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Protecting Public Health and the Environmentby Carolyn Raffensperger
Synopses & Reviews
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. This idea, known as the "Precautionary Principle," is seen by environmentalists and public health experts as the key to protecting ecological and human health.In January 1998, the Science and Environmmental Health Network convened an international group of scientists, researchers, environmentalists, academics, and labor representatives to discuss ways of incorporating the precautionary approach into environmental and public health decision-making. Known as the Wingspread Conference on Implementing the Precautionary Principle, the workshop focused on understanding the contexts under which the principle developed, its basis, and how it could be implemented. Protecting Public Health and the Environment is an outgrowth of that conference. The book: describes the history, specific content, and scientific and philosophical foundations of the principle of precautionary action explains the functions of the principle in activities as diverse as agriculture and manufacturing explains how to know when precautionary action is needed and who decides what action will (or will not) be taken attempts to show how the burden of proof of environmental harm can be shifted to proponents of a potentially hazardous activity provides specific structures and mechanisms for implementing the precautionary principl. Throughout, contributors focus on the difficult questions of implementation and fundamental change required to support a more precautionary approach to environmental and public health hazards. Among the contributors are David Ozonoff, Nicholas Ashford, Ted Schettler, Robert Costanza, Ken Geiser, and Anderw Jordan.Public health professionals and academics, policymakers, environmental lawyers, sustainable agriculture proponents, economists, and environmental activists will find the book an enlightening and thought-provoking guide to a new way of thinking about ecosystem and public health protection.
Book News Annotation:
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established. This idea is known as the precautionary principle. In 1998, the Wingspread Conference on Implementing the Precautionary Principle was convened to discuss ways of incorporating the precautionary approach into environmental and public health decision making. Papers from the conference focus on the contexts under which the principle developed, its basis, and how it could be implemented. Raffensperger is coordinator for the Science and Environmental Health Network based in Windsor, North Dakota. Tickner is a research associate at Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The movement toward creating more sustainable communities has been growing for decades, and in recent years has gained new prominence with theincreasing visibility of planning approaches such as the New Urbanism. Yet there are few examples of successful and time-tested sustainable communities.
Village Homes outside of Davis, California offers one such example. Built between 1975 and 1981 on 60 acres of land, it offers unique features including extensive common areas and green space; community gardens, orchards, and vineyards; narrow streets; pedestrian and bike paths; solar homes; and an innovative ecological drainage system. Authors Michael and Judy Corbett were intimately involved with the design, development, and building of Village Homes, and have resided there since 1977.
In Designing Sustainable Communities, they examine the history of the sustainable community movement and discuss how Village Homes fits into the context of that movement. They offer an inside look at the development of the project from start to finish, describing how the project came about, obstacles that needed to be overcome, design approaches they took, problems that were encountered and how those problems were solved, and changes that have occurred over the years. In addition, they compare Village Homes with other communities and developments across the country, and discuss the future prospects for the continued growth of the sustainable communities movement.
The book offers detailed information on a holistic approach to designing and building successful communities. It represents an invaluable guide for professionals and students involved with planning, architecture, development, and landscape architecture, and for anyone interested increating more sustainable communities.
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically This idea, known as the "Precautionary Principle, " is seen by environmentalists and public health experts as the key to protecting ecological and human health.<P>Protecting Public Health and the Environment offers the views of leading scientists, researchers, environmentalists, academics, and labor representatives on how to incorporate the precautionary approach into environmental and public health decision-making.
About the Author
Carolyn Raffensperger is coordinator for the Science and Environmental Health Network, a national consortium of environmental groups dedicated to the use of science to protect the environment and public health based in Windsor, North Dakota.
Joel Tickner is research associate at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and has served as advisor to numerous environmental organizations.
Table of Contents
Establishing a general duty of precaution in environmental protection policies in the United States / Ken Geiser — The precautionary principle in contemporary environmental policy and politics / Andrew Jordan and Timothy O'Riordan — The precautionary principle in practice : a mandate for anticipatory preventative action / David Santillo, Paul Johnston, and Ruth Stringer — The precautionary approach to chemicals management : a Swedish perspective / Bo Wahlstrèom — Asymmetric information, the precautionary principle, and burdens of proof / Carl F. Cranor — The precautionary principle as a screening device / David Ozonoff — Precautionary science / Katherine Barrett and Carolyn Raffensperger — The political economy of precaution / R. Michael M'Gonigle — Precaution and respect / Anita Bernstein — A map toward precautionary decision making / Joel A. Tickner — Applying the precautionary principle in practice : natural heritage conservation in Scotland / Scottish Natural Heritage — A conceptual framework for the use of the precautionary principle in law / Nicholas A. Ashford — Alternatives assessment : part of operationalizing and institutionalizing the precautionary principle / Mary O'Brien — Environmental bonds : implementing the precautionary principle in environmental policy / Laura Cornwell and Robert Costanza — The precautionary principle and corporate disclosure / Sanford Lewis — Practicing the principle / Richard D. Sclove and Madeleine L. Scammell — How much information do we need before exercising precaution? / Gordon K. Durnil — Can we say "yes" to agriculture using the precautionary principle : a farmer's perspective / Frederick Kirschenmann — Precautionary action not taken : corporate structure and the case study of tetraethyl lead in the United States / Peter Montague — Manganese in gasoline : a case study of the need for precautionary action / Ted Schettler — Cleaner production and the precautionary principle / Ken Geiser — The precautionary principle : application to policies regarding endocrine-disrupting chemicals / Peter L. deFur — Why the precautionary principle? A meditation on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and the breasts of mothers / Sandra Steingraber.
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