Rachel's Precaution Reporter #25 February 15, 2006 THE PRECAUTION ACADEMY: PRACTICAL TRAINING FOR PRECAUTIONARY ACTION Rachel's summary: The Precautionary Principle doesn't always seem easy to apply. To make the shift to this new way of thinking, you could attend an intensive weekend of training -- a learning laboratory for prevention, foresight and forecaring. Trainings are now scheduled for Mar. 31-Apr.2 in New Brunswick, N.J.; May 19-21 near Chicago; June 23-25 in Seattle; and Sept. 8-10 in Minneapolis. Some scholarships are available. Read on... The Precaution Academy is intended to serve the needs of citizen activists, government officials, public health specialists, small business owners, journalists, educators, and the engaged public. The Science and Environmental Health Network (www.sehn.org) and Environmental Research Foundation (www.rachel.org and www.precaution.org) have created The Precaution Academy to offer an intensive weekend of training to prepare participants to apply precautionary thinking to a wide range of issues in their communities and workplaces. Presenters and discussion leaders include Carolyn Raffensperger, Nancy Myers, Ted Schettler, Katie Silberman and Peter Montague.* The cost of the Precaution Academy is $350, which includes hotel for 2 nights, plus six meals, and all instructional materials. If you don't need overnight accommodations, the cost is $200. Participation is limited to 15 people on a first-come, first-served basis. You may want to check with Sherri Seidmon (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn whether space is available. Send your check to Science and Environmental Health Network, P.O. Box 50733, Eugene, OR 97405 ====================================================== Scholarships Available We have three full scholarships available for each session. To apply for a scholarship, please tell us what organization you are affiliated with, what constituencies you represent, what you hope to get out of the experience, and your organization's total budget. Preference will be given to people from groups with financial need. Please also estimate your travel costs if you will be applying for a travel stipend as part of your scholarship. Send your scholarship request to: Science and Environmental Health Network Sherri Seidmon (email@example.com) P.O. Box 50733 Eugene, OR 97405 ====================================================== What You Can Expect At least two weeks prior to the date of the Academy, participants will receive a copy of the new book, Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy (MIT Press, 2006; ISBN 0-262-63323-X), supplemented by a short workbook of articles. Academy participants are urged to read the articles and the first two sections of the book before the session begins on Friday evening. Friday evening, all day Saturday and half a day Sunday, presenters will lead discussions of the precautionary approach to problem-solving (and problem prevention), with emphasis on real-world applications of precautionary thinking. The purpose of the Precaution Academy is ** To prepare participants to apply precautionary thinking and action to problems in their home communities and workplaces; ** To familiarize participants with the history of the regulatory system, quantitative risk assessment, and the development of precautionary thinking. What is different about the world today that makes a precautionary approach necessary and appropriate? ** To clarify the different kinds of uncertainty involved in contemporary problems and the role of precaution in addressing uncertainty; ** To prepare participants to respond to criticisms of the precautionary approach; ** To help participants recast and rethink familiar problems and issues within a precautionary framework, and to explore how a prevention philosophy differs from a problem-management philosophy; ** To familiarize participants with some of the many ways that precaution is being applied in the U.S., Canada and abroad so that you can considering trying these approaches at home. ====================================================== The Mechanics Participants should arrive at the Academy site on Friday afternoon. Your travel to the hotel from the nearest airport and or train station will be arranged ahead of time. After an evening meal, we will meet for two hours to begin discussing the need for precautionary thinking in the contemporary world, and how the precautionary principle developed over the past 30 years. Saturday We will meet from 9:00 to noon, take a 90-minute break for lunch, then meet from 1:30 to 5:30. At 7:00 we will have dinner together. After dinner, we will meet informally for a free-ranging discussion. Goals for Saturday ** To prepare participants to put the precautionary principle to work in their own areas of interest; ** To prepare participants to respond to criticisms of the precautionary approach; ** To clarify the different kinds of uncertainty involved in contemporary problems and the role of precaution in the face of uncertainty; ** To familiarize participants with a variety of ways that precaution is being applied in the U.S. and elsewhere; During this session we will discuss in detail the five elements of a precautionary approach. Sunday Goals for Sunday: ** To give participants experience recasting typical issues into a precautionary framework; ** To make sure participants take home an understanding of the many ways that precaution is being used in communities all across the U.S., Canada, and abroad. We will meet from 9:00 to noon, gaining experience in reframing issues from a precautionary perspective. We will have lunch together, then go our separate ways so we can "try this at home." ====================================================== * Carolyn Raffensperger is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) in Ames, Iowa. Nancy Myers is communications director of SEHN; Ted Schettler is SEHN's science director and Katie Silberman is SEHN's administrative director. Peter Montague is director of Environmental Research Foundation in New Brunswick, N.J., and an editor of Rachel's Precaution Reporter and of Rachel's Democracy & Health News.