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WASHINGTON – Presidential candidate John Kerry and his wife, Teresa, organized a group 11 years ago with an agenda to use public schools at all levels to “leverage change” throughout U.S. society by instigating “a complete shift in thinking, values and action” among America’s youth.

Second Nature, run by Anthony Cortese, an adviser to Kerry who has campaigned for him this year, promotes the notion of “Education for Sustainability” in schools across the country – from kindergarten through the universities.

Cortese, president of the organization that is financed principally by Teresa Heinz Kerry’s foundations, made clear the breadth of the group’s agenda when he said: “And humans are guided by a whole set of beliefs and values, and those come from culture, from religion, from social, economic, and political structure. We need to change all of those.”

Holly Swanson, a critic of the radical environmental movement and author of “Set Up & Sold Out,” said the beliefs Second Nature is advocating parallel those of the international Green parties.

“It’s time to question the assumption that any idea that has to do with the environment is automatically a good idea,” she said. “Education for Sustainability is a prime example. Education for Sustainability is the vehicle to slip Green beliefs into the curriculum and slide the political goals right past students, teachers, parents, politicians and the American people. Second Nature’ radical goals are buried beneath environmental rhetoric such as: ‘Second Nature … is dedicated to making environmentally just and sustainable action central to learning and practice of education at all levels.’”

Swanson says that represents the political exploitation of children and the use of education as a tool to indoctrinate.

“Education for Sustainability is one of the most important issues of our time because it involves the education of our children and therefore, the future of our nation,” she said. “Cortese refers to Education for Sustainability as a ‘bold experiment.’ We do not send our precious children to school so political extremists can ‘experiment’ with their lives and ‘redirect’ their beliefs.”

Second Nature was founded in Boston in 1993 by Cortese, Kerry and his wife, according to the organization’s website.

“When we began, we envisioned a path to start transforming our relationship with nature and each other through the transformation of education – a high leverage way to affect change throughout society,” wrote Cortese. “We realized the immense benefits of, and sought to promote, a learning environment providing the awareness, knowledge, skills and values to help all current and future generations achieve good health, economic security, social equity and stability while restoring and sustaining the Earth’s life support systems. We focused our work on the wisdom of creating a society in which this would happen. We imagined a world where all current and future people are healthy, live in socially vibrant and culturally diverse communities have personal and economic security, fully participate in governance of society and our life support system is biologically diverse and sustainable.”

Cortese was formerly commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and, according to a source within the Kerry campaign, will be a top consideration for the job of director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if Kerry is elected Tuesday. He is also a founding member of the Board of Councilors for the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development.

Both Kerry and his wife currently serve as members of the board of directors of Second Nature, a non-profit group.

WorldNetDaily columnist Henry Lamb, executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International, says most Americans have now heard the word “sustainability” over and over again yet don’t really know what is meant by the term. He says the concept was first developed in a 1987 United Nations report by Gro Harlem Brundtland, vice president of the World Socialist Party.

“‘Sustainability’ … is not simply a comprehensive approach to environmental protection,” he explains. “The recurring theme throughout the sustainability literature is the integration of ‘economic, equity, and environmental’ policies. That grandiose language is translated by specific policy recommendations which use the environment as an excuse to manage the economy to achieve social equity.”

Lamb says the arbiters of sustainability have already determined air conditioning, convenience foods, single-family housing and cars have to go. “Equity,” he says, “means forcing those who produce an income to provide for those who do not.” And “Environmental protection,” he says, “means constraining individual freedom to accommodate ‘management’ to prevent the impending impoverishment of the planet.”

Cortese doesn’t limit himself to environmental activism. A week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Cortese was one of the celebrity signers of a petition denouncing any future military action in response. He was joined by Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Mike Farrell, Bonnie Raitt, Marcus Raskin pf the Marxist Institute for Policy Studies. David Salniker, executive director of the Tides Center, a foundation supported by Teresa Heinz Kerry, Martin Sheen and Gloria Steinem.

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