“Sustainable Development:  The Transformation of America” by Tom DeWeese, from his book entitled Agenda 21 and How To Stop It (2019, pp. 7-17)

Some think that the planet is in danger of global warming and over consumption.  They really believe that the only way to fix the problem is to control the flow of resources and wealth, which literally means changing human civilization and the way we live.  The problem is, that requires a forced transformation of our entire society to comply, and that ultimately leads to a thirst for power and top-down control – that will eventually lead to tyranny.

In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a “wrenching transformation” must take place to lead America away from the “horrors of the Industrial Revolution.”  The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and its roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992.

Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy – often referred to as top-down control.

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The 1989 Webster Dictionary defines “Sustainable Yield” as a requirement that trees cut down in a forest area be replaced by new plantings to ensure future lumber supplies.  That’s what most people think Sustainable Development means.  Proponents of Sustainable Development argue that it is about preserving resources for future generations.  What’s wrong with that?  Nothing in theory.  That would be sustainable with a small “s.”  Just common sense usage of natural resources.

The problem is, major forces now promoting it intend for Sustainable Development to be spelled with a capital “S.” They intend for a Socio-economic political movement that probes, invades and changes every aspect of human civilization.  And that’s the problem.

Imagine an America in which a specified “ruling principle” is created to decide proper societal conduct for every citizen.  That principle would be used to consider regulations guiding everything you eat, the kind of home you are allowed to live in, the method of transportation you use to get to work, what kind of work you may have, the way you dispose of waste, perhaps even the number of children you may have, as well as the quality and amount of education your children may receive.  Sustainable development encompasses every aspect of our lives.

According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social, and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.  . . .

The Sustainablists insist that our society be transformed into feudal-like governance by making Nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society, not human need or wants.  This idea essentially elevates nature above Man.  As such, every societal decision would first be questioned as to how it might affect the environment.  To achieve this, Sustainablist policy focuses on three components; land use, education, and population control and reduction.

Here is a direct quote from the report of the 1976 UN’s Habitat I conference which said: “Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.  Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice.”  [Emphasis added.]

Some officials claim that Sustainable Development is just a local effort to protect the environment and contain development – just your local leaders putting together a local vision for the community.  Yet the exact language and tactics for implementation of Sustainable Development are being used in nearly every city around the globe from Lewiston, Maine to Singapore.  Local indeed.

In short, Sustainable Development is the process by which America is being reorganized around a central principle of state collectivism using the environment as bait.

One of the best ways to understand what Sustainable Development actually is can be found by discovering what is NOT sustainable.

According to the UN’s Biodiversity Assessment Report, items for our everyday lives that are NOT sustainable include:  Ski runs, grazing of livestock, plowing of soil, building fences, industry, single family homes, paved and tarred roads, logging activities, dams and reservoirs, power line construction, and economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment (capitalism, free markets).

Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s Rio Earth Summit in 1992 said, “… Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air-conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.”

The goal is exactly the policies that are written into such legislation as Cap and Trade, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.  It is also the policy behind the many corporate commercials seen nightly on television which advocate “Going Green.”  They are all part of the efforts to modify American consumer behavior to accept less, deal with higher energy prices, restrict water use and place severe limitations on use of private property – all under the environmental excuse.

And one of the most destructive tools used to enforce Sustainable Development policy is something called the “precautionary principle.”  That means that any activities that might threaten human health or the environment should be stopped – even if no clear cause and effect relationship has been established – and even if the potential threat is largely theoretical.

That makes it easy for any activist group to issue concerns or warnings by news release or questionable report against any industry or private activity, and have those warnings quickly turned into public policy – just in case.

Many are now finding non-elected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations.  As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing their own power and decision-making ability in their elected offices.  More and more decisions are now being made behind the scenes in non-elected “sustainability councils” armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and grant money.


According to its authors, the objective of Sustainable Development is to integrate economic, social and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

The Sustainable Development logo used in most literature on the subject contains three connecting circles labeled Social Equity; Economic Prosperity; and Ecological Integrity (known commonly as the 3 Es).


Sustainable Development’s Social Equity plank is based on a demand for “social justice.”  Social Justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.”  According to Sustainablist doctrine, it is a social injustice for some to have prosperity if others do not.  It is a social injustice to keep our borders closed.  It is a social injustice for some to be bosses and others to be merely workers.  Social justice is a major premise of Sustainable Development.  Another word for social justice is Socialism or Marxism.  Karl Marx was the first to coin the phrase “social justice.”

Most recently the theory of social justice has been used to justify government takeover of health care.  Today the phrase is used throughout Sustainablist literature.  The Sustainablist system is based on the principle that individuals must give up selfish wants for the needs of the common good, or the “community.”

This is the same policy behind the push to eliminate our nation’s borders to allow the “migration” of those from other nations into the United States to share our individually-created wealth and our taxpayers-paid government social programs.  Say the Sustainablists, “Justice and efficiency go hand in hand.”  “Borders” they say, “are unjust.”

Under the Sustainablist system, private property is an evil that is used simply to create the wealth for a few.  So too is business ownership.  Instead, “every worker/person will be a direct capital owner.”  Property and businesses are to be kept in the name of the owner, keeping them responsible for taxes and other expenses, however control is in the hands of the “community” (government).

Under Sustainable Development individual human wants, needs, and desires are to be conformed to the views and dictates of social planners.  Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chair of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) said:  “individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective in the process of implementing Sustainable Development.”


Sustainable Development’s economic policy is based on one overriding premise: that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor.  It dictates that, if the conditions of the poor are to be improved, wealth must first be taken from the rich.  Consequently, Sustainable Development’s economic policy is based, not on private enterprise, but on public/private partnerships.

In America’s free market of the past, most businesses were started by individuals who saw a need for a product or service and they set out to fill it.  Some businesses prospered to become huge corporations, some remained small “mom and pop” shops, others failed and dissolved.  Most business owners were happy to be left alone to take their chances to run their businesses on their own, not encumbered by a multiplicity of government regulations.  If they failed, most found a way to try again.  In the beginning of the America Republic, government’s main involvement was to guarantee they had the opportunity to try.

In order to give themselves an advantage over competition, some businesses – particularly large corporations – now find a great advantage in dealing directly with government, actively lobbying for legislation that will inundate smaller companies with regulations that they cannot possibly comply with or even keep up with. The government/big corporation back-scratching has always been a dangerous practice because economic power should be a positive check on government power, and vice versa.  If the two should ever become combined, control of such massive power can lead only to tyranny.  One of the best examples of this was the Italian model in the first half of the 20th Century under Mussolini’s Fascism.

Together, select business leaders who have agreed to help government impose Sustainablist green positions in their business policies, and officials of all levels of government are indeed merging the power of the economy with the force of government in Public/Private Partnerships on the local, state and federal levels.

As a result, Sustainable Development policy is redefining free trade to mean centralized global trade “freely” crossing (or eliminating) national borders.  It definitely does not people and companies trading freely with each other.  Its real effect is to redistribute American manufacturing, wealth, and jobs out of our borders and to lock away American natural resources.  After the regulations have been put in place, literally destroying whole industries, new “green” industries created with federal grants bring newfound wealth to the “partners.”  This is what Sustainablists refer to as economic prosperity.

The Sustainable Development “partnerships” include some corporations both domestic and multination.  They in turn are partnered with the politicians who use their legislative and administrative powers to raid the treasury to fund and enforce the scheme.

Of course, as the chosen corporations, which become a new elite, stamp out the need for competition through government power, the real loser is the consumers who no longer count in market decisions.  Government grants are now being used by industry to create mandated green products like wind and solar power.  Products are put on the market at little risk to the industry, leaving consumers a more limited selection from which to choose.  True free markets are eliminated in favor of controlled economies which dictate the availability and quality of products.


“Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual and material) where humans are one strand in nature’s web and all living creatures are considered equal.  Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature’s rhythms,” from the UN’s Biodiversity Treaty presented at the 1992 UN Earth Summit.

This quote lays down the ground rules for the entire Sustainable Development agenda.  It says humans are nothing special – just one strand in the nature of things or, put another way, humans are simply biological resources.  Sustainablist policy is to oversee any issue in which man interacts with nature – which, of course, is literally everything.  And because the environment always comes first, there must be great restrictions over private property ownership and control.  This is necessary, Sustainablists say, because humans only defile nature.

Under Sustainable Development there can be no concern over individual rights.  Individual human wants, needs, and desires are conformed to the views and dictates of social planners.  The UN’s Commission on Global Governance said in its 1995 report: “Human activity…combined with unprecedented increases in human numbers … are impinging on the planet’s basic life support system.  Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks.”

Under Sustainable Development, limited government, as advocated by our Founding Fathers, is impossible because, we are told, the real or perceived environmental crisis is too great.  Only government can be trusted to respond.  Maurice Strong, Chairman of the 1992 UN Earth Summit, said: “A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally-damaging consumption patterns.  The shift will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.”

The politically based environmental movement provides Sustainablist camouflage as they work to transform the American systems of government, justice, and economics.  It is a masterful mixture of socialism (with its top down control of the tools of the economy) and fascism (where property is owned in name only – with no individual owner control).  Sustainable Development is the worst of both the left and the right.  It is not liberal, nor is it conservative.  It is a new kind of tyranny that, if not stopped, will surely lead us to a new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind.

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So how is this “wrenching transformation” being put into place?  There are four very specific routes being used:

  • In the rural areas it’s called the “Wildlands Project.”
  • In the cities it’s called “Smart Growth.”
  • In business it’s called “Public/Private Partnerships.”
  • In the government it’s called “Stakeholder Councils.”