Largely due to the untiring efforts of homeschooling mother Barb Hulet, the Montrose County Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution on February 4, 2013 rejecting Agenda 21 and any attendant policies considered to be part of "sustainable development", such as "smart growth" "wildlands projects", and so on. However, the Commissioners, along with area alternative and public educators, may not be aware that the years between 2005 and 2015 have been declared the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Therefore, any effort to eradicate the influence of Agenda 21 from Montrose County must also consider the curricula being used to teach the youth.
In order to recognize the scope of this broad initiative, it is important to understand the " Key Eduction Action Areas and Themes" of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN DESD). There are four major points to this program, which has such "key themes" as gender equality, rural transformation, and sustainable production and consumption. The first action area is that of "promotion and improvement of basic education". This means that all citizens are to be educated so that they can adjust their actions and values in order to live sustainable lives. The second is that of "reorienting existing education programs". One part of this section that should be a red flag to all educators is the statement that the best chance for success for sustainability education is not having a separate program but rather "embedding its vision within other initiatives". Developing public awareness and understanding of sustainability is the next prong of this program, with training being the final area. The global workforce is to be trained in order to be able to perform their jobs in a sustainable manner.
In the eight years since the UN DESD began, there has been plenty of time for these educational ideas to become part of textbooks, media and other materials used in public and private classrooms as well as in homeschools. Even though the decade officially began in 2005, there have been ongoing efforts to put forth this philosophy for years. Though it is an international movement, the main thrusts have been at the local level, through such groups as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) The question of why there has been an international council formed to influence local governments is a good place to start when investigating this broad topic.
It is beyond the scope of this article to fully discuss Agenda 21 and all its ramifications for people and governments on the local, state, national and international level.. However, it is a call for all educators to learn more about this vast, top-down program and seek out those areas in the curricula they are using that may be promoting it. Are these values that we want to pass on to the rising generation? It is also a call to help young people see beyond the talk to the realities behind the rhetoric, so that they can make wise choices for themselves.