sustainability

Suburbs are for sellouts

That, as Stanley Kurtz points out in a recent Forbes article entitled, "How Obama Is Robbing The Suburbs To Pay For The Cities"

...is a large and overlooked theme of Obama’s famous memoir, Dreams from My Father.  Few have noticed the little digs at suburban “sprawl” throughout the book, as when Obama decries a Waikiki jammed with “subdivisions marching relentlessly into every fold of green hill.”  Dreams actually begins with the tale of an African American couple who’ve come to question their move from city to suburb – the implication clearly being that the city is the moral choice...

Here's where I don my

and remind people that we've posted here numerous times over the last year and a half or so about ICLEI and Agenda  21—part and parcel of the things described in Kurtz's new book (about which there have been some shenanigans).

But in an election year and with, as The Lonely Conservative points out, broke local governments still continuing to spend money on this stuff (and they say we're crazy?) it's time to re-visit the topic—or maybe learn about it for the first time.

Be sure to read LC's post as well as Kurtz's Forbes article, both linked above.

Then make sure you vote accordingly in November.

h/t Henry

Paranoia strikes deep...

...Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

Of course, it's not paranoia when they really are after you. At FoxNews.com:

EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power In Name of 'Sustainable Development'
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development,” the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.
 
The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,” cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.
 
Its aim: how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be “providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States.”
 
Or, in other words, how to use existing laws to new ends.
 
According to the Academies, the sustainability study “both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s.”
 
It is already known in EPA circles as the “Green Book,” and is frequently compared by insiders to the “Red Book,” a study on using risk management techniques to guide evaluation of carcinogenic chemicals that the agency touts as the basis of its overall approach to environmental issues for the past 30 years.
 
At the time that the “Green Book” study was commissioned, in August, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson termed it “the next phase of environmental protection,” and asserted that it will be “fundamental to the future of the EPA”...
Ah—move along, nothing to see here.  Right.  Green Books, Red Books...
 

And if you want to read the, er, manual, the flying monkeys at the National Academies Press have made it oh so easy for us to do so...and it's "free"!  Just click on the widget:

h/t Henry

Unsustainable sustainability

We've been beating this drum here for some time.  "Sustainability" and "smart growth" have become such integral parts of the fabric in this county that they seem almost normal.  Well, they're not. And they're inimical to local economies, which is, after all, the point—in typically Owellian doublespeak, "sustainability" is unsustainable and "smart growth" is neither smart nor growth-enhancing. Quite the opposite.  

In a column at Heritage:

Radical environmentalists, local business groups, and the ever-present Not in My Backyard crowd have been trying for decades to reshape American communities to conform to their preferred “smart growth” policies. These advocates work to impose land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans, and compel people to pay more for their houses and give up their cars in favor of subways, trolleys, buses, and bicycles.
 

These efforts—often described as “New Urbanism,” “sustainable development,” or “open land preservation”—have long been resisted by some members of the community due to their negative impact on economic growth, competitiveness, and the nation’s standard of living...
 
...In recent years, however, many smart-growth opponents working at the local level have shifted their focus toward opposing the 1992 United Nations voluntary initiative called Agenda 21, which advocates many policies that reflect smart-growth principles. They should recognize that Agenda 21 is simply another facet of smart growth and not allow it to divert them from opposing the more ubiquitous, overarching agenda of homegrown environmental extremists...
This next bit should sound really familiar (emphasis mine):
...America’s smart-growth movement emerged in force in the early 1970s when communities in California and Oregon began to replicate Britain’s anti-sprawl policies through restrictive zoning practices to discourage suburbanization. Bit by bit, it spread around the country as more and more communities adopted polices to deter suburban growth for all but the well-to-do. Growth control efforts underway in these communities were driven not only by a distorted view of the environment, but also by the desire of those already in place to prevent newcomers from arriving and spoiling the rural ambience of their suburban communities...
Furthermore,
...As they [smart-growth policies] became more prevalent and restrictive, their impact on housing prices and construction likewise expanded. An explosion of exclusionary zoning throughout the U.S. encouraged many communities to adopt zoning policies to ensure that they maintained a certain demographic “profile.” Such zoning limited real estate development to higher-cost homes in order to “price out” moderate-income households, which included a disproportionate share of minorities.
 
In the wake of the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne wryly noted that Britain escaped the sort of housing bubble and crash that staggered America because, whereas America recklessly expanded its housing stock, “We were saved by the fact that you can’t build anything in this country.”
Sounds like the companions to NIMBYs are BANANAs (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).
 
Currently,
...the Obama Administration has warmly embraced smart-growth policies and, more broadly, increased environmental regulation and restriction of use of natural resources. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is the Administration’s point man in selling smart-growth policies to the American people. He and other key Administration officials are abetted by state and local elected officials and numerous interest groups, including the Urban Land Institute, local Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Smart Growth America, the American Public Transportation Association, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and shortsighted local business associations.
No doubt our Mr. Magoo-like local politicians recognize themselves.
 
It is possible to push back successfully, however:
Opponents of these policies have been very effective in their work. A good example is the state of Florida, where Governor Rick Scott (R) and the state legislature repealed a 25-year-old smart-growth law a few months ago.
 
...preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 at the national level and membership by U.S. counties, cities, and municipalities in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), now called Local Governments for Sustainability, is worthwhile. But this effort should be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones.
How exactly do we go about that?  No answer in this piece, although there are places to look for guidance.
 
Half the battle, though, is getting the information out there in front of people. Pass this on and do read the whole Heritage article.
 

It's not paranoia when they really are after you

We've posted several times on Agenda 21, ICLEI, green energy, and sustainability.  Here's a tidy little primer on Agenda 21 as it relates specifically to property rights—and as you'll start to realize, that's what it's ultimately all about:


h/t Kathy

 

App Watch

lng app

 

Now available, the CNG Finder App for iPhone and... some other phone.

CNG Finder lets you find the closest CNG fueling station for your LNG vehicle, compare prices (lots less per mile than gasoline and diesel) and more.

But, woah, they're not really very close...

Gosh, just think, if they were closer, maybe TCAT could convert their buses to run on natural gas and be easier on the environment while saving enough money to pay their drivers.

Untll those green pins get a lttle closer we can admire that soot rising from the TCAT buses... well, except when the drivers are all out sick.

 

Rural TCAT Service

There is no rural TCAT service today, Thursday 11/10, as several TCAT bus operators have called in sick.

This includes (at least) routes 40, 41, 43, 52 and 53 serving parts of Dryden.  Hmmm.  

More at South of 5 and 20.

Dim-City

A recent Viewpoint in the IJ spews a lot of gas—well, hot air.

The piece is an attempt to dispell the "myth" that "gas extracted from the nation's vast shale deposits can help release the U.S. from the vise grip of our dependence on foreign oil." -- a quote from former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.
 
Attempt: failed. 
 
This is an example of an bus and car-pool advocate invested emotionally in a cause unable to see beyond their portfolio.
 
The strawman in the piece is that "Passenger travel is the gas-guzzling beast."  The monster, the real issue is "transportation — daily, short-trip, commute, errand, run-of-the-mill mom-and-pop travel." 
 
Reality: given a choice, people—even students in liberal Ithaca—generally choose personal transportation over public options like TCAT.  Have you seen the fancy cars these kids bring to town?
 
Now that's not everyone, to be sure.  Yes, some people prefer the bus, or car sharing or even car pooling options.  And those options should be available.  But beyond emergency, lifeline levels, these options should compete with all of the other available alternatives on their own rather than being unfairly supported beyond their economic value.
 
Cars and light trucks can certainly be converted to run on natural gas...or more easily converted to methanol which can be produced efficiently from natural gas.  Methanol would be a great alternative to ethanol production, which takes vast amounts of farmland out of food production and creates vast corn monocultures which are disrupting migrating species.  But I digress.
 
I'm not a big fan of T. Boone Pickens, but some things he's said bear pondering.  For example, the truck fleet in the US is where some serious energy use is concentrated.  And because of intense wear that fleet is replaced about every three years, making adoption of new technology when replacing vehicles pretty quick.  One of the few possible replacements for diesel fuel for those big rigs is natural gas.  Moving big trucks to natural gas could free up lots of other energy for personal transportation.
 
Our future is not all natural gas or nothing... we run around in one of those sissy Prius things when we're not hauling something serious in our big (pre-Government Motors) Silverado, and I've been known to walk to work on the county's pedestrian trails.  These are solutions that serve specific people at a specific point in life. 
 
But the heart of the no-gas program goes like this:
To address air quality, climate change and true sustainability, the U.S. transportation system needs to become more efficient and strive to move away from fossil-fuel use in all its forms. To that end, it is imperative that research continues on alternatives to fossil-fueled motor transport. It also is imperative that alternatives to single-occupant vehicle use be supported by policy and funding. Transit in all its forms, car-sharing, ride-sharing and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian mode use are all part of the immediate solution. Most difficult will be adjusting our lifestyles to reduce the number of car trips we make every day and to consider how we can use other modes to get around.
Essentially all of this is wrong.  
 
Using natural gas would improve air quality.  We can go off on climate change myths another time. Using the resources we have under our feet is the key to sustainability and energy independence.
 
The market, not inefficient policy and public funding, is the most likely mechanism to produce workable, acceptable transportation alternatives.  
 
Transit in all its forms, yes, including big honking single-occupant vehicles, chosen, and not chosen, on their own merits, by individuals and families themselves, will make adjusting our lifestyles to changing circumstances of work, family and society the easiest.  
 
The outrageous assertion that we must change our lives and reduce the number of car trips we make to "save the world" is the kind of pronouncement made by progressives who think they can play Sim-City with real people's lives.  Individuals, set free to solve the problems they face, will beat central planning anytime.

The green jihad and "benefit corporations"

The hypocrisy meter has to run full-bore not just here in the US but everywhere:

It seems rarely a month passes without some new assault on the lifestyle and housing choice preferred by the overwhelming majority of Australians: the detached suburban home. Denigrated by a careless media as ”McMansions” or attacked as some archaic form of reckless housing choice which is suddenly “no longer appropriate” (according to some planning or environmental fatwa), the detached home is under a constant assault of falsely laid allegation and intellectual derision...
 

....I’m not proposing that the leftist green agenda which is waging war on the detached home turn the blow torch of blame to the wealthy, nor am I suggesting that there’s anything wrong with apartment and townhouse developments. But what’s wrong with letting market forces play more of a hand without the overt moralising and environmental hand wringing that seems to accompany decisions on urban planning policy? Is it really necessary to malign the detached suburban home, in order to make the alternative more attractive?

We are talking about middle Australia – and their counterparts in the USA, UK and elsewhere – which is under the barrage of assault for having the temerity to choose a form of dwelling that actually suits them... 

....And there’s one of the great ironies in all this: those who advocate denying housing choice and enforcing apartments over detached homes, public transport over private, and inner city density over suburban expansion, invariably seem to do the opposite of what they preach.  Next time you come across one of these green jihadists waging war on the suburban home (and the people who live in them), ask them if they live in a house or a unit, how many children they have, ask how many cars (or homes) they own, and ask what their power bill is like....

(h/t Janis)

There are several posts here on Agenda 21 and ICLEI, which is a phenomenon here in Tompkins County not just in other parts of the US or in Australia. As we've said here over and over again, all of these things are all of a piece: sustainability, environmentalism, certain kinds of zoning, opposition to energy development...Private property? Freedom? Fuhgeddaboudit.

And if you think that this agenda isn't pretty far advanced, think again. Ever hear of Benefit Corporations?  I hadn't either.

Benefit Corporations are a new class of corporation that are required to create a material positive impact on society and the environment and to meet higher standards of accountability and transparency. Model legislation was drafted by Bill Clark from Drinker Biddle & Reath

Benefit Corporations are what used to be called "crony capitalism" or—dare I say it?—"fascism."

Where do these things exist? In New York State for one (where it unanimously passed both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting the Governor's signature):

New York Benefit Corporation

New York State Seal

Status: Passed Senate 62-0 and Assembly 139-0

Sponsors: Speaker Silver (A4692-a) and Sen. Squadron (S79-a)

Legislation: A4692-a and S79-a

Key Supporters: ASBCBuffalo FirstLocal First IthacaNYS B CorpsSinglebrook Technology,

Quotes/Testimony: Speaker's Press Release

What are the other states with Benefit Corporations? Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, and Virginia.  The states that are currently in this pipeline are California, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

We need to educate ourselves and our neighbors and toot sweet.

Is there an agenda?

Yes, Agenda 21 to be precise.

In an earlier post a couple of months ago (and even before that) , we brought up ICLEI and Agenda 21.  This stuff is not going away and it behooves us all to pay a lot closer attention to it.  Think that zoning debates, fracking debates, sustainability initiatives and so on have nothing to do with you and how you live your life?  Think again.

From the SF Bay 912 group (yes, there actually are active and growing tea party groups on the left coast):

The US Constitution guarantees the right to private property and restricts the government from taking that property without just compensation under the laws of eminent domain. Yet that right is being eroded every day by local and regional governments under the guise of such nice sounding words as “sustainable development”, “smart growth”, “new urbanization”. Other code words for this effort include: “comprehensive planning”, “bike lanes-hiking trails”, “open space preserves”, “wetlands, wildlands, biodiversity”, “public/private partnerships”, “high speed rail-light rail, etc”.

This should sound real familiar and not in a good way.

The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property.  At risk from Agenda 21:

  • Private property ownership
  • Single-family homes
  • Private car ownership and individual travel choices
  • Privately owned farms

However, people. are fighting back just as we could do here in Tompkins County:

In recent months, citizen groups across the country have organized and become involved in the removal of towns and cities from membership in ICLEI. The Roanoke, VA Tea Party is holding a rally this week in an effort to have ICLEI removed from their local government.

In the right sidebar over there under Blog Roll, click on Virginia Right for more information about the anti-Agenda 21 work going on in VA.

This video (90 minutes long) from just a few days ago is notable because the featured speaker at the Bay Area Tea Party meeting, Rosa Koire, is a liberal Democrat who understands that Agenda 21 will destroy America as we know it:

If you need something short and sweet right now (and suitable for helping you craft your elevator speech re: Agenda 21 and "sustainability"), see the American Policy Center's Agenda 21 in One Easy Lesson.

For more info and links, see Is The Soros-Sponsored ‘Agenda 21’ a Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only It Is Not Hidden).

Homework assignment: Go the ICLEI page that lists all the member governmental entities (here) and check out the USA participants.

You can worry about being thought of as wearing a stylish tinfoil chapeau and ultimately end up like this guy:

or you can educate yourself and others.  You do have a choice—for now.

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