"Sustainable" Has Become A Four Letter Word

North Carolina State Rep Glen Bradley/Public Domain

The North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council sounds pretty straightforward, with its goal of promoting a local food economy. There is only one problem; it has the word "sustainable" in its title. That bothers State representative Glen Bradley. According to the News Observer,

That word “sustainable” has become an obscenity to Tea Partiers and others who say it’s part of a United Nations, one-world conspiracy. It stems from a 1992 U.N. resolution called Agenda 21 that encourages environmental stewardship. To them, sustainable means government control. And so up steps Tea Party-endorsed state Rep. Glen Bradley, a Republican from Youngsville, with a bill – HB1094 -- that would strike the word from the food advisory council’s title and from each place in the legislation that created the council.

The actual Bill reads:

H1094 (Continue Local Food Advisory Council.), Glen Bradley (Franklin-R), Jimmy Dixon (Duplin-R); 1 cosponsor. Renames the North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council as the North Carolina Local Food Advisory Council .... Removes all references to "sustainable" and replaces with "local" (The emphasis on sustainable foods, defined as foods that enhance the environmental quality and the quality of life for farmers and society, is replaced by an emphasis on local foods, which are defined as foods that are grown within the border of North Carolina).

So now the word itself is poison. This surprised a few people:

Joy Hicks, a policy analyst with the agriculture department, told the committee the bill caught the council off guard. She said the word was taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “a base definition people were familiar with, not knowing this controversy existed.”

Who knew that a word could be so pregnant with meaning, so insidious.

Tags: Activism | Agenda 21 | North Carolina | Sustainable Development

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