Goals and Objectives of the Plan. These issue specific guidelines cover:

1. Agriculture and Rural Resource Lands

2. Sustainable Transportation-Land Use System

3. Water, Sewer, Schools and other Public Facilities

4. Water and Natural Resources Protection

5. Lands Subject to Climate Change Impacts

6. Economic Development

7. Community Design

8. Social Equity, Safety and Education

9. Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization

10. Sustainability of Energy, Food, and Water

11. Capital Budgeting

12. Open Space in the Built Environment

This is about as invasive as it gets.  Nearly every aspect of your life is covered by PlanMaryland.  If, according to Richard Hall, the plan is intended to improve the way state agencies work together then why do we need the plan in the first place?  Secondly, why does the plan invade everything in our private and personal lives?  At best it’s contradictory.  At worst it’s disingenuous.

More importantly, the decision making authority over land use and zoning no longer remains in the hands of locally elected officials.  Instead, unelected state officials and bureaucrats through councils, commissions, and boards wield decision making power over local planning and zoning issues. 

The most disturbing aspect of PlanMarylandis its justification and reliance upon global warming science.  The initial draft Plan contained nearly one hundred references to global warming, climate change, and greenhouse gases.  The revised Plan removed all references to global warming and only uses the terms climate change or greenhouse gases.

Debunking the Science

The Plan goes so far as to include a quote from environmental activist Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring.  For those unfamiliar with Rachel Carson, she is the one person most closely associated with the ban on DDT.  The Environmental Protection Agency held hearings in 1972 on DDT and the EPA’s hearing officer, Edmund Sweeney, received testimony from every major scientific organization supporting the use of DDT.  Sweeney concluded, “DDT is not carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic to man and these uses of DDT do not have deleterious effect on fish, birds, wildlife, or estuarine organisms.”  Two months latter, EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus banned DDT without reading or reviewing any testimony.  Since DDT’s banning in 1972 over sixty million people have died worldwide from malaria.  It was later determined by independent scientific assessment that the science Carson relied upon was fraudulent.

PlanMaryland relies upon the 2008 Maryland Climate Action Plan to justify its goals and objectives.  The 2008 Maryland Climate Action Report in turn relies upon global warming/climate studies produced by the United Nations International Panel for Climate Change.  In some cases, the IPCC Action Reports referenced are more than ten years old.  However, given the recent discovery of scientific and academic fraud surrounding the science used by or relied upon by the IPCC the entire scientific basis is thoroughly discredited.

In June 2009, the Heartland Institute published a rebuttal to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.  The rebuttal was coauthored and edited by S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., and Craig Idso, Ph.D and produced with contributions and reviews by an international coalition of scientists.  The full report can be found here.

Perhaps the most insulting and disturbing aspect of climate studies produced to date is the pretense that the science is “settled” and “incontrovertible”.  Many theories have been proven inaccurate or wrong based on new discoveries, better or more thorough testing of hypotheses, improved instrumentation, etc.  However, it is incumbent upon the scientists to follow the scientific method and the burden of proof is on their shoulders. 

The IPCC relied upon science that did not and has not followed the scientific method.  Moreover, statements that global warming science is settled and incontrovertible are nonsensical and foolish.  The burden of proof is supposed to rest upon the scientists performing the tests.  In global warming science the scientists and their results are deemed correct and the skeptics bear the burden to prove them wrong.  This approach stands the scientific method on its head.  The burden lies upon the proposer and it is incumbent upon the proposer to follow proscribed methods. 

One critical aspect of any scientific hypothesis is peer review.  Those scientists proposing a certain finding are required to share their data, tests, intermediate results, models,  instrumentation, data collection methods, final results, etc. with peers in the scientific community.  Most importantly, skeptics must have an opportunity to review anything and everything related to scientific hypothesis.  

We know from the leaked e-mails from the Hadley Climate Research Unit that peer review by skeptics was suppressed.  The climate models were manipulated to produce the infamous hockey stick graph.   Real temperature data was replaced with proxy data from tree rings (that was proven to be manipulated).  Here’s one particular e-mail about hiding the decline from CRU lead scientist Dr. Phil Jones:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd [sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain data from the CRU.  Eventually, McIntyre got the tree ring data used in the hockey stick graph and found the data was cherry picked to produce the desired results.  In McIntyre’s effort to reconstruct the graph he found the decline magically disappears after all the tree ring data is included.  Those tests can be found here.

It is reasonable to conclude global warming science is far from settled and is certainly controvertible.  PlanMaryland is based upon fraudulent science and as a result renders the entire plan controversial and politically motivated.  PlanMaryland supplants individual rights and property rights with collectivist concepts and ideals where a council of government bureaucrats invades every aspect of your life from food and water, to safety and education, to modes of transportation, and where you may or may not live.  

Property Rights

People owning property essentially obtain a “bag of rights” when they purchased their property.  Those rights encompass the right of use and the right of disposal.  PlanMaryland strips a substantial portion of those rights from the property owner and leaves the property owner with the burden of ownership and maintenance of the property.  Government enjoys a surrogate ownership over property without any of the responsibility of ownership.  

Property owners are stripped of the choice of where they wish to live, and the State dictates how property owners can use their property.  In some cases, development rights are down-zoned or eliminated by State decision makers which reduces or eliminates property values.  It is a government taking of private property without just and fair compensation.   To quote Ayn Rand:

The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.  [C]itizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership.  [G]overnment officials hold the economic, political and legal power of life or death over the citizens.

The fact that a property owner holds the deed to a property is meaningless if the individual is forced to live where government dictates, and government strips individuals of some or all property value, and the rights to use and/or disposal. Rand continues her commentary on property rights:

The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

PlanMaryland is an eco-Marxist’s dream come true.  The collective – the good of the many – outweigh the good of the few.  Individual rights, liberty, property rights, and the Constitution are damned.  Government is instituted amongst men for the protection of their rights and property.  PlanMaryland contradicts the very bedrock principle upon which governments are instituted.  PlanMaryland abridges and denies certain rights.  Without the right to property, mans’ economic liberty vanquishes.

Why the Rush

Lastly, approximately one-half of Maryland’s twenty four jurisdications asked Governor O’Malley for a one year extension to formally review, comment, and work with the state on PlanMaryland.  Thus far, Governor O’Malley has rejected those requests.  The State sprung this on counties in April/May timeframe and is nearing the end of public input and comments.  If the law authorizing the State to implement PlanMaryland was passed in 1974, and thirty seven years have passed, why is there such a rush to implement the plan now? 

It seems reasonable to me the Governor should grant a one year extension and work with the counties in a cooperative and collaborative fashion.  Considering the scientific basis for PlanMaryland is fraudulent and there is justifiable concern over land use and many other aspects of PlanMaryland, it certainly seems fair and reasonable to me that the Governor grant a one year extension.

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Maryland’s Sustainability Plan is Unsustainable

Radical environmental sustainable development schemes are being implemented all over the country by state and local government.  The statists desire to wrest control of land use from private property owners using government coercion and soviet style councils under the auspices of sustainable development (a.k.a. smart growth).   Plan Maryland is Maryland’s latest recent sustainable development scheme. 

Two years ago I co-authored an article with current Carroll County Commissioner Rich Rothschild, published by American Thinker titled “UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You”. Maryland’s radical environmentalists, disguised as sustainability planners, have ratcheted up their efforts to control land use, dictate housing preferences, and use zoning laws to impact property rights and values.  It doesn’t end at these totalitarian style goals.  PlanMaryland is an aggressive maneuver by elected officials, bureaucrats, and radical environmentalists to empower themselves to control food and water, education, and the economy through green jobs.  This is right out of the Agenda 21 and ICLEI playbook. 

One of Plan Maryland’s foundational premises is global warming and climate change.  Specifically, Maryland’s CO2 contribution to greenhouse gases (GHG).  Plan Marylandrelies upon the 2008 Maryland Climate Action Report which, in turn, relies upon the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports.  The Maryland CAR explicitly states: 

The IPCC found the evidence for the warming of the Earth to be “unequivocal.”  The IPCC concluded that most of the observed temperature increases since the middle of the 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gases. 

If it is unequivocal why does the next sentence say “it is very likely”? The Maryland Climate Action Report is scientific garbage because it relies upon the IPCC’s flawed, distorted, and manipulated data and methods.  The old adage garbage in, garbage out comes to mind.   To a radical environmentalist, PlanMaryland is a wet dream come true. 

Sustainable development is not about environmental stewardship.  All sustainability documents reference the “three Es”; social equity, environment, and the economy, with a heavy emphasis on “equity” or so-called social justice.  Social and environmental concerns include transportation, poverty eradication, gender equity, youth participation, safety, education, and food and water.  Literature produced by the United Nations, the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI), the American Planning Association, and PlanMaryland is nearly identical and indistinguishable.  

This is nothing short of an all encompassing effort by statists at the international, national, state, and local government level to circumvent the United States Constitution and violate individual rights and property rights under the guise of sustainable development.  

As early as 1976 the United Nations Vancouver Declaration of Human Settlements called for the elimination of private land ownership because land is a principal instrument in the accumulation of wealth and, according to them, contributes to social injustice.  Additionally, private land ownership is a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.  Fast-forward to 1992 and we have Agenda 21, a United Nations development program that serves as the genesis for sustainable development. 

Plan Maryland overtly intends to minimize private land ownership.  The statist realizes outright elimination of private property is decades away.   But with the assistance of the ICLEI, the American Planning Association, and dozens of other organizations, planners  use the sustainable development scheme to restrict ownership to preferred development areas (PDA), require medium to high density dwellings (3.5 units per acre of land), and corrals people into very few areas controlled by the heavy hand of government. 

A sustainable development plan wouldn’t be complete without including government housing subsidies.  In sustainable development vernacular this is called affordable housing.  When government controls land use and government provides subsidies for housing the result is a gerrymandered population distorting the political landscape.  Statists decide who gets subsidies and where those people live.  The distribution of people, who are also voters, is distorted.  If you take 100,000 people out of Baltimore City(90% Democrat) and move them around the state, the entire voting pattern of the state is transformed and the ruling party increases their political power. 

Government uses financial leverage to coerce counties and municipalities to comply with sustainability dictates or else taxpayer funds that normally flow back to counties and municipalities are withheld.  Grant coercion is another preferred tactic used by the statist to ensure compliance and/or cooperation.  Grants are used to attract non-profits, educational institutions, and other entities to participate in the sustainability scheme.  Organizations are attracted to grant money.  Government dangles the proverbial carrot in the form of taxpayer money to ensure outcomes that advance the statist’s agenda.  For instance, a $1 million grant is offered to study climate change.  Upon completion, government offers another $1 million grant to prove mankind is the cause of climate change.  Lastly, government offers another $1 million grant to prove the level of CO2 produced by mankind is trapped as a greenhouse gas resulting in a warmer planet. 

Government uses the law against the very citizens it was meant to protect.  All levels of government are instituted to protect individual rights, liberty, and property rights.  Citizens are stranded to fight massive bureaucratic organizations to merely buy property and live where they desire without government coercing them into sustainable communities like sardines in a tin can.  Some citizens may find a sustainable community desirable while government coerces other citizens into these living conditions. 

The 188 page PlanMaryland document never mentions the U.S. Constitution or private property rights.  In fact, the term climate change was used 48 times and the term greenhouse gas is used 25 times in the Plan Maryland document.  Not a single reference to private property rights.  Not a single reference to the Constitution.   

In Maryland, the Carroll County Commissioners were the first county in the nation to leave the ICLEI.  Approximately, fifteen other municipalities have followed Carroll Countyand withdrawn from the ICLEI. The county has been inundated with letters, e-mails, and phone calls from all over the country asking for guidance, and offering support and encouragement.  

Commissioner Rothschild is a leading advocate against radical sustainable development schemes.  Rothschild met with Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett and Steven King.  He met with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s staff.  He has done several dozen radio interviews and programs.  He has addressed dozens of concerned citizen groups throughout the mid-Atlantic region. 

The Carroll County Commissioners instructed the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove all references to sustainable development and to insert language upholding Constitutional rights and property rights.  In the Commissioners press release Rich Rothschild said: 

If compact growth were more cost effective, our cities would have the lowest tax rates. Yet across the country large cities tend to have the highest tax rates… People are fleeing Smart Growth [zoning templates], due to congestion and crime. 

Commissioner David Rousch directed his comments squarely at government intervention in free markets:

We don’t believe it’s our job to create certain kinds of housing anywhere in this county. The market will create it.

Maryland citizens have had enough with the intimidation and bullying by the Democrat controlled General Assembly and Governor Martin O’Malley.  Several other states have implemented radical environmental sustainable development schemes while others are in process of doing so.  While the federal government is dithering around with debts and budgets, states are aggressively acting to abridge or deny your private property rights. 

I said it two years ago and I’ll say it again.  Agenda 21, with the help of the ICLEI and other organizations, is implementing sustainable development schemes in states and local jurisdictions all over the country, and it is coming to a neighborhood near you.

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What if Government wanted to eliminate Candy

Which is easier; to ban candy or to promote healthy teeth?  And, if we are going to promote healthy teeth, it only makes sense to promote general health and the avoidance of diabetes.

How would they do it?

  • Get an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) like the ADA on your side.
  • Create a health sustainability coordinator that belongs to an international organization that promotes the benefits of a candy-free society.
  • Pass legislation that requires schools and households to use healthy diet templates.
  • Require schools to teach the evils of candy.

Next…

  • Explain how the consumption of Candy consumes an excessive portion of the world’s sugar cane supplies.
  • Publish selective articles “proving” that candy is harmful to your health.
  • Endorse organizations that promote healthy eating.  Offer smart sugar-free growing awards.
  • Pass resolutions that argue, “in the absence of positive proof”, we should err on the side of  caution and avoid candy.

Then…

  • Get non-candy companies to sell alternatives. How do you do this?
  • Offer grants to companies that manufacture healthy desserts.
  • Offer grants to schools, communities, and businesses that provide healthy desserts in lieu of candy.
  • Promote technology that would monitor sugar consumption.

Finally…

  • Require a transfer of funds from rich countries to poor countries in order to help wean them off of sugar-based foods.
  • Develop small, local farms in poorer countries to grow alternative foods.
  • Create a government dietary commission staffed with anti-sugar political appointees.
  • Require all schools and businesses to adopt a sugar-free diet planning template.
  • Pass a hefty tax on all candy vendors to make it so costly to put candy in vending machines they’ll go out of business.
  • Require all members of the dietary commission to be trained in proper diets.

What would Al Gore and Michael Moore do?

  • Produce a movie about corruption at Hershey’s Chocolate called “Candy and Me”.
  • Produce a movie denigrating the system that enables us to have chocolate in every household “Capitalism and Candy; How greed is killingAmerica”.
  • Produce a movie on the evils of cavities.  An Inconvenient Tooth.

And…

  • Create a false moral equivalency .  If you do not support the banning of candy you must be a cold, callous, and selfish.  You must be in favor of harming children.
  • Declare the debate is over.  Sugar must go.
  • Blame the poor health of children worldwide on capitalism; the wasteful exporting of sugar, and wasteful sugar consumption habits of wealthy nations.

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