Rachel's Precaution Reporter #47, July 19, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: A precautionary principle training has been scheduled for the Minneapolis area September 8-10, 2006. A few scholarships may still be available. Total enrollment is limited to 15. First come, first served.]

What: Minnesota Precaution Academy at the Women's Environmental Institute at Amador Hill, North Branch, MN (about an hour north of the Twin Cities)

When: September 8-10, 2006

Contact: Sherri Seidmon (sherri@sehn.org)

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.

The Academy is intended to serve the needs of community activists, government officials, public health specialists, small business owners, journalists, educators, and the engaged public.

Presenters and discussion leaders include Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN); Ted Schettler, SEHN's science director; and Peter Montague, director of Environmental Research Foundation and an editor of Rachel's Precaution Reporter and of Rachel's Democracy & Health News.

The cost of the Precaution Academy is $350, which includes hotel, meals, and instructional materials, including SEHN's new book on the precautionary principle.

Limited scholarships may be available; please inquire with Sherri Seidmon (sherri@sehn.org).

Participation is limited to 15 people. Please check with Sherri Seidmon (sherri@sehn.org) to learn whether space is available. Send your check to Science and Environmental Health Network, P.O. Box 50733, Eugene, OR 97405


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 selected portions of these materials before the session begins on Friday evening.

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.