A 20-year-old United Nations plan aimed at fostering sustainable development around the world is “destructive and insidious,” in the words of a resolution that won approval in the Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday (March 15).
Tennessee Republicans say the plan, known as “Agenda 21,” amounts to “extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control.” With the help of six Democrats, they won approval for the nonbinding state resolution in a 72-to-23 floor vote.
Agenda 21 was adopted by 178 governments at a U.N. conference in Brazil in June 1992. The plan calls on local, state and national governments to pursue development in environmentally and socially responsible ways, including by fighting pollution, seeking to reduce poverty and empowering local people in decision-making.
But critics see the agenda as invasive and infringing on individual liberties. The U.N. and its allies “want to protect Mother Earth,” says Republican Representative Kevin Brooks, the sponsor of the Tennessee resolution, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We're all about conservation. We're all about protecting the environment. (But) we're not about losing our liberty.”
Agenda 21 is a “a step-by-step methodical process that denies United States citizens their property rights,” another Republican representative, Rick Womick, said during Thursday's floor debate, according to the Times Free Press.
Some Democrats in the Tennessee House ridiculed the Republican resolution as paranoid.