On September 10, 2003 in Prague at the International Conference on Education for a Sustainable Future, the United Nations declared 2005 through 2015, “The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).” To nobody’s surprise, the UN also named UNESCO (The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as the lead agency for this global effort. The official launch ceremony took place on March 1st, 2005 in New York City.
Few Americans paid attention. They should have. On June 12, 2002, President Bush had announced that America would rejoin UNESCO and “…participate fully in its mission….” According to UNESCO, “The Decade of ESD is a far-reaching and complex undertaking… that potentially touches on every aspect of life. The basic vision…is a world where everyone…learns the values, behavior, and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation.” 
Unfortunately for America, the “values, behavior, and lifestyles” that UNESCO requires for “societal transformation” run contrary to a Christian Worldview and American principles of liberty.
What is Sustainable Development?
The term “Sustainable Development” (SD) was introduced in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development. Their report entitled, “Our Common Future” defined Sustainable Development as: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Lurking just beneath this innocent sounding goal, however, is a radical agenda that has more to do with controlling the economy and society than sustaining development.
Our Common Future, for example, reveals that SD involves “…a progressive transformation of the economy and society (p.43), …international interdependence (p.47), …redistribution [of wealth] (p.50) …less material and more equitable growth (p.50-52), …ensuring a sustainable level of population (p. 55), …merging environment and economics in decision making (p.62); …and a new ethic that will include the relationship between man and nature above all (p.71). Clearly there is more to SD than simply good stewardship of natural resources.
At the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, so-called “representatives of the peoples of the world” adopted a document called, “Agenda 21,” the global roadmap for SD implementation. The Chapter Titles of Agenda 21 reveal the extent of government control necessary to implement SD, including goals to: Change Consumption Patterns; Promote Sustainable Human Settlements; Plan & Manage All Land Resources, Ecosystems, Deserts, Forests, Mountains, Oceans, Fresh Water; Agriculture; Rural Development; Biotechnology; Ensuring Equity; an increased role for Non-Government Organizations (NGOs); and even defining the role of Business and Financial Resources. All this is to be accomplished on a global, national, and local scale.
Since freedom-loving people would never willingly submit to such totalitarian control, education is the “key” to sustainable development. Chapter 36 of Agenda 21, called Education, Public Awareness, and Training, makes clear an intention to integrate Agenda 21 into ALL curriculum as a de facto international education standard.
America’s Education Standards
Is ESD part of the plan for American education? According to Dr. Robert Paige, President George W. Bush’s first Secretary of Education, the answer is “YES!” On October 3, 2003, celebrating our new partnership with UNESCO, then-Secretary Paige addressed the UN Round Table on Education. He explained: “The United States is pleased to return to UNESCO… There and here, we agree that we must make education a universal reality. Our governments have entrusted us with the responsibility of preparing our children to become citizens of the world. … UNESCO…knows the importance of education on a global level by coordinating the Education for All initiative (EFA). EFA is consistent with our recent legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act. (emphasis added) In other words, the United States and UNESCO’s goals for education are one in the same and mandated through No Child Left Behind.
In fact, ESD has been a goal in America for many years. To save space, I’ll connect the dots only as far back as 1990 – the year President Bush Sr. endorsed UNESCO’s EFA Initiative and promised implementation by the year 2000. In June 1993, President Clinton signed an executive order to create the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). In 1994, the PCSD published “Education for Sustainability: an agenda for action,” calling on educators “to serve society by fostering the transformations needed to set us on the path to sustainable development.”  That same year, the EFA/ESD goals became President Clinton’s “Goals 2000,” establishing the framework for our National Standards, Curriculum, and Assessments. All 50 states adopted Goals 2000 in order to receive the funding that came with it.
Today, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) holds states “accountable” to implement their previously signed agreements. States and districts that refuse to “align” their standards, curriculum, and assessments with these so-called “world-class standards” will lose federal funding. NCLB requires full implementation by the end of 2014 – which just so happens to be the final year of The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. What a coincidence!
The US Department of Education carefully insulated themselves from critics of this radical agenda by funding tax-exempt, non-government organizations (NGOs) to do their dirty work. Sometimes the NGO is several layers removed from its true funding source. For example, the Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit, published through the University of Tennessee in July 2002, was “made possible by a grant from The Waste Management Research and Education Institution,” (an NGO funded by the US Department of Education).
According to the Toolkit: “From the time sustainable development was first endorsed…in 1987, the parallel concept of education to support sustainable development has also been explored. …Initial thoughts concerning ESD were captured in Chapter 36 of Agenda 21…”  One goal the Toolkit holds for education is: “World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development” defined as “encompassing the constellation of principles, values, attitudes and behavior that the people of the world must embrace if sustainable development is to be realized.”
ESD, Global Citizenship, and America’s National Curriculum
Promoting World Citizenship over National Sovereignty is now Official US government policy for education. Evidence may be found by looking at The Center for Civic Education (CCE) – an NGO funded by the US DOE in 1994 to write America’s “National Standards for Civics and Government.” The CCE and its model Civics textbook, “We the People,” continue to be specifically named and funded by No Child Left Behind. (All publishers are now rewriting their textbooks to conform to the official model.)
To illustrate their mission, the CCE posted an article on their website called: “Teaching Democracy Globally, Internationally, and Comparatively: The 21st Century Mission of Schools.” It explains: “In the past century, the civic mission of schools…was education for democracy in a sovereign state…. In this century, by contrast… education will become everywhere more global…. And we ought to…improve our curricular frameworks and standards for a world transformed by globally accepted and internationally transcendent principles.”  (Emphasis Added)
In other words, education is no longer about preserving liberty based on American principles, but transforming America based on international principles.
The international “constellation of principles, values, attitudes, and behaviors” that our children “must embrace” are imbedded in today’s curriculum and divided into three major themes as explained in Agenda 21, the US Agenda for Action, and the US ESD Toolkit: They are: Sustainable Environment, Economy, and Society.
Sustainable Environment – A New Ethic
The “sustainable environment” education standards are captured in “The Earth Charter,” commissioned by the UN in 1987 and approved by UNESCO in March 2000. Claiming to represent “the values and principles for a sustainable future,” it is actually an Earth-centered religious treatise carried to schools throughout the world in a mock ark-of-the-covenant called, “The Ark of Hope.” The four sides of the ark carry depictions of the four pagan spirits: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. Mikhail Gorbachev, who participated in writing the Earth Charter, said: “My hope is that this charter will be a kind of Ten Commandments, a ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ that provides a guide for human behavior.”
In the United States, the tenets of the Earth Charter are included in the ESD Toolkit, including its goal of “a shared vision of basic values to provide an ethical foundation for the emerging world community.”
One good example of the “new Earth ethic” is, “Dear Children of the Earth,” a popular children’s book written as a letter from Mother Earth. Heavily illustrated with mystical paintings of animals, children are frightened into believing people are a cancer and threat to the sustainability of the planet. The text, under one illustration of a dying Rhinoceros, explains: “The animals have told me, ‘We are worried, Mother Earth. We are afraid because our homes are being destroyed by people who don’t know better, or don’t care. …Tell me, my children, where will the animals live when my forests are gone? Where will the whales and dolphins swim when my oceans are too dirty to live in?”
Likewise, mainstream textbooks include such scare tactics based on questionable science. For example, one popular second grade textbook celebrates Earth Day by asking second graders: “How would you feel if there were no trees?”Another popular fifth grade social studies textbook parrots the dying-earth theme by summarizing: “The Earth needs your help…we are all children of the Earth. It does not matter what country you look at. We are all Earth’s children and we should treat her as our Mother.”
Do these lessons have an effect on our children’s worldview? A recent St. Paul Pioneer Press “letter to the editor” from a second-grader indicates the message is taking root: “The black rhinoceros is becoming extinct because of us. …When we cut down trees to build homes for us, we are destroying homes that were already there. Some people say, ‘why should we help save the black rhinoceros?’ I say because to me they are no more or less than we are. …The animals are dying 1,000 times faster than they would be if it were just plants and animals in the world.” So much for this 7-year-old’s self-esteem lessons!
Sustainable Economy – Socialist Global State
The threat of environmental catastrophe is used to justify global governance including a planned economy. Children are indoctrinated to accept total control through biased economic lessons in their social studies texts. Compare the positive language describing government control over the economy to the negative language describing free-market systems:
- Under a lesson on Stalin: “An economy completely controlled by government is called a command economy. Within just 20 years the Soviet Union became one of the world’s strongest industrial nations. Thousands of railroad lines crisscrossed the country, linking towns and cities that had never been connected before.”
- Castro’s Cuba: “For some people life became better under Castro’s communist dictatorship. There is less poverty since Castro gained control.” 
- Mao’s China: [Next to a picture of Mao surrounded by cheering peasants]: “The Communists…had become very popular…. The Communists also worked with farmers, showing them ways to produce more crops… They provided housing, medical care, and food supplies for city workers. They supported education for all, along with equal rights for women.”
- American Economics: “Understanding Imperialism: The chief motivation behind imperialism is usually economic gain. Powerful nations can establish new markets for their manufactured goods…. Despite the importance of economics, Americans usually cited other reasons to justify their imperialism. Many Americans believed that they had a right and obligation to extend what they considered their superior culture to people less fortunate than themselves.”
- Under a Cartogram depicting America controlling most of the world’s wealth: “Do you remember how imperialism affected countries in Africa and Asia? The natural resources and labor from those countries helped build the strong economies of…North America…” Although the countries of the world are linked by interdependence, not all of them share equally in the world’s riches.”
The message for our children is: True economic success comes from government control, but in America, success came from imperial aggression. Missing are the failures of socialism. McMillan’s, The World Past and Present, for example, ends a lesson on the Soviet Union by asking 7th graders: “How do people in Moscow recycle some products?” [Teachers answer:] “Torn stockings are used to stuff pillows or to scrub dishes; milk cartons take the place of pots and pans.” Apparently, these measures were not the result of economic failure, but an ecologically conscious Soviet citizenry!
Are these lessons having an effect? According to the National Center for Education Statistics report, “What Democracy Means to Ninth-Graders,” the answer is YES:
- 84.2 percent of 9th-graders now believe it’s the government’s responsibility to set prices.
- 63.5 percent believe government is responsible for “reducing differences in income and wealth among people.”
- 58.6 percent now believe government must “provide an adequate standard of living for the unemployed.”
What’s frightening is that the US Dept. of Education considers these “attitudes” correct answers and identifies them as “international principles of democracy!”
Sustainable Society – Global Interdependence
The ultimate goal of Education for Sustainable Development is to prepare children to accept the total transformation of America under global totalitarian control – for the good of all. A popular McMillan 7th grade teachers’ edition explains the methodology used to build understanding toward the goal: “A growing awareness of deep national and international interdependence is vital… [This book] systematically builds students’ understanding of the economic, cultural, political, and ecological connections among peoples.” Here are some social studies lesson examples from a variety of grades and publishers:
- 2nd Grade Silver Burdett and Ginn Teacher’s Edition: “Why is the Earth one community? …Second graders develop a sense of being involved with other people and of the earth being everyone’s global home.”
- 4th Grade Houghton-Mifflin: “To be a community, people must share the same customs and have some common purpose…. You also belong to the world community. …The things we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us. …What might ‘global village’ mean? Ask [students] to find out more about the idea of a ‘global village.’…
- 5th Grade Houghton-Mifflin: “Today, the debate over how land is used involves the entire world.” 
- 7th Grade McMillan, Teachers’ Edition: “Encourage students to think of such possibilities as government or voluntary agencies to regulate the sale of land, size of factories, hours of labor, supervision of children, etc. Discuss all possibilities.”
- 5th-9th Grade Constitutional Rights Foundation Curriculum: “The police power also allows the government to restrict the use of property…or force an owner to give up his or her land under the exercise of eminent domain…. Governments sometimes use the power of eminent domain to protect the environment. Taking land for environmental reasons generally falls under two categories: (1) controlling pollution and (2) preserving natural areas.”
Publishers all sound the same because the National Standards for Civics and Government written by the CCE require conformance. The CCE’s model textbook funded through No Child Left Behind is called “We the People, the Citizen and the Constitution.” In reality, it functions to shift children away from our Founding Principles toward accepting new citizenship ideals. Chapter 37, titled “How May Citizenship Change in the Nation’s Third Century” explains the goal: “This lesson looks to the future. You focus on some major developments taking place in our society that are likely to affect the very nature of citizenship during your lifetime.” A critical thinking question at the end of the lesson reveals what they mean: “Do you think that world citizenship will be possible in your lifetime?”
By following the book sequence, one may easily see how students are programmed to respond, “Yes” to world citizenship and prepare to accept new principles. For example, the textbook demotes America’s Bill of Rights as an antiquated “document of the eighteenth century, reflecting the issues and concerns of the age in which it was written.” The lesson then promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “positive” rights and the next phase in mankind’s social evolution. Although the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights is contained in the appendix, the textbook fails to teach what it says about the source of human rights in contrast to America’s Declaration.
According to America’s Declaration of Independence, our Founders understood the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights….” Therefore, they recognized the primary function of government was to protect those inalienable Creator-given rights. The Universal Declaration by contrast, limits Human Rights to an enumerated list, and then gives government the power to take them away. According to Article 29.3 “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” In other words, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, man – as represented by the United Nations – becomes god!
Once government becomes our god, citizenship takes on a new meaning. According to the CCE, “citizenship” is defined as “the status of being a member of a state, one who owes allegiance to the government.” NOT allegiance to the principles of liberty – but allegiance to government the ultimate source of rights. That was exactly Hitler’s definition of citizenship! According to the CCE, “civic virtue” now means: “The dedication of citizens to the common good, even at the cost of their individual interests.” …Even at the cost of liberty.
Are these lessons taking hold? One distraught mother showed me her daughters test response to the question: “Is the United States a ‘sovereign state?” Her “correct” answer: “Yes; because our government has absolute authority over the citizenry.” Our children – America’s future citizens, voters, and government officials – are being prepared to accept total government control in the name of “sustainable development!”
20 million American children have now graduated from the Center for Civic Education’s program of indoctrination. Many Christian schools have also adopted the “We the People” textbooks – unaware. Please don’t build your house on the sand, simply because the sand is free! The warnings of scripture are clear: While we were sleeping, the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. Our Founders sacrificed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to give us our liberty. Don’t let the torch of freedom flicker and die on our watch! Wake up oh sleeper and strengthen what remains…!
 President Bush’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Sept. 12, 2002 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/print/20020912-1.html
 Our Common Future; World Commission on Environment and Development, [no date] Oxford University Press, New York, see Chapter 2, “Towards Sustainable Development” p. 43.
 The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, September 4, 2002, UN Agenda Item 13, p. 1.
 Education for Sustainability; 1994; US Gov. Printing Office; ISBN 0-16-048783-8, Introduction.
 For a detailed analysis of international agreements implemented in the United States, see America’s Schools: The Battleground for Freedom, by Allen Quist. Chaska Minnesota, EdWatch, 2005, especially pp. 57-63, ISBN 0-9675196-4-0 [available through edwatch.org].
 McKeown, Ph.D., Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN; Version 2, 2002. (Available at www.esdtoolkit.org)
 McKeown, ESD Toolkit, p. 22.
 National Standards for Civics and Government; Center for Civic Education, Second Printing 1997, Calabasas, California: see inside cover: “Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and The Pew Charitable Trusts”
 Patrick, Indiana University, Bloomington, June, 2003; www.civiced.org/articles_Patrick_global.pdf p.1-2.
 See www.arkofhope.org
 LA Times, May 8, 1997 http://web243.petrel.ch/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/newspeeches/interviews/laTimes.html
 McKeown, ESD Toolkit, p. 23.
 Schimmel, Dear Children of the Earth; Northword Press, Inc; Minocqua, Wi, 1994,
 Living in Communities, Teacher’s Edition; 1995 Silver Burdett Ginn; Morristown, NJ, p.207
 This is My Country, Teacher’s Edition; 1994; Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston, MA, p. 343.
 St. Paul Pioneer Press; Monday, December 1, 2003, opinion page
 World: Adventures in Time and Place, 1997, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, New York, p. 538.
 The World Past and Present, Teacher’s Edition, 1993, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, p. 649.
 World: Adventures in Time and Place, p.552.
 A More Perfect Union, 1991, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, p. 534.
 The World Past and Present, p. 660.
 The World Past and Present, p. 663.
 What Democracy Means to 9th Graders, US Results From the IEA Civic Education Study, US DOE, NCES 2001-096, 2001, p.62
 The World Past and Present, Teachers Edition, 1993, p. T15.
 Living in Communities, 1995, p. U6-C.
 This is My Country; HMSS Teachers’ Edition, Boston, 1994, p. 334 & 336 margin.
 America Will Be, Houghton Mifflin, 1994, p. 92
 The World Past and Present, p.285.
 The Challenge of Governance, p. 30.
 We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution; 2002, 10th printing, Center for Civic Education, Calabasas, CA, p. 200.
 We the People, p. 203
 We the People, p. 207
 We the People, p. 208.
 National Standards for Civics and Government, Appendix C, Glossary “citizenship” p. 151.
 We the People, Glossary under: “civic virtue”, p. 266.
 Chapter 1 Quiz on “Role of Government” – 7th Grade, Sept. 2002, Golden Valley Public School, question #6.