Battle for Sustainable Freedom

by William Norman Grigg
Copyright 1996, American Opinion Publishing, Inc.

Principled conservationists are teaming up to fight the UN's eco-agenda

Quietly but persistently, the Clinton Administration is seeking to redefine America's environmental and land-use policies in conformity with the United Nations' Agenda 21 blueprint for a global environmental dictatorship. In doing so, it is carrying out a scheme for the "re-wilding" of America which would result in the conversion of at least half the land area of the continental U.S. into a vast "eco-park" devoid of industry and private property.

The UN's environmental vision is one of a human society achieving "sustainable development" under the direction of a global green elite. This concept has become a much more immediate danger with the recent publication of Sustainable America: A New Consensus, the report of the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). The PCSD report describes itself as "a new framework for a new century" and declares that "sustainability is all-encompassing." Accordingly, it presents a detailed program for infusing UN-mandated reforms into every aspect of American life, including education, job training, housing, transportation, and health care. It urges an increase in foreign aid to promote UN environmental policies abroad, and the adoption of UN-generated population control policies here at home.

Free-Market Gathering

The desire to understand the devastating implications of the UN's agenda for sustainable development drew more than 100 scholars, activists, and religious leaders to "Global Environmentalism: Agenda 21's Impact on America," a national gathering of free market conservationists held in Kansas City from March 21st-23rd. The conference was a project of the Sustainable Freedom Coalition, a grassroots national network designed to defend America's constitutional order against the UN-aligned eco-juggernaut.

Henry Lamb, founder and chairman of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and one of the nation's most diligent students of the UN's environmental agenda, was the primary organizer of the Kansas City event, and he is convinced that the best way to confront the threat posed by the UN and its allies is to create "a wide variety of grassroots contacts who will be well-informed and prepared to defend property rights and sound principles." Lamb and his associates assembled a formidable constellation of scholars to elucidate the UN's environmental agenda and the dangers it presents to liberty and national independence.

Dr. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia and Dr. Robert Balling of Arizona State University offered authoritative critiques of the dubious science behind the durable "global warming" scare. Economist Jacqueline Kasun of Humboldt State University presented a detailed examination of the UN's social agenda, particularly with regard to population control. An account of the struggle against the UN's Biodiversity treaty was provided by Dr. Michael Coffman of Environmental Perspectives, Inc., and Tom McDonnell, a resource analyst for the American Sheep Industry Association. Timely and informative presentations were also offered by James Sheehan and Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, agricultural scientist Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute, journalist Cliff Kincaid, Jim Miller of Human Life International, author and researcher Samantha Smith, and financial consultant Joan Veon. Congressman Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) addressed the meeting's closing banquet.

A Cancer on the Planet

As Dr. Michael Coffman warned, the premise of sustainable development is that "human society, particularly industrial society, is a cancer on the planet and must be eradicated." Panelists at the conference documented that the realization of the UN's designs would require the abolition of national sovereignty, central planning of the world economy, systematic disruption of the traditional family, a radical reduction in the human population, and the adoption of a pre-industrial standard of living for those allowed to inhabit the earth.

Dennis Avery, an agricultural economist with the Hudson Institute, pointed out that sustainable development advocates are pursuing mutually incompatible goals: They seek to "stabilize" the human population at nine billion by the year 2050 while simultaneously requiring a worldwide conversion to organic agriculture and preventing large-scale deforestation. "If we were to rely on organic farming to feed a population of nine billion, as Al Gore would require, we would have to plow down a land area equivalent to all of South America, North America, continental Europe, and half of Africa," Avery observed.

Organic farming - that is, the abandonment of pesticides, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, and methods of high-yield agriculture - could not support the present population, Avery maintained. "At best, it could support a population of about three billion - roughly half of what we have now. We're not going to get - humanely - to a global population of three billion, as some environmentalists desire. We're not going to have a vegetarian world, and there aren't going to be happy Third World peoples living cheerfully in 15th-century peasant villages." Accordingly, Avery wryly observed, "We are left with the 'humane' choice between famine, bullets, and poison gas."

Professor Jacqueline Kasun presented a detailed analysis of key UN documents, including the global population plan created at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, the "Plan of Action" created at the 1995 UN women's conference in Beijing, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. She described the UN's vision as that of "a world environmental zoo-park" in which human society would be radically realigned.

As a result of the UN's social initiatives, Kasun predicted, "The family as we know it will come under even greater pressures than ever before." In pursuit of UN-mandated "gender equity," more women will be driven from their homes, making it increasingly difficult for male heads of households to find adequate jobs in the labor market, and children will be separated from their families at ever-earlier ages and indoctrinated in the nostrums of population control.

Jim Sheehan, a policy analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, described the "greening" of global trade through the NAFTA and GATT trade accords. "What the Greens mean by free trade is not what market advocates understand to be free trade, which increases the personal choices for consumers," Sheehan warned. "What they seek is the abolition of trade barriers and linking international trade to environmental regulation."

Through the NAFTA pact, according to Sheehan, regulators are "harmonizing" environmental regulations across North America "using UN environmental regulations as a baseline." Similar initiatives are underway using GATT's dispute settlement process - which is now binding, thanks to the World Trade Organization. As a result, explained Sheehan, advocates of global central environmental planning are using international trade "in the same way that the federal government has used the interstate commerce clause to extend its jurisdiction into nearly every transaction or social interaction in this country."

Pagan Worldview

In her address to the conference, Representative Helen Chenoweth pointed out that the concept of "sustainable development" is inspired by a religious worldview - "a cloudy mixture of earth worship, pagan mysticism, and folklore." That worldview was endorsed by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt during a November 21st address to the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, in which he condemned traditional Christianity and exalted pagan nature worship as the basis for a new social "covenant." Chenoweth noted that Babbitt "really believes nature and the natural landscape are literally holy and that anything we do on the landscape is sacrilegious - that we're disturbing his temple."

Babbitt is not unique in his devotion to eco-paganism. Vice President Al Gore's soporific opus Earth in the Balance dismisses Christianity and other monotheistic religions as inadequate for the needs of contemporary society and urges the enshrinement of a "pan-religious perspective" as the basis of a world spiritual tradition. Furthermore, the UN Environmental Programme's Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), a 1,140-page document which provides the theoretical and conceptual basis for the world body's environmental agenda, maintains that sustainable development will require the abolition of biblical civilization and the adoption of the values of pre-Christian pagan societies.

In a chapter entitled "The Economic Value of Biodiversity," the GBA describes the pre-Christian world as a primitive utopia in which people perceived themselves to belong to "a community of beings - living and non-living" joined in "relationships with other community members, be they trees, birds, or mountain peaks...." Inhabitants of such societies often worshiped "certain species as sacred, with elaborate myths and folk tales about how humans originated from such species, or how such species are incarnations of, or in some way associated with, gods and deities, or how they have magical powers."

Such paganism, according to the GBA, prevailed in the world "for most of human existence" - Christian civilization being merely an unfortunate detour. The document contends that the Western worldview "is characterized by the denial of sacred attributes in nature, a characteristic that has its roots in Greek philosophy, and became firmly established about 2,000 years ago with the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religious traditions."

The triumph of biblical monotheism led to the emergence of "a new worldview, and a new value system":

This perspective, especially as elaborated in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, set humans not as part of a wider community of beings, but apart.... Societies dominated by Islam, and especially by Christianity, have gone the farthest in setting humans apart from nature and in embracing a value system that has converted the world into a warehouse of commodities for human enjoyment.

Some portions of the GBA read as if they had been composed by a coven of neo-Canaanites. The Old Testament records that the ancient pagan Canaanites worshiped in "sacred groves," in which they propitiated their deities and abandoned themselves to ritualized depravity. The GBA observes that pagan cultures which converted to Christianity "began to cut down the sacred groves, to bring the land under cultivation," and otherwise adopt the values of the West. However, in India, Myanmar, and elsewhere in the far east, "many of these people have … re-established the sacred groves, although they are now termed safety forests instead." The preservation of sacred groves, according to the GBA, is a model to be followed by governments and non-governmental organizations that seek to protect endangered species and habitat.

Restoring "biodiversity" will also require radical population control, according to the GBA. The section of the document dealing with "growth in human population and natural resource consumption" suggests three possible population models for a "sustainable" global society. An agricultural society "in which most human beings are peasants … should be able to support 5 to 7 billion people...." For "an industrialized world society at the present North American standard of living [the figure] would be 1 billion. At the more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible."

The UN's Global Diversity Assessment presents the choice of global peonage or mass genocide, and leaves the details of accomplishing either option to the ingenuity of national governments.

Biodiversity and Wildlands

The GBA was designed as a guide for creating national policies to implement the UN's Convention on Biodiversity, which was the centerpiece of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The treaty was designed to be "soft law," a collection of broad commitments with details to be finalized after ratification at the national level - in other words, a blank check for eco-radicals. Although then-President George Bush declined to sign the treaty, Bill Clinton eagerly affixed his signature to the pact in June 1993 and made preparations for its implementation as domestic policy.

By the time Mr. Clinton signed the Biodiversity treaty, Dr. Michael Coffman and Tom McDonnell, working independently of each other, had been laboring at the grassroots level to build resistance to ratification of the pact. "During the year after Bill Clinton signed the treaty, we tried to convince the Senate that it would essentially abolish private property rights, but we had no smoking gun," Coffman recalled. "The treaty itself was a skimpy little 18-page document that was little more than an outline. We knew that the UN Environmental Program [UNEP] was working on a Global Biodiversity Assessment [GBA] that would actually be used as the basis for the 'hard' law - but everybody in the UN system denied that the GBA existed."

On September 30, 1994 - the day the Senate was scheduled to vote on ratifying the treaty - Jon Margolis of the Chicago Tribune quoted a UNEP staff member who stated that "there is no such document" as the GBA. However, McDonnell had been able to obtain a copy of the 1,140-page document through European contacts - "and we had our smoking gun," Coffman said with some satisfaction. "When we showed up with material from the GBA, Majority Leader George Mitchell took the treaty off the Senate floor. It is simply unbelievable what the U.S. Senate almost did."

Grand Eco-Scheme

Had the Senate ratified the Biodiversity treaty, it would have formally committed the United States to carry out the "Wildlands Project," a scheme to convert at least one-half the land area of the continental United States into one huge "biodiversity preserve." The Wildlands concept is essentially a creation of UNEP's collaboration with foundation-funded environmental NGOs. Its two chief architects are Earth First! founder Dave Foreman and deep ecologist Reed Noss. Despite the fact that the Senate has refused thus far to ratify the Biodiversity treaty, the Wildlands project is being implemented piecemeal - with the help of the Clinton Administration.

The Wildlands Project is intended to be a network of wilderness reserves, "buffer zones," and wildlife corridors which would eventually cover the entire hemisphere. Dave Foreman has written that the scheme "is a bold attempt to grope our way back to October 1492" - that is, the arrival of Columbus to the Americas - "and find a different trail, a trail overgrown and nearly forgotten."

Wildlands activists, states Foreman, intend to "tie the North American continent into a single Biodiversity Preserve...." According to the Wildlands Project's mission statement:

Healing the land means reconnecting its parts so that vital flows can be renewed.... To stem the disappearance of wildlife and wilderness we must allow the recovery of whole ecosystems and landscapes in every region of North America. Allowing these systems to recover requires a long-term master plan....

Our vision is simple: we live for the day when Grizzlies in Chihuahua have an unbroken connection to Grizzlies in Alaska; when Gray Wolf populations are continuous from New Mexico to Greenland; when vast unbroken forests and flowing plains again thrive and support pre-Colombian populations of plants and animals; when humans dwell with respect, harmony, and affection for the land....

To achieve this end, human civilization must be radically restructured, vast stretches of land must be reprimitivized, roads must be ripped from the landscape, and human populations must be forcibly relocated. "The Wildlands Project is a long-term campaign," explains John Davis, editor of the Project's journal Wild Earth. "Wilderness recovery must start now but continue indefinitely - expanding wilderness until the matrix, not just the nexus, is wild.... Does [this] mean that Wild Earth and the Wildlands Project advocate the end of industrial civilization? Most assuredly. Everything civilized must go...."

Like the pagan cultures which are lauded in the UN's Global Biodiversity Assessment, the Wildlands leadership is guided by eco-shamans who can interpret nature's delphic utterances. "Who knows what is precious and how much time is left?" writes Wildlands board member Michael Soule. "The oracles are the fishes of the river, the fishers of the forest, and articulate toads. Our naturalists and conservation biologists can help us translate their utterances. Our spokespersons, fund-raisers, and grassroots organizers will show us how to implement their sage advice."

While the Wildlands shamans commune with "articulate toads" and the project's foundation-funded and taxpayer-subsidized leaders consult with federal regulators, Wildlands activists on the ground are plotting strategies to deal with the "enemies of the land" - loggers, ranchers, miners, and property owners. "The role of individuals and grassroots [environmental] groups," according to Foreman, "is to develop proposals for Wilderness Recovery Networks on the regional and ecosystem level using the [Wildlands] model (or some derivation thereof) so that such plans can dovetail into similar plans for adjacent regions until the continent-wide plan is assembled."

Foreman recommends that local affiliates of the green gestapo "identify existing protected areas" such as federal and state wilderness areas, national parks, wildlife refuges, and other areas of "core wilderness." Once such core areas have been identified, Greens are to begin agitating for the creation of "buffer zones" around the core areas, and the creation of "wildlife corridors" to link them together. According to Reed Noss, in both the core areas and buffer zones, "the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans."

Of course, those humans who happen to own land near the core areas, or whose property stands athwart wildlife corridors, will have to be evicted from their property. Foreman urges his allies to "look for gaps between wild lands or public lands. Such private lands often will be important areas for acquisition by public agencies or by private groups like the Nature Conservancy."

The green network has lost little time implementing this aspect of the Wildlands Project: According to Tom McDonnell, Wildlands-linked environmental groups - "at least 35 which we can positively identify" - have initiated appeals, litigation, and other legal action to close down development and human access to lands which have been identified as future "core areas."

Bioregional Approach

According to McDonnell, "All of the principles and objectives outlined in the Global Biodiversity Assessment" - including the essentials of the Wildlands Project - "have been embraced by the President's Council on Sustainable Development, circumventing the fact that we stopped the Senate from ratifying the treaty." Furthermore, through Vice President Gore's "reinventing government" initiative, the GBA's principles and objectives have been integrated into the mandates for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.

One immediate result of this development is the Clinton Administration's adoption of the UN's "bioregional management" approach to environmental regulation. The PCSD report asserts: "Many scientists and resource managers now believe that biodiversity … can only be protected through cooperative efforts across large landscapes that often cross ownership boundaries"; it recommends that "communities in a region work together to deal with issues that transcend jurisdictional and other boundaries."

Interior Secretary Babbitt also endorsed "bioregional management" in his address to the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, in which he stated that the Clinton Administration's environmental vision "unites all state, county, and federal workers under a common moral goal. It erases artificial borders" - such as constitutional limitations on federal power and jurisdiction, for example - "so we can see the full range of natural habitat.... And it makes us see all the creatures that are collectively rooted to one habitat, and how, by keeping that habitat intact, we ensure the survival of the species."

One example of the Clinton Administration's "bioregional" approach is the Northwest Forest Plan, which Babbitt proudly describes as "a holistic agreement" intended to preserve "critical habitat" across state borders. The Forest Plan was created in closed sessions by unelected bureaucrats in connivance with unaccountable eco-activists - providing a preview of the fashion in which "bioregional councils" would operate under the UN's Biodiversity regime.

The Wildlands radicals are eagerly advancing the UN/Clinton Administration design, demanding the complete eradication of local and state jurisdictions - and, eventually, national borders. "Over time, each regional planning group will develop a map-based program for their bioregion," explains Michael Soule. "Later, representatives of the bioregional groups will meet and integrate their plans into a national, then continental strategy."

Unaccountable "Consensus"

The "bioregional councils" under development would be governed by representatives of the "international civil society" - UN-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGO), many of them taxpayer-funded and foundation-subsidized. From 1993-95, the U.S. Department of the Interior allocated more than $242 million to some 869 NGOs and activists, including the Nature Conservancy, which (as noted above) spearheads property acquisition efforts on behalf of the eco-regulatory apparat. Such groups, Henry Lamb explained, "are considered the authentic voice of public opinion because they always support the UN-defined 'consensus.' Public opinion that doesn't support the UN's 'consensus' is called 'populist action' and is discounted altogether."

Citing Our Global Neighborhood, the report of the UN-aligned Commission on Global Governance, Lamb suggested that the "bioregional councils" may eventually be used as administrative units of a UN-dominated world government. He pointed out that Our Global Neighborhood recommends that the UN's "Trusteeship Council," an obsolete organ which had been used to manage decolonization efforts, be entrusted with the management of the "global commons" - that is, the regulation of the environment.

According to Lamb, "The report calls for the creation of a 'Petitions Council' composed of five to seven representatives of accredited NGOs. They would help direct funding decisions, define administrative duties, and authorize enforcement actions. The world would be divided up into bioregions administered by bioregional councils under direct supervision of the UN and with enforcement authority through the petitions council." In anticipation of this development, Lamb observed, "The map of the U.S. is being redrawn into 21 bio-regions, and current federal policy is to eradicate county and state boundaries by subsuming them into contiguous 'eco-systems.'"

Another indication of the Clinton Administration's subservience to the UN's environmental agenda was the President's decision to grant "the privileges and immunities that provide or pertain to immunity from suit" to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) by Executive Order on January 18th. Lamb referred to the IUCN as "the grandaddy of environmental NGOs." Co-created by Julian Huxley, the devout eugenicist and social Darwinist who served as the founding director-general of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization,* the IUCN is the major umbrella for the environmental groups which are carrying out the mandates of the Biodiversity treaty and the Wildlands Project.

"When the IUCN was given the equivalent of diplomatic immunity by Bill Clinton, we just about jumped out of our skins," Lamb recalled. "We called the White House, the office of the Vice President, and leaders on Capitol Hill, and nobody was able to tell us why it was done. We've still got some requests for information in, and maybe, if we are lucky, by the year 2000 somebody will condescend to respond." Michael Coffman, expressing similar dismay over the Administration's decision, stated, "The only reason why such an order would be issued would be to allow IUCN - an unelected group with no mandate or legal standing - to create and implement policy in this country in ways that injure American citizens. It's simply outrageous."

Education and Mobilization

Henry Lamb only recently became aware of the UN's designs for world government, but he has lost little time in putting his knowledge to work. "In the late 1980s I was CEO of a national association of conservation contractors," Lamb explained to THE NEW AMERICAN. "Our organization had thousands of members nationwide who represented a significant pool of talent and influence, yet we had zero influence on environmental policy decisions in Washington. This prompted me to examine the environmental network, and I discovered that we had been badly outmaneuvered."

In the months leading up to the UN's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Lamb recalled, "I kept track of the correspondence among environmental NGOs who organized the Earth Summit PrepCons [preparatory conferences], and I was simply shocked by the radical nature of their proposals. It was at this time that I decided it would be a good idea to learn about the organization, structure, purpose, and intentions of the UN."

Although Lamb had previously believed that the UN was merely an unpleasant irrelevancy, his examination of the world body's environmental agenda convinced him otherwise. "The UN is in the process of acquiring its own superlative status as the primary law-making entity for the world," Lamb informed the conference. Lamb, however, remains convinced that most Americans still cherish individual liberty and national independence. "The real vulnerability of our opposition is exposure," he pointed out to THE NEW AMERICAN. "They have unimaginable wealth and tremendous influence, but they know that their arguments can't withstand close scrutiny. This is why they have to appeal to irrational fears about environmental catastrophe, rather than to the reasoned good sense of the public."

Michael Coffman offered a similar perspective, citing the grassroots effort to forestall ratification of the Biodiversity treaty as an example of the victories that can be won through educational efforts. "The opposition to the Biodiversity treaty was headed up basically by Tom McDonnell and myself, with a puny budget taken in large measure from our own pockets," Coffman recalled to THE NEW AMERICAN. "The other side was fueled by money from foundations and taxpayer subsidies, and it had the active support of the Clinton Administration, the Senate leadership, and the mainstream press. But when we got our information out to the public, the Senate phone lines literally melted down."

"Across this country, millions of Americans are saying that they won't submit to bondage by believing myths," Representative Helen Chenoweth reminded the assembled activists in Kansas City. "Never give in to fear. Remember, we're Americans. With God's help, we can restore freedom to our land."

* In 1947 Huxley wrote that among UNESCO's most urgent tasks was "to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable." Accordingly, it is appropriate that the IUCN produced the UN's Global Biodiversity Assessment, which suggests that the human population should be reduced to one billion.