Workshop method

Ellsworth City Council invited to host right-wing conspiracy theory workshop

A right-wing conspiracy theory got a platform at Monday’s Ellsworth Town Council meeting when Councilor Steve O’Halloran put it on the agenda at the businessman’s request and local activist John Linnehan.

The conspiracy theory centers around the United Nations’ sustainable development initiative – Agenda 21 – which is a non-binding plan of action developed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

Linnehan, who is running for the Maine Legislature in November, told the council that Agenda 21 was “part of a global plan to defeat America.”

He did not go into specifics about the initiative, but said he would like to discuss it further with the council at a later date, after council members have had time to read about it.

“I think our country is in danger,” Linnehan said. “I believe our republic is wavering right now.”

Although the council discussed the UN initiative on Monday, no such workshop to discuss it further was planned.

According to Southern Poverty Law Centerthe 1992 plan was signed by President George HW Bush and the leaders of 177 other countries.

Since then, however, it has become increasingly characterized as “a secret plot to impose a totalitarian world government, [and] a nefarious effort to crush freedom in the name of environmentalism,” the legal center said.

Conspiracy theorists say the 23-year-old non-binding UN resolution to promote sustainable development “is the linchpin of a plot to subjugate humanity to an eco-totalitarian regime”, according to The Guardian.

Councilor Michelle Kaplan spoke out in favor of holding an “education session” on Agenda 21. She said everyone wants clean water and renewable energy, but the plan also says private ownership is unsustainable and calls for eliminating meat consumption around the world. world.

“Most people don’t know about this plan,” Kaplan said. “Once you see it, you can’t see it. It specifically states that the only way to have global equity is to lower the American standard of living.

Councilor Bob Miller did not comment on the subject, but did read aloud an email from Councilor Casey Hanson, who was not at the meeting.

“My initial inclination is to ignore conspiracy theories. However, I fear that the hysteria over this made-up problem will prevent us from addressing the very real challenges we face,” Hanson wrote. The Challenges, said Hanson, include the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic issues such as labor shortages and inflation.

“As this is the third time this conspiracy has been raised by city councillors, it is clear that we must confront it and highlight the distraction that lying presents to the serious business of serving our citizens,” Hanson wrote.

Kaplan nevertheless urged residents of Ellsworth to seek information on Agenda 21 to better understand it.

“Just go to United Nations website,” she said. “It’s not a conspiracy theory.”