Letter: Beware of the Sustainability Movement
To the Editor:
The Claremont Business Corridor Project is underway; it is a continuation of the city center project, and information on it can be accessed at http://bit.ly/13Q9yBS. Claremont was awarded a community planning grant for sustainable development through New Hampshire Housing Finance. According to that agency’s website, municipal projects eligible for funding include those involving the creation of a master plan (and regulations) for pedestrian and bicycle routes, zoning changes, preservation of natural resources and creation of village centers.
Officials point to how this grant will improve Claremont, but the origins of the sustainability movement paint another picture. Sustainability originates from the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to address climate change. At that summit, President George H.W. Bush and 178 representatives from other countries signed the Climate Change Convention. This summit resulted in the 300-page U.N. Agenda 21, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1fmj8S1. That document’s Chapter 7, which concerns human settlements, addresses “sustainable city networks” as well as nonmotorized transportation modes, including cycle-ways, foot-ways and public transportation.
Since the conference, President Clinton used an executive order in 1993 to form a presidential commission on sustainability. That continued until 1999; you can view the details at www. clinton2.nara.gov/PCSD/Charter/.
The sustainability plan is going full steam ahead under President Obama through a 2012 executive order. The White House Council Strong Cities and Strong Communities is being implemented through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. You can view this information at http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov.
Sustainability will affect us all by infringing on our individual and property rights, as well as absorbing the budgetary impacts resulting from grant requirements. It is important to find out what lies behind sustainability.