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By David Gallant
There has been a lot of talk lately about something called “Sustainable Development.” For many of us this is a new term. At face value it sounds like more of the same recycle and wind mill type talk we have all heard for years. For others, images of “Little House on the Prairie” might come to mind. And for the former and perhaps current hippies, it would not be too far flung to suggest the conjured images of life in a 1960’s style commune.
The precise method of implementation is still a vague dream being outlined among various regulatory elitists but it is certain that if Sustainable Development is made a reality of our lives, everything will change. Recently Panasonic drafted a plan to build their vision of what they are billing as a “Sustainable Smart Town.” 
According to Panasonic’s plan, they intent to start from the ground up and create an energy efficient town incorporating solar power and integrated computers to regulate energy use. Despite the difficulties befalling Japan recently Panasonic intends to have this housing project complete by 2014.
But the issue of Sustainable Development does not end here. In fact this instance only provides insight. In 1992 the United Nations drafted a plan widely known as Agenda 21  which details a blueprint for correcting, as they see it, mankind’s effect on the environment. The intention is to address the problems of widening inequalities in income and a continued deterioration of the global environments.
This plan was originally adopted on June 13 of 1992 by 178 governments. Progress was later appraised in 1997 where those adopting governments were graded on their improvements. Then on June 09, 2011, our president, Barak Obama, signed Presidential Executive Order #13575, titled Establishment of the White House Rural Council.  This executive order essentially provides federal funding for the US to begin complying with the UN Agenda 21, which up until then Congress had resisted.
Now for the meat and potatoes of what Agenda 21 is. At the very heart of this plan is the intention to bring impoverished nations, such as can be found throughout Africa, up the economic standards of the Western style civilization while not impacting and perhaps even repairing the environment. This is a grand scheme to redistribute wealth mainly through the transference of production.
Simply put, through environmental regulations, the plan is to make it too expensive to produce, for instance, shoes in one nation. That forces the shoe manufacturer to have his business relocate at least the manufacturing end someplace where labor and environmental costs are acceptable. However, if the new location has adopted the Agenda 21 plan, the new facility would be constructed under approved “Sustainable Development” standards.
Therefore, the place the shoes are made would meet the UN goal of zero to positive environmental impact. What does that mean to the average person? Well, the people where the shoe factory is would benefit financially. And, in turn would benefit the community at large and the average person could feel good about buying reasonably priced shoes made in such a way as to not negatively impact the environment. However, that is only the plan, not the implementation.
As with any plan dedicated towards social engineering, human corruption always finds a way to throw a wrench in the machine. The result is and always will be bribery and collusion. Nike, for example, has had a long history of operating sweat shops around the word. Their record of abusing workers with toxic materials under poor working conditions has been reported on for years.  The most recent information came from Greenpeace in a report of how manufacturing companies are polluting the water supply. 
Even though Greenpeace spoke generally of the textile industry as a whole and mentioned Nike only within a group of companies who enjoy China’s cheap labor and corrupt bureaucracy, the response from Nike speaks volumes to the issue of Agenda 21. Within this response you will find mention of everything “sustainable” from the supply chain to the chemicals. 
But this just brings us back to the town Panasonic is planning. The major problem with sustainable development, as highlighted by Nike’s problems, is the cost of development. It is simply too expensive to modify an existing manufacturing sight to meet Agenda 21 standards. So far the solution has been to bribe officials and essentially use slave labor so nobody will report the corruption.  And the corruption is rampant and companies are flocking to regions such as China to take advantage of it and enjoy the 80 cent per hour labor cost.  So how does the UN get around this problem? What is the solution?
Panasonic may be on the right track. Simply build a new city. Existing cities and towns are inefficient and dirty. Most are old and have antiquated services from sewer to power. Commutes are often poorly planned with circuitous routes causing traffic buildups. And these problems often cause what is known as “urban sprawl.”
Urban sprawl is equally unpopular by those supporting Agenda 21’s sustainable development scheme. Those supporters blame urban sprawl for the problems of decreased farmland, loss of wild life and diminished recreation land. Also, they claim urban sprawl causes a variety of pollutions from water to noise.  Thus, they have made it clear they do not like existing cities any more than new ones created through the natural selection of urban sprawl.
Which brings us back to Panasonic’s idea: build a new city which is already in compliance with Agenda 21. But as it turns out they may not have been the first ones to think of this. Recently it has been discovered that China has been building cities throughout its more remote regions.  These cities have so far gone largely unnoticed and there is little information on them. However, one thing is clear: the cities are empty.
Until now, the construction of these cities is being blamed on an economic problem in the country which encourages building even for pointless reasons. I, however, am not so sure. One has only to look at the how China handled the relocation of its residents during the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Their method was to simply force residents to leave or help in the construction. If a citizen was unable or unwilling to help, they were forcibly relocated resulting in the uprooting of 1.4 million individuals. 
The good news is that this method of mass relocation is not likely to take place in any Western nation. The bad news is that the door is open to more clandestine and sinister methods. It has yet to be shown that there is an actual connection between the Chinese ghost cities and Agenda 21 so it may be too soon to draw conclusions. However, if the two are related, a Pandora style box of evils is opened. Americans need to be prepared.
(sustainable supply chain, sustainable manufacturing, Sustainable Water, sustainability through innovation, Sustainable Chemistry, sustainable innovation, sustainable choices, sustainable materials, Sustainable Apparel, sustainable economy)