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[GreenYes] 1st National Conference on Precaution 6/9-6/11 Baltimore, MD

GRRN is sponsoring the First National Conference on Precaution. This
national conference will bring together a diverse group of environmental &
social justice organizations that use the "Precautionary Principle" as an
unifying message and organizing strategy in their work.

Taking Precautionary Action: Roadmap for Success
Friday, June 9th - Sunday, June 11th, 2006, University of Maryland School of
Nursing, Baltimore, MD

Join hundreds of activist groups to share successful precautionary
strategies, tools, and programs. The conference will bring together people
working on toxics and nuclear pollution, disease prevention, pesticides,
worker safety, and many other issues. Learn about over 50 model local,
state, and nationwide precautionary policies. Add practical new tools to
your arsenal on messaging, alternative assessments, full-cost accounting and
more. Participate in trainings on community organizing, fundraising,
advocacy, media outreach, and more. Help build the movement for
precautionary action to prevent harm from environmental hazards by
registering today!

Go to CHEJ website at <> for agenda and
registration form.

What is the Precautionary Principle?
The substance of the precautionary principle is captured in cautionary
aphorisms such as 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' 'Better
safe than sorry,' and 'Look before you leap.' It may also be compared with
the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of proof often used in criminal
law, which may be seen as the application of the precautionary principle to
the assumption of "innocent until proven guilty" (because society sees
convicting the innocent as far worse than acquitting the guilty).


1) When we have a reasonable suspicion of harm, and
2) scientific uncertainty about cause and effect, then
3) we have a duty to take action to prevent harm.

The precautionary approach suggests five actions we can take:

(1) Set a goal (or goals);

(2) Examine all reasonable ways of achieving the goal, intending to
choose the least-harmful way;

(3) Monitor results, heed early warnings, and make mid-course
corrections as needed;

(4) Shift the burden of proof -- when consequences are uncertain, give
the benefit of the doubt to nature, public health and community
well-being. Expect responsible parties (not governments or the public)
to bear the burden of producing needed information. Expect reasonable
assurances of safety for products before they can be marketed -- just
as the Food and Drug Administration expects reasonable assurances of
safety before new pharmaceutical products can be marketed.

(5) Throughout the decision-making process, honor the knowledge of
those who will be affected by the decisions, and give them a real
"say" in the outcome. This approach naturally allows issues of ethics,
right-and-wrong, and justice to become important in the decision.

Instead of asking the basic risk-assessment question -- "How much harm
is allowable?" -- the precautionary approach asks "How little harm is

In sum: Faced with reasonable suspicion of harm, the precautionary
approach urges a full evaluation of available alternatives for the
purpose of preventing or minimizing harm.

Information about the Precautionary Principle adapted from text written by
Peter Montague of the Environmental Research Foundation. It can be found at and

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