The town of Danville unaminously voted last night to adoptits 2030 General Plan, EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and optional SAP (Sustainable Action Plan). 250+ were in attendance voicing their concerns. In violation of California’s Brown Act, Council made substantial changes to the plan without public notice of the plan changes prior to a vote. Most disturbingly the Town Council language of an ideology championed by the United Nations, but refused to acknowledge and disclose that fact to the public at the meeting or in the planning documents.
As a citizen of the town of Danville this should elicit immediate concern as the fabric of our lives, suburban lifestyles, are held in contempt.
The word “Sustainable” appears 158 times throughout the Danville’s Plan and SAP to describe everything from business, water, air, housing and more. The entire foundation of the plan and direction of the town is dependent on the exact meaning and understanding of this term by those reading the plan. After all general plans are meant to provide clear, concise and easy to understand information to the public. So a precise definition and understanding of the word Sustainable would seem obvious and necessary.
So what does the word “Sustainability” mean?
Well, The dictionary defines the verb “sustain” as meaning to “support,” “maintain” and to “keep from ruin.” But on page 1-3 of the Danville General Plan, we find the concept of “sustainability” strangely re-defined as “the ability to meet the needs of current residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Where did this new definition come from?
Danville’s General Plan consultants, DCE Planning (formerly known as Urban Ecology) are responsible for inserting this new definition into our plan. This re-definition is unclear, nonspecific and carries substantial ideological baggage. And since this new definition is NOT in the dictionary but is posited as the foundational basis for this 17 year plan it would seem necessary to minimally understand its origin, yet no credit or sourcing of this information is given in the documents. So where did DCE Planning get this new definition?
The concept of “sustainability” as “the ability to meet the needs of current residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” appeared in nearly identical terms in Our Common Future (http://conspect.nl/pdf/Our_Common_Future-Brundtland_Report_1987.pdf),
also known as the Brundtland Report, published by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. Wikipedia also cites this same source.
[“Sustainable development,” says Our Common Future, “is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Chapter 2, Principle 1 — page 37 in the available 247-page PDF compilation)]
[Two paragraphs later, Our Common Future calls for “a progressive transformation of economy and society” (Sound familiar?), and demands
“a concern for social equity between generations, a concern that must
logically be extended to equity within each generation.” The document overtly seeks a remaking of global society “From One Earth to One World.” Unsurprisingly, Danville citizens are saying “thank you, no, that’s not a trip we want to take.”]
Why is the town of Danville allowing an outside consultant, Barry Miller who is the front man for DCE Planning (who wrote the regional One Bay Area Plan) to inject a term into a small town General Plan with such radical implications? And if that is what the definition the UN has given for Sustainability then you then have to ask yourself what does the UN consider unsustainable?
In the following quote, former Under Secretary of the UN, Maurice Strong – In an UNCED PrepCom report, dated August 1991, Titled; (“The relationship between demographic trends, economic growth, unsustainable consumption patterns and environmental degradation,” identifies several items which are considered to be unsustainable…..
“It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle-class … involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and ‘convenience’ foods, ownership of motor-vehicles, numerous electric household appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning … expansive suburban housing … are not sustainable.”
It is important to note that in1997, DCE Planning along with unelected unaccountable agencies like ABAG (the Association of Bay Area Governments) and MTC (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission) signed a Compact forming “the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities” (http://www.bayareaalliance.org/compact.pdf). This Alliance congratulated itself for having embraced and adopted the same definition of sustainable development endorsed by the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment and Development: (p.22 of the Compact) and the International Earth Charter.
On Feb 7th of this year, I e-mailed the Town Council documentation alerting them of the worrisome connections between DC&E Planning, ABAG, the Bay Area Alliance, and their adoption of the UN definition for “sustainable development,” including endorsement of the international Earth Charter. Last night I reminded the Town Council of all of these connectins and asked if they knowingly intended to align Danville with the UN’s Sustainable Development plan and its foundational definition of “sustainability” as defined by Barry Miller and DCE Planning Center. And if they did, then they should declare such intentions verbally and in writing, properly crediting and sourcing the origin the definition within the General Plan. Otherwise, the Plan and SAP’s current definition of sustainability is unsustainably misleading.
I asked the town to do one of the following….
1. Remove the word Sustainable from the General Plan and EIR and go back to the language and direction from the previous general plan. Danville can continue to conserve and preserve without this misleading and controversial language in our plan.
2. Reject the adoption of the SAP Plan entirely. This plan is according to the town “Optional and Common Sense” and therefore unnecessary.
3. Redefine the word “Sustainable”
4. Or source and credit it properly within the town documents
When the town was ready to discuss issues after the open hearing the town manager, Joe Calabrigo tried to quickly whitewash the concerns about the meaning and origin of “Sustainabilty” by saying it was common definition. Even though the definition is NOT in any dictionary. Once the council took over the only member to bring up a concern about this was Karen Stepper. She questioned the definition and tried to discuss it. Mayor Arnerich said he didn’t care where the definition came from and did not want to source it in the document. Council members Robert Storer said he was fine with the definition and agreed they should not source it in the documents. Renee Morgan and Mike Doyle basically said nothing about this controversial issue and then they all agreed that the undisclosed definition should stay in the document as defined by the Consultant and quickly moved on to other less toxic issues.
So there you have it…… The town of Danville was made aware of the true origin of the word “Sustainable” and will full knowledge of has refused to openly credit and source this in their General Plan, EIR and SAP. So much for transparency…Who’s wearing the tin foil hat now?