Tom Deweese

More About: Environment

Sustainable Development Means a Wrenching Transformation of Your Life

Recently W. Cecil Steward, dean emeritus of the UNL College of Architecture (Lincoln, Nebraska) launched what can only be described as a diatribe against a talk I gave recently in Lincoln. My topic was Sustainable Development and how it is transforming out nation. In his article, Mr. Steward, rather than provide any substance on the issue, prefers instead, to use words designed to paint me as an extremist playing on people’s fear.

Specifically, Mr. Steward accuses me of misrepresenting Lincoln’s local Comprehensive Development Plan, and it’s imposition of Sustainable Development as a “cover for a United Nations based international conspiracy…” I have worked on this issue for more than eighteen years and have routinely experienced similar attacks against my message and my character in cities where I have appeared. For some reason those working to enforce Sustainable Development policies scramble to discredit me and blow a well orchestrated smokescreen to cover their work. Apparently honest debate and disagreement are not part of their plans.

But debate and discussion is the traditional American way. I’ll present my case point by point. First, there is a very clear connection between the United Nations and local Lincoln comprehensive development plans. The very term “Sustainable Development” first appeared in a 1987 report entitled “Our Common Future,” produced by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. The term was first offered as official UN Policy in 1992 at the Earth Summit in a document that is today simply referred to as Agenda 21. IN their own words here is what proponents of Agenda 21 said it is: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by EVERY person on Earth…it calls for specific changes in the activities if ALL people…Effective execution of Agenda 21 will REQUIRE a profound reorientation of ALL humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced…” Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet (Earthpress, 1992).

At that Earth Summit, President George H.W. Bush signed American acceptance of the Agenda 21 plan. The next year, in compliance with Agenda 21, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 12858 establishing the “President’s Council on Sustainable Development” in order to “harmonize” US development policy with UN policy as outlined in Agenda 21. The Executive Order directed all agencies of the Federal Government to work with state and local community governments in a joint effort to “reinvent” government using the guidelines outlined in Agenda 21.

What are these guidelines and policies, and do you see them today in Lincoln? Agenda 21 calls for reduction in energy use; reduction in water use; enforcement of alternative energy use, specifically wind and solar; controls over development, specifically the creation of mixed use neighborhoods that contain high-density housing units (high rise or extremely small lots) along with office space, stores and open space that will eliminate the use of cars; development of public transportation and high speed, light rail trains; etc. All of these policies are based on the scare tactic that man is creating global warming, a charge that is now in great disrepute throughout the world. Yet, proponents continue to press these policies. Literally everything related to sustainable policy leads to higher prices, shortages of goods and calls from planners for sacrifice by citizens.

In Lincoln, literally all of these Agenda 21 guidelines can now be found. Lincoln has “smart-growth” policies that enforce high-density housing with a mix of commercial and residential properties, bike-friendly streets, and walking space. The goal is to eliminate the use of cars as much as possible. Residents are instead encouraged to walk and ride bikes to work and shopping. Electric companies are now installing smart meters which take away homeowner control of electric use. Energy audits are being conducted to determine the energy efficiency of homes. If Lincoln follows suit of other cities that are using this practice to set energy reduction goals, then soon city government will set strict standards for energy use. Homeowners will have to spend thousands of dollars to comply. Non-compliance will bring fines. To enforce alternative energy schemes, there are plans to force homeowners to cut back trees in their yards in order to allow open access to solar panels on roofs. And, of course, there is the very important policy to force drivers to “share the road” with bikes – the “complete street,” they call it. In short, Lincoln sustainable policies match perfectly those outlined in Agenda 21. Coincidence?

The bottom line is, city planners, and those like Mr. Steward, have set themselves up as an elite force which believes it knows better how the rest of us should live. They have “reinvented” Lincoln government as top down control to enforce a life style on us, rooted in a one-size fits all international policy called Agenda 21, on the excuse of a questionable environmental risk called Global Warming. And they certainly don’t want to be questioned by anyone as they do it.

Well, here are some very specific questions I would suggest every citizen of Lincoln ask their planners who are busying themselves in your personal lives: Ask them to name a single thing you can do on your private property without their permission. Ask them what guarantees for protection of private property rights they have included in their comprehensive plans. And above all, ask them, especially Mr. Steward, how often they ride their bikes to work.

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to for more information

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Jim Bell
Entered on:

I'm not in to diatribes or nipping about the edges of what's needed to give our children and future generations a good chance to live in a peaceful and life-support sustaining future. But the following lays out the minimum that those living today and over the next 50 or 60 years have to do to create a life-support sustaining future.



A Jim Bell & Common Sense Commentary,, 619-758-9020




We humans are something special and rare.



In spite of there being an estimated 5 to 100 million species of life on our planet our species is the only one that reaps carnage on its own life-support system.



Our species is also the only species on our planet that can become conscious enough to bring all human activity into life-support harmony. If we become conscious enough it will be easy to develop jobs and business opportunities that are mutually beneficial and at least life-support system benign. Better yet, we can work out ways to live and make livings that contribute to life-support system health and its renewability.



On the most foundational level, this means that if enough of us become conscious enough, we will be able to pass the birthright of a peaceful and life-supporting world to our children and future generations.



Increasing consciousness will also open us to new potential and possibilities on this planet and beyond.



Unfortunately, our pursuit of consciousness will be cut short if we continue to live and make livings in ways that hurt others and cause life-support system harm. The Gulf oil gusher and now the continuing radiation that’s being added to our planet’s common atmosphere and ocean from the nuclear industry in Japan -- are two recent examples of how economic gambling can hurt people and our common life-support system far beyond what the gamblers personally risk.



Topping this, the world’s population is continuing to grow and as is the average amount of life-support damage we cause per capita, sooner or later our planet’s life-support system will fail in some fundamental way. This will result in a general human and life-form die-back. If such a failure is serious enough, human extinction and even the extinction of life in general becomes a possibility.



Some people believe that such a failure is already underway. They offer as evidence that 15% or 1/6 of the world’s population is malnourished or starving right now. They also point out that 70% of us are un-employed or under-employed, have zero or next to zero health care and are poorly clothed and housed. Current human activities are also causing the extinction of an estimated 27,000 species of life each year. This is 270 to 2,700 times faster than was our planet’s average extinction rate when the human numbers were in the low millions and our negative per capita life-support impact was small and usually repaired naturally over time.



Additionally, human activities have released 80,000 to 150,000 chemicals into our common environment, mostly over the past 70 years. Currently we are adding an estimated 1,000 new chemicals to our planet’s life-support system each year – chemicals which life has had zero experience in processing and neutralizing and zero experience in protecting ourselves and our planet’s life-support system from them.






To avoid the utter failure of past civilizations, each individual and the human family as a whole, have to become conscious enough to resolve human differences without violence or its threat and develop economies and ways of life that are beneficial to everyone and that are completely life-support sustaining.



It’s true that some people have done and are doing despicable things to other people and to our common life-support system, but on the whole, we are becoming more conscious. The expansion of women’s rights, the reduction in racism and the fact that governments no longer sanctions slavery -- are just a few examples of our increasing consciousness and empathy.



 Never-the-less, we are not yet conscious enough to stop hurting and killing each other and damaging our planet’s life-support system.



If we really want to leave our children and future generations the best chance to enjoy a happy, healthy, prosperous and completely life-support sustaining future, we have to be conscious enough and knowledgeable enough to develop ways to live and make livings that are mutually beneficial and life-support sustaining wherever we live and planet wide.



If we don’t achieve this level of consciousness soon, we will follow the path worn by previous civilizations, all of which utterly failed at the height of their most advanced knowledge and sophistication.



Yet if we become conscious and knowledgeable enough, soon enough -- we can skip the decline and die off phase of past civilizations. Instead, we can propel ourselves to the next level of consciousness and the new potential it will open to us and to the human family’s future.



Obviously, our task is to meet this challenge, but what should we do now?



The answer is simple. On the most fundamental and foundational level we need to develop economies and ways of life that are cooperative, mutually beneficial and life-support sustaining and we need to do this wherever we live and ultimately, planet wide. To achieve this goal, the following steps should be our guide.



Step One - Become renewable energy self-sufficient.



When a home, community, city, county, region, state or country controls its energy supply and price, it controls its economy, its ways of life, and most everything else -- no matter what happens to the price and supply of energy on national and global markets.



Because solar energy in its various forms is free and even delivered free, the only cost to benefit from it are the labor and materials for increasing energy use efficiency and manufacturing and installing renewable energy collection devices. And given that our inventors/developers are still getting better at saving energy and converting various forms of solar energy into electricity, the cost of efficiency improvements and renewably generated electricity will continue to fall.



Every level of becoming renewable energy self-sufficient creates opportunities. In the San Diego/Tijuana Region where I live, there is an abundance of direct sunlight. Additionally, the region has substantial wind, biomass, ocean current, wave and tidal energy from which electricity can be produced.



But, even if direct sunlight was the region’s its only resource, and assuming 40 kWh of electricity, natural gas and transportation fuels are consumed directly or indirectly per capita per day, the San Diego/Tijuana region could become renewable energy self-sufficient by increasing energy use efficiency by 40% and covering 43% of its roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels.



Economically, becoming renewable energy self-sufficient will increase region wide economic activity by an average of $4 billion per year or $160 billion over a 40 year installations period. Additionally, over a million job-years of employment at union construction wages will be created in the process.



Step Two - Become renewable water self-sufficient.



Water is essential to life. It is essential to the water-rich lifestyle most people in the developed world already have and that people in the developing world would like to have.



Assuming for calculating ease that everyone in the Tijuana part of the region uses the same amount of water as is used per capita in San Diego County as an example, increasing the coverage of the region’s roofs and parking lots by another 5% with 15% efficient PV panels will allow it to become renewable energy and water self-sufficient. The additional electricity will power reverse osmosis (RO) pumps to force saltwater against membranes that let freshwater through, but block salt, other minerals and most pollutants.



Assuming the worst case scenario of zero rainfall and zero imported water, five percent coverage of San Diego County’s roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels would make enough electricity to produce 776,000 acre ft. of water each year.



San Diego County now uses around 610,000 acre ft. of water each year. By installing PV panels over 8% of its roofs and parking lots, San Diego County could become a substantial water exporter to inland communities.



Sea life will be protected from RO pumps by extracting the saltwater to be processed through sand filtration (extracting saltwater through coastal wells and through sea bottom sand filtration). Wastewater or brine left over from the RO process will be evaporated in shallow open ponds so salt and other minerals left behind can be mined. When any RO wastewater is returned to the sea, it would be diluted by sand-filtered salt water to no more than 20% saltier than natural seawater. It would then be released diffusely into the ocean.



Step Three – Become renewable food self-sufficient.



With renewable energy and water self-sufficiency, comes the ability to be renewable food self-sufficient. It also allows for the growth of a great deal of the fiber and lumber.



To make this real, it is essential that we protect our agricultural soils from further development and other misuse. Research indicates that we still have enough agricultural soil on our planet to feed everyone a nutritious diet of tasty, sustainably-grown food with lots of variety. With renewable energy powered RO, (reverse osmosis) this is true for San Diego County. Unfortunately, this will not be true for San Diego County or our world for long if we do not protect and preserve our best agricultural soils for life-supporting sustaining agriculture.




Step Four – Win-Win Population Reduction






+ Women are completely free to direct their own lives as long as they don’t restrict the right of others to do the same.


+ Every man becomes a freedom ally to ensure that women have every freedom to direct their own lives as do men, culturally and under law.


+ The world’s women chose to have slightly fewer births per year than the number of deaths per year.



If the above was practiced worldwide, the world’s population would decline by ½% per year. A ½% per world population decline per year would reduce the world’s population to 2.5 billion people in 200 years. This was the world’s population around 1955.



Since some woman would chose to be the parent of no children or one child, other women can bear more than two children to the extent that a two children average birth rate per woman was maintained. A ½% per year reduction in world population would mean that for every 1,000 people who die per year, 995 children would be born that same year.  



Step Five – Develop a Space Debris Detection and Defense System



We already have the technology to locate all earth-orbit-crossing space objects. If we discover them soon enough, we also have the technology, to deflect earth bound objects large enough to cause serious life-support harm if they collide with us. We could an even capture such objects into earth or moon orbits for scientific study and mining.



Final Thoughts:



Bottom line, if we want to leave the birthright of a happy, healthy, prosperous, life-supporting sustainable future to our young and future generations, these 5 steps are the minimum we must do, and the sooner the better.



We’ve come so far, why blow it now? We know what can be done. All we have to do is do it. If those living over the next 60 years or so develop life-support sustaining economies and ways of life planet wide, there is little to stop us from colonizing space in our own galaxy and beyond.



* For details on this investment strategy, go to, click on “Green Papers”. Although this paper focuses on renewable electricity self-sufficiency in San Diego County, the investment strategies it develops can be used to become renewable energy self-sufficient for gaseous and liquid fuels as well. Additionally, this strategy can work almost anywhere on our planet, modified for climate, renewable energy sources available and other local conditions. With modifications, it will also work for becoming renewable water and food self-sufficient as well. For more depth,, click on “Jim’s New Book.”



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