Agenda 21

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Agenda 21 is a set of hopeful guidelines for environmental action and social justice established by the United Nations in 1992 at a conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] It sets out a variety of goals for public policy at all levels and for civic action by non-governmental organizations. These include fair trade practices, sustainable energy and urban development (i.e. more efficient zoning), and debt reduction for the developing world. Like most such sets of guidelines, it was happily agreed upon and happily ignored for many years, except for ne'er-do-wells like Sweden.[2]

Agenda 21 was frequently cited by conspiracy theorists, such as the John Birch Society, during the 1990s as a purported blueprint for implementing the New World Order and population control, then forgotten by them too.

In 2012, however, an "exposé" by former Fox News host Glenn Beck seized upon Agenda 21 as an attempt by radical Nazi communist internationalistWikipedia homosexuals[note 1] to "put their fangs into our communities and suck all the blood out of it, we will not be able to survive."[3] This began an onslaught of paranoia that has continued ever since, with even such high-level American institutions as the Republican National Committee (RNC), the governing body of one of the two major American parties, officially condemning Agenda 21 as "a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control."[4] The general consensus among a certain segment of the American conservative movement seems to be that socialists and tree-huggers are using Agenda 21 as a template for an insidious contamination of all levels of society.[note 2] And our precious bodily fluids, no doubt.

The flaw with any vigorous opposition to Agenda 21 is that "the U.S. government and no state or local government is legally bound by the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty," as the RNC accurately asserts in their resolution.[4] Accordingly, it makes no sense to demand that it be repudiated: you can argue with it on the merits of what it recommends, but it's silly to savage a set of recommendations for merely daring to exist. It's tantamount to mounting a bombastic attack on the Food and Leisure section of your local paper just because you disagreed with a food critic's opinion of a restaurant: you might want a different columnist or different recommendations or even a different section editor, but attacking the section for its audacity in existing makes you seem like a raving lunatic.

Reaction to Agenda 21 outside the US[edit]

Outside the US, Agenda 21 is moderately known among "Green" types and there are even some local groups that want to implement Agenda 21 and pressure local and federal politics in that direction.[5] Apart from those groups and those dealing with them, basically nobody has ever heard about Agenda 21 nor cares about it.

Glenn Beck's Agenda 21 keyword list[6][edit]

  1. Affordable housing
  2. Ballot Box Planning
  3. Benefit of all
  4. Benefits-Driven
  5. Buffer Zones
  6. Cap & Trade
  7. Choice
  8. Climate Change
  9. Common Core Curriculum
  10. Common good
  11. Community Protocol
  12. Comprehensive planning
  13. Consensus
  14. Conservation Easement
  15. Direct instruction
  16. Downzoning
  17. Endangered species
  18. Environment
  19. Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
  20. Environmental Justice
  21. Equity
  22. Facilitator
  23. Fair
  24. General Plan
  25. Global Warming
  26. Good Business Sense
  27. Grants
  28. Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions
  29. Greenways
  30. Growth management
  31. Habitat
  32. HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Communities
  33. Healthy Communities Strategy
  34. High Speed Rail
  35. Historic preservation
  36. Housing Element
  37. Inclusive
  38. Inter-disciplinary
  39. International baccalaureate
  40. International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
  41. Invasive species
  42. Jobs-Housing Connection
  43. Land Use Policies
  44. Lifelong learning
  45. Livable communities
  46. Local
  47. Local Governments for Sustainability
  48. Metropolitan Planning Organizations
  49. Mixed Use Development
  50. Modeling
  51. Multi-Use Dwellings
  52. New Economy
  53. New Urbanism
  54. New World Order
  55. One planet communities
  56. Open Space
  57. Outcome based education
  58. Outcomes
  59. Parking Policy
  60. Precautionary approach
  61. Precautionary Principle
  62. Preserve
  63. Priority Conservation Areas
  64. Priority Development Areas (PDA)
  65. Prosperity Protect
  66. Public/Private partnerships
  67. Quality of life
  68. Redevelopment
  69. Regional
  70. Resilient Cities
  71. Responsible development
  72. Restoration
  73. Safe Routes to Schools
  74. Sanctuary
  75. Scenic views and vistas
  76. School to work
  77. Sensitive Lands
  78. Smart growth
  79. Smart Streets
  80. Social justice
  81. Stack and Pack Housing
  82. Stakeholder
  83. Sustainable Communities Initiative
  84. Sustainable communities partnership
  85. Sustainable communities strategies
  86. Sustainable development
  87. Sustainable Economic Development
  88. Sustainable medicine
  89. Three "E"s of Sustainablity-Equity, Economy, Environment
  90. Traffic calming
  91. Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
  92. Transportation Justice
  93. Triple bottom line
  94. Upzoning
  95. Urban Growth Boundary
  96. Urban revitalization
  97. Vehicle Mileage Traveled
  98. Tax
  99. Vibrant Neighborhoods
  100. Vision
  101. Visioning Meetings
  102. Walkable Communities
  103. Watershed
  104. Wetlands
  105. Wildlands

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Yes, you read that right. Next time life is beating you up, try imagining what a "radical Nazi Communist internationalist homosexual" would sound like giving a speech. It won't solve all your problems, but you're guaranteed a good therapeutic laugh.
  2. It actually provides a great litmus test on the wackiness of right-wing candidates.


  1. Agenda 21, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development
  2. Växjö, Sweden: A Model of Sustainability, BuildingGreen
  3. Behind the Green Mask, Southern Poverty Law Center
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Winter Meeting 2012 Resolutions", Republican National Committee