By Elze van Hamelen
“Not long after we met for the first time, [Medavoy] said to me, ‘I can tell you how to run a world, you know.’ I laughed. ‘Really.’ ‘Sure,’ he said. ‘You make up something complicated. Then you insert it into the bloodstream of the society, and you watch it bloom. You make it complex enough that it will take armies of people to sort it out and argue about it, and then you have them. The other thing is, what you make up has to cost money. A lot of money.’”
~ Jon Rappoport, interview with propaganda expert Ellis Medavoy
“They keep changing the rules of the game.”
~ Jeroen van Maanen, Dutch farmer
In 2022, Dutch farmers made worldwide news when they began protesting government plans to move them off their lands. Less known to the outside world is the fact that Dutch fishermen, too, are being driven out of their centuries-old fishing grounds, as wind farms and “protected natural areas” take their place. For the current political class at the local, national, and global levels, and for the uninformed public at large, farmers and fishermen stand accused of damaging nature—with officials claiming that policies to “restore” nature and keep it free from human activity are necessary.
How did this false dichotomy of “man versus nature” arise and come to the forefront of policymaking? To answer that question, one has to dive into the history of industrial agriculture and the rise of global agribusiness (see Some Post-WWII Historical Background). That history shows that United Nations (UN) treaties to “protect” nature—such as Habitat I (1976),1 Agenda 21 (1992),2 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)3—have encouraged rapid urbanization while emptying out the countryside. Even more significantly, these treaties are a direct (albeit stealthy) attack on private property and the sovereignty of nation-states.
Currently, the land grab is speeding up. The UN agenda to expand the amount of land set aside for “protection” is accelerating, and simultaneously, BlackRock and other asset managers and private equity investors are buying up large tracts of land worldwide. Meanwhile, the cities created through engineered urbanization are rapidly turning into open-air prisons—heavily surveilled “smart cities” divided into 15-minute zones.
To understand the challenges that Dutch farmers and fishermen are facing—and learn from their experiences—the Solari Report wanted to speak to them directly. In the spring of 2023, I conducted in-depth interviews with eight Dutch farmers and fishermen. (In this report, we provide bios for the two farmers and two fishermen interviewed on camera.) The interviews furnish a “from the horse’s mouth” picture of the tsunami of policies that are making it increasingly impossible for farmers and fishermen to keep producing food. Their sobering words form a centerpiece of this 2nd Quarter 2023 Wrap Up. They warn that the means of food production are being undermined, moved abroad, or in other ways concentrated in the hands of multinational corporations.
As people around the world grapple with the importance of building and strengthening local food systems, the observations of Dutch farmers and fishermen, and their assessment of how current developments may impact their—and our—future, provide vital intelligence. Historically, the move from privately owned land and food production to centralized systems has led to famines, including the greatest famines of the 20th century. However, centralization is neither a necessity nor, if we take action, a foregone conclusion. In my conversations with farmers and fishermen, I encountered courage, resilience, creativity, entrepreneurship, and a real passion for the work that they and their families and communities have performed for generations. The interviews also reminded me that farming and fishing communities do more than just provide our food—they maintain a cultural thread that keeps us rooted in history and to the land. As consumers, investors, and citizens, it is high time that we support the people who feed us.
- Describes the policy tsunami that has hit Dutch farmers and fishermen (Parts II and III)
- Outlines the coercive “solutions” proposed by the government and their consequences (Parts IV and V)
- Discusses the Netherlands as an industrial agriculture case study and cautionary tale
- Considers globalists’ long-standing plans for controlling land, people, and the seas (Parts VII, VIII, and IX)
- Examines the control grid and the economic and energy warfare and control of food supplies that it facilitates (Part X)
- Considers the larger endgame (Part XI)
- Proposes solutions (Part XII)
Some Post-WWII Historical Background
The narrative that underpins many of the policies that are driving people off the land and sea is that man is “bad for nature” and that nature needs to be saved from man. To understand how this narrative came to the forefront of regulations, we have to go back to the period after WWII. During this post-war period, agriculture in many parts of the world underwent a fundamental transformation from the traditional farming practices used for thousands of years to an industrialized model of agriculture. This shift, which was top-down, could not have been achieved without state intervention.4
When Britain’s position as a global hegemon started declining in the period after WWI, power brokers at the U.S. State Department started planning to take over its role. That group recognized, however, that it would not be sustainable to occupy colonies through direct rule, as Britain had done. Instead, they gradually constructed a system of economic colonization, whereby countries had ostensible political independence but were controlled by debt bondage and forced liberalization and globalization policies. The new global governance architecture was run by, among others, the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).5-7
As geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl explains in his 2007 book Seeds of Destruction, “Under the banner of ‘free trade’ and the opening of closed markets around the world, US big business would advance their agenda, forcing open new untapped markets for cheap raw materials as well as new outlets for selling American manufactures after the war” (p. 106).5 In essence, free-trade policies meant that to a large extent, countries lost control over their economies. International corporations—not beholden to national boundaries—have a very advantageous position in this system.
Among the hegemonic aspirations of the U.S. was the explicit policy goal of dominating global agricultural markets.5 To achieve this, the U.S. government worked hand in glove with the Rockefeller family and its foundation, whose members had influential positions in every imaginable area of the establishment—from political circles to academia, business, finance, and think tanks.5 Engdahl writes (p. 114):
“The Rockefeller group wielded tremendous influence on the State Department. Every man who served as Secretary of State in the critical Cold War years ranging from 1952 to the end of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency in 1979 had formerly been a leading figure from the Rockefeller Foundation. [They] all understood the Rockefeller views on the importance of private sector activity over the role of government, and they understood how the Rockefellers viewed agriculture—as a commodity just like oil, which could be traded, controlled, made scarce or plentiful depending on foreign policy goals of the few corporations controlling its trade.”5
A cornerstone of the strategy to dominate agriculture was the worldwide deployment of the industrial agricultural model developed by the Rockefeller Foundation. In the global south, this model was implemented as the Green Revolution; in Western Europe, the makeover of agriculture was financed with Marshall Plan investments.4 For the first several decades of the 20th century (1906–1935), the Rockefeller Foundation had financed agricultural programs in the U.S. South and conducted crop enhancement research in China, and in 1941, it started experimenting with agricultural science methods in India and Mexico.8 Also in the 1940s, Nelson and Laurance Rockefeller bought large swaths of Latin American farmland to expand the family’s influence in agriculture.9 The Rockefellers’ overarching message was that agriculture needed to become more “efficient,” rationalized, mechanized, and otherwise improved through technological and chemical means.
The proponents of industrial agriculture sold it as a path to alleviate hunger, quell civil unrest and communist sympathies, and produce food surpluses for a burgeoning population; however, domination of global agricultural markets forced countries to give up their self-sufficiency and allowed food to be used as a strategic weapon, as it was, for example, during the Cold War. Under the “Food for Peace” program that started in 1954, the U.S. made the sharing of its food surpluses part of its foreign aid. Rockefeller protegé Henry Kissinger asserted that “food aid should be considered an instrument of national power”5 and stipulated that such aid should be conditioned on recipient countries opening up their markets for free trade and taking population control measures.9
II. Policy Tsunami Hits Farmers
Jeroen van Maanen: I met Jeroen van Maanen at his farm in Flevoland in the heart of the Netherlands. This agricultural land was reclaimed from the IJsselmeer in the 1950s and 1960s. “All the trees you see here, we planted them 40 years ago,” van Maanen explains. As part of the action group called Farmers Defense Force, he became a prominent spokesperson for Dutch farmers in 2019. He is now a board member of the Dutch Dairy Farmers Union (Nederlandse Melkveehouders Vakbond). His farmer’s lineage reaches far back; his father, grandfather, and countless generations before them were all farmers. Van Maanen says, “They say it is in your blood. I knew I wanted to be a farmer and work with cows since before I could talk. I love working with nature and with the animals.”
Jon Bergeman: Jon Bergeman is the treasurer of the VBBM (the Association for the Preservation of Farmers and Nature), an Association that helps farmers restore natural cycles by feeding cows in a way that supports their health and applying manure in a manner that nurtures and restores the soil. Bergeman says, “I married the daughter of a farmer, and we ran the farm for 30 years. I loved working outside, the freedom of the work, and working with animals. We started as a regular farm but made the transition to organic farming after 20 years. It all went well, until we were hit by the phosphate policies. We did not have a phosphate problem. The policies bankrupted our perfectly healthy, environmentally friendly organic farm. I became burned out, my wife and I got divorced, and I left the farm. I now support farmers in applying nature-friendly solutions to agriculture.”
Clipping Farmers’ Wings
The ongoing protests by farmers in the Netherlands made international news in 2022. The protests were first triggered in 2019, when one of the parties of the coalition government, the “D66” party, proposed a plan to reduce the country’s livestock by 50%, ostensibly to reduce nitrogen emissions. The protests came to a head in 2022, and throughout the summer, streets in the countryside were adorned with upside-down flags—the sign of a country in distress.10,11
As Jeroen van Maanen explains:
“The nitrogen regulations were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. But it was not only about the nitrogen. The bureaucrats in The Hague keep looking for something to hit us with. If it is not zoonotic diseases, then it is cattle density. Perhaps methane will be next. We already have gone through a number of chapters on water quality. They keep changing the rules of the game (and every time, it increases the costs of production). It is very hard for farmers to earn a living that way. Moreover, because profit margins on a farmer’s products are so low, we have been following a system in which scale enlargement is the only solution to increase profits. However, mostly because we can’t raise our level of production any further, we are running into the limits of this system. Society keeps demanding changes of farmers, for which we need to make private investments. But the cost of these investments is not included in the cost of our products, because the consumer expects cheap food.
In addition, there is so much regulatory and administrative pressure, we are losing our sense of proportion. Everything is locked into protocol; there is no more trust in people. All of our activities need to be extensively documented to avoid possible legal risks. Of course, this is not only happening to the farmers. The same thing is happening to teachers and nurses. Instead of doing what they are good at, they spend 75% of their time writing reports. Even for people who truly love their vocation, they get bullied out of their work in this way.”
In addition to having to respond to ‘stifling’ policies and administrative burdens, farmers find that their job is now directed by bureaucrats who have very little understanding of what the work on the ground entails. Van Maanen pleads, “People with ‘knowledge about nature’ are currently sitting behind desks with a bow tie around their necks. Don’t clip the farmer’s wings. Just let people do what they are good at. That is a necessary condition to get to a better world.”
As van Maanen explained, the nitrogen regulations were not the first policy challenge farmers had to deal with. For decades, Europe’s dairy market had been kept stable through heavily regulated milk quotas to cap overproduction, but in 2008, the European Commission gave a heads-up that it would be repealing the quotas in 2015. Institutional partners—such as banks, milk factories, cooperatives, and the LTO farmers union—forecast that without the quotas, the market would be able to grow by 20%. All the experts encouraged farmers to capture this “market opportunity” by taking on debt to expand their businesses.12
Farmer Alex Brouwer shared his memory of this period:
“Many farmers started building new stables because the quota was revoked. However, my father was never enthusiastic about scale enlargement. His policy was to avoid the need to discard manure outside our farm, and in normal years, to avoid buying feed from the market. The number of cows on our farm dovetails with what our land can support. He did save for a new stable to give our cattle more space. All the agricultural and financial experts told us we were crazy to invest in a stable but not expand. Of course, for expansion, the bank is always willing to provide a loan. Fortunately, because of my father’s prudent financial management, he was not fully dependent on the bank to finance the stable. Otherwise, scale enlargement would have been a condition for the loan.”
The European Union officially ended its milk quotas on April 1, 2015. By July 1, 2015, the Dutch government had implemented phosphate emissions quotas for all dairy farmers.
With the end of the milk quotas, a relatively small number of Dutch dairy farmers significantly expanded their livestock operations, producing more manure and generating increased phosphate emissions. However, 70 of the largest emitters received an exemption from the phosphate emissions ceiling13; instead, the government’s across-the-board emissions ceiling penalized small mixed farms (cultivating both crops and livestock) that had contributed little to nothing to the problem.14 The regulations ended up bankrupting many of the mixed farms.
Jon Bergeman was one of them:
“The quota was repealed, and everyone expanded, but we didn’t. Because we were in the middle of transitioning to organic farming, our production had temporarily decreased. Then we were allocated phosphate emissions rights based on this low production level. As a result, the government demanded that we get rid of 35 of our 120 cows. But it is those last couple of cows that make it possible to generate a sustainable income. Our whole business model was planned around 120 to 130 cows. We did not have a phosphate problem. Simultaneous with the emissions cap, we were allowed to import manure externally. I still do not understand how this was possible. You work hard for 25 years even just to be able to do something like build a new barn. How can the government take that away from you? It was so unjust, you feel powerless. We fought for two years, but we lost. They call this the ‘risk of entrepreneurship.’”
In conformity with the European Union’s “Natura 2000” legislation,15 which requires the creation of a coordinated network of protected areas across the EU, the Netherlands has designated 162 areas as nature reserves—many more than neighboring European countries. According to this legislation, nature in these areas is not allowed to “deteriorate.”16 Van Maanen explains how this works in practice, and how it led to the supposed nitrogen problem:
“The EU has identified about 300 ‘pressure factors’ that could damage natural environments, nitrogen being one of them. The Netherlands has singled out nitrogen, alleging that agricultural emissions near Natura 2000 areas are damaging these reserves. So they say, ‘If the farmers go, then nature will improve.’ It is ridiculous. It is all based on models and assumptions that are often wrong. They are designed for one goal: get the farmers off the land.”
To solve the “nitrogen crisis,” the Dutch government is planning to buy out 2,000 to 3,000 farms.17 Bergeman worries that this is only the beginning: “If the farms near nature need to go, then the amount of arable land becomes smaller. I may have to go first, but my neighbor will be next.”
The Natura 2000 areas are also threatening the livelihood of farmer Alex Brouwer. He farms land that is partially owned and partially leased. The leases were locked into ancient contracts, seemingly securing his right to farm. Without informing him, however, the provincial government changed the zoning of the land from an agricultural zone to a nature zone. He was informed that by 2027 or 2030, the land must become “herbal-rich grassland.”18 Back in 2016, researchers at the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency understatedly put it this way: “In certain regions, political choices have to be made between ecology and competitive agriculture.”19
Brouwer explains the true implications for nature and soil health:
“This means that no cattle will be allowed on those lands. There will be no manure on the land. This starts a process of atrophy. That does not improve nature. If cattle do not graze the pastures, the grass dies, the soil loses its humus. It becomes sand, it is desertification. I believe that nature loves biodiversity, not deserts. These nature protection organizations are just out for more land.”
Interestingly, the “nitrogen crisis” appears to stop at the German border. Moreover, the convoluted and highly criticized “AERIUS” model developed by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) reports an excess of emissions even when a baseline of zero is inserted into the model.20 Recognizing the contradictions, a number of academicians with a background in studying nitrogen deposition models—including emeritus professor Kees de Lange, Dr. Jaap Hanekamp, and emeritus professor Han Lindeboom—have criticized the nitrogen model and related policies and are pleading for sensibleness. However, the legacy media have shunned these academicians and their valid criticisms.
Dr. Hanekamp posits that “there is no nitrogen crisis”; he is an advocate of scrapping the model altogether. For his part, professor de Lange states:
“[The nitrogen problem] is an official fabrication, based on a ‘model’ of the RIVM in which deviations of more than 100% from reality are the rule rather than the exception. Moreover, in the densely populated Netherlands there are far too many ‘Natura 2000 areas’ and the limit values for ‘nitrogen exceedance’ are unrealistic and unfeasible.”16
Even if we assume that there is a nitrogen problem, professor Lindeboom discovered in his doctoral research decades ago that such problems are very local. An increase of nitrogen will affect which plants grow in specific local areas. Insofar as this is deemed an issue, it can be solved with simple, local solutions.21
III. Policy Tsunami Hits Fishermen
Jurie Post: Post is a native of the former island Urk, which harbors a tight-knit fisheries community. We met him and his youngest son Benjamin at the dock on a sunny day, enjoying a splendid view over the IJsselmeer. Post shared, “On Urk, being involved in fishing is part of the community, and it comes down through the generations. I have no idea how long this goes back. I just love being out at sea, being in nature. I cannot express how beautiful it is to see the sunrise in my ‘office.’ My sons want to become fishermen as well.” Post often brings up his Christian faith, still shared in the Urker community as well. “Jesus said, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ so we support each other. That is the principle from which you build a better society.”
Peke Wouda: Wouda fishes for shrimp in the coastal regions of the Netherlands. We met him on a clear sunny day on his trawler at the dock of the small town of Stavoren. It is a stunning boat. He explained, “The boat is older than I am. If you maintain it well, the boat can last over 100 years.” Wouda grew up with fishing. He notes, “My grandfather was a fisherman and my father as well. As a child, I would go along with them to fish during school vacations. I love the freedom and the adventure of fishing—and the competition. My brothers are fishermen as well, and at the end of the week, we all want to bring home the largest catch.”
Loss of Fishing Grounds to Brexit, Wind Farms, and Nature “Protection”
The flood of bad policies hitting Dutch fishermen is, if possible, even worse than what is happening to the nation’s farmers. The marine areas that are still accessible to fishermen are dwindling. For starters, a lot of fishing ground was lost when, due to Brexit, EU and Dutch fishermen no longer had access to UK fishing grounds. In addition, 20% (11.374 square kilometers) of the Dutch North Sea area has been assigned as Natura 2000 protected areas, which are partially or wholly closed for fishing.22 The EU is planning to increase these areas up to 30%.23
The Netherlands had already scheduled a major increase of wind energy generation at sea, but these intentions achieved megalomaniac proportions when the countries bordering the North Sea announced, during a summit in Ostend, Belgium on April 24, 2023, that the North Sea would be turned into “Europe’s Green Power Plant,” with a planned expansion of 30,000 wind turbines by 2050.24,25
A 2021 report titled The High Value of The North Sea by the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies condenses all government plans for the North Sea in 2050 in one map on which, tellingly, there is no space allocated for fishermen.26 The report’s Table 1 states, “Large parts of the North Sea currently available for fishing will make way for other uses, such as wind farms and sustainable aquaculture.” The report’s authors acknowledge, “This may lead to (further) unrest in the sector.”
You might expect nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on protection of nature to be concerned about such a large-scale wind power intervention in a natural habitat, but as fisherman Peke Wouda observes, “They have different standards for wind energy than for fishermen.” He continues, “We [fishermen] always have to prove that we are not damaging nature, but they can build these offshore wind farms without doing the research first to understand what effects this will have. There are so many wind turbines that you cannot even find the fishermen anymore.” Fisherman Jurie Post states, “These plans make me very concerned. Before, I would have thought, ‘The sea is big, you cannot destroy nature.’ But with this, yes, it is possible to destroy the North Sea.”
The ways in which the government requires fishermen to prove that their activities are not harmful border on the ridiculous. Post shared a story about how he participated in research that assessed the effect of a shadow cast from a fisherman’s boat on underwater life: “Fishermen are not allowed to impact nature. But, at the same time, we are followed by seals and seabirds. They know where they can find some food. Are our shadows impacting them negatively?”
Somehow, the effects of the moving shadows cast by the blades of thousands of 200-meter-long wind turbines seem to be of no concern. Post points out, moreover, that with the turbines, “It’s not just the shadows by day. It used to be dark at night at sea, but not anymore. With all the lights of the turbines flickering, it resembles a discotheque.”
According to NGOs and ecologists, fishermen’s trawlers disturb the seafloor. Post is not convinced that the 0.8 millimeters of his nets passing through the sand of the seabed are damaging:
“If there are rocks, with corals, of course I would not fish there. It would damage the nets. However, the North Sea is one big sandbox. These environmental NGOs believe that you can protect a sand castle that was here 50 years ago by putting a ribbon around it and calling it a ‘reserve.’ They cannot fathom that nature is dynamic; dunes move under water, and you suddenly see an old shipwreck emerge. A one-meter wave has, below the surface, seven times as much force. There are the tides, or a strong northwest storm. All of these change the sea and its sandy bottom.”
After the war in Ukraine started, fuel prices went through the roof. Wouda explains how this impacted his business: “Two years ago, gas oil was € 0.25 per liter. Last summer, it was € 1.26. My boat uses 3,500 to 4,000 liters per week. You can do the math.”
During this time, many of the larger trawlers did not even go out to sea because it would have led to losses.27 As Post comments, “The government said, ‘We need to support Ukraine; this is what we must do together as a country.’ But when the energy prices skyrocketed, we were on our own.”
The area around the North coast of the Netherlands is designated as a Natura 2000 reserve. Authorities have deemed nitrogen emissions to be a problem there as well. Smaller trawlers (such as Wouda’s) fish for shrimp in these areas. To comply with the nitrogen regulations, the shrimp fishermen must make their boats “more sustainable” by installing new engines and catalytic converters; if they don’t, they lose their fishing licenses.28 “Both are investments of up to €100,000,” says Wouda. “That is a lot of money for a one-man business such as mine.”
Many other types of boats traverse the same protected areas, including ferries, yachts, and big container vessels. All of these are exempted from the nitrogen regulations.
Ban on Discards
Not all fish that are caught are suitable for sale. Traditionally, this bycatch has been “discarded” (returned to the sea). To combat this “wasteful practice,” the EU implemented a “landing obligation” policy that went fully into effect in January 2019. Under this policy, all catch needs to be brought to the coast with the goal of “eliminat[ing] discards by encouraging fishers to fish more selectively and to avoid unwanted catches.”29 As Wouda remarks, “It is an insane policy. Fifty percent of these [discarded] fish are still alive after you put them overboard. These are young fish; they should swim—it is crazy to bring them to land.”
Stepping Up the Surveillance
Fishing boats have been monitored for decades through GPS systems. The Dutch government already has a detailed record of where the fishermen fish. However, politicians claim to be worried that fishermen are not abiding by the landing obligation policy. To ensure compliance, the European Parliament has adopted legislation that requires fishermen to install cameras on their boats.30
“For 40 years, I have been working with an ankle strap. Our vessels are monitored by the satellites. If just one of the wires is loose, we receive a letter from the Ministry. We keep a log of everything; there are drones. They [already] have sufficient control. I tell you, it starts with a camera for the fishermen. But once that is normalized, others will follow.”
No Breakthrough Innovations Allowed
Beam trawling is a long-standing method of fishing that drags a beam and chains across the seafloor to “tickle” and catch bottom-swelling species. Instead of trawling a beam, an innovative pulse trawling method (called “Pulskor SumWing”) floats a kind of wing above the seabed and uses a very low-voltage electrical pulse to stir up the fish from the bottom.31,32 Extensive research on this invention showed that there was less unwanted bycatch, less or even no disturbance of the seafloor, and more than a 50% reduction in fuel use.33 In 2011, it was awarded a “Responsible Fishing Prize” (De Verantwoorde Visprijs) because it solved multiple environmental challenges at once.
In 2010, seven dozen Dutch fisheries received temporary permits to start using the pulse trawling technology. However, France, which has a fisheries lobby with considerable political clout in the EU (despite having a less advanced fishing fleet), actively and successfully campaigned against the use of the pulse trawling technology. An extremely biased media campaign even suggested, falsely, that the technology was responsible for electrocuting fish.31,34,35 In July 2021, the European Parliament and EU member states agreed to an EU-wide ban on the pulse trawling method.36
Wouda was one of the fishermen who invested in pulse trawling. He notes:
“For us, this was an investment of around € 150,000. You are young, you think, ‘Let’s invest in the future.’ You would think that they would applaud this innovation. A sector that can reduce 60% of its energy consumption? Now, the equipment is in storage.”
IV. Government “Solutions”
Stakeholder “Engagement”: Sign on the Dotted Line…
For appearances’ sake, the Dutch government devised two sets of “stakeholder engagement” processes, called the “Agricultural Agreement” (Landbouwakkoord) and the “North Sea Consultation” (Noordzeeoverleg), for farmers and fishermen, respectively. Officially, the purpose of the Agreement and Consultation was to gather stakeholder input for policy development, but van Maanen does not have a lot of trust in the two processes. He says, “It is one big charade. They created an enormously cumbersome process. If you wanted honest negotiations, you would not design it that way.”
In February 2023, an activist farmers interest group called Agractie bowed out of the negotiations, stating that the government is inflexible about its policies to limit farmers’ right to use their own land.37 Four months later, in June 2023, the more mainstream LTO organization, which also represents farmers, pulled out of the negotiations as well, arguing that the government was not offering farmers adequate “prospects for action and income security.”38 The government will now develop its farm policies without stakeholder input.
As for the fishermen, Wouda explains that during the North Sea Consultation, the representative organizations for fishermen ended up abandoning the consultation process, just like the farmer organizations.39 He says, “They will let you ‘have your say,’ but in the end, they will go ahead and do what was planned.” Post comments:
“The North Sea Consultation is the same as the Agricultural Agreement. You may sit at the table on the condition of secrecy. At the end, you may sign on the dotted line. The only ‘solutions’ that they have are to send the fishermen away.”
Numerous environmental NGOs have a seat at the North Sea Consultation negotiation table, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Greenpeace, the North Sea Foundation (Stichting De Noordzee), Bird Protection Netherlands (Vogelbescherming Nederland), and Nature & Milieu (Natuur&Milieu).40 The NGOs are very critical of the fishermen, but they support ocean wind farms to “combat climate change.” Wouda comments, “These NGOs say, ‘Well, if there is a wind farm, then we should get extra nature reserves, too.’ So, the fishermen lose twice.”
Nudging Farmers and Fishermen to Sell Off Land and Boats
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
~ Ronald Reagan
“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
~ Don Vito Corleone, in The Godfather
After all the regulatory harassment, the Dutch government has offered a “way out” to farmers as well as fishermen who have larger bottom trawlers—they can sell their farms and boats to the government, but only on the condition that they accept a professional ban.
Under the government’s terms, farmers who sell their farm and land would not be allowed to restart a farm, whether in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the EU, nor could they participate with others in a farming joint venture.41,42 Although the government claims to be offering farmers 100% to 120% of the market price,43 there is a significant caveat—the market price has dropped by at least 50% due to the farms’ proximity to Natura 2000 protected areas.44 Thus far, government pressure to buy up farms has not been very successful.45,46 Although the government’s stated goal is to buy out up to 3,000 farms, by September 2022, it was reported that only 20 had sold their farms.47 After the government renewed its offer in June 2023, 200 more farmers applied.48
As for fishermen, they must agree to destroy their boats, lose their fishing quota, and not buy a new boat for the next five years.49 Wouda states:
“When these boats are gone, they’re gone. You can use the boats for other purposes, but they want to make sure they are not used for fishing again. They bring the ship to the scrapyard, and the first thing they do is to take a major chunk out of the bridge. That’s the end of it.”
The fishermen with larger boats who fish on the North Sea are in such dire straits that 78 boats have already headed toward destruction,50 leaving only 40 such boats to fish out at sea, according to Post. The smaller boats that fish for shrimp have not (yet) been offered the “solution” to sell, but Wouda expects that if such an offer were to materialize, at least 50% of shrimp fishermen would quit.
Post, however, is going against the grain; he has bought an extra boat. He has sons who want to follow in their father’s footsteps. He explains:
“There is so much surveillance and bureaucracy around the fisheries. For one fisherman, you’ll have two control boats, police checks, biologists, ecologists, the Ministry. It is a large upside-down pyramid. They will need to subsidize the last boat to keep everyone working in the bureaucracy they have built.”
Transitioning Away from Production of Real Food
The Dutch government is investing a lot of money to prohibit and suppress traditional ways of producing food, ranging from investments in the “energy transition” and “restoration” of nature, the subsidies to buy out farmers and fishermen, and investments into insects, lab-grown meat, and other artificial or “pharma” foods.51 Here is a non-exhaustive overview of some of the expenditures:
- Farmers: 1.9 billion euros (2020–2030) to make farmers more “sustainable” (or help them quit)52
- Farmers: 7.5 billion euros (2022–2025) to buy out farmers around Natura 2000 reserves and “solve the nitrogen crisis”53
- Fisheries: 444 million euros (2022) to destroy or adapt the fisheries fleet to make it “smaller, more diverse and more sustainable”54
- Rural Areas: 25 billion euros (2022–2035) for a national “Rural Area” program to “solve the challenges in agriculture and nature”55
- Climate: 28.1 billion euros (2023–2035) for “climate expenses,”56 including wind farms and solar farms at the expense of agricultural land and marine fisheries
- Technocracy: 20 billion euros for “projects that will take care of economic growth in the long run”; supporting the current government’s technocratic vision, funded projects include projects focused on climate-resistant, gene-edited plants, the lab-grown meat ecosystem, the digital transition, and more57
V. Consequences of the Policy Tsunami
Discouraging the Next Generation of Farmers and Fishermen
“What is the most insecure profession? It is to be a farmer or fisherman.
And who will you always need to feed the people, since the beginning of the world? It’s the farmers and fishermen.”
~ Jurie Post, fisherman
The policy tsunami, regulatory uncertainty, selective government policies that create winners and losers, and low profit margins—all of these have combined, says van Maanen, to make family farming a fundamentally uncertain profession.58 In many places, this has led to farmers quitting their livelihood.14 This is a worldwide problem, but especially in Europe, where the agricultural workforce is aging and farmers’ children are increasingly hesitant to take over family farms. Compounding the policy uncertainties, heirs generally also need to take on a lot of debt, as decades of policies that encouraged the industrial model of scale enlargement have made most farms highly leveraged. At some point, the amount of debt makes it prohibitive to take over the farm. Only industrial or corporate entities can attract enough capital to take over the business.
Van Maanen comments:
“When I was 25 to 35 years old, you couldn’t wait to take over the farm. But with the current generation, you see that they are very hesitant: ‘Do I really want to do this?’ It is painful to see. On the one hand, every farmer wants their children to take over the farm. On the other hand, you think, ‘If I love them, do I want to do this to them?’”
The Corporatization of Food Production
All of our interviewees warned that food production is moving into the hands of international corporations. As Van Maanen remarked:
“The average age of farmers in the Netherlands is over 60 years old. If you take into account that only a small number of their children want to take over the farm, it speaks for itself that this will lead to more consolidation—fewer people who need to take care of more land. If we are not careful, food production will move from family farms into the hands of multinationals.”
In his sector, Wouda noted that the large shrimp processors control the market:
“They already control the way we work. It is advantageous for them to control the whole supply chain. If the family businesses are pushed out of the sector, they will fully control the fleet as well.”
Recent research supports these observations. The research collective ETC Group reported in 2022 that four to six corporations dominate most agribusiness sectors—including seeds, agrochemicals, livestock genetics, synthetic fertilizers, commodity traders, food processors, grocery retail, and food delivery—controlling 40% or more of the market in each of those sectors.59 Describing the corporations’ oligopolistic practices, ETC Group calls them the “Food Barons.” Moreover, as political economist Jennifer Clapp observes in an article titled “The rise of financial investment and common ownership in global agrifood firms,” these corporations are, to a great extent, all owned by the same large asset managers, namely, BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, and Fidelity.60
Commenting on this corporate concentration, Van Maanen states:
“This makes it much easier to control the population. I know you are not allowed to say that out loud, but there are some who’d like to see it that way. I don’t think this will benefit the average Joe.”
Lowering Food Quality
The legacy media are more than willing to describe Dutch farmers and fishermen as being detrimental to nature, but they avoid reporting on the damage caused by industrial food production methods used abroad. Van Maanen explains:
“The West’s solution is to move problems over the border. For example, years ago it was decided that the chicken factory farms needed to go. So, they were forbidden [in the Netherlands]. However, they were not destroyed; they moved them all in trucks to Ukraine, all financed by the Rabobank, a Dutch banking and financial services company that claims to support animal welfare and sustainability. Eighty percent of the eggs in processed products such as cookies now comes from these Ukrainian facilities, where they have no concern for animal welfare, medicine use, or health and safety standards. As a result, supermarkets sell products that a Dutch farmer is not allowed to produce.”
Within the fisheries sector, the Dutch government foresees a rise in demand for seafood products because it is actively discouraging the consumption of meat through its “protein transition” policy and related campaigns to influence public opinion. Consequently, the government forecasts an increase in aquaculture—that is, farmed fish production.61
Post has his reservations about farmed fish. He explains:
“To grow one kilo of fish, you need three kilos of food. These fish are not vegetarian. And, if you want it to taste like fish, you shouldn’t feed them meat offal. Therefore, they will need to feed the farmed fish with wild-caught fish.”
Wouda asks, “Where are they going to get this fish from when the fleet is gone? They will need to import it. Is this then ‘sustainably’ caught?”
Loss of Food Security and Self-Sufficiency: It’s Intentional
When you take into account all the policies facing farmers and fishermen, and their consequences, there is no way around the conclusion that the government is actively undermining the capacity to produce food. Van Maanen states:
“They are playing with our food security. If you are dependent on what another is willing to share with you, then you have a problem. Farmers make up 2% of the population. They grow the food for the other 98%, who do not know how to do that themselves. They do not realize it now, but they will face the consequences of these policies. If there is no food, the people will be very discontent.”
“Of course, you can ‘build back better.’ Break everything down to zero. They change nature, break it down, restore it, turn it into a desert. At some point, we won’t have enough food. The Netherlands as a ‘guiding country’ will be crushed. They present vision reports about crickets and stuff. They invest more into this than into the fisheries. Let the bureaucrats be accountable for these visions. Sure, you get a subsidy. But you are also accountable when this goes wrong.”
VI. The Netherlands: A Case Study of Industrial Agriculture
“Before the Second World War, all farmers were organic.”
~ Jon Bergeman, former organic farmer
“It is important to tell the history, how it came to be that most farmers are locked into a system of debt-ridden, large-scale intensive farming.”
~ Alex Brouwer, farmer
In this section, I describe how in the aftermath of WWII, the Netherlands provided fertile soil for the implementation of the industrial model of agriculture. The Dutch case study is a microcosm for what happened to agriculture and rural populations in other countries. It also elucidates several negative consequences of the industrialized model of agriculture, including the emergence of agribusiness, accelerated urbanization, and the wholesale destruction of nature.
As of 2022, the Netherlands had a population of 17.6 million.62 With a total land area of 41,543 square kilometers,63 the country has a relatively high population density of 523 people per square kilometer—making it about 14 times more densely populated than the U.S.64 In that context, it is noteworthy that the Netherlands is the world’s second largest food producer. The export value in 2021 was € 104.7 billion, although that figure comes with several caveats:
- First, in keeping with the industrial agricultural model, the exports are heavily reliant on related imports from the world market, for example of soy, corn, and other feed for livestock.65,66 Total imports amounted to € 72.5 billion in 2021.67
- Second, not all exports are foods. For example, horticulture (tulips) is part of the agricultural sector and accounts for € 12 billion in exports.
- Third, the exports also include drinks such as vodka (valued at € 6.6 billion).68
- Finally, as a trading nation, there is also a high throughput of commodities and raw materials such as coffee, cacao, and even agricultural processing equipment.65
As of 2023, the U.S. was still the world’s largest food exporter.
The Pre-WWII Landscape
Before WWII, the Dutch agricultural landscape was characterized by a patchwork of little plots of land, separated by meandering brooks and ditches or surrounded by a diversity of hedges and rows of trees.69 Land ownership was highly fragmented. There are no precise numbers available for the whole country, but the “Ballumer Mieden” area on the island of Ameland provides one example. In this area, the average farmer owned 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres); this land was spread out over as many as 33 plots that might be distributed across multiple villages. All of these farms were mixed farms,70 and agricultural activity was highly labor-intensive.
Hilde Huizinga, who has written four books on the history of the Dutch landscape, describes the abundance that was present at this time: “It was teeming with pheasants, hares, partridges, meadow and field birds, frogs, owls; in some moors it was purple with lapwing flowers.”69 Farmers created and cultivated this landscape, reclaiming land for agriculture where possible and working around the patches of forests, peat marshes, and brooks.71 This resulted in a very biodiverse landscape.
For the government, however, both the fragmentation of the landscape and the large number of small farmers were problematic, in its view making production “inefficient” and preventing the implementation of more “rational” agricultural approaches.71-74
World War II: Famine and Agricultural Destruction
Before World War II, the government had made some attempts to consolidate land into larger plots, with the stated purpose being to help farmers.73 However, concerns about infringements on property rights and political hesitancy about government intervention had forestalled a larger reorganization of the rural landscape.70
In the last year of the war, during an extremely cold winter, the population in the west of the Netherlands suffered a horrendous famine, called the “Hunger Winter,” and an estimated 18,000 to 22,000 people perished. The war also damaged almost 375,000 hectares (926,645 acres) of agricultural land (the equivalent of 16% of total fertile land as of 1943), and, compared to 1939, reduced livestock by 36% and agricultural assets—such as machines, buildings, and storage—by 12%. Eight thousand farms were destroyed.75
After the war, food shortages continued. For years, bread and other foods were rationed with food stamps.76,77 This situation created a willingness to accept government intervention in name of the public interest. “No more hunger” was the rallying cry. The country needed to be rebuilt, and the idea that centralized planning could construct or remodel society—in accordance with visions of modernization—had taken root among politicians and the policymakers and sociologists who were advising them. There was a felt need to modernize agriculture and increase production, not only for the domestic population but also to produce surpluses to ameliorate the trade balance.71,75,77
Enter the Marshall Plan
For the U.S., rebuilding Europe’s economies became a strategic goal during the Cold War. The U.S. not only needed Europe as an export market but recognized that Europe’s economic collapse would have repercussions for the American economy. Strategists viewed strong economies and general well-being in Western populations as an important bulwark against communist sympathies.
In June 1947, George C. Marshall, president Harry Truman’s Secretary of State (and later, his Secretary of Defense), proposed the “Marshall Plan.” The large-scale aid program to rebuild European economies included, among other things, the delivery of food, agricultural products, raw materials, and machines, as well as loans and education programs. The U.S. provided the help under the condition that European countries start collaborating again. In fact, the push for European unification—not only to fight communism but also to solve the “German problem”—was part of both overt and covert U.S. foreign policy under Truman and then Eisenhower.78
Because European countries had been at war so shortly before, the idea of a more united Europe generated resistance in some corners,79,80 but at the same time, there were Dutch policymakers who understood that a strong German economy would benefit the Dutch economy, provided that Germany’s power could be reined in.79 To overcome resistance to the plan, the United States Information Service worked with the embassy in The Hague to devise a strategic “Country Plan for the Netherlands” to influence the attitudes of Dutch elites working in business, politics, education, the military, and labor unions.80
Ultimately, the Marshall Plan investments helped finance the industrialization of agriculture in the Netherlands and exported knowledge about how to implement industrial agriculture systems. Of the USD $13 billion invested in Europe,81 USD $1.127 million went to the Netherlands—the highest per capita amount of Marshall Plan aid compared to other countries.79
Post-War Land Consolidation
An agricultural advisor who worked for the government in the after-war period reminisced, “There were many small farmers with a tiny piece of land. So, they had go.”73 However, it is an open question whether the farmers themselves experienced their circumstances as problematic.
Sicco Mansholt, a former farmer and resistance member during the war, became the post-war Minister of Agriculture and played a leading role in initiating a major overhaul of the rural landscape.76 Mansholt and his Ministry not only deemed land consolidation necessary but in the public interest82,83; in implementing the post-war scale enlargement, Mansholt asserted that “ownership rights should no longer be in the way of rational production” (p. 121).77
The “Cultural Engineering Service” (Cultuurtechnische dienst) of the Ministry of Agriculture worked on the redevelopment of the rural landscape together with many other parties: municipalities, provincial government, water authorities, the land registry, agricultural authorities, agricultural organizations, and private partners. Altogether, the Cultural Engineering Service enlisted the assistance of almost 4,000 experts, who developed detailed top-down plans that guided the implementation of land reforms, facilitated by subsidies, countless committees, collaboration agreements, and other planning methods.
The government shaped voting and other procedures in such a way as to facilitate land consolidation. Plots of land could have dozens of owners, and those who did not show up to vote were counted as being in favor of consolidation. In the village of Tubbergen, disagreement about the voting procedures, perceived to be unfair, led to riots and a major clash between the rural population and the national police.71
More than just a technological intervention, the Netherlands undertook the remaking of agriculture and the remodeling of the rural landscape as a large-scale social engineering program.73 The government considered the agricultural population to be backward, as some farms did not have electricity or running water. Most work was done manually or with horse power, and some families shared beds or lived together with their animals. According to sociologists of the day, modern industrialized society needed these households to be brought up to speed.71,73 The government was also concerned about possible “radicalization” of the rural population.84
As a result of these social agendas, the project to make the division of the land more workable quickly morphed into a “civilization offensive” geared toward equalizing economic, social, and cultural differences between urban and rural populations.71,75 In the early 1950s, there was one public information officer for every 400 farmers. For example, the Rural Area Development Program provided technical, economic, housekeeping, and social advice; some of its reeducation was aimed specifically at farmers’ wives, who were instructed on how to run a modern household efficiently with a modern kitchen and a vacuum cleaner. As the consolidation of land reduced the number of future farmers and mechanization of agriculture reduced the need for manual labor, farmers’ sons, meanwhile, were offered career guidance and often steered toward industrial jobs in the city. Other tools used to steer farmers toward industrial agriculture included lectures, documentaries, movies, and newspaper articles promoting mechanization, as well as study trips to the U.S. to introduce farmers to the new agricultural methods and “the American way of life.”
To showcase the new agricultural system domestically, the government created model villages. One of these is Rottevalle in Friesland.85 The Marshall Plan aid provided 50% of the funds, and local farmers invested the rest. The village houses contained modern kitchens with boilers, upgraded water and electricity, and modern bedrooms. The farms had tractors and milk machines. Agricultural schools, farmers, engineers, and even the then-Queen Juliana visited the villages on tours that were organized weekly.
An important factor in the success of agriculture’s modernization was to redefine agriculture through the lens of the “agricultural sciences.” Before, agriculture had been the activity of farmers, but in the modernized view, it was redefined as the systematic application of biology, chemistry, physics, and economics. From this perspective, the farmers and their knowledge and skills were taken out of the equation.14
Agricultural schools, such as the Agricultural College in Wageningen and the Agriculture Economic Institute, heavily promoted a new system,75 characterized by intensification, mechanization, rationalization, scale enlargement, “unmixing” of farms (in the name of efficiency), crop enhancement, and dependence on pesticides, fertilizers, and fuel. The scientific approach to farming introduced monocropping and a preference for flat areas of land that were as large as possible and friendly to large machinery.
Stories about the Netherlands’ land consolidation tend to focus on perceived successes, such as the miraculous surge in production or farmers’ increased access to running water and electricity. However, while the intensification of agriculture did lead to a significant increase in agricultural production, the surplus production put pressure on profit margins, leading to a system where scale enlargement by taking on debt was the only way for farmers to stay in business.
Moreover, not everyone in the country was content with the geographic and social upheaval.71 In fact, as the government relocated entire farms, farmers who previously had lived in villages were moved onto newly built farms in the middle of large, newly created tracts of flattened land.86Many felt isolated. One farmer’s wife who shared her experience stated, “It became very lonely. School friends of my children would not visit anymore.” In addition, many of the small farmers were forced to quit.71 One wonders what the effects were on the rural culture.
In an article titled “The Reconstruction of the Netherlands,”86 the authors quote Dutch author and poet Willem van Toorn’s description of the “empty landscape” (Leeg landschap):
“I told her that years ago, I wanted to show someone my grandmother’s house: out of the town, crossing the railroad, then through a long silent lane—only, the lane was gone. And across the railroad, there was a complete new city in the landscape. ‘I felt that my body was protesting,’ I said. Not my thoughts, they were not there yet. As if your body can only accept a certain amount of irreversible changes. What all these planners are forgetting, is that the past is what we know. We are made up of the past. If they take too much away from us, we can no longer think of the future.”
As these comments indicate, the state’s intervention left a major mark on the landscape. In his doctoral thesis titled Divided Landscape (Verdeeld Land), which deals with the history of land consolidation in the Netherlands, Dr. Simon van den Bergh writes:
“Over the course of time, about 70% of the Dutch landscape has been overhauled in land consolidation processes. In some areas, more than once. It is not an exaggeration to argue that during the 20th century, land consolidation was one of the most important instruments to initiate changes in the rural society—landscape-wise, economically, and socially.”74
Between 1945 and 1985, 1.5 million hectares—65% of the total 2.3 million hectares—were made fit for industrial agriculture.71 In the process, the characteristic natural landscape formerly created and maintained by farmers was almost completely destroyed. Jaap Dirkmaat, an environmental advocate who pleads for recreating part of the landscape to increase biodiversity,87,88 estimates that land consolidation led to the removal of 225,000 kilometers (almost 140,000 miles) of hedges.89 These hedges harbored birds, small mammals, and insects; kept predators out; and provided natural corridors for animals.90 The hedges were replaced by barbed wire.
The shift from mixed farms to monocropping, meanwhile, led to pollution from pesticides, fertilizers, and excess manure; the disappearance of biodiversity; soil salinization; and pest outbreaks.8 The Humane Society of the United States’ report titled Factory Farming in America aptly summarizes the effects of the industrial model on rural communities:
“The landscape of American agriculture has changed dramatically since the 1950s. Across the country, independent, family farms have been pushed aside by industrial animal agribusiness corporations that intensively confine tens if not hundreds of thousands—even millions—of animals. Factory farms not only jeopardize the welfare of the animals, but damage communities, public health, the environment, and livelihoods—all for cheap meat, eggs, and milk.”91
As machines replaced agricultural workers, the countryside was emptied of farmers and those working the land. Small farms, too, were pushed out of business, as they were simply not able to compete with the efficiencies of scale of the industrial model.86
These trends, not limited to the Netherlands, led to a simultaneous rise in urbanization. In Western nations, workers were absorbed into industrialized economies. In the global south, many landless workers ended up living in appalling conditions in shantytown slums.5
The Industrial Model
In his book titled The New Peasantries: Rural Development in Times of Globalization, Frisian agricultural scholar Jan Douwe van der Ploeg describes the “material reshaping” of farming as a result of industrialization and globalization. He writes, “[T]he use of external inputs, new technologies and credit became dominant, new dependency relations emerged, labour became increasingly redundant, while ongoing increases in scale were necessary to overcome the squeeze on agriculture imposed by external capital groups.”4
Illustrating how scale enlargement—financed by debt—became the only way for a farmer to stay in business, consider the following trajectory:
- At the beginning of the 20th century, one to two hectares (2.5–4.9 acres) were sufficient to provide a reasonable family income.
- Just after WWII, a family needed about four hectares (9.9 acres).
- By 1957, a farm family needed seven hectares (17.3 acres).
- That amount had jumped to 12 hectares (29.7 acres) by 1961.
- By 1970, 20 hectares (49.4 acres) were needed.
- Nowadays, a farmer needs from 60 to 100 hectares (148.3 to 247.1 acres) to support a family.73
Industrial farming models are diametrically opposed to traditional “peasant” models, in which the farmer generates all the resources he needs from the land he occupies. In another publication about peasant farming, Van der Ploeg explains:
“Peasant agriculture can be defined as grounded in a self-controlled resource base. That is to say, the resources needed to produce food, fibre or whatever are largely available in the farm itself. These resources are part of the patrimony of the farming family and pass from one generation to the other. The self-controlled resource base embraces living nature which is embodied in the land, crops, animals and the local eco-system and the capacity of farmers to know, deal with, develop and convert living nature into food. Having such a resource base allows for autonomy and control over production and development” [emphases in original].14
In contrast, the industrial model shifts the farm from autonomy to dependency. The farmer must import the resources needed for production, including animals, fertilizers, seeds, machines, buildings, and also knowledge. To finance this, the industrial farmer is reliant on credit; in this way, industrial farming becomes a financial operation dependent on capital markets. This dependence on capital markets and external inputs, and commodity price fluctuations make the industrial farm vulnerable to the volatility of the global market.14
In 2020, 50,000 farmers in the Netherlands had a collective debt of over 30 billion euros.65 According to van der Ploeg, that debt represents “10 to 15 times the total agricultural income earned on these farms (which fluctuates between 2 and 3 billion per year).”14 Most of this debt is held by the Rabobank, which owns about 85% of the agricultural market.92
The implementation of the industrial agricultural model basically led to the creation of agribusiness—a system of global food production that is to a large extent dominated by multinational corporations. Engdahl described (p. 46) the rise of agribusiness in 2007 in Seeds of Destruction:
“[In 1974], 95 percent of all grain reserves in the world were under the control of six multinational agribusiness corporations—Cargill Grain Company, Continental Grain Company, Cook Industries Inc., Dreyfus, Bunge Company and Archer-Daniel Midland. All of them were American-based companies. [Industrial agriculture] was widely supported by corporate agribusiness, big New York banks and investment firms who saw the emerging agribusiness as a potential group of new ‘hot’ stocks for Wall Street.” 5
According to van der Ploeg’s analysis in The New Peasantries, the globally implemented industrial agricultural model (which he somewhat confusingly refers to as “entrepreneurial agriculture”) was “created by, and through, the modernization project of the state.” He continues:
“Modernization is a megaproject that is state-driven and which critically requires the state. It is an organized, multi-level and long-lasting operation to align agriculture with the global interests of capital and the specific interests of the agricultural and food industries. This is the script that dominated ‘agricultural modernization’ in Europe and North America as well as the Green Revolution and Integrated Rural Development programs in the Global South.”
Of note, though the industrial model of farming continues to be widely promoted,4 the peasant (or “agro-economic” model) still provides over half of the food calories produced globally, and at least 70% of the food calories in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and East Asia,14,93 while it consumes less than 30% of the land, water, and agricultural resources.59
Destroy and Then “Protect” Nature
Interestingly, the Dutch government’s response to the wholesale destruction of the Netherlands’ original landscape has been to apply land consolidation principles for the purpose of creating protected natural areas. The government has donated newly created nature reserves to environmental protection agencies such as the State Forestry Administration (Staatsbosbeheer). In the 1980s, conservation was added to the responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture.71,73
Sicco Mansholt, who (as already noted) was pivotal to implementing land consolidation policies, was later a proponent of “giving land back to nature.” In a 1995 interview, he shared his regrets about the loss of small farmers, the loss of nature, and the detrimental effects of the system of industrial agriculture:
“Because of the fixed grain prices we have an excess of 40 million tons of grain. With expensive export subsidies, we dump it on the world market against ramshackle prices that drive the farmers in developing countries into the slums. Simultaneously, we opened the market for imports of feed, tapioca, and that stuff. Also 40 million tons per year. Because of that we have intensive cattle farming and excesses of manure. It is an untenable condition.”83
VII. Controlling the Land
“It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this is a radical agenda designed to control not just the land, but all human activity, as well.”
~ Marilyn Brannan, Associate Editor, Monetary & Economic Review
From May 31 to June 11, 1976, the UN organized a conference in Vancouver, Canada, called “Habitat I,” with the declared purpose of solving two of the “global problems” that industrial agriculture had helped create: “the rapid and often uncontrolled growth of cities” and the destruction of nature.94 If you want to understand why farmers and fishermen are being pushed off the land and sea, why healthy businesses are being bankrupted to “protect nature,” why rezoning has tanked the value of your house, why you are not allowed to dig a well on your own property, why your town or city is full of roadblocks and bike lanes and skyrocketing parking fees, look no further. This conference laid the groundwork.
The Habitat I Whistleblowers
From Habitat I on, a number of researchers recognized the radical nature of the policies being proposed, and they tried to warn the public accordingly. These individuals included:
- Michael S. Coffman of Environmental Perspectives, Inc. (Bangor, Maine)
- Henry Lamb of Environmental Conservation Organization (Hollow Rock, Tennessee)
- Marilyn Brannan, Associate Editor, Monetary & Economic Review
- Rosa Koire, author of Behind the Green Mask: U.N. Agenda 21
- Patrick Wood, editor of Technocracy.news and author of Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation, Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order, and The Evil Twins of Technocracy and Transhumanism
These critics warned that the changes proposed by the UN in Habitat I and in subsequent UN conferences and agreements (1) constituted a stealth shift in governance structure; (2) were deliberately undermining the nation-state and national legislative processes, instead laying the groundwork for UN-affiliated NGOs to implement a global agenda at the local and regional levels; and (3) were designed to destroy property rights, which are the foundation of freedom, by redefining property rights as rights to use property under certain conditions in the name of the “public interest.”
Habitat I resulted in the “Vancouver Declaration,” which includes an action plan with 64 specific recommendations for national governments.95 The language in this document was surprisingly candid about its true intentions. (In policy documents from subsequent conferences, organizers took greater care to obfuscate their real goals in fuzzy, bureaucratic, environmental feel-good language.) The Declaration explains, for example, that “Land is one of the fundamental elements in human settlements” and that, to manage humans, control over land is a prerequisite:
“Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.” (Preamble to Recommendation D.1)96
The document also directed nations to “establish as a matter of urgency a national policy on human settlements, embodying the distribution of population, and related economic and social activities, over the national territory” (Recommendation A.1.b).
The action guidelines were quite specific about the types of policies to be implemented. As pointed out by Michael S. Coffman in various articles,97,98 the Vancouver Declaration urged governments to:
- Put land under public control (Recommendations D.1.a and D.1.b):
- “Public ownership or effective control of land in the public interest is the single most important means of … achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development whilst assuring that environmental impacts are considered.”
- “Land is a scarce resource whose management should be subject to public surveillance or control in the interest of the nation.”
- Intervene directly by expropriating and “developing” land, and through administrative controls and taxation (Recommendations D.2.c.ii, D.2.c.iii, and D.3.a):
- “Direct intervention, e.g. the creation of land reserves and land banks, purchase, compensated expropriation and/or pre-emption, acquisition of development rights, conditioned leasing of public and communal land, formation of public and mixed development enterprises”
- “Legal controls, e.g. compulsory registration, changes in administrative boundaries, development building and local permits, assembly and replotting”
- “Taxation should not be seen only as a source of revenue for the community but also as a powerful tool to encourage development of desirable locations, to exercise a controlling effect on the land market and to redistribute to the public at large the benefits of the unearned increase in land values.”
In a 2014 article, Coffman explained that the proposed policies change private property rights into so-called “usufructuary rights.” It is worth quoting his explanation at length:
“By definition, usufructuary rights are the rights to use and enjoy the profits and advantages of something belonging to another, as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way. Conceptually, it is similar to renting or leasing something within limits set by its true owner. The usufruct system of property use is derived from the Latin word ususfructus. Originally it defined Roman property interests between a master and his slave held under a usus fructus (Latin: “use and enjoyment”) bond. The Romans expanded this concept to create an estate of uses in land rather than an estate of possession. Having seized lands belonging to conquered kingdoms, the Romans considered them public lands, and rented (ususfructus) them to Roman soldiers. Thus the emperor retained the estate (possession) in the lands, but gave the occupier an estate of uses.”99
According to Coffman, Habitat I was the occasion for the public debut of the usufructuary principle; laying that policy foundation would become the means, in subsequent decades, of implementing environmental protection laws and bringing private property under state control. Although Habitat I ostensibly was about where and how people should live, it simultaneously—and more importantly—outlined where people would not be allowed to live anymore (see Part VIII. Controlling the People).
As Coffman emphasized in 2014, because “unalienable property rights provide the foundation to liberty and wealth in America, sustainable development portends dire consequences to all Americans.”
UN Rio Conference and Agenda 21: Welcome to “Sustainable Development”
Where Habitat I laid the groundwork, the global governance agenda to control land—and people—really took off with the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. At this conference, “political leaders, diplomats, scientists, representatives of the media and [NGOs] from 179 countries” came together to discuss “the impact of human socio-economic activities on the environment” and create a “blueprint for international action on environmental and development issues” for the 21st century.100
It was this conference that put the concept of “sustainable development” on the map—a term coined by Trilateral Commission member Gro Brundtland in her 1987 book Our Common Future.101 (Brundtland served several terms as Norwegian prime minister and was WHO director-general from 1998 to 2003.) Sustainable development proponents posit that the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of society need to be rebalanced, requiring “new perceptions of the way we produce and consume, the way we live and work, and the way we make decisions.”100
On the surface, this may sound wonderful, until the details of what sustainable development means in practice—buried in thousands of pages of tedious bureaucratic reports—start to sink in. In a nutshell, “sustainable development” means the end of the nation-state, the end of democratic process, the end of freedom and private property, and the implementation of a technocratic dystopia under UN rule.
The Rio conference resulted in three influential blueprints and frameworks: (1) Agenda 21 (a “blueprint” for 21st-century societies), (2) the Convention on Biological Diversity (“Biodiversity Convention”), and (3) the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Convention, in particular, picked up where Habitat I left off.
To protect the environment, for example, Agenda 21 calls for the following:
- “Enhancing the protection, sustainable management and conservation of all forests, and the greening of degraded areas, through forest rehabilitation, afforestation, reforestation and other rehabilitative means.”
- “Establishing, expanding and managing, as appropriate to each national context, protected area systems, which includes systems of conservation units.”102
The Biodiversity Convention is named as the vehicle to implement these conservation measures.3
It, in turn, outlines (in Article 8: In-situ Conservation) how the land should be divided—by creating nature reserves and managing the activities around them [bold added]:
- “Establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity” (8.a).
- “Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas” (8.e).
- “Regulate or manage biological resources important for the conservation of biological diversity whether within or outside protected areas, with a view to ensuring their conservation and sustainable use” (8.c).
Coffman astutely observes that the conservation measures are formulated so broadly as to apply to nearly all land use activities. In essence, this puts all land under public control, by treaty, in the name of “protecting biodiversity.” The Biodiversity Convention itself was formulated in generic terms, with the implementation language not added until after the treaty’s ratification.
The implementation details are contained in a 1000-plus-page document called the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), published in 1995.99 After combing through the document, Coffman reiterated that the GBA, just like Habitat I, attacks property rights by establishing the usufruct concept.99 He considered the following statements from the document (Section 126.96.36.199.2 and Section 12.7.5) particularly noteworthy [emphases added by Coffman, changed from italics to bold]:
- “Property rights are not absolute and unchanging, but rather a complex, dynamic and shifting relationship between two or more parties, over space and time.”
- “…[O]ne option for ensuring against excessive species depletion is the allocation of property rights in order to create markets.”
- “A common characteristic of many ecosystems is that resources are non-exclusive in their use: they are in the nature of local…public goods. […] Property rights can still be allocated to environmental public goods, but in this case they should be restricted to usufructual or user rights. Harvesting quotas, emissions permits and…development rights…are all examples of such rights.”
- “The point here is that the reallocation of property rights implies the redistribution of assets.”
Coffman warned, moreover, that where Habitat I was only a declaration, the GBA under the Biodiversity Convention has the status of a legally binding treaty.99
The Wildlands Project
Specifying how the Biodiversity Convention’s goals should be implemented, the GBA proposed a system of protected nature reserves, surrounded by “buffer zones,” that are connected through “corridors”—and refers to the Wildlands Project as an example of this design. The Wildlands Project: Plotting a North American Wilderness Recovery Strategy, published in a special issue of Wild Earth magazine in 1992, was the first document to introduce the “reserve-buffer-corridor” model.
The five authors of “The Wildlands Project Mission Statement” were:
- Dave Foreman, a radical and misanthropic environmentalist who previously had been convicted of a conspiracy to blow up power transmission lines103,104
- Dr. Reed Noss, according to whom “the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans,” who later elaborated the ecosystem conservation concept with grants from The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society103
- John Davis, who later became executive director of the Rewilding Institute
- David Johns, an adjunct political science professor at Portland State University, who later became the first executive director of the Wildlands Project, as well as co-founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative that aims to install a 2,000-mile Yellowstone-to-Yukon ecoregion105,106
- Michal Soulé, a conservation biologist and rewilding advocate
To fathom the mindset and scope of what these and other influential “wild earthlings” envisioned, it is worth extensively summarizing their mission statement [bold added]:
- Foreman and co-authors propose an “audacious plan” to “help protect and restore the ecological richness and native biodiversity of North America through the establishment of a connected system of reserves.”
- Their vision is “simple”: “[W]e live for the day when Grizzlies in Chihuahua have an unbroken connection to Grizzlies in Alaska; when Gray Wolf populations are continuous from New Mexico to Greenland; when vast unbroken forests and flowing plains again thrive and support pre-Columbian populations of plants and animals.”
- Their vision is also “continental”—“from Panama and the Caribbean to Alaska and Greenland”—and it calls for the reintroduction of large predators.
- Recognizing that Earth has been “colonized by humans,” they regret the lack of pre-Columbian “true wilderness” that is “free from industrial human intervention” (that is, free from “roads, dams, motorized vehicles, powerlines, overflights, or other artifacts of civilization”).
- To achieve their vision of vast landscapes unfettered by human activity, they propose the aforementioned system of “core reserves,” corridors, and buffers.
- Additionally, they advocate for restoration of “already degraded” landscapes outside the system of reserves. Ominously (because who would have thought that this idea of a bunch of anarcho-environmentalists would take root), they envision that “Implementation of such a system would take place over many decades.”
- Finally, they assert that their “new agenda” is “based on the needs of all life, rather than just human life,” a statement that foreshadows the “Rights of Nature” movement that wants to attribute legal personhood to rivers and natural areas, and the erasure of the concept of human rights in the proposed changes to the WHO’s International Health Regulations.107
If fully implemented, the Wildlands Project would turn at least half of the U.S. into protected areas.103,108 To understand where people still would be allowed to live in the “Wildlands” system, the Wildlands Project map is informative.
Conservation Goes Global
In subsequent decades, the Wildlands framework became the blueprint for global ecosystem conservation efforts, and it is the major reason why people are being pushed off their lands and, in the case of fishermen, out of their fishing grounds. A global review published by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 2005 details (p. 86) the perceived success of the ecological network model:
“[T]his review, although describing only a proportion on [sic] the initiatives that are currently underway, nevertheless traced 168 ecological networks, corridors and comparable projects, plus 26 flyways, 459 Man and Biosphere Reserves and 11 Bonn Convention agreements to conserve populations of migratory species.” 109
These ecological networks (defined as “strictly protected areas, buffered and linked by green corridors”) span the globe—they can be found in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and even Russia. The review (pp. 87, 89) specifies a number of features of protected areas:
- They are not primarily created by national governments (with legislative due process), but instead tend to be initiated by NGOs and, in some instances, “regional governments.”
- Instead of being run by the central government, they are run by “many partners.”
- They are “planned as part of national, regional and international systems.”
- They are “community assets” of “international concern.”109
In other words, the ecological reserves cross national boundaries and also span different levels of government; by design, they undermine the sovereignty of the nation-state.
An Army of NGOs
In 1968, UNESCO passed Resolution 1296, through which NGOs could get consultative status at the UN. With this, they had a seat at the table developing UN policies that were implemented globally—by the very same NGOs.103 In essence, this created a fifth column of governance, masquerading as grassroots civil society. During the Rio conference, for example, as many as 1,400 accredited NGOs were formal participants in the official proceedings, and “thousands more” participated in a parallel “Global Forum.”110
The activities of these NGOs bypass and undermine the activities of nation-states. Brannan explained in 2014 that NGOs “constitute the machinery that is actually driving the movement toward global governance. They organize and coordinate the agenda from the highest chambers of governance at the UN down to county commissions and city councils at the local level” (see The NGO Toolbox).103 Some of the most important NGO players in this “machinery,” according to Brannan, are the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF (called the World Wildlife Fund in the U.S. and Canada), the World Resources Institute, and, in the U.S., the Sierra Club.
The NGO Toolbox
NGOs use a wide array of tools to influence public opinion and implement UN policies.103,109 Some of these include the following:
- Lobbying at all levels of government
- Churning out research reports that support their policies
- Creating documentaries and running advertising and other media campaigns that support their causes
- Integrating the Agenda 21 ideology in education curricula
- Using lawfare (the use of legal action to damage or delegitimize opponents)
- Supporting land reforms and spatial planning
- Attacking dissenters
- Establishing community forests
- Creating forest and other certification schemes
- Offering training courses
- Creating conservation easements
Wildlands: The Senate Never Voted on It
In 1994, the Biodiversity Convention was up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. On the day of the vote, freedom advocates managed to send Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) a copy of the Global Biodiversity Assessment and the maps of what the U.S. would look like if the Wildlands Project were implemented. Just an hour before the vote, Hutchison presented these materials on the Senate floor. After this, then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) withdrew from the treaty, and the convention was never voted on.99,108
Despite the lack of a formal vote, the U.S. went ahead and implemented the bioconservation agenda anyway. In June 1993, through Executive Order No. 12852, President Bill Clinton set up the President’s Council on Sustainable Development to develop guidelines to implement Agenda 21.103,111 Council members included NGO leaders such as Jonathan Lash (president of the World Resources Institute [WRI]) and Jay D. Hair (president of IUCN), as well as “green”-oriented government officials, cabinet members, and business leaders.
In August of that same year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put itself forward, in a national performance review of ecosystem protection, as “a catalyst to the national vision for change,” for example, by “amending guidances and regulations to promote ecosystem protection.”112 EPA stated that the Executive Branch should “develop a national ecosystem management policy which is implemented jointly by the appropriate federal agencies pursuant to an executive order” and “develop and implement coordinated ecosystem protection initiatives among federal, state, and local governments.”
The President’s Council on Sustainable Development and the EPA were not the only parties set to work on implementing Agenda 21 and its associated plans. In addition, Clinton asked natural resource and environmental agencies “to evaluate national policies…in light of international policies and obligations” (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21) and provide a strategy to “amend national policies to achieve international objectives.”99
Coffman is very critical of this overreach:
“Amending national policy is a Constitutional responsibility of the U.S. Congress, not the executive branch, and certainly not federal agencies. Yet certain bureaucrats believe their responsibility to international objectives superseded the U.S. Constitution and their mandate to serve the American people.”97
During his presidency, Clinton provided diplomatic immunity to as many as 21 international institutions, including the environmental protection NGOs represented on the president’s council, such as the IUCN. These immunities can extend to members of the “immune” organization.113 On its website as of 2023, the IUCN states: “The International Union for Conservation of Nature…is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. By harnessing the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of some 15,000 experts, IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.”114 It is not clear whether the IUCN has extended its diplomatic immunity status to its members.
In short, through a piecemeal approach, the Wildlands plan was implemented as parts of other Acts (such as the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act), by administrative measures enforced by the EPA, and by international NGOs, including, in the case of the IUCN, organizations granted diplomatic immunity.103
Wildlands in Europe: Natura 2000
The EU—itself a regional governance body with no democratic accountability115—has implemented the Wildlands blueprint through its Natura 2000 program, which is set up to protect species and their habitats under EU law. Covering 18% of EU land and 8% of its sea territory, it is the world’s largest ecological network.116
And with that, we are back to the Dutch farmers and fishermen. The farmers “need to go” because they inhabit the buffer zones around Natura 2000 areas. The fishermen are losing their fishing grounds because of these protected areas and offshore wind farms.
Whereas the U.S. is implementing much of this agenda by stealth, Dutch government agencies are not trying to hide where they get their orders from. In its “North Sea Programme 2022–2027” document, the government states: “The North Sea ecosystem and its use are not confined to national boundaries, nor are the policies and management. The Netherlands explicitly place the vision, ambition and tasks related to the North Sea in international context.”61 What is meant by “international context” is then spelled out as the following:
- The UN Biodiversity Convention
- The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the milestone indicators on the road to Agenda 21
- The UN Paris Climate Accords
- The regional OSPAR Convention (“Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic”)
- EU-specific mechanisms such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, European Maritime Spatial Planning, the Water Framework Directive, and the European Green Deal
The question arises: Is the Netherlands still a sovereign state, or has it been reduced to an administrative unit of the EU and UN?
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of…Property
The famous sentence by Thomas Jefferson concerning “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the U.S. Declaration of Independence was originally phrased by 17th-century philosopher John Locke; however, Locke worded it in a slightly different way: “Life, liberty and estate (property).”117 At the time, Locke and others recognized that private property and its protection by law are the foundation of individual liberty. In 1997, author and publisher Henry Lamb (author of The Rise of Global Governance, long-time Agenda 21 critic, and founding chairman of Sovereignty International) expounded on this theme:
“To the framers of the U.S. Constitution, property was as sacred as life and liberty. The inalienable right to own—and control the use of—private property is perhaps the single most important principle responsible for the growth and prosperity of America. It is a right that is being systematically eroded. Private ownership of land is not compatible with socialism, communism, or with global governance as described by the United Nations. Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and Mao—all took steps to forcefully nationalize the land as an essential first step toward controlling their citizens. The UN, without the use of military force, is attempting to achieve the same result.”118
In his article “Why property rights matter,” Coffman explains that assets can only start to generate wealth when property rights are protected. When there is a lack of protection or there are “strangling regulations,” assets cannot be used as collateral, thus depriving individuals of access to capital to generate wealth.119
That property is the basis for the generation of wealth and individual independence is beautifully illustrated by the personal story that author and agricultural engineer Jan Douwe van der Ploeg recounts about his grandfather:
“The agrarian history of Europe has seen important episodes during which poor landless people were trying as hard as they could to obtain a small piece of land in order to start farming and thus gain at least a minimum of autonomy, dignity and wellbeing. My grandfather…was a rural worker who travelled back and forth from Friesland to Germany and Holland in order to earn a living milking cows and harvesting hay—for others. On one of these trips he encountered a young lady who…would become my grandmother. They got engaged and remained so for seven years. That was how long it took to save enough to have one milking cow and one pig…assumed, at that time, to be the minimum requirement for settling down, renting a piece of land, getting married, starting a small farm and raising a family. Having their small farm and developing it through hard work was their pride and it allowed them to send one son to the secondary school and then to teacher training college. This son became schoolmaster who…could send a son to the agricultural university. This is how emancipation proceeds and this is precisely what the presentday structuring of the production, processing, trading and consumption of food denies to many millions of others—who are in dire need of emancipation.”14
With the destruction of property rights, people become dependent on those who own the land, their houses, the roads, transportation, and the means of food production. It reduces them not only to a state of dependence but, ultimately, to slavery. It is telling that the usufructuary rights under Roman law defined the relationship between a master and slave.
Who Owns the Land?
“You will own nothing…”
~ World Economic Forum
The centralization of food production is part of a larger trend of global land grabbing and financialization of agriculture.58,59 There is a rush to buy up agricultural land worldwide. This phenomenon is well-known and documented in the global South, but it also is occurring in post-Soviet Eurasia, Canada, the United States, Ukraine, and Europe.58
Bill Gates, for example, who was already one of the largest landowners in the U.S. with close to 270,000 acres of land, expanded this amount in 2022 with the purchase of 2,100 acres in North Dakota.120 Working through private companies, the Chinese are also purchasing U.S. land. Joseph Mercola reports that they currently own American farmland that is worth $1.4 billion.121 Van der Ploeg and co-authors, meanwhile, have described how land deals throughout Europe are occurring in nontransparent ways through middlemen, with deals reported in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary. The concentration of landownership in Europe is driven by agricultural policies and subsidies that, according to van der Ploeg, “favour elite large holdings, marginalise small farms and block the entry of prospective farmers.”58
A lesser-known fact concerning the war in Ukraine is that aid has been provided on the condition of creating a land market. As a result, while civilians are fighting and dying in the war, their land is being sold to oligarchs and large agribusiness policies “with help and financing from Western financial institutions.”122 Frédéric Mousseau, co-author of the report War and Theft: The Takeover of Ukraine’s Agricultural Land writes (as quoted by Off-Guardian journalist Colin Todhunter):
“Despite being at the centre of news cycle and international policy, little attention has gone to the core of the conflict—who controls the agricultural land in the country known as the breadbasket of Europe. [The] Answer to this question is paramount to understanding the major stakes in the war.”122
Todhunter reports how the finances flow:
“Most of the agribusiness firms are substantially indebted to Western financial institutions, in particular the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the International Finance Corporation—the private sector arm of the World Bank. Together, these institutions have been major lenders to Ukrainian agribusinesses, with close to US$1.7 billion lent to just six of Ukraine’s largest landholding firms in recent years.”122
In addition, van der Ploeg and co-authors have described the phenomenon of “green grabbing”—the buying up of agricultural land for forest conservation and climate mitigation. Urbanization is also encroaching upon agricultural land in a process driven by speculation on the difference in value between agricultural and non-agricultural land.58
As should by now be apparent, land grabbing and centralization of food production go hand in hand, particularly as the agricultural sector has increasingly been financialized through a surge of equity-related investments.58,60,123 For the 2010–2014 period, according to scholar Jennifer Clapp, investment funds accounted for up to one-third of financial investments in the entire agrifood sector.60 A 2020 investigation titled “Barbarians at the barn: private equity sinks its teeth into agriculture,” by a non-profit that supports small farmers, reported that as of 2004, there were only seven investment funds dedicated to land and agriculture; by 2009, that number had risen to 55, and by early 2020, more than 300 funds were “active in the area of food and agriculture,” accounting for nearly US$300 billion.123 The article also described the impact of the private equity takeover on local communities:
“For many, just the term ‘private equity’ strikes fear because so many deals have led to workers in the target firms being laid off, management teams replaced, the companies stripped of equity and filled with debt, and eventually crippled and shut down.”
The same handful of large asset management companies (BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and Capital Group) plays the lead role in these funds. Clapp explains:
“First, a small number of large asset management companies act as intermediaries that funnel vast sums of money into equity shares in publicly listed transnational agribusiness firms through a variety of investment funds that enable investors to gain exposure to the sector. Second, company ownership data reveals that those same giant asset management companies are among the largest shareholders of the dominant agribusiness firms.”60
The phenomenon by which different corporations in a sector share the same owners is referred to as “common ownership.”
The combination of land grabs and centralization of ownership of food production may lead to a “potentially explosive situation,” warn van der Ploeg and colleagues.58 They describe the “uphill battle” faced by small farmers as the market is flooded with cheap products from corporate agricultural producers who benefit from cheap inputs from the global market and economies of scale. As the small farmers are bankrupted, the corporations and equity investors pick up the land, creating a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Simultaneously, the same market forces create significant barriers to entry for anyone who wishes to start a farm.
An Accelerating Agenda
The agenda to move land and sea under UN control is accelerating on multiple fronts. For example:
- In 2021, the UN announced the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.” As part of this effort, the UN is putting to work all of its non-governmental allies—such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, and IUCN—to increase the “protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world.”124
- After the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, Canada in December 2022, the UN announced new biodiversity conservation targets, with plans to increase both the conservation and restoration of nature to “at least 30%” by 2030. The conservation target refers to “at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas and oceans”; restoration targets “at least 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems.”125
- In lockstep with the UN, the EU, too, has biodiversity policy targets for 2030. With 18% of its land area and 8% of its marine territory already designated as protected areas,117 the EU aims to increase protected areas to 30% of land and sea,23 and, via the highly controversial “Nature Restoration Law” adopted in June 2023, to restore at least 20% of both. Ambitiously, the goal for 2050 is restoration of “all ecosystems in need of restoration.”126
As these initiatives indicate, “conservation” and “restoration” are distinct targets for both the UN and the EU. For conservation, the standards about what constitutes the “biodiversity” that needs to conserved can be quite arbitrary. The “North Sea Programme 2022–2027” policy document illustrates the case in point. It states (p. 32), “The partially natural and partially human dynamics make it a complex exercise to formulate and evaluate measures to influence the different components of a healthy North Sea ecosystem. Just determining a historical reference is already difficult.”61 Following this line of reasoning, the shadow from a fisherman’s boat is interfering with nature but a wind turbine’s blades are not; nitrogen from farming is not allowed to disturb “habitats” but offshore wind farms create “positive effects” when a new ecosystem forms around them.127
What does the restoration goal mean? The European Commission explains, “[N]ot all restored areas have to become protected areas. Most of them will not, as restoration does not preclude economic activity. Restoration is about living and producing together with nature by bringing more biodiversity back everywhere, including to the areas where economic activity takes place like managed forests, agricultural land and cities for example.”128 Given that areas targeted for restoration outside the conservation zones are not allowed to “deteriorate,” there is justifiable fear—even in the current Dutch cabinet that works hand in glove with the EU and UN—that the restoration goals may halt economic activity such as building houses.129
Among the EU’s restoration targets are rewetting of drained peatlands under agricultural use, increasing biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems, removing river dams, and restoring marine habitat sediment bottoms (bottom trawling will be forbidden).130 With this type of logic, it would not be surprising if Dutch policymakers proposed bringing back the peatbogs that covered the Netherlands 2,000 years ago or protecting sand castles at the bottom of the sea, or for U.S. policymakers to propose taking American nature back to the pre-Colombian era. And in fact….
A large part of Dutch land lies below sea level. It used to be a big swamp that was flooded half of the time. Roman historian Pliny the Elder described the situation in 47 AD in his Naturalis Historia:
“Twice a day the ocean floods a large part of their territory, so it is not easy to tell whether this land should be counted as belonging to the sea or to the land. There, poor people try to stay alive by building houses on steep hills. These mounds are raised by hand to a height just above the highest tide. At high tide they look like castaways. They live on fish which they catch in the mud with nets. They warm their chilled limbs by burning mud, which they have allowed to dry more by the wind than by the sun. They drink nothing but rainwater, which they keep in a pit in front of their homes. […] And these peoples speak of slavery when they are today conquered by the Roman people!” 69
There is a running joke about the Netherlands: “God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.” The Dutch drained the marshes and peatbogs and, through an ingenious system of ditches, dykes, and windmills, reclaimed the land and turned it into fertile soil. And what is the EU’s goal? “Restoring drained peatlands under agricultural use”! According to farmers Bergeman and Brouwer, many pastures have already been turned into swamps, and in the areas where this has happened, the cows do not eat the grass.
The full agricultural ecosystems goal outlined in the EU’s Nature Restoration Law is to increase “grassland butterflies, farmland birds, organic carbon in cropland mineral soils and high-diversity landscape features on agricultural land.” To be properly understood, this goal should be seen in the context of the Green Deal biodiversity policy goal to reduce chemical pesticide use by 50% by 2030.131 One might ask, who would not want grassland with butterflies and birds? However, I discussed when reviewing the history and implementation of industrial agriculture, many farmers are trapped by debt and have been locked into the industrial model of agriculture. Even if they want to change, they do not have the resources to do so. The Rabobank usually provides loans for scale enlargement, but it is less generous in financing other types of farm transitions.
Farmer van Maanen states:
“They are talking about a ‘green transition.’ Well, the transition of a system that emerged over 80 years, you are not going to change that in a year. If you want to do that, it will be ridiculously expensive. Farmers have invested in a system, these investments have a payback time. It not fair to say, ‘Well, it is pity you’ve done that, but now we have other plans.’”
The transition to an organic system of agriculture not only requires investments, it requires time, as production may drop significantly in the early years. As one of the farmers I talked to observed, adopting a new approach also requires knowledge and is helped along by support from others who already have made the transition. Sri Lanka’s experience with banning pesticides and fertilizers overnight shows what such abrupt changes lead to: food shortages. In 2021, the Sri Lankan government decided to ban agrochemicals with the goals of increasing organic production, cutting the cost of agrochemical imports, and reducing illnesses resulting from pesticide use; within a year, however, the rice harvest fell by almost 40%.132
Rivers and Dams
Just when you thought that nature-protection measures could not get any more insane, the European Commission is further setting out to restore “river connectivity” by “identifying and removing barriers that prevent the connectivity of surface waters, so that at least 25,000 km of rivers are restored to a free-flowing state by 2030.”130
Dams can provide clean hydropower. They are also used to create freshwater reservoirs, which are very useful and life-saving during times of drought—perhaps even more important than food itself. In Spain, for example, many dams were built under the Franco dictatorship to store water during droughts, and they still supply many cities with drinking water and farmers with water for irrigation. In addition, they are used to manage the flow of rivers to prevent flooding.133
Removal of dams—those “artifacts of civilization”—was a part of the Wildlands vision and made its way to Agenda 21 in more woolly terms. Agenda 21 states, “The complex interconnectedness of freshwater systems demands that freshwater management be holistic (taking a catchment management approach) and based on a balanced consideration of the needs of people and the environment.”102 In her Agenda 21 exposé, Behind the Green Mask, Rosa Koire wrote in 2011, “The fight to demolish the dams has been going on for twenty years. Commercial fishing restrictions, species protection that calls for creek setbacks, reduction in river flow diversion, or dam destruction, it is all for the ‘greater good.’”134 She also explained that there are solutions, such as different types of fish ladders, that retain the benefits of dams while enabling the migration of fish; however, that is not the “solution” that UN bureaucrats are seeking. In 2022 alone, 65 dams were removed in the U.S.; the states that removed the most dams were Ohio (11), Pennsylvania (10), and Virginia (6).135
But the EU tops this amount. In 2021, a “record year,” 17 countries removed at least 239 dams, 108 of which were in Spain.136 In April 2023, while Spain was facing one of the worst droughts in 50 years, the publication The Local posed the question, “Why is Spain destroying dams in the middle of a drought?”133
As Wild Earth explained in the Wildlands Project document, it is not enough to free wilderness of humans; “true wilderness” also requires the reintroduction of large predators. Part of the NGO army is now advancing this part of the Wildlands vision, calling it “rewilding.”
Already in 2011, Koire wrote, “Across the nation, in cities near open space, more mountain lions, bears, coyotes, cougars and bobcats are coming into populated areas” (p. 57).134 In the EU, the NGO called Rewilding is advancing these plans in projects such as “Living on the Edge.” Through this project, the NGO tries to raise awareness in Central Europe of large predators and promotes “coexistence.” The NGO explains:
“The Living on the Edge project came about due to the scarcity of brown bears, wolves and Eurasian lynx in Austria. By contrast, wolves are returning to Germany, there are thriving populations of brown bears in Slovenia, and Switzerland hosts a significant lynx population. This inequality prompted the team to ask why some areas of Central Europe have healthy predator populations (and others don’t), and whether humans and large carnivores can actually co-exist across the densely populated region.”137
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and the most densely populated in Europe. According to reports from citizens who live around one of the Netherlands’ largest natural areas, the Veluwe, about 40 wolves are roaming the country again. Because there is no ecological infrastructure to support the wolves, they wreak havoc on farmers, killing sheep and cattle. As they become habituated to humans, they may pose a threat to people as well. Some suspect that the wolves did not just happen to walk over from Germany but were deliberately brought to the Netherlands. Thirteen NGOs in the Netherlands alone work together to support this “rewilding” effort, including the WWF.138,139
The “Rights for Nature” Movement
Concurrent with conservation, restoration, and rewilding efforts, a movement is working to create legal personhood for nature. Even more so than with other parts of this conservation agenda, the “Rights for Nature” movement shows that the real purpose is not environmental protection but to attack property rights. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) explains:
“Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist…. […] [F]or millennia, legal systems around the world have treated land and nature as ‘property.’ Laws and contracts are written to protect the property rights of individuals, corporations, and other legal entities. As such, environmental protection laws legalize environmental harm by regulating how much pollution or destruction of nature can occur within the law. […] [N]ature has inalienable rights, just as humans do. This premise is a radical but natural departure from the assumption that nature is property under the law.”140
The “Rights for Nature” movement demands a change in governance of all natural systems and the global implementation of rights for nature. To achieve this, they “collaborate with global movements to establish laws and constitutional amendments.”141 The movement heralds the notion of granting legal personhood to nature as a welcome shift from an anthropocentric to an ecocentric worldview.142
At least six countries have passed this type of legislation in parts of their jurisdictions; among them are municipalities in the state of Pennsylvania. “Is this necessary?”, Shanthi van Zeebroeck asks in an article titled “Nature Rights: What Countries Grant Legal Personhood Status to Nature and Why?” In a lucid moment, van Zeebroeck reflects:
“There is also a problematic issue of ownership of property. If we consider nature as a person, is it also not true then that man may not own nature in the form of land and homes, or have riparian rights over it? Ultimately, if we take it even further, then no one will be able to own anything related to nature.”142
The movement to create legal personhood for nature is even more concerning when seen in the light of the recent proposals for amendments to the WHO’s International Health Regulations to remove the concept of human rights from the treaty. The proposed change is to remove the sentence “with full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons” and replace it with “equity, coherence, inclusivity.”143
With the proposed changes to the International Health Regulations, the WHO is trying to anchor its “One Health” concept into global legislation. Under One Health, “health”—as defined by WHO—is achieved by surveilling and controlling “pandemic potential” in ecosystems, animals, and humans.116 The “equity” that is supposed to replace human freedom would apply not only to humans but also to ecosystems and animals. The Lancet explained the reasoning behind this shift in a January 2023 editorial titled “One Health: a call for ecological equity”:
“Modern attitudes to human health take a purely anthropocentric view—that the human being is the centre of medical attention and concern. One Health places us in an interconnected and interdependent relationship with non-human animals and the environment. The consequences of this thinking entail a subtle but quite revolutionary shift of perspective: all life is equal, and of equal concern. This understanding is fundamental to addressing pressing health issues at the human–animal–environment interface.”144
What does this imply? How would this work when applied to law? If a habitat or a species is given the same interests as humans, how would this be litigated when there are conflicts? These pieces of nature with “legal personhood” cannot defend themselves; they will be defended by people—and probably by people working for NGOs on behalf of the UN.
The former WHO official David Bell summarized the insanity of this reasoning in a piece titled “Your daughter for a rat?”: “There are various degrees of acceptable insanity, but in general you would not want a person who thought a toad had the same intrinsic value as your mother to manage her Alzheimer’s disease.”145
VIII. Controlling the People
Returning to the Habitat I conference, it is important to note that where one side laid the groundwork for control over land, the other part determined where and how people should live. In fact, in a section titled “Opportunities and Solutions,” the Vancouver Declaration shares a vision of using cities (“human settlements”) as the focal point for global transformation:
“[H]uman settlements must be seen as an instrument and object of development. The goals of settlement policies are inseparable from the goals of every sector of social and economic life. The solutions to the problems of human settlements must therefore be conceived as an integral part of the development process of individual nations and the world community.”1
Redistribution and Redevelopment
According to the Declaration, changes in land use policies—addressed “at national and international levels”—would tackle development, economic, and social problems such as inequitable economic growth; social, economic, ecological, and environmental degradation; world population growth; uncontrolled urbanization; rural backwardness; and rural dispersion. Among other things, this would require nations to devise policies that “facilitate population redistribution to accord with the availability of resources.”
As noted previously, these provisions were integrated into subsequent UN documents and conferences such as Agenda 21, which dedicates a whole chapter to “Promoting sustainable settlement development.”102 Currently, these same objectives are being pursued under Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11): “Prioritizing Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Cities and Communities.”146
By 2050, according to UN projections as of 2018, over two-thirds (68%) of the world’s population will live in urban areas.147 The crossover where more of the global population now lives in urban than rural areas happened in the early 2000s. The UN documents and conferences clearly show that urbanization and the rapid rise of the “smart city” were not just “natural” processes that coincided with industrialization—these phenomena were carefully managed through global policies implemented on a local level. These policies pursued an intentional redistribution of the population and of assets.
Let’s look at an example of the results of the UN’s “settlement” policies. As a forensic commercial real estate appraiser specializing in eminent domain valuation, the late Rosa Koire ran into the urban side of human settlement policy in 2005 when she discovered that a major area in her California home town of Santa Rosa was up for redevelopment. Homeowners were being defrauded off their property in the process, either by the municipality declaring the properties “blighted” or burdening the homeowners with excessive and intrusive regulations and then citing them for noncompliance. Properties also were taken by eminent domain.
Koire further discovered that throughout the country, former commercial, industrial, and multi-residential land was being rezoned into mixed-use “smart growth zones.” These areas—the forerunners of current “smart cities”—were then targeted for redevelopment with high-density, mixed-use buildings that had retail on the ground floor and two or three stories above. According to Koire, “single family homes are not part of the plan.” The areas stimulated bike use and public transport, and discouraged use of cars by limiting thoroughfares, creating one-way roads, putting obstacles on roads, and limiting parking opportunities.134
As Koire soon learned, Agenda 21 and the UN army of NGOs posing as “civil society” were behind these redevelopment plans, which often were implemented without local residents being aware of what was happening. She wrote (pp. 15-18):
“Redevelopment projects are one implementation arm of the UN plan. […] High density urban development without parking for cars is the goal. They call them Transit Villages. ‘Human habitation’ is now restricted to lands within the Urban Growth boundaries. It makes rural/suburban development prohibitive. From stream/creek/ditch protection to watershed protection, to bayland/inland rural corridor prohibitions, to increased species protection (lists are growing), the use of land is greatly limited. Water well monitoring and loss of water rights reduces the opportunity for living outside of cities.” 134
In addition, because the conservation paradigm considers roads to be a problem, Koire found that maintenance and construction of the roads leading suburban and rural areas were being defunded. She observed, “The push is for people to get off of the land, become more dependent, come into the cities. To get out of the suburbs and into the cities. Out of their private homes and into condos. Out of their private cars and onto their bikes.”
Thus, rural residents feel the effects of human settlement policies strongly. Coffman wrote in 2014:
“Rural landowners who desire to use their own property are shocked when they learn new regulations increasingly restrict them from doing almost anything. These regulations ostensibly protect endangered species, viewsheds, open space, or a host of other reasons for limiting the owners rights to use their land. Although the environment and society allegedly benefit from the regulations, it is the landowner who pays the price through lowered property values. Rarely does the property owner receive just compensation for the societal benefit―as required by the U.S. Constitution and almost every state constitution.”99
Simultaneously, the policies cause prices within the urban growth boundaries to skyrocket. A 2006 policy report titled “The Planning Penalty: How Smart Growth Makes Housing Unaffordable” by the Independent Institute includes an impressive list of regulations that increase housing prices [italics in original]:
- “Urban growth boundaries, urban service boundaries, large-lot rural zoning, or other restrictions on the amount of land available for development;
- Purchases of greenbelts and other open spaces that reduce the amount of land available for development;
- Design codes requiring developers to use higher-cost construction methods or designs;
- Historic preservation ordinances, tree ordinances, and other rules restricting or increasing the cost of development;
- Impact fees aimed at discouraging development;
- Growth caps limiting the number of permits that can be issued each year;
- Concurrency rules requiring adequate financing for all urban services before building permits can be issued;
- Lengthy permitting processes that force developers to hold land for several years before they are allowed to develop it;
- Planning processes that allow people to easily appeal and delay projects, creating uncertainty about when a project can begin;
- Inclusionary zoning programs requiring developers to subsidize some housing for low-income people, effectively increasing the price of the remaining housing.”148
In 2011, Koire warned, “Slowly, people will not be able to afford single family homes.” This is becoming painfully evident in 2023, when housing has become unaffordable even for people with well-paying jobs. Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics reports that “over three million Americans earning over $150,000 annually still choose to rent as there is simply no alternative at this time.”149 Still worse, 40% of parents in the U.S. have adult children living with them because their offspring cannot afford housing—whether to buy or to rent—at all.150
While people cannot afford to buy or rent, houses are being bought up by BlackRock and Blackstone and entire suburban neighborhoods are turning into “ghost towns.”151,152 In short, it is becoming clear that a reallocation of assets is taking shape.
The NGO Army Strikes Again
As with the conservation agenda, NGOs have been very active in the implementation of global plans for urban redevelopment. Koire found that one NGO, in particular, was very active: the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives or ICLEI (p. 40).134 ICLEI, engaged in more than 125 countries, is a “global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.”153 Specifically, the NGO works with “local and regional governments” to “advance the new global sustainable development agenda—including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the New Urban Agenda.”154
ICLEI is not the only NGO working to implement the UN’s urban agenda, however. Other players include:
- The World Economic Forum (WEF), which runs the “G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.” The alliance “unites municipal, regional, and national governments” to develop “guiding principles for the responsible use of smart city technologies.”
- The C40, a “global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities.” Mayors of C40 cities jointly develop policy to “confront the climate crisis.”155
- The 40 largest cities in the Netherlands, which are all working on smart city projects, including “smart economy, smart mobility, smart environment, smart citizen and smart living” solutions to achieve government goals in the areas of “housing, climate, mobility and the energy transition.”156
In Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order, Patrick Wood notes that there are already over 200 inter-city networks of the type operating in the world (p. 53).157 What they have in common is that they subvert local government processes and undermine the national sovereignty. Wood warns, “[C]ities are intended to replace the nation-state as the primary unit of the global organizational structure.”
Koire asked, “Does it bother you that a ‘non-governmental’ organization is made up of local governments? It should. It is a private group holding meetings that are not open to the public” (p. 40).134
Smart, Sustainable, 15-Minute Cities or Open-Air Prisons?
“Democratic accountability is the only criterion which distinguishes a modern traffic control system from an advanced dissident capture technology.”
~ Steve Wright158
“Sustainable” cities, increasingly, are “smart” cities—full of cameras, sensors, Wi-Fi trackers, and other Internet-of-Things applications running on 2G-to-5G networks that harvest data and surveil uncountable aspects of public and private life (see Security Cameras in the Netherlands). Who owns and controls the hardware and data varies on a case-by-case basis, but be they municipalities, corporations, or public-private partnerships, the situation generally is quite opaque. The public at large has little to no insight or influence over the data that are harvested.
With the addition of the “15-minute city,” the plot is thickening. The 15-minute city is being marketed as a way to make cities more “liveable by ensuring that all essential services—think schools, medical care and shops—are within the distance of a short walk or bicycle ride.” The author of a Politico article could not fathom why protests broke out in Oxford after the municipality sought to implement this “rather benign urban planning concept.”159 As it happens, the WEF is putting forward this “benign” concept as a blueprint for lockdowns: “Having your amenities within reach,” the WEF writes, “became a ‘matter of life and death’ during Covid.” Other justifications offered for the 15-minute city include climate change and global conflict.160 The residents of Oxford were not stupid, however; people clearly saw the concept for what it is: “a “Stalinist-style, closed city.”161
Security Cameras in the Netherlands
Across the Netherlands, in Dutch public spaces, hundreds of thousands of security cameras are registered with the police. A news report in 2019 cited the national total as around 228,000,162 but by June 2023, the total had increased to 321,000 registered security cameras.163 On average, the 2023 number translates to 10 cameras per square kilometer. However, the camera density is even higher in urban areas. Amsterdam has the highest security camera count; as of 2019, the city’s public spaces had about 100 cameras per square kilometer—or 253 cameras for every 10,000 residents.162
Who owns all of these security cameras? According to a 2023 tally by the GadgetGear website (which places the total at 314,000 cameras), Dutch citizens have registered about 55,000 cameras (mostly in the form of “smart doorbells”), as have about 236,000 companies. Officially, another 23,000 are police cameras. The site’s author reassuringly claims that “the police can request images from citizens when they may have recorded a crime or, for example, a missing person. So it is not that the police will have permanent access to the cameras in the database.”164
Regionalism: Tristate City
We cannot leap into world government in one quick step…. [T]he precondition for eventual globalization—genuine globalization—is progressive regionalization, because thereby we move toward larger, more stable, more cooperative units.”
~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1995 (former National Security Advisor, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission)
In the summer of 2022, amid the Dutch farmers’ protests, the “Tristate City” project made the news. Many people suspected that the plan to create a megacity or “super city” of up to 45 million people—connecting industrial centers across Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands—was one of the reasons the government was insisting farmers had to move off their land.165-167
Tristate City is not an official government plan. The originator of the plan, Peter Savelberg, explained in an interview with Politico that it is “a city marketing concept and had nothing to do whatsoever with farmland or construction of houses on a large scale.”159 According to Politico, “The scheme is similar to any number of regional alliances across Europe, like that of the Hanseatic Cities [a network of about 200 European towns and cities] or the Danube Cultural Cluster [a Vienna-based “cooperation platform” to enhance the Danube as a “quality cultural brand”], which promote greater infrastructure connections and collaboration between people and administrations.” To move the initiative along, Savelberg has brought together a variety of influential players, including investors, property developers, pension funds, and the Dutch employers organization VNO-NCW.165
Is Tristate really just an innocent “marketing concept”? The fact is that the Tristate City plans fit exactly with what Wood describes as regionalism or regionalization: the creation of new governance layers without making amendments to constitutions.
In a 2022 interview with De Andere Krant, Wood related this process to “devolution.” He explained:
“Devolution is the stripping away of political rights from a sovereign entity and moving it to an institute that has nothing to do with the original entity. It is related to regionalization. In this case, they develop a regional governance layer that pulls away sovereignty from nation-states and then determines policy for the whole region. This does not only happen in Europe and the US; it is a worldwide problem.”101
Coalitions of corporations, public-private partnerships, and NGOs are creating regional structures to bypass national governments and elective processes. In Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order (p. 67), Wood described the “Smart Region” concept:
“To globalist Smart City planners, multiple cities bordering each other are seen as a city-region. These metro-areas are often referred to as such: Phoenix metro, the Bay Area, Los Angeles area, and so on. These regions present a huge problem to Technocrat planners because each city has its own degree of sovereignty as well as an independent city council. […] What’s a planner to do? The answer is to create Smart Regions as a higher layer of governance and simply usurp sovereignty from all cities.” 157
As Wood further explains in Hard Road (p. 43), “Cities of the past were operated by elected representatives of the people who were responsive to citizen needs and aspirations. Cities of the future will increasingly be run by corporations, investors and social engineers who have different ends in mind.”
IX. Controlling the Seas
As we have seen, the period after the Second World War was characterized by industrialization of agriculture. Currently, a process of industrialization of the seas is underway. Worldwide, from Korea to the UK to the U.S. East Coast, countries and regions are initiating massive offshore wind projects.168
As already mentioned, European leaders announced at the Ostend summit in April 2023 an ambitious plan to turn the North Sea into “Europe’s Green Power Plant,” which would affect the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, France, the UK, Norway, and Luxembourg. If the plans to increase North Sea wind capacity to 120 gigawatts (GW) by 2030—and 300 GW by 2050—proceed, there will be 30,000 wind turbines in the North Sea. For the Dutch area alone, this would mean a more than seven-fold increase, from the current 289 wind turbines to 2,100 by 2030.169
To understand the scale of this plan, note that to generate just one GW of power, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that it takes three million solar panels or 333 utility-scale wind turbines.170 According to one calculation, “a power plant with a capacity of 1 GW could power approximately 876,000 households for one year” (assuming an average level of consumption and “assuming the plant operates continuously throughout the year”).171
These offshore wind farms will be part of a larger “North Sea energy system” with flexible connections in energy hubs. All this infrastructure will be connected by thousands of kilometers underwater electricity cables.172
Because the generation of wind power fluctuates, there is a—so far, unfulfilled—need for energy storage capacity. The Dutch government is betting on hydrogen generation to store this excess capacity (with the proposed mechanism being to transform the wind power into hydrogen by electrolysis of water). Therefore, it is planning to build the world’s largest hydrogen plant at sea, with a capacity of 500 megawatts, before 2031.173 However, experts such as Samuel Furfari (professor of political science and applied science at the University of Brussels and senior official in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy) dispute hydrogen as a solution to the storage problem.174,175 Firstly, the process to convert energy to hydrogen is highly inefficient—Furfari calculates that it is as low as 28%. Moreover, hydrogen is usually not used as a fuel. It is a costly resource that is used in the chemical industry to produce ammonia, which in turn is used in the production of fertilizers. Furfari compares “burning hydrogen to generate energy when hydrogen has been produced by energy” to “keeping oneself warm burning Louis Vuitton handbags.” He predicts that “any hydrogen produced will end up in chemistry and not in a motor vehicle.”174
Inefficient, Unreliable, and Expensive
Experiences with “renewable” energy so far have shown that they are unable to replace fossil fuels.176 Despite enormous infrastructure investments and a heavy burden on energy consumers (see The High Cost of Europe’s “Clean” Energy), wind and solar are not producing enough energy.177 Because those two technologies’ energy generation is unreliable, the backup power from gas, coal, or nuclear remains a necessity. Wind and solar are also highly inefficient; even at maximum production, offshore wind produces only 40% of its capacity.178
Lessons learned in Germany provide a valuable case study. The country was a forerunner in the transition to a “clean,” fossil-fuel-free energy system. Some estimate that Germany invested as much as €1 trillion (US$1.19 trillion) between 2000 and 2021, only managing to produce 45% of its electricity by 2020 but not its total energy needs.177,179 As its reward for these investments—financed to a large extent by taxes and consumers—Germany now has unreliable energy and risks regular blackouts, is dependent on neighboring countries to augment its energy supply, and has the highest energy prices in Europe.177,180 In February 2023, Bloomberg reported that Germany’s economy is shrinking.181
Despite this obvious failure, the European Commission is still pushing for a similar transition on the entire continent, holding fast to the goal to have 100% renewable energy by 2050. So far, the EU has invested over “€1 million millions” to produce 2.5 percent of its total energy needs.174
The High Cost of Europe’s “Clean” Energy
The following figures highlight that it is not only Germany that “has a math problem,”177 as one news account put it when describing the nation’s outsized and illogical commitment to renewable energy; so do the Netherlands and other European nations caught up in the EU’s energy policies.
- Germany will have $99.77 billion in additional grid fees from 2022–2030177
- The Netherlands needs € 102 billion euros in related infrastructure investments182
- To install 60,000 to 80,000 meters of cable, the Netherlands will need to break up one in three streets182
- Dutch consumers’ energy costs rose by 350% in 2021, “costing a household with average consumption over 1,700 euros more on an annual basis”183
- The Dutch climate minister Rob Jetten confirmed that € 28 billion for a climate transition fund would reduce the world’s temperature by 0.000036 degrees Celsius (Jetten could barely keep a straight face when answering questions about the effects of the investments)184
Offshore Wind Power: Destructive to Nature
Installing offshore wind farms constitutes a major intervention into marine ecosystems, of which the full effects are not yet known. The research that has been conducted is insufficient, and much of it is dated, not to mention being financed by parties (such as the government) that have an interest in expanding offshore wind.185 Speaking to this latter point, Ana Miranda (Spanish member of the European Parliament), after organizing a conference titled “Offshore Wind Projects – towards a new environmental failure?”, stated: “Impact studies on offshore wind projects remain too influenced by public authorities and by the wind industry and cannot be considered as independent and objective.”186
Despite the shortcomings in research, the evidence is piling up that offshore wind is devastating for marine environments. A 2022 paper titled “Reviewing the ecological impacts of offshore wind farms” (published, ironically, in the Nature family of journals) examined the existing literature and reported that of 867 findings of environmental effects, 72% of the impacts were negative.187 Wind turbines were particularly bad for birds and sea mammals. The list below provides a non-exhaustive overview of other destructive impacts:
- Offshore wind influences “ecosystem structure,” meaning both the abundance and composition of species, and the full effects are unknown.187
- Migratory birds change their trajectory to avoid wind turbines.127,187
- A 90% decline in diving seabird populations has been observed near offshore wind farms.188
- On the North Atlantic coast, deaths of whales increased by 400%, coincident with acoustic sonar research conducted for the construction of offshore wind.189
- Building the turbines requires pile-driving in the sea, which disturbs all sea life in a wide radius.173
- Offshore wind requires large networks of electricity cables, which can disturb sea creatures that orient themselves electromagnetically, such as sharks.
- Wind turbines leak chemicals, including BPA and other microplastics from the blades, hydraulic lubricating oil, the highly toxic SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride), and metals.190
- Offshore wind influences local and perhaps even global climate, according to Harvard scientist David Keith and colleagues.191
- Turbine poles change currents, make wakes, and create sediment plumes, as can be seen on NASA satellite photos. As one researcher put it, “[T]he installation of the wind turbines not only modifies the wind field above the sea surface (which is expected…), but…they also modify the currents and sediment transport in the water.”192
Environmental NGOs Silent About Offshore Wind’s Impacts
With this extent of environmental damage already evident, you would expect the agencies whose raison d’être is the protection of the environment to be up in arms about the industrialization of the seas. However, the most influential NGOs—those who have a seat at stakeholder negotiation tables—have been remarkably silent about the known impacts and unknown risks of offshore wind.
Here is how several leading NGOs explain their position on wind energy:
- WWF: “The WWF is a worldwide advocate of the transition to 100% renewable energy and supports the development of offshore wind, provided that this climate solution does not impede biodiversity recovery.”193
- Greenpeace: “Wind turbines are not damaging for animals. […] The climate crisis is disastrous for many animals. And windmills resolve those risks.”194
- Natuurmonumenten (Nature’s Monuments), an NGO that manages many nature reserves in the Netherlands: The organization declares itself a “proponent of sustainable energy such as wind energy, but also asks for consideration for nature and landscape in decisions about the placement of wind turbines.”195
“Major Changes in the Sea”
Dirk Kraak, a Dutch fisherman, closely monitors the science about the environmental effects of offshore wind. In an interview with me in May 2023, he shared the following observations:
“They are not doing sufficient research. The earlier permits were granted based on research into the effects on birds and bats. The studies are now dated; they dealt with hundreds of wind turbines, not thousands. They are not applying the precautionary principle. They are not answering open questions, they are not filling in the gaps in the research. And these nature protection agencies know it. They always have an opinion about the fishermen, but they are never vocal about the effects of these offshore wind farms. We already notice major changes in the sea, especially in the last year; things seem to change quickly. I hear this from all the other fishermen. We do not find the fish in the usual places. We find them at other times, in other places, or not at all. The fish stocks are thoroughly monitored by the government and associate agencies. I wonder if they are observing these changes as well?”
X. Control Grid Weapons: Economic and Energy Warfare and Hunger
It appears as if the expansion of energy capacity in the North Sea will, to a large extent, be used to power the centralizers’ control grid. An article in The Economist titled “Can the North Sea become Europe’s new economic powerhouse?” reported that concurrent with the massive expansion of offshore wind, the demand for energy-intensive data centers in the Nordic areas is booming.196 The Economist forecast that this demand will increase by 17% a year until 2030. Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft, but also corporations such as Mercedes Benz, are building data centers in the Nordic countries, where the chilly climate lowers the electricity costs of cooling servers and a skilled workforce is available. Elsewhere in Europe, “data centers are hitting limits.” Data centers consume so much energy that they put grids at risk for blackouts, to the extent that the Irish state-owned utility EirGrid has decided not to supply electricity to new server farms.
The Netherlands houses between 180 and 200 data centers, three of which are “hyperscale data centers” (meaning they are very large data centers with extraordinary computing power). In 2021, these used 3.3% of the Netherlands’ electricity.197
How much energy do data centers require? An article in Fortune, “The Internet cloud has a dirty secret,” cites a Huawei study that estimated that in 2019, data centers consumed 2% of the world’s energy, with the expectation that this number will rise to 8% by 2030.198 In addition to the cloud, the article cites “5G networks, A.I. training, holography, and cryptocurrency mining” as drivers of data—and energy—demand. As this last point indicates, the control grid’s insatiable needs extend far beyond the energy required for data centers; the control grid also needs to power telecommunication networks, such as 5G, and all of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) appliances connected to the networks. According to one estimate, the IoT alone could increase energy demand by 20% by 2025.199 Another study, published by InterDigital, estimates that by 2030, 5G and the IoT could increase energy demand by as much as 37%.200 5G differs from previous telecommunication networks because it requires the installation of small cells every 50 to 200 meters—and these need to be powered.201 The Datacenter Forum forecasts that 5G infrastructure could lead to a 160% increase in energy demand over the 2020–2030 decade.200
Taken together, the control grid infrastructure, networks, sensors, data storage needs, and processing capacity will create an exponential rise in energy demand. With gas from Russia cut off and nuclear plants being shut down, it is not clear where the power will come from; it is unlikely that offshore wind will be able to fill the gap.
For an industrialized economy, access to energy is the most basic need, and from a larger perspective, it is even a driver of civilization. That is why the destruction of cheap, reliable, and abundant energy is nothing less than economic warfare.
When the war in Ukraine broke out in February 2022, renowned economist Michael Hudson declared, “America defeats Germany for the third time in a century.” He explained:
“So the most pressing U.S. strategic aim of NATO confrontation with Russia is soaring oil and gas prices, above all to the detriment of Germany. In addition to creating profits and stock-market gains for U.S. oil companies, higher energy prices will take much of the steam out of the German economy. Thus looms the third time in a century that the United States will have defeated Germany—each time increasing its control over a German economy increasingly dependent on the United States for imports and policy leadership, with NATO being the effective check against any domestic nationalist resistance.”202
Other revealing headlines show where Germany’s energy transition and foreign policy have led:
- “The deindustrialization of Germany will cripple the EU for a long time”203
- “Europe’s economic engine is breaking down”204
- “Heating crisis in Germany? Government advises blankets and tea candles”205
- “With blackouts looming, German government holds disaster preparation day, promotes ‘cooking without electricity’”206
The Economist, too, acknowledges the connection between energy availability and economic stability. The publication cites Nikolaus Wolf, an economic historian at Humboldt University in Berlin, as saying that “Abundance of energy tends to attract industry,” with Wolf going on to predict that as “Europe’s economic epicentre moves north, so will its political one.” Is the push for offshore wind and data cables in the North Sea an act of economic warfare, not only toward Germany but France as well? The Economist states:
“At the European level, France and Germany, whose industrial might underpinned the European Coal and Steel Community, the EU’s forebear, may lose some influence to a new bloc led by Denmark, the Netherlands and, outside the EU, Britain and Norway. The French and Bavarians may bristle at the idea of a de facto Windpower and Hydrogen Community centred on the North Sea. But it would give Europe as a whole a much-needed economic and geopolitical boost.”196
“Much needed” according to whom, and in whose interest?
Energy and Civilization
In a fascinating article titled “World history and energy,” the scientist Vaclav Smil looks at civilization’s historical eras from the perspective of each era’s energy sources.207 He argues, “A strict thermodynamic perspective must see energy—its overall use, quality, intensity, and conversion efficiency—as the key factor in the history of the human species. Energy flows and conversions sustain and delimit the lives of all organisms and hence also of superorganisms such as societies and civilizations.” He recognizes that energy is not the sole determinant of civilization, but his observations are nonetheless interesting.
Smil identifies six “energy eras”:
- Harnessing external energy
- Domesticated animals
- Waterwheels and windmills
- Engines (steam)
Each of these eras coincided with a civilizational leap, with the principal benefit being improvements in quality of life:
“…increased food harvests, greater accumulation of personal possessions, abundance of educational and leisure opportunities, and vastly enhanced personal mobility. The growth of the world’s population, the rising economic might of nations, the extension of empires and military capabilities, the expansion of world trade, and the globalization of human affairs have been the key collective consequences of the quest [for higher energy use].”
Following a similar line of reasoning, the Soviet astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev proposed a system in which he categorized civilizations based on their energy consumption.208 In his system, which extrapolates beyond our current use of fossil fuels, there are three types of civilizations:
- Type 1 civilizations use the energy that is available on their planet.
- Type 2 civilizations use the energy of a star.
- A Type 3 civilization can capture the energy that is available in its galaxy.
From this broader standpoint, destroying access to energy is not only an act of economic warfare but an attack on civilization itself. In that sense, the strategy fits in very well with the Wildlands vision.
“A country that does not take care of its food supply is doomed.”
~ Patrick Schilder, fisherman
“Mass starvation is a process of deprivation that occurs when actors impede the capacity of targeted persons to access the means of sustaining life.”
~ Alex de Waal, research professor
“In a highly centralized and industrialized food-supply system there can be no small disaster. Whether it be a production ‘error’ or a corn blight, the disaster is not foreseen until it exists; it is not recognized until it is widespread.”
~ Wendell Berry
The major famines of the 20th century were not caused by the whims of nature, although nature certainly can exacerbate famines. The famines were caused by politics and policies. In a 1999 article about China’s great famine,209 Vaclav Smil quotes historian Richard Rhodes, who considered “public man-made death” possibly the most overlooked cause of 20th-century mortality. Although Rhodes defined man-made deaths as those resulting “from war, political violence, and their attendant privations,” Smil’s details about China’s famine show that cold, calculating socioeconomic policies can be every bit as fatal.
This is a point often emphasized by Tufts University research professor Alex de Waal, one of the world’s foremost experts on humanitarian crises. In a Tufts interview about his 2017 book Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine, de Waal quickly dispensed with the notion that mass starvation is caused by “natural” circumstances such as food shortages, overpopulation, or natural disasters. He stated:
“That is nonsense. Famine is a very specific political product of the way in which societies are run, wars are fought, governments are managed. The single overwhelming element in causation—in three-quarters of the famines and three-quarters of the famine deaths—is political agency. Yet we still tend to be gripped by this idea that famine is a natural calamity.”210
As de Waal and scholar Bridget Conley explain in an article titled “The Purposes of Starvation: Historical and Contemporary Uses,” the most egregious instances of mass starvation have been the result of communist regimes’ “titanic social engineering” attempts. They state, “Soviet agrarian reform, the ‘Great Leap Forward’ in China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, are the leading contemporary examples of forcible socio-economic transformation.”211
The precise numbers are still unknown, but according to estimates cited by Smil, during the “Great Leap Forward” (1959–1961) in which China and Mao sought to reform the country’s agricultural system, starvation killed 30 million Chinese.209 In southern Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, Stalin’s agricultural reforms caused the “Holodomor” (Great Famine); Ukrainians suffered the most, with the Holodomor causing an estimated 3.3 million excess deaths in 1932 and 1933, according to de Waal and Conley.211 They estimate that another 1.2 million died from starvation or related causes under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
During these top-down agricultural reforms, farmers were driven off the land. In the Soviet Union, the government confiscated farms (kulaks) and turned them into collective farms; those peasants who did not want to join the collectives—about five million of them—were deported to central Asia or Siberia.212 In China, similarly, the regime forbade private food production and forced peasants to join agricultural communes.209
There are many other smaller-scale examples. What they have in common, according to Conley and de Waal, is the use of mass starvation as “a process of deprivation” intended to “impede the capacity of targeted persons to access the means of sustaining life.” This can be achieved through multiple policies that reduce a population’s access to food and water. In short, Conley and de Waal argue, mass starvation “is produced by leaders’ decisions and serves political, military or economic goals.”
They list “nine objectives that can be furthered through mass starvation”:
- Extermination or genocide
- Control through weakening a population
- Gaining territorial control
- Flushing out a population
- Material extraction or theft
- Extreme exploitation
- War provisioning
- Comprehensive societal transformation
Conley and de Waal make several other important points about what they summarize as “starvation crimes.” First, though “culpability” may initially be “relatively easy to deny,” the “long duration of maintaining the policies that create these conditions undermines claims of innocence. In most of the ‘uses’ of mass starvation…deprivation was imposed on thousands of people over multiple years.”
Second, the two authors explain that the policies of starvation can be exacerbated by external factors, such as “environmental stress, natural calamity, global economic shocks” as well as internal factors such as “economic inequalities and policy that cause economic distress.”
Third, the processes of globalization of food markets and urbanization create dependencies for populations that no longer rely on local food production.
If we compare the nine objectives of Conley and de Waal to the policies implemented over the past 70 years, there are some striking parallels. In particular, we can note the following:
- Agenda 21, or what more recently has been dubbed “the Great Reset,” is a megalomaniacal plan for “comprehensive societal transformation” (#9) that is very reminiscent of the earlier communist visions of a perfect society.
- As we have seen, the urbanization and globalization of food markets seen in recent decades were not natural processes; they were implemented through social engineering on an enormous scale.
- Habitat I laid the legal foundation for these phenomena by redefining private property for the objectives of “material extraction or theft” (#6) and “gaining territorial control” (#3).
In addition, the countless policies that are weakening people’s ability to provide for themselves and sustain their lives—or prevent self-reliance altogether—can certainly be interpreted as “control through weakening a population” (#2). To recapitulate, these weakening policies include:
- Policies that drive farmers off the land
- Policies that drive fishermen off the sea
- Professional bans on starting a farm or fishery
- Policies that restrict access to the land
- Policies that restrict access to freshwater, such as the right to strike a well or use ground- or rainwater
- Destruction of dams and freshwater reservoirs
- Policies that facilitate corporate control over seeds and attack peasants’ and indigenous peoples’ right to control their own seeds213
- Policies to cull cow herds, such as the Irish government’s proposed 10% reduction between 2023 and 2026,214 or the Dutch government’s intention to reduce the nation’s cows by at least 40%215
- Policies to cull poultry, with 272 million birds culled worldwide between October 2021 and March 2023 to combat “bird flu”
- Bans on fishing and hunting216
- Bans on access to community gardens, such as happened in Ireland during lockdowns217
Finally, we could add to this list the policies that have facilitated “economic inequalities and polic[ies] that cause economic distress”:
- Lockdown policies that prohibit people from working
- Policies that bankrupt the middle class and redistribute assets to corporations and institutional investors (such as the “Going Direct” policies implemented during Covid)218
- Policies that cause energy prices to skyrocket
- Policies that increase inflation
As Henry Kissinger famously stated, “control over food is control over people.” We are not at the point of mass famines yet—at least not in the West—but if we take a lesson from history and look at these policies in their larger context, we should take heed. As Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger tells us, “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” Author and activist Naomi Wolf has stated:
“As a political consultant you learn to reason backwards. You look at the effect—you draw conclusions from the effect [of a policy]. The story is made up, always. You learn that as a political consultant. The principals will set a goal, they will say ‘Get us to this goal,’ and then the Chief of Staff goes to the message shop, meaning the storytellers, and says, ‘Tell a story that will get people to accept this goal.’ And that is how politics works.”219
Perhaps the goal is “just” to control the food supply, and coming events will not take the form of a famine. If Mr. Global’s plans for lab-grown meat, milk, and fish, vertical farms, aquaculture, and insect farms pan out, there may be sufficient food for the population, albeit not foods that are fresh, local, or healthy—but even access to these “pharma foods” could well be on the condition of signing up for a digital identity, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and regular medical “treatment.”
XI. The Endgame: Control All Resources, Including Humans
Decades ago, UN watchers like the astute individuals quoted in this report recognized that the bioconservation agenda is not about the environment and warned that it is an attack on property rights and a blueprint for changing global governance by stealth. Years later, we see that the creeping and expanding inkblot of “reserves” and “buffer zones” is indeed destroying ownership rights, access to land, and the ability to grow food. But what is the endgame?
In his 1997 article “The UN and property rights,” Henry Lamb cautioned:
“It is now clear that the UN’s land use policies, though refined over time, have had a predetermined objective from the very beginning. That objective—as bizarre as it may sound—is to place all land and natural resources under the ultimate authority of the UN.”118
His statement might sound “bizarre,” were it not for the fact that we can see the implementation of this “objective” happening under our very noses. Already, 17% of the world’s lands—and 10% of marine areas—are under the UN Biodiversity Convention’s “protection.”125
The “sustainable development” agenda is actually a rebranding of an earlier technocratic agenda that envisioned putting the world’s resources into a global common trust to be administered by technocratic scientists and engineers.220 In an interview with De Andere Krant, Patrick Wood explained that this idea has a lengthy history that ties into the creation of a currency based on carbon credits. According to Wood:
“The early technocrats wanted to get rid of private property. All goods and resources in a society were supposed to be managed in a global trust. Then they would decide who could use what, and regulate that by using an energy credit. According to them, this would restore the balance between man and nature. These technocrats saw humans as part of the resources as well. That is very clear in the earlier technocrat documents; humans had to be managed like a sort of cattle.”101
By 2021, as Rosa Koire explained during a “Greater Reset” presentation, it had become clear that this technocratic agenda means control over “all land, water, minerals, plants, animals, construction, means of production, energy, education, information, and all human beings in the world.”221 These resources are intended to be inventoried and managed under the stipulations of Agenda 21 as well as under the umbrella of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment reporting requirements.
Coincidentally or not, managing all global resources in a UN trust happens to have been an explicit recommendation of the Commission on Global Governance in its 1995 report, Our Global Neighborhood (see The Commission on Global Governance). To this end, the global governance group proposed changing the mandate of the already existing Trusteeship Council of the UN system (the latter oversaw decolonization processes until 1994), recommending that the Trusteeship Council “be given the mandate of exercising trusteeship over the global commons.”222 They continued, “Its functions would include the administration of environmental treaties…. It would refer any economic or security issues arising from these matters to the Economic Security Council or the Security Council.” What “global commons” did they have in mind? They would include “the atmosphere, outer space, the oceans, and the related environment and life-support systems that contribute to the support of human life.”
The Commission on Global Governance
The Commission on Global Governance was not an official UN body. However, the UN partially financed its activities; other funders included nine governments and several influential foundations, including the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Carnegie Corporation.222
The group’s membership featured 28 internationally prominent names, including the following:
- Barber Conable (U.S.), president of the World Bank from 1986 to 1991
- Jacques Delors (France), president of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995
- Enrique Iglesias (Uruguay), president of the Inter-American Development Bank
- Frank Judd (UK), member of the House of Lords
- Jan Pronk (Netherlands), Minister for Development Co-operation
- Adele Simmons (U.S.), member of the Council on Foreign Relations; president of the MacArthur Foundation; member of the UN High Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development
- Maurice Strong (Canada), chairman of the Earth Council; secretary-general of Earth Summits I and II
- Yuli Vorontsov (Russia), ambassador to the U.S., ambassador to the UN
The Trust: Collateral for a CBDC?
In his article “World Wilderness/Wildlife fund declared illegal in Russia,” published on June 28, 2023, Dr. Joseph P. Farrell shares the story of a man who inadvertently received an invitation to attend the World Wilderness Congress sometime in the 1980s. To his surprise, the other attendees included the “highest of high financiers,” including Maurice Strong and Baron Rothschild. During the Congress, the man learned about plans to establish “a world currency that was to be ‘backed’ by all the undeveloped wilderness land of the world.”223
In the same article, Farrell speculates that as the largest country in the world, with a wealth of natural resources, Russia’s assets may be pivotal to implementation of a global-trust-backed CBDC. He suggests:
“Russia is the major obstacle standing in the way of a world financial system, the ‘great reset,’ or whatever one wishes to call it. That system simply must gain control over Russia’s tremendous natural resources, if for no other reason than to balance its own (crooked) books.”
Interestingly, Farrell points out that in June 2023, Russia declared the WWF as “undesirable.” Its Prosecutor-General stated that the “WWF uses environmental and educational activities ‘as a cover for implementing projects that pose security threats in the economic sphere.’” Russia’s specific assertion is that “under the pretext of preserving the environment, the WWF is carrying out activities aimed at preventing the implementation of [Russia’s] policies for the industrial development and exploration of natural resources in the Arctic territories, while developing and legitimizing restrictions that could serve as a basis for transferring the Northern Sea Route into the exclusive economic zone of the US.”
This connection between the push to bring real assets under UN control, on the one hand, and hints that these assets are to be used as collateral for a world currency, on the other hand, reemerged in another summer 2023 article titled “BIS blueprint = global control of ALL assets, information & people” at the Corey’s Digs website.224 The article references a recent Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report, Blueprint for the future monetary system: improving the old, enabling the new. As summarized in the article, the BIS proposes:
“[A]ll private property in the real world, such as money, houses, cars, etc., would be ‘tokenised’ into digital assets within an ‘everything in one place’ global unified ledger. CBDCs would be ‘core to the functioning’ of this tokenised world and serve as the reserve currency on the unified ledger. Transactions between CBDCs and tokenised assets, which represent real-world assets, would operate seamlessly through smart contracts on one programmable platform.”
Multiple Layers of Sovereign Immunity
The BIS, central banks, UN organizations, and NGOs happen to be shielded by multiple layers of immunity, as investigative journalist Corey Lynn reported in her groundbreaking “Laundering with Immunity” series at Corey’s Digs.113 Since 1946, 76 different international organizations—including UN bodies, NGOs, banks, and the BIS—have enjoyed sovereign immunity and other related privileges and tax exemptions. This type of immunity means that it is not possible to sue these organizations in a court of law, nor is it possible to conduct a criminal investigation or submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In short, these entities’ assets, information, and people are “protected to the hilt.” Moreover, some of the protected institutions can extend their immunity to member organizations; for example, under the BIS, 63 central banks and the Federal Reserve system have sovereign immunity as well. Lynn’s conclusion: “[These organizations] do not operate above the law, they operate entirely outside of the law.”
Putting these various pieces of information together, we can deduce the following:
- Under cover of environmental protection, large tracts of land worldwide have been put under NGO/UN control.
- The land—and other resources—may be used as collateral for a world currency.
- The organizations that oversee control over this land are shielded by sovereign immunity.
- The BIS and other central banks, which would manage the world currency, are likewise shielded by sovereign immunity.
- We can hypothesize that other assets may have been moved into this immunity layer, especially during the pandemic period.
What this means is that an important portion of the world’s assets has been moved or is being moved to a governance layer where the rule of law is completely absent.
CBDC = Land Trust + Control Grid
As the “BIS blueprint” article explained, the envisioned CBDC would tokenize real assets as the first digital layer in the global unified ledger—in other words, the “global commons” comprising the atmosphere, outer space, the oceans, and the “related environment.” However, given that the technocratic system regards humans as resources, too, it is probable that the smart-grid data generated from people will also be added to the ledger.
To understand how this would work, the work of independent researcher Alison McDowell is informative. Her work is summarized in the article, “The central banks intend to lay claim to bodies and minds,” which explains how personal data—from smart cities, schools, computers, phones, and more—are converted into “social impact bonds” that create predictions about people’s behavior and are then attached with a monetary value in “Pay for Success Finance” models.225,226 This is very advanced social engineering and automates already existing “behavioral government” and cognitive warfare programs.227
One example that was widely discussed in the legacy media is revealing. Through voluntarily submitted personal data to Facebook, detailed individual psychological profiles had been created for a large population. People have come to expect such information to be used for personalized advertising, but in the case of Cambridge Analytica, it was used to bombard doubting voters with personalized propaganda and “nudge” them toward different voting choices.228 Might such technology have been applied during the lockdown years to “nudge” people toward obedience or vaccination compliance?
Just as data on humans can be turned into an investment vehicle, a similar scheme is being applied to nature. In “Wall Street’s takeover of nature advances with launch of new asset class,” researcher Whitney Webb explains how the Natural Asset Company (NAC) converts “natural processes and ecosystems that were previously deemed to be part of ‘the commons,’ i.e. the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth” into a new asset class.229
Of course, if you want to turn natural resources and their “ecosystem services” into financial vehicles, you need to record or digitize these assets somehow. The changes proposed to the Biodiversity Convention in 2021 appear to be preparation for the digitization of the natural world. In the 2021 article “Global blueprint exposed: the takeover of all genetic material on Earth,” Patrick Wood explains how the Biodiversity Convention first laid the groundwork for the use of natural resources by biotech companies, quoting from the 1994 book by Pratap Chatterjee and Matthias Finger titled The Earth Brokers: Power, Politics and World Development:
“The convention implicitly equates the diversity of life—animals and plants—to the diversity of genetic codes, for which read genetic resources. By doing so, diversity becomes something that modern science can manipulate. Finally, the convention promotes biotechnology as being ‘essential for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.’”230
Wood elaborated, “Because biotechnology and genetic science has progressed so rapidly over the last 25 years, the previous phrase ‘genetic resources’ is now deemed to be unsuitable going forward, and it is being replaced with the phrase ‘digital sequence information on genetic resources’” [bold in original].
Taken together, the agenda is clear: everything tangible in the real world—such as nature and humans—as well as the data that can be generated about real assets, will be digitized or tokenized. Another name for this process is “digital twinning.”231 An earlier attempt to model the world was called the “Sentient World Simulation” (SWS), and there are questions about whether something similar was tested as part of the Going Direct Reset.232
Technocrats assume that if you can model the real world in a significant manner, you can predict and steer all behavior. Following this line of reasoning, if you can digitize everything in the world, you can control it. And you can sell it as a financial product.
XII. Solutions: Securing Our Access to Real Food
Clarifying the Challenges
Before going into solutions, it is important to reemphasize that farms operate under different business models, and depending on their model, their challenges will differ. There is the industrial model, which tends to be highly leveraged and deeply dependent on international market forces. And then there is the peasant model, which, as much as possible, generates the resources it needs from its own soil and local communities. Both farming models are at risk when they are located near nature reserves.
The peasant model is the most resilient and is making a worldwide comeback, as van der Ploeg amply documents in his book The New Peasantries. Within this model, there is also a lot of innovation. Some individuals just stick to farming, but many farms are hedging their risks by making their enterprise “multipurpose.” This can include adding activities such as running a farm-based store; making and selling cheese, yogurt, meat, and other products on-site; offering farm-based mini-camping or other forms of “agritourism”; providing farm-based daycare; establishing “care farms” that provide employment or care for the disabled; managing the landscape; and more.14,73,233
In its policy proposals, the Dutch government currently supports the small-scale, “nature-friendly,” multifunctional peasant farm.233 However, farmers operating within the industrial model are debt-trapped. Even if they would like to change, they are caught in a model in which scale enlargement is the only way to survive. The banks will not provide them with loans to make a transition. Once these farms become so large that the individual no longer can handle the debt, the government, corporations, or institutional investors can easily pick up the land.
Two Dutch Examples of Multipurpose Farms
Erfgoed Bossem (https://www.bossem.nl/) in Lattrop near the German border is a former industrial farm that made the transition to a smaller organic herd of cows and a diversified business model. Further, it is part hotel, part restaurant, and part camping, as well as offering a location for events such as weddings. The farmer will give you proud tour and share what the transition has done for him and his family.
Heerlijkheid de Linde (“Glorious Linden Trees”) is an organic cow farm (https://heerlijkheidlinde.nl/) located near a suburban part of Deventer. The cows are on pasture but can go into the open stable when they prefer, or go to the milk robot on their own timing. There is a shop where you can buy meat and raw milk, and a small café-bar for ice cream and coffee, as well as a playground with picnic tables and meeting spaces that can be rented.
There are many actions that each of us can take—as consumers, as investors, and as citizens. It is also important that farmers (including both organic farmers and those practicing the industrial model) join forces with investors and citizens/consumers who understand the importance of strong local food systems and together cultivate opportunities to “crowdsource” solutions.
The actions outlined below are just a starting point. The Solari Report’s 2022 Annual Wrap Up on “Pharma Food” offers additional suggested actions and includes sections on “Finding Sources of Fresh Food” and “Local Food Legislation.” That Wrap Up is essential complementary reading to fully understand the threats to local food production, food quality, and food sovereignty.
“Never finance your enemy.”
~ Catherine Austin Fitts
Vote with your pocketbook: #Boycott Agribusiness. Do not spend your food money supporting entities that are centralizing the food supply and squeezing farmers’ profit margins. This means avoiding to the extent possible large supermarket chains and the corporate brands of processed foods such chains sell. If you can afford it, be willing to pay a premium for healthy, honest food.
Buy from farms directly. Over the last three years in the Netherlands, people have begun to buy more and more products directly from farms.234 If you do not have an (organic) farm nearby, you likely can buy from an intermediary that buys directly from farmers. In the Netherlands, there are many such intermediaries. I list two illustrative examples below. If you do not have even an intermediary in your area, perhaps it is a good idea for a startup!
- De Gouden Pompoen or “The Golden Pumpkin” (https://www.goudenpompoen.nl/) buys directly from organic farmers in the counties of Achterhoek and Salland. From them, you can buy almost everything that you would find in a supermarket—and things you cannot, such as artisanal sourdough bread and raw milk. Over the course of time, they have added some products that are not regional. Customers place orders before Wednesday, and the products are delivered to their home on Fridays.
- After a customer canceled a very large order of 300 tons of carrots on a whim, the Frisian organic farmer Pyt Sipma was afraid that he would need to compost them. Two entrepreneurial people in his area heard about his conundrum and used their social media accounts to sell the carrots. To everyone’s surprise, thousands of people applied in no time. Subsequently, the three men started exploring other ways to create non-corrupted short supply chains.235
If you can, invest in farms. In doing so, you are not only helping the farmers but are securing your own access to food. For farmers, it is very beneficial not to be dependent on banks.
- Lodewijk Pool, farmer of De Hooilanden (https://dehooilanden.nl/), observed that the dependency on banks is a real bottleneck for farmers. He surmised that to avoid this dependency, one could bring land into common ownership—whether of a family, street, church, or village—and he put this idea into practice by selling part his land (one-third of a hectare) for €25,000 to fellow citizens. The owners, in turn, lease the land back to him to grow food on it. Pool explains that this approach not only reduces dependency but helps people take responsibility and connects them with their food.236
Innovate with the investment fund model. Many farmers realize that a shift is needed out of the industrial agricultural model. However, a pivotal issue is that the land needs to be in honest hands rather than being bought up by governments or BlackRock and associated entities. One possibility might be to create an investment fund that buys up the industrial farms and supports them in making a gradual transition to organic approaches over time, taking food security into account and avoiding abrupt changes that collapse food production (such as occurred in Sri Lanka). This would also require continuing education for the farmers. Jon Bergeman and Alex Brouwer explained how they were taught to use a lot of fertilizer, to feed their cows corn, and to use antibiotics. The VBBM (the Association for the Preservation of Farmers and Nature) with which Bergeman now works helps farmers to make the transition smoothly—not through shock therapy. The farmers they help are surprised to learn that they can do without the external inputs. Once they see that the approach works, they are completely on board. But none of them learn it as part of their formal agricultural education.
The transition from industrial to organic could also be accomplished by breaking land up into multiple smaller plots for multiple farms that could be leased to young people who would like to start a farm but have no access to capital. This would help address some of the barriers to entry for starting a farm.
“These two commons, access to nature and the right to food, are central to civilization—and this gives peasant movements an enormous potential strength and the possibility to ally with others.”
~ Jan Douwe van der Ploeg
In the end, the push to get farmers and people off the land and fishermen out of the seas is a political agenda. The oft-repeated narrative is that nature needs to be protected from man. If you follow that narrative, you will be presented with numerous distractions intended to take your attention away from the real issues—distractions such as complex models, debates about the extent of environmental destruction, assessments of how much “damage” should be allowed, and so forth. These are the wrong debates. It is vitally important to contradict the false narrative and shift the parameters of the debate.
As my deep dive into the regulatory background of the current madness shows, the real aim of this thicket of regulations is a long-planned attack on property rights, autonomy, and freedom. These should be the focus of discussion and of political action, starting with demands for policies that protect access to food and land and develop food sovereignty.
The real solutions to combat environmental destruction lie not in further separation but in stewardship and in reconnecting the bonds between animals, the land, people, and communities. As Wendell Berry said, “For our healing we have on our side one great force: the power of Creation, with good care, with kindly use, to heal itself.”
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- Jan Douwe van der Ploeg. The New Peasantries: Rural Development in Times of Globalization, 2nd edition. New York: Routledge, 2018.
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- Jan Douwe van der Ploeg. “The importance of peasant agriculture: a neglected truth.” Farewell address upon retiring as Professor of Transition Processes in Europe at Wageningen University & Research, Jan. 26, 2017. http://jandouwevanderploeg.com/NL/doc/The_importance_of_peasant_agriculture_a_neglected_truth.pdf
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- Frank Bekkers, Joris Teer, Dorith Kool, et al. The High Value of The North Sea. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, September 2021. https://hcss.nl/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Value-of-the-North-Sea-HR.pdf
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- “Wat is een SumWing?” SumWing by HFK Engineering. https://www.sumwing.nl/Wat%20is%20een%20SumWing.html
- “Pulse fishing.” https://www.pulsefishing.eu/
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