JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Ten years ago, as I was reading a very small article in the Washington Post on the Rio Earth Summit, I laughed and told my husband, “Those crazy environmentalists who don’t know their right foot from their left foot are having this huge meeting in Rio and it won’t go anywhere.”

On their own, their movement would never amount to a hill of beans. However, given the environmental mandate of “The Report from Iron Mountain,” a secret report commissioned by the Kennedy administration in 1961 to find political and economic alternatives for a time in which the world would have no more wars, I was very naive and wrong.

Maurice Strong who was the secretary-general of the 1972 and 1992 environmental conferences made the following comments 10 years ago at the closing meeting:

Nothing less than the future of our planet as the home for our species and others has been the object of our work. The world will not be the same after this conference. The prospects for our Earth cannot, must not, be the same. We came here to alter those prospects and change to a more promising and sustainable future.

Each of the conventions on climate change and biodiversity has been signed by more than 150 nations. “Agenda 21” still stands as the most comprehensive, most far-reaching and if implemented, the most effective program of international action. It is not a final and complete action program, but one, which must continue to evolve.

On finance – we are a long way from meeting the needs for “Agenda 21.” We have established a new global partnership. We should consider new taxes, user charges, emission permits, citizen funding – all based on the polluter-pays principle.

Using what has been put in place in the last 10 years and the current program of action let me update you with his legacy.

The earth is not the same. We have been turned upside down and inside out. The reordering of God’s balance for earth and the demotion of man to being equal to a plant or animal is the first understanding. You and I are no longer valued the same as we were when God’s rules reigned in the hearts of government. We are now a species, or a class, instead of a human as in being, soul, individual, person or creature. We are more expendable now and, as you will see, can be herded like cows.

With regard to climate change – which basically says cows, human and plants give off too much carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases – it maintains that pollution and the burning of forests and coal must be reduced. Because we all share the atmosphere, climate warming became the “first global problem” that individual firms and countries could not solve on their own. The major transnational corporations have been working on a scheme of trading carbon permits as a way for us to transfer part of our carbon to lesser-developed countries that have less pollution.

At a World Bank Conference on sustainable development several years ago, when economist Joseph Stiglitz presented this concept, I asked him if he was basically “bringing a new company public or a stock to market” in creating this permit-trading system. He answered, “Yes,” and with a very large grin said, “And we will do very well!” Within the last year, a carbon-trading market was established in Chicago.

Interestingly enough, Maurice Strong is one of its directors. Furthermore, it has been suggested that if the price of energy went up, it would encourage people to change to more efficient technologies, thus reducing carbon in the air. Can you imagine the profit insiders and interested parties would make on another oil embargo, let alone the money they will make bartering the carbon trading permits?

“Agenda 21” is now the earth’s new gospel. I believe that in the future it just may replace “The Communist Manifesto.” Ever read it? Your children are being taught it in their elementary schools through college. Furthermore there are high school environmental clubs that are being taught how to protest.

The follow-up to “Agenda 21” is being put forth at this summit. It calls for a number of actions – specifically in the areas of biodiversity, health, energy, water and agriculture. The more than 150 action items create a web of control, management and expense that will bring unbelievable hardship for each of us. Furthermore, “Agenda 21” is changing and evolving. These geniuses are learning by trial and error. You and I and all of God’s Creation have become a global laboratory.

Because the kings, princes, presidents and prime ministers agreed to “Agenda 21,” they need money to implement it. And with this summit, they even need more money. There are numerous proposals on the table which include establishing a world solidarity fund to eradicate poverty, “[significant] increases in the flow of foreign direct investment to developing countries,” and “develop ways of generating new public and private innovative sources of finance through the use of special drawing rights for development purposes through the IMF.”

Those agreed to include: “adopt and implement polices and measures aimed at promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption applying the polluter-pays principle and internationally agreed development goals will require significant increases in the flow of financial resources [including through new and additional financial resources] in particular to developing countries.”

Currently the countries of the world give about 0.3 percent of GNP to developing countries. At the March Financing for Development Conference, a number of countries committed more money toward the ideal goal of 0.7 percent of GNP goal for Overseas Development Assistance. This is not enough. Now the World Bank estimates that they will need double the amount annually to meet the Millennium Summit Development Goals incorporated into the program of action.

Here in Johannesburg, the masters of the universe have upped the ante. They have proposed “0.15 to 0.20 percent of GNP of developed countries to least developed countries” in addition to the current goal of 0.7 percent of GNP for developing countries! When is enough enough?

The world is not the same. We have been hijacked by a group of rogue kings, princes, presidents and prime ministers – not to mention corporate CEOs, insiders and international bankers. “Agenda 21” basically pits the proletariat against the serfs. The more I hear, the more I read, I believe that making the 21st century sustainable is nothing more than a time of 21st-century “feudalism.” This is Maurice Strong’s legacy to us.

Joan Veon is a certified financial planner and is president of Veon Financial Services, Inc., an investment advisory firm. Visit her website,

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