All Maine Matters

June 2006



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The Greening of Maine: How and Why Did It Happen?
By Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D.

For well over ten years, the citizens of rural Maine have felt like they have been under attack. The clearcutting referendums of the 1990s were the first evidence of something gone terribly wrong.
Then the legislature passed Governor King’s Forest Practices law. The new law is almost impossible to follow. Environmental organizations attacked Great Northern when they attempted to relicense their dam, which was critical to their power production. That prevented the company from making critical capital improvements to keep the mills competitive in a cutthroat global marketplace. Given the hostile political environment in Maine, the company eventually sold their Maine mills and lands. Along with the resource shortage created by the spruce-bud worm outbreak in the 1980s, these political actions forced more and more companies to sell or close their mills, decimating the economies of rural northern Maine.

The list goes on, but those living the nightmare already have every detail burned into their collective memory. Those memories will haunt them as long as they live. What they do not fully understand is how and why it happened. They just know it did not have to happen the way it did. Many blame environmental organizations for what has happened.

But that is only partially correct. They merely represent the visible portion of a much deeper and more complex effort that has been underway for a long time and has its roots at the national and international level.

It is not only affecting the lives of those living in rural Maine, it now affects all of Maine and threatens to undermine the economic foundation of the entire country.

Since the 1960s, an emerging philosophy or religion based on the belief that “nature knows best” has challenged traditional natural resource management in the United States. This new philosophy attacks the foundational principles of private property rights. Federal land management policy based on this new philosophy has caused a wide variety of problems from financial hardship to outright devastation to tens of thousands of American property owners, especially in the Western United States. Those Americans that the philosophy has harmed have often asked, “How could this happen in America?” The answer will shock most Americans. It goes back decades and has its roots at the international level, especially within the international environmental community.

The greening of America started with the creation of the United Nations (UN) in 1945. The following year an organization called the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was also formed to serve as the primary scientific advisor to the UN on environmental issues. Since then, two other major international environmental organizations have also been created to serve as advisors to the UN; the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). All three work closely together to achieve common goals.

The IUCN has as members 81 individual nations and 111 government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and other land or water based agencies. The UN Environmental Program (UNEP), UN Development Program (UNDP) and UNESCO are also members. Following the first Earth Summit in 1972 at Stockholm, membership within the IUCN was opened to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These currently include the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and a host of other U.S. environmental organizations. Today, these environmental NGOs members number over 859; 84 of which are international organizations.

The purpose of the IUCN according to its 2006 website is:
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute all work with the United Nations to develop and implement a global “ecospiritual” environmental strategy that they call sustainable development. As members of the IUCN, various federal agencies, environmental and UN organizations secretly plan how to implement that strategy on the unknowing citizens of the United States. Almost every strategy in the last 30 years has originated within this unholy alliance.

The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

IUCN planning sessions with government representatives, environmental activists and UN personnel take place behind closed doors, excluding the media and other interested parties. An increasing number of people are expressing great concern over this secrecy. Government officials, UN personnel and special interest NGOs should never be allowed meet together in secrecy.
Although the definition initially appears innocuous, the IUCN’s primary purpose is to influence, encourage and assist societies to change the way they view the world. This is an enormous undertaking, historically associated with religious movements. The concern with this purpose is that it does not define what is meant by the phrase to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature. Nor does it define what it means to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. What is equitable or sustainable?

Such undertakings can, and have, enormous impacts on Americans and natural resource management. Yet the IUCN excludes all but its selected government, NGO and UN members from participation or even knowing what those within the IUCN are planning.

People with a more traditional natural resource background have attended public IUCN meetings and were stunned at the new age, nearly religious fervor of the proceedings. It was very apparent to these observers that the meaning behind the purpose of the IUCN is not how most Americans would interpret them. The actual purpose of the IUCN more closely approximates the purpose given in the IUCN’s Ethics Working Group’s publication, Earth Ethics, in 1996:

...promote alternative models for sustainable communities and lifestyles, based in ecospiritual practice and accelerate our transition to a just and sustainable future.... Humanity must undergo a radical change in its attitudes, values, and behavior.... In response to this situation, a new global ethics is taking form, and it is finding expression in international law.

Many find the concept of ecospiritual practices and principles alarming. Most natural resource managers believe that although present resource management practices are not perfect, improvements will be made as better ways are discovered. In the meantime, resource utilization is better than it’s ever been in the history of the United States. Why does it require a radical change in humanity’s attitudes, values and behavior to be sustainable? Just what does sustainable development really mean? And how does it express itself in international law?

To most people sustainable means that we manage our renewable resources in a way that maintains them in perpetuity for man’s continued use. Dr. Steven Rockefeller is often described as the father of sustainable development within the IUCN and worldwide. Rockefeller provides an entirely different definition in his and John Elder’s book Spirit and Nature:

Sustainable by definition, means not only indefinitely prolonged, but nourishing, as the earth is nourishing to life and the self-actualizing of persons and communities. The word development need not be restricted to economic activity, but can mean the evolution, unfolding growth and fulfillment of any and all aspects of life. Thus sustainable development may be defined as the kind of human activity that nourishes and perpetuates the fulfillment of the whole community of life on earth.

Rockefeller is professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College in Vermont. As the son of Nelson Rockefeller, and part of the Rockefeller family, he has powerful connections. For example, he currently chairs the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. During his active tenure at Middlebury and following he was fully involved within the IUCN promoting this quasi-religious concept of sustainable development.

Robert Prescott-Allen, senior consultant to the second World Conservation Strategy project in 1990 made the connection between sustainable development and religion very clear. He said that, “Sustainability calls for a fundamental transformation in how people behave. Changes in behavior can be assisted by laws and incentives. . . to a new morality. . . and a new moral conception of world order.” (Italics added) The World Conservation Strategy is a project of the IUCN, UNEP and WWF started in 1980.
Rockefeller and Elder go on to describe the shocking actions needed to achieve sustainable development:

Make sustainability a primary goal of economic and development policies, reflecting that goal in budget and investment decisions; establish the commitment to sustainability in law; make liable those who deplete biological wealth or damage the health of people or ecosystems; include environmental costs in the prices of energy, raw materials, and manufactured goods; use economic instruments to provide incentives for sustainable action; incorporate changes in environmental health and the stocks and flows of natural wealth in national accounting systems.

This vision of how economic systems should function is explored many times in IUCN and UN documents. It is at the heart of the IUCN’s treaty called the Covenant on Environment and Development (CED) treaty and Agenda 21. The CED treaty is written but not yet released for ratification. It is the granddaddy of all treaties and is designed to fully enforce Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is a comprehensive forty chapter United Nations set of goals that was signed by the United States at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It spells out UN requirements for sustainable development within every nation, including the United States. Not surprisingly, Agenda 21 labels modern agriculture, forestry and farming practices unsustainable. Foundations and federal agencies fund local environmental NGOs to stop these allegedly unsustainable practices.

Agenda 21 and its implementing treaties provide a web of interlocking international laws that regulate virtually every aspect of human interactions with the environment – from urban sprawl to forest practices laws. Hence, as members of the IUCN, international and national agencies and NGOs have contributed to the writing of treaties and polices that the federal agencies then enforce and NGOs try to implement in unsuspecting states like Maine. What has happened in Maine is directly traceable to this agenda. The Convention on Biological Diversity, for instance, would convert more than 50 percent of Maine into wilderness reserves and interconnecting wilderness corridors. Although Maine activists prevented its ratification in 1994, the federal government and environmental NGOs have actively attempted to get legislation in Maine since then to implement it anyway.2
Agenda 21 was converted into United States policy in a 1996 policy document entitled Sustainable America. Sustainable America and a host of sub documents were written by the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). Of the 26 appointees to the PCSD by President Clinton, nearly half represent organizations or agencies which are also members of the IUCN. IUCN members could therefore heavily influence the decisions of the PCSD to reflect those of the IUCN.

The changes required by Agenda 21 and Sustainable America represent a radical departure from America’s historic culture and the lifestyles of U.S. citizens – including those of Maine. It would mean a complete shift from the constitutional basis of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to one of protecting nature at all costs.

This concept of sustainable development, of course, is a deeply held view for those who believe in the sanctity of “Mother Earth.” For the past thirty years, the quiet implementation of these quasi-religious policies and treaties has caused inestimable harm to hundreds of thousands of American citizens, including many in Maine.

The IUCN can be found at

Agenda 21 can be found at

To understand the magnitude of this treaty and how it is being implemented without ratification see This multimedia production works best with high-speed internet. It is also available in CD and DVD format for $8 from Environmental Perspectives, Inc. in Bangor, Maine, 207-945-9878.

The President’s Council on Sustainable Development and Sustainable America can be found at

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute all work with the United Nations to develop and implement a global “ecospiritual” environmental strategy that they call sustainable development. As members of the IUCN, various federal agencies, environmental and UN organizations secretly plan how to implement that strategy on the unknowing citizens of the United States. Almost every strategy in the last 30 years has originated within this unholy alliance.

The IUCN and its federal and NGO members have directly or indirectly contributed to the writing of major international environmental agreements and treaties, including Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity. It has also implemented its policies through the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development and created the science of conservation biology. This web of agreements and treaties has forced major changes in the way federal and state laws are implemented in policy. The United States has not ratified the Convention on Biodiversity but it is being implemented anyway by NGOs in Maine and across the country.

Dr. Michael Coffman has been a long-time Maine resident who has taught and conducted research in forest ecology during much of his career. Fifteen years ago he started his own company, Environmental Perspectives, Inc. to help educate people to the growing threat of an international agenda that uses environmental pseudo-science that is used to create policy and law based in myth, not fact. He played a key role in stopping the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the U.S. Senate and helped keep the United Nations from accepting the Earth Charter as the world’s new nature-based ethic system. He can be reached by calling 207-945-9878. If you have high speed internet, he invites you to look at his multimedia presentation at that exposes what various government agencies and environmental NGOs are doing to lock up vast tracks of land in Maine and other states.


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