This is Part VII in a 7 part series "All About ICLEI"
All About ICLEI: Part I - The Mayor's Speech
All About ICLEI: Part II - The ICLEI Pilot Program
All About ICLEI: Part III - The Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation
All About ICLEI: Part IV - United Nations Economic and Social Council & Agenda 21
All About ICLEI: Part V - Placing New Rochelle Under United Nations Mandates
All About ICLEI: Part VI - Anthropogenic Global Warming
In Part I we heard Mayor Bramson announce the The ICLEI Pilot Program, in Part II we began to unravel the organizations behind the ICLEI Pilot Program and some of the vague or undefined terms used to describe ICLEI. In Part III, we looked at the organizations behind ICLEI's Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation. In Part IV, we outlined the historical development of ICLEI from a 1990 Global Warming conference organized by the United Nations and their efforts to implement Agenda 21. In Part V, we looked at who is running the UN Commission behind Agenda 21 and raised some questions for New Rochelle residents. In Part VI, we looked at the controversy over Anthropogenic Global Warming (i.e., man-made global warming).
Having identified or manufactured the problem, depending on your point of view, the Mayor and his friends at ICLEI offer as a solution something called "Sustained Development". Proponents use the "Sustained Development" as a sort of mantra, the answer to every question, the calming solution to all of society's ills. You will listen long and hard through for any of them to actually say precisely what they mean by "Sustained Development" and refuse to provide concrete examples of the trade-offs involved in choices guided by their concept of "Sustained Development".
That no one knows precisely what the term means did not prevent Mayor Bramson from convening New Rochelle's first sustainability initiative meeting on September 30th.
The long term goals of the project are to reduce the city's carbon footprint while improving the economic vitality, social well-being, and environmental quality of New Rochelle. To that end, several working groups have been established to focus on climate and energy, development and transportation, waste and ecology, and health and eduction. This event was the public's first opportunity of many to voice their ideas and contribute to the planning process for a sustainable New Rochelle. RPA's Vice President, David Kooris, is a member of the city's Sustainability Advisory Committee and gave the introductory talk at this event.
So, what is the RPA, who is David Kooris and why is some guy educated in Canada and now living in Connecticut, playing a leadership role in determining New Rochelle's future? He must be important to Mayor Bramson because our Mayor selected Mr. Kooris of all people to the introductory talk at the City's kick-off event? Mr. Kooris can then tell us a great deal about where the Mayor is going with this ICLEI deal.
David Kooris is a Vice President of the Regional Planning Association, a self-appointed organization that seeks to tell municipalities like New Rochelle how their City should be run. The RPA works hand-in-glove with ICLEI including Mr. Kooris who serves on a joint project between ICLEI and the RPA.
New Rochelle residents would be well-advised to listen VERY, VERY carefully to David Kooris' address to New Rochelle Sustainability workshop (.mp3)
CLICK THE LINK ABOVE TO LISTEN TO DAVID KOORIS (6 minutes).
Kooris begins his speech by wishing everyone a "happy Earth Overshoot Day and spends the first quarter of his speech explaining the term. What he fails to do is explain the origin of this term.
So what is Earth Overshoot Day?
Earth Overshoot Day, a concept devised by the U.K-based new economics foundation, marks the day when humanity begins using more ecological resources and services in a given year than Earth can regenerate in that year. This overuse adds to our global ecological debt – the slow depletion of resource stocks and accumulation of waste, primarily CO2 in the atmosphere.
What is the New Economics Foundation?
nef (the new economics foundation) is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being.
We aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. We work in partnership and put people and the planet first.
nef was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) which forced issues such as international debt onto the agenda of the G7 and G8 summits.
So what is "TOES" or The Other Economic Summit?
TOES was founded by TOES/UK, now the New Economics Foundation. The first TOES conference was held in England in 1984 when a variety of individuals and groups concerned with social justice and the environment decided there should be a peoples' response to the G7 (now G8) summit held in London that year. Ever since that time, TOES has contributed, in one way or another, to Peoples' Summits held in all the G7 countries... The 2001 G8 Summit Genoa, Italy, turned deadly when police harassed legitimate popular responses to G8 policies and one protester was killed. After 9/11/2001, the G8 adopted a fortress mentality as sites for the G8 summits in Kananaskis, Canada, in 2002 and Evian, France, in 2003, were chosen to be as inaccessible as possible. This year's site at isolated Sea Island, Georgia, continues this trend. Happily, as the G8 leaders became ever more isolated behind ever bigger barricades, press coverage of the various popular responses to the G8 Summits got better and better. We hope to be able to show them the many ways - from economic analyses to economic strategies -- by which people everywhere are taking control of their own economic destinies.
In the context of GreenNR, what does TOES mean by social justice?
Social Justice (sometimes "Social and Global Equality and Economic Justice") is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party and is sometimes referred to as "Social and Global Equality" or "Economic Justice". The Canadian party defines the principle as the "equitable distribution of resources to ensure that all have full opportunities for personal and social development". As one of the 10 key values of the party in the United States, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people "to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment."
Where does the concept of "social justice" originate?
It was now a matter of "justice" that government not arrest citizens arbitrarily, sanction their bondage by others, persecute them for their religion or speech, seize their property, or prevent their travel. This culmination of centuries of ideas and struggles became known as liberalism. And it was precisely in opposition to this liberalism that Karl Marx formed and detailed the popular concept of “social justice,” (which has become a kind of “new and improved” substitute for a variety of other terms – Marxism, socialism, collectivism – that, in the wake of Communism's history and collapse, are now unsellable)
So, basically, Earth Overshoot Day is a not-so-cute bit of propaganda based on pseudoscientific claims that seek to pass off the idea that there is something called "ecological debt" that can be calculated the same away you and I calculate personal debt or a government calculates national debt. The source is a loosely affiliated group of far-left political activists which including former communists and marxists who, unable to sell "communism" in a post-Berlin Wall world, have sought to cloak their redistributive economic agenda as a solution of the ginned up claims of anthropomorphic global warming. Ironically, these supposed communists and marxists have found "sustainable development" highly profitable. In the case of New Rochelle, our "prize" for winning the pilot program contest will be to pay their primary vehicle for advancing their agenda (ICLEI) consulting fees.
And their "facilitator" is the guy Bramson chooses to honor by having him kick off his "sustainability" forum.
After claiming that our "borrowing" from future generations is the source of floods, desertification and global warming, Kooris offers a solution: "sustainability" which he describes as "living within our means...living within the capacity of the earth to support life". He then asks: What goal is more fundamental that supporting life?
Well, gee. Who can argue with that, right? We all want to support life, right?
Kooris claims that studies show that despite increases in economic wealth people are not happy because, although more wealth equals more health equals more happiness that is true only up until a point. Apparently Kooris believes that we have gone well past that point and then concludes with a straw man argument that "wealth alone cannot bring us happiness" as if anyone was arguing that point. He might have pointed out that destroying wealth never made any one happy either.
Kooris presents "sustainability" as asking ourselves whether decisions we make will benefit all of the facets of New Rochelle but what he is really talking about is placing limits on economic growth. If you push hard on this you will find that the organizations behind pushing this idea are talking about a fundamental reduction in demand. New Rochelle residents might want to understand how these groups propose to fundamentally reduce demand for resources. The answer will have something to do with population control. At its core, these groups believe there are too many people on the planet and the number needs to be reduced considerably. To that extent the "greens" are really reconstructed Malthusian-Marxists who believe that we need to reduce the earth's population, restrict growth to some level sufficient to satisfy basic human needs for food and shelter and then redistribute what is left to those who do not have the same level of food and shelter.
Now perhaps Kooris and Bramson will wish to disagree but we are not having that discussion are we, since these two have already limited the discussion to how residents can support them in achieving their pre-determined goals for the rest of us. I might be able to accept that from Bramson since he at least grew up here but who the hell is David Kooris to deciding our future? [BTW, rest assured that like any good "facilitator" Kooris has a pre-cooked response to this criticism since interlopers like him get this question regularly]
Pay special attention to how Kooris closes his remarks:
Since the roadmap is not clearly defined and there is not a single path that has been laid out to get us from where we are today to where we need to be, new ideas and new ways to balance the environmental, social, and economic challenges that we face are necessary and certainly not all of them have been voiced and that's really why we're here tonight to provide to help us to provide you all with an opportunity to voice your ideas and to help us on the advisory board and help the Mayor and the City staff craft a plan that truly does balance all the various needs and goals of New Rochelle and its residents.
These community input sessions are not intended to solicit community ideas about goals. Kooris is not asking residents "where we need to be". He already "knows" where we need to be (where ICLEI wants us to be). He is, however, willing to take an hour to hear ideas on how to get where he says we need to be. Many ideas will be obvious but if raised at the meetings Kooris and Bramson can then claim the idea originate from community input. Rest assured that nothing not already on their list will make it ways into the final report and everything in the report is on their list already. To that extent, the plan Mayor Bramson plans on announcing in 2010 is already written. You can just read the PlaNYC web site for the "where we need to be" courtesy of the Mayor's pals at ICLEI.
As noted previously, it may well be that New Rochelle residents support a green, internationalist agenda but before our elected representatives start to hand over power to a group of unelected interlopers who believe they know what is best for us, we might want to make a more fundamental decision regarding whether we wish to retain local control over our day-to-day lives.