December 21, 2012
A northern Michigan legislator, State Rep. Greg MacMaster (R-Kewadin), and the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners find themselves at odds with both the United Nations and some of their constituents for officially challenging what they believe is a road map to global government and the loss of local property rights.
One would think with economic challenges facing Michigan, fighting a 20-year-old non-binding, voluntarily implemented UN action plan for sustainable living would not be high on the political radar screen.
“In July, I introduced House Bill 5785 to prohibit any Michigan governmental entity from adopting, or implementing policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to, the United Nations’ ‘Agenda 21’ or any other international laws that would infringe or restrict private property rights without due process,” the long-time northern Michigan TV weather forecaster and meteorologist wrote when introducing HB 5785. The bill was co-signed by 10 other Republican lawmakers from across the state.
“Agenda 21 took root as a result of concerns regarding environmental conservation and improving the health of the global environment. This movement is commonly known as ‘environmentalism’. As a meteorologist and past president of the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve, I am acutely aware of the importance of responsible stewardship over our environment and preserving it for generations to come. However, Agenda 21 calls for policies that I believe will adversely affect the very foundation America was founded upon. As a result, our “inalienable rights” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are in jeopardy,” he added.
Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regards to sustainable development. It is a product of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels. The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century. It has been affirmed and modified at subsequent UN conferences.
Some, like MacMaster, and other Michigan lawmakers, believe Agenda 21 is a clandestine program encouraging local governments to join the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI).
“As if the elimination of private property ownership, population control, and education, based on U.N. standards were not enough, Agenda 21 will eventually affect our lives in other ways like the relocation of people from rural areas into cities, limiting the type of vehicles we drive, higher gas prices, changing routes of transportation, banning human access to land, seizure of private property, restrictions on water usage, quotas on harvesting, prohibitions on plowing the soil, limitations on raising animals for meat, regulations on what we eat and drink, control of home energy usage, increased taxation, and even forced community involvement,” MacMaster argues.
McMaster notes that the Michigan cities of Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City are among over 500 communities nationwide, listed as members on the ICLE.org website. McMaster’s bill would ban implementation of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 in Michigan.
In late October, the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the treaty, earlier signed into law by President George Bush in 1992. Commissioner Ron Reinhardt told the Petoskey News-Review, “Any country that tries to influence the way this country is run, or even suggests it, I’m against.”
Petoskey News-Review editors last month took the county board to task suggesting their “emphasis should not be that different from so many small governments across the region and state –balancing budgets, sustaining services and making the smart policy decisions on behalf of their fellow country residents”. They asked what category did banning UN Agenda 21 fall under?
“This vote is just the latest example of a board that chose to stick its collective head in northern Michigan sand at times, then leap without looking at others. It has led to uneven and indecisive leadership that needs proper direction,” the Petoskey editors opined.
Michigan environmentalists described MacMaster’s legislation as bizarre. Marvin Robertson, a forest ecologist with the Sierra Club, told the Traverse City Record-Eagle, that Agenda 21 is a one-world, government conspiracy theory first circulated by talk show host Glen Beck. He’s convinced a string of new Michigan laws that affect Michigan’s natural resources policies are driven by state legislator’s fears of Agenda 21.
“No one paid scant attention to Agenda 21 for 20 years until somebody on Glen Beck’s staff started talking about it, then academic crazies took it up,” Robertson said. “It basically says if your mayor is pushing through a smart growth plan, he’s unwittingly used by Agenda 21 proponents. My Martians say otherwise.”
Scott Smith, a retired international land conservancy expert, wrote a letter to the Petoskey News-Review, challenging Charlevoix Commissioners to find any “radical policies” in the non-binding Agenda 21 and questioned how commissioners could oppose anything after admitting publicly they had not read it.
Glen Chown, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, said the “Agenda 21 conspiracy stuff is out there.” He and other conservancy directors are trying to work constructively with their northern Michigan legislators after realizing there is a lot of misunderstanding about what conservancies do.