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jerryking : michael_pollan   8

THE YEAR IN IDEAS: A TO Z.; Precautionary Principle
Dec. 9, 2001 | The New York Times | By Michael Pollan.

New technologies can bring mankind great benefits, but they can also cause accidental harm [JCK: "unintended consequences"]. How careful should society be about introducing innovations that have the potential to affect human health and the environment? For the last several decades, American society has been guided by the ''risk analysis'' model, which assesses new technologies by trying to calculate the mathematical likelihood that they will harm the public. There are other ways, however, to think about this problem. Indeed, a rival idea from Europe, the ''precautionary principle 2/3'' has just begun making inroads in America....risk analysis hasn't done a very good job predicting the ecological and health effects of many new technologies. It is very good at measuring what we can know -- say, the weight a suspension bridge can bear -- but it has trouble calculating subtler, less quantifiable risks.......Whatever can't be quantified falls out of the risk analyst's equations, and so in the absence of proven, measurable harms, technologies are simply allowed to go forward......When Germany discovered in the 70's that its beloved forests were suddenly dying, there was not yet scientific proof that acid rain was the culprit. But the government acted to slash power-plant emissions anyway, citing the principle of Vorsorge, or ''forecaring.'' Soon, Vorsorgeprinzip -- the forecaring, or precautionary, principle -- became an axiom in German environmental law. Even in the face of scientific uncertainty, the principle states, actions should be taken to prevent harms to the environment and public health.

Even in the face of scientific uncertainty, the principle states, actions should be taken to prevent harms to the environment and public rules are based on risk-analysis rather than precaution, so if the health risk of, say, eating hormone-treated beef has not been proved, the World Trade Organization ruled that a ban is illegal....the precautionary principle poses a radical challenge to business as usual in a modern, capitalist, technological civilization. ....however, because technological innovations are out and on the market long before the scientific proof of their harms have been gathered, often the public bears the burden/cost of the proving the harm, rather than the innovating company.....If introduced into American law, the precautionary principle would fundamentally shift the burden of proof. The presumptions that flow from the scientific uncertainty surrounding so many new technologies would no longer automatically operate in industry's favor. Scientific uncertainty would no longer argue for freedom of action but for precaution and alternatives.....Critics argue that the precautionary principle is ''antiscientific.'' No and yes. No, in the sense that it calls for more science in order to dispel the uncertainties surrounding new technologies and to develop less harmful alternatives. And yet there is a sense in which the idea is ''antiscientific,'' if by scientific we mean leaving it to scientists to tell us what to do. For the precautionary principle recognizes the limitations of science -- and the fact that scientific uncertainty is an unavoidable breach into which ordinary citizens sometimes must step and act.

From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑

Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
'70s  beforemath  burden_of_proof  environment  evidence_based  Germany  health_risks  Michael_Pollan  overquantification  precaution  principles  public_health  risk-analysis  scientific_uncertainty  technology  unintended_consequences  WTO 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
No Free Locavore Lunch
SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 | | By VIRGINIA POSTREL. Patronizing
local farmers who produce in small batches tends to cost more. You may
find some peak-season bargains at the farmers' market, but there's no
such thing as a free locavore lunch. Getting fruits and vegetables only
from local farms necessarily limits variety—few crops are available
everywhere all the time—and it doesn't come cheap. Economies of scale
apply even to produce.
Michael_Pollan  locavore  local  economies_of_scale  fresh_produce 
september 2010 by jerryking
Jim Sollisch: My Omnivore's Dilemma -
MARCH 16, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by JIM SOLLISCH. Buying food is too darn complicated these days.
food  Michael_Pollan 
march 2010 by jerryking
Lettuce give thanks for local spring mix
May 26, 2007 | The Globe and Mail pg. M.2 | by Sasha Chapman.
Lettuce is often held up as one of the great excesses of the industrial
food chain; journalist Michael Pollan calculates that processing and
shipping a one-pound box of lettuce (about half a kilo) from California
to the East Coast requires about 4,600 calories of fossil fuels. Which
seems absurd when you consider how much energy the lettuce represents on
the dinner plate: a measly 80 calories. What's worse, there's no reason
for us to be importing our leaves. Lettuce is perfectly easy to grow
right here in Ontario, year-round....Cookstown Greens opens a weekly
stall at the new Don Valley Brick Works Farmers' Market.

The first and best-known baby salad leaves in this city come from
Cookstown Greens, just north of Canada's Wonderland. For nearly 20
years, David Cohlmeyer has been supplying high-end restaurants with the
best salad mixes (and a rainbow of veggies).
ProQuest  Sasha_Chapman  farmers'_markets  Toronto  urban  Michael_Pollan  gardening 
february 2010 by jerryking
The Food Issue - Michael Pollan's Favorite Food Rules - Interactive Feature -
October 11, 2009 | New York Times | Compiled by Michael Pollan. A list of interesting food rules.
Michael_Pollan  food  guidelines  humour 
october 2009 by jerryking
December 2007 | Report on Business Magazine pg. 64 | PAMELA
CUTHBERT. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Michael Pollan,
author of the bestselling Omnivore's Dilemma , first spun these three
simple rules into a 10,000-word article for The New York Times Magazine
in 2007. An expansion on that essential essay, In Defense of Food: The
Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating ($26.50) promises an
escape from the bland, joyless, destructive--even fatal--grip of the
Western diet. As always, Pollan is true to his word. His manifesto acts
as a how-to companion to the rich narrative of The Omnivore's Dilemma
book_reviews  food  healthy_lifestyles  Michael_Pollan  joyless  think_threes 
february 2009 by jerryking
Everything you need to know about eating - from the Globe and Mail
May 1, 2008 column by André Picard offering a Coles Notes guide
to Michael Pollan's latest book, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's
food  book_reviews  healthy_lifestyles  Michael_Pollan  André_Picard 
january 2009 by jerryking

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