In September, The UN Launches A Major Sustainable Development Agenda For The Entire Planet

United Nations General Assembly.The UN plans to launch a brand new plan for managing the entire globe at the Sustainable Development Summit that it will be hosting from September 25th to September 27th.  Some of the biggest names on the planet, including Pope Francis, will be speaking at this summit.  This new sustainable agenda focuses on climate change of course, but it also specifically addresses topics such as economics, agriculture, education and gender equality.  For those wishing to expand the scope of “global governance”, sustainable development is the perfect umbrella because just about all human activity affects the environment in some way.  The phrase “for the good of the planet” can be used as an excuse to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives.  So for those that are concerned about the growing power of the United Nations, this summit in September is something to keep an eye on.  Never before have I seen such an effort to promote a UN summit on the environment, and this new sustainable development agenda is literally a framework for managing the entire globe.

If you are not familiar with this new sustainable development agenda, the following is what the official United Nations website says about it…

The United Nations is now in the process of defining Sustainable Development Goals as part a new sustainable development agenda that must finish the job and leave no one behind. This agenda, to be launched at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, is currently being discussed at the UN General Assembly, where Member States and civil society are making contributions to the agenda.

The process of arriving at the post 2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders. There have been numerous inputs to the agenda, notably a set of Sustainable Development Goals proposed by an open working group of the General Assembly, the report of an intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing, General Assembly dialogues on technology facilitation and many others.

Posted below are the 17 sustainable development goals that are being proposed so far.  Some of them seem quite reasonable.  After all, who wouldn’t want to “end poverty”.  But as you go down this list, you soon come to realize that just about everything is involved in some way.  In other words, this truly is a template for radically expanded “global governance”.  Once again, this was taken directly from the official UN website

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

As you can see, this list goes far beyond “saving the environment” or “fighting climate change”.

It truly covers just about every realm of human activity.

Another thing that makes this new sustainable development agenda different is the unprecedented support that it is getting from the Vatican and from Pope Francis himself.

In fact, Pope Francis is actually going to travel to the UN and give an address to kick off the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th

His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the UN on 25 September 2015, and give an address to the UN General Assembly immediately ahead of the official opening of the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

This Pope has been very open about his belief that climate change is one of the greatest dangers currently facing our world.  Just a couple of weeks ago, he actually brought UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Vatican to speak about climate change and sustainable development.  Here is a summary of what happened…

On 28 April, the Secretary-General met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and later addressed senior religious leaders, along with the Presidents of Italy and Ecuador, Nobel laureates and leading scientists on climate change and sustainable development.

Amidst an unusually heavy rainstorm in Rome, participants at the historic meeting gathered within the ancient Vatican compound to discuss what the Secretary-General has called the “defining challenge of our time.”

The mere fact that a meeting took place between the religious and scientific communities on climate change was itself newsworthy. That it took place at the Vatican, was hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and featured the Secretary-General as the keynote speaker was all the more striking.

In addition, Pope Francis is scheduled to release a major encyclical this summer which will be primarily focused on the environment and climate change.  The following comes from the New York Times

The much-anticipated environmental encyclical that Pope Francis plans to issue this summer is already being translated into the world’s major languages from the Latin final draft, so there’s no more tweaking to be done, several people close to the process have told me in recent weeks.

I think that we can get a good idea of the kind of language that we will see in this encyclical from another Vatican document which was recently released.  It is entitled “Climate Change and The Common Good”, and it was produced by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  The following is a brief excerpt

Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience. Widening inequalities of wealth and income, the world-wide disruption of the physical climate system and the loss of millions of species that sustain life are the grossest manifestations of unsustainability. The continued extraction of coal, oil and gas following the “business-as-usual mode” will soon create grave existential risks for the poorest three billion, and for generations yet unborn. Climate change resulting largely from unsustainable consumption by about 15% of the world’s population has become a dominant moral and ethical issue for society. There is still time to mitigate unmanageable climate changes and repair ecosystem damages, provided we reorient our attitude toward nature and, thereby, toward ourselves. Climate change is a global problem whose solution will depend on our stepping beyond national affiliations and coming together for the common good. Such transformational changes in attitudes would help foster the necessary institutional reforms and technological innovations for providing the energy sources that have negligible effect on global climate, atmospheric pollution and eco-systems, thus protecting generations yet to be born. Religious institutions can and should take the lead in bringing about that change in attitude towards Creation.

The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes. Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world’s religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN’s sustainable development goals, into sustainable economic development pathways for the 21st century, with projected population of 10 billion or more.

Under this Pope, the Vatican has become much more political than it was before, and sustainable development has become the Vatican’s number one political issue.

And did you notice the language about “the world’s religions acting in unison”?  Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet and have them work together to achieve the “UN’s sustainable development goals”.

I can never remember a time when the United Nations and the largest religious institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, have worked together so closely.

So what will the end result of all this be?

Should we be concerned about this new sustainable development agenda?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

Dead Crops, Extreme Drought And Endless Wildfires Are Now The New Normal In America

As you read this, the United States is experiencing the worst drought it has seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.  As you read this, nearly half of all corn crops in the United States are in “poor” or “very poor” condition.  As you read this, 38 major wildfires are ripping across the central and western United States.  The brutal wildfires in Oklahoma have been so bad that they have made national headlines.  The price of corn has hit a brand new record high this summer and so has the price of soybeans.  More than half of all the counties in this country have been declared to be “natural disaster areas” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at this point.  Things are so bad for ranchers that the CEO of Smithfield Foods is projecting that meat prices will rise by “significant double digits” in the months ahead.  Sadly, this drought is projected to continue throughout August and into September.  As you will read about below, some meteorologists are even openly postulating that there may not be enough moisture to avoid another drought next year.  Yes, things are really bad this year, but when you step back and take a look at the broader picture they become truly frightening.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 31st close to two-thirds of the continental United States was experiencing at least some level of drought….

Keep in mind that brown is “severe drought”, red is “extreme drought” and dark brown in “exceptional drought”.

This is truly a historic drought.  We have never seen anything like this in modern times in the United States.

The week before, this is how the U.S. Drought Monitor described conditions in the center of the country….

“Over 90 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with virtually all (99 percent) short or very short in Missouri and Illinois”

There had been some hope that rain would bring relief to farmers in the central part of the country, but instead things just keep getting worse and worse.

At this point, close to half of all corn being grown in the U.S. is either in “poor” or “very poor” condition.

For ranchers, the outlook is even more dismal.  The following is from a recent CNN article….

Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s cattle acreage is now inside a drought-stricken area, as is about two-thirds of the country’s hay acreage, the agency reported.

What that means is that a lot of animals are being slaughtered now and the price of meat is going to be moving substantially higher later in the year.

The following is what the CEO of Smithfield Foods, Larry Pope, recently told the Financial Times….

Beef is simply going to be too expensive to eat. Pork is not going to be too far behind. Chicken is catching up fast. Are we really going to take protein away from Americans?

He also told the Financial Times that he expects meat prices to rise by “significant double digits”.

Those are very frightening statements.

The CEO of a major food company says that beef is going to “be too expensive to eat”?

That doesn’t sound good at all.

Meanwhile, this drought is absolutely devastating farmers and ranchers all over the United States….

“When I was a kid in the ’50s … it got real dry, but nothing like this,” said Marvin Helms, a 70-year-old farmer and rancher in central Arkansas who was compelled to sell his beef cattle after being short on feed.

His thousand acres of farmland near Arkadelphia include corn and soybeans, which Helms says is normally sufficient to sustain his family and provide for his cattle.

“We’ve got some insurance on the crops, but it’s not enough,” he said. “It will help, but it won’t pay the bills.”

Of course the federal government is going to step in and try to help these farmers and ranchers, but the truth is that the federal government is already drowning in debt.  Any additional help will have to be done with more borrowed money.

It is hard to describe how oppressive the heat and the drought have been in the middle part of the nation this year.  We have seen some unprecedented things happen.

Another major problem throughout the central part of the country right now is all of the horrible wildfires that are ravaging the wilderness areas.  The following is from a recent Chicago Tribune article about the recent fires in Oklahoma….

Wildfires burned out of control on Friday in Oklahoma, destroying homes and shutting down highways in a state that has suffered 18 straight days of 100-plus degree temperatures and persistent drought.

Emergency officials counted 11 different wildfires around the state, with at least 65 homes destroyed in parched areas north and south of Oklahoma City and south of Tulsa.

Oklahoma joins several states that have been plagued by wildfires this summer, including Colorado, Arkansas and Nebraska. Fires are being fed by a widespread drought.

But these fires in Oklahoma are only part of a very distressing long-term trend.  As I have written about previously, 6 of the 10 worst years for wildfires ever recorded in the United States have all come since the year 2000.

Another major change that we have seen is that massive dust storms called “haboobs” are becoming much more frequent in the southwest part of the country.

Just the other day, a dust storm that was approximately 2,000 feet high and nearly 100 kilometers wide ripped through the city of Phoenix, Arizona at 35 miles an hour.

Such events were once very rare in Phoenix.

But not anymore.

Meanwhile, much of the central and western United States is rapidly running out of water.

And I am not just talking about surface water.

A lot of the key aquifers that have allowed us to build cities and irrigate crops in the western half of the United States are being drained completely dry.  The following is from a recent San Diego Union-Tribune article about what is happening in California….

Few places in Southern California is that more evident than the desert sands of Borrego Springs, where residents, farmers and golf course operators are sucking about four times as much water from the ground each year as nature replaces.

They’ve been pumping so hard for so long that the community’s main aquifer could essentially run dry after a few more decades. That’s a dire possibility: A recent study showed it would be prohibitively expensive to build a pipeline to an outside source.

Did you catch that last part?

The truth is that someday entire cities may have to be abandoned because it will be “prohibitively expensive” to build water pipelines stretching hundreds of miles to bring them water.

Sadly, this is not just happening in California.  This kind of thing is going on all over the nation….

Similar concerns are bubbling up along San Diego County’s backcountry and across the nation — particularly in places such as the Central Valley and the Great Plains, where residents have dug deep to withstand a drought that has squeezed the nation’s midsection dry.

“It took Mother Nature in some cases thousands of years to accumulate the water in the aquifers, but we are pumping it out in mere decades,” said Robert Glennon, a law professor and water expert at the University of Arizona. “It’s a huge national and international problem. … It is utterly unsustainable and scary.”

I have previously written about how the largest underground water source in the United States, the Ogallala Aquifer, is being drained at an almost unbelievable pace.  You can read my previous report about the Ogallala Aquifer right here.

So even when this summer ends our problems will be far, far from over.

But right now the most immediate concern is the condition of our corn and our soybeans.

Corn is found in about 74 percent of the products we buy in the supermarket, and it is used to feed livestock all over the country.

In addition, the United States exports more food to the rest of the world than anyone else does.

So if our crops fail that is a very big deal.

Right now, it is being reported that this drought “will likely cost the U.S. food export industry billions in lost revenue.”

Considering the fact that the “employment rate” in the United States is lower than it was during the last recession and that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a horrible long-term economic decline, this is the last thing that we need.

And what happens to all of the countries that are depending on us for food?

A recent Wired article had this startling headline….

U.S. Drought Could Cause Global Unrest

When people cannot feed their families, they tend to lose it.

Unfortunately, this year might just be the beginning.

According to a recent article in the Guardian, some scientists say that the drought has been so bad this year that it is going to take a “freak event” to avoid catastrophic damage to next year’s corn crops….

What matters now is whether there will be enough rain to get next year’s crops off to a good start.

“This drought isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “The damage is already done. What you are looking for is enough moisture to avert a second year of drought,” he said.

However, Svoboda conceded that might require a freak event, especially in the mid-west which has already passed its rain season. “In the entire corn belt, from Indiana to Nebraska to the Dakotas, we have already reached the maximum precipitation periods for year. From here on in, it’s all downhill,” Svoboda said.

“As far as widespread general relief for the whole region it would take a really freakish dramatic change to make that happen. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards, given the time of year we are in.”

The skies are dry and our fields are scorched.

Our crops our failing and millions of acres are burning.

Our groundwater supplies are being rapidly depleted and giant dust storms are sweeping across some of our major cities.

Welcome to the new normal.

It isn’t going to be pleasant.

The Family Farm Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America

An entire way of life is rapidly dying right in front of our eyes.  The family farm is being systematically wiped out of existence in America, and big agribusiness and the federal government both have blood all over their hands.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the United States has fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only about 2 million today.  That doesn’t mean that there is less farming going on.  U.S. farms are producing more than ever.  But what it does mean is that farming is increasingly becoming dominated by the big boys.  The rules of the game have been tilted in favor of big agribusiness so dramatically that most small farmers find that they simply cannot compete anymore.  Back in 1900, about 39 percent of the U.S. population worked on farms.  At this point, only about 2 percent of all Americans now live on farms.  Big agribusiness, the food processing conglomerates, and big seed companies such as Monsanto completely dominate the industry.  Unless something dramatic is done, the family farm is going to continue to be wiped out of existence.  Unfortunately, it does not look like things are going to turn around any time soon.

The way that the farming industry is structured today, it is simply not economically feasible to operate a small family farm.  According to Farm Aid, every week approximately 330 farmers leave their land for good.

Many old timers are trying to hang on for as long as they can.  A very large percentage of family farmers are in their fifties, sixties or seventies at this point.  Today, only about 6 percent of all farmers are under the age of 35.

Most young people these days are not too eager to choose farming as a career.  A lot of young adults that grew up on family farms have decided that investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a business that requires you to work 12 hours or more per day most of the year for very meager wages is simply not worth it.

In recent years, many family farmers have been forced to find second jobs in order to support their families.  Many farm families are constantly on the verge of financial ruin.  It is a really tough life for many of them.

Sadly, less than 25 percent of all farms in America bring in gross revenues in excess of $50,000.  The following comes from the EPA website….

It has been estimated that living expenses for the average farm family exceed $47,000 per year. Clearly, many farms that meet the U.S. Census’ definition would not produce sufficient income to meet farm family living expenses. In fact, fewer than 1 in 4 of the farms in this country produce gross revenues in excess of $50,000.

On top of everything else, the federal government and many state governments just keep endlessly piling more rules and regulations on to the backs of farmers.

Big agribusiness has the resources to deal with all of these regulations fairly well, but most family farms do not.

With each passing year, the farming industry becomes even more centralized.  If current trends continue, big agribusiness will eventually control nearly all of it.  The following is from the EPA website….

By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data). That number was down from almost 62,000 in 1992.

In certain industries the amount of consolidation has been absolutely stunning.  For example, between 1970 and today the United States has lost 88 percent of its dairy farms.

Another factor that is shaping the farming business is the incredible power that the giant food processing conglomerates have accumulated.

Today, there are 10 corporations that control most of the things that Americans eat and drink on a daily basis.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

The giant food processing conglomerates have a massive amount of influence over how food is grown in the United States today.  Small farmers that try to go against the tide often have a very rough go of it.

That is also true when it comes to seeds.

For example, approximately 80 percent of all corn grown in the United States is grown using seeds that have been genetically modified by Monsanto.

If you want to try to defy companies such as Monsanto, you are playing a very dangerous game.  The predatory business practices of Monsanto have been well documented.  Monsanto has taken countless numbers of farmers to court, and they are absolutely ruthless.

Plus, it certainly does not help that there is a constant revolving door between Monsanto and federal government agencies.  If you doubt this, just check out the chart about Monsanto on this page.

Amazingly, in spite of all this there are still some small farmers that are able to overcome all of these obstacles and run successful businesses.

But that is where the federal government comes in.

In recent years, the federal government has become absolutely obsessed with going after small farmers.

For example, a recent Food Freedom News article detailed what the feds have been doing to Randy and Karen Sowers.  They were keeping their cash deposits under $10,000 so that they would not have to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and the federal government came down on them like a hurricane….

“Structuring,” explains Overlawyered.com, “is the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government.”

While being questioned, the Sowers were finally presented with a seizure order and advised that the feds had already emptied their bank account of $70,000.  The Dept. of Justice has since sued to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they committed no crime other than maintaining their privacy.

Without funds, they will be unable to make purchases for the spring planting.

When a similar action was taken against Taylor’s Produce Stand last year, the feds seized $90,000, dropped the charges, and kept $45,000 of Taylor’s money.

Knowing that most farms operate on a very thin margin, such abuse of power wipes out a family’s income, and for a bonus, the feds enhance the monopoly power of Monsanto, Big Dairy and their supply chain.

At many other small farms across America, the feds have conducted military-style raids at the crack of dawn over the smallest infractions.

Some examples of this were detailed in a documentary entitled “Farmaggedon“.  The following is a short trailer for that film….

The sad truth is that the federal government has been using your tax money to go after small farmers in absolutely vicious ways.

For example, the feds raided one Amish farm at 5 AM one morning.

So what was the big crime that the feds were so concerned about?

Well, the Amish farm was selling raw milk.

Oh the horror!

The feds seem content to leave big agribusiness pretty much alone, but they are constantly going after small farms in hundreds of different ways.

Did you know that the Department of Labor is instituting new regulations that will ban children from doing many kinds of farm chores?

Just another way to kill off the family farm in America.

America is changing, and not for the better.

Just like the middle class, the family farm is heading for extinction.

Eventually, the big corporations and the federal government will have near total control over food production in America.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!