The Duh Principle: Better Safe Than Sorry

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Look before you leap. Better safe than sorry. These simple mottos express the heart of the precautionary principle, which acts as a lens for scientific choices, an insurance policy against our own ignorance. Carolyn Raffensperger and Sharyle Patton share stories that put flesh and bone on this golden rule. 


 Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), a national consortium of environmental groups dedicated to the use of science to protect the environment and public health, has a background in environmental activism including 9 years as a Field Representative for the Sierra Club. Widely known for her work on the precautionary principle, she recently co-edited Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle and serves on several nonprofit boards of directors.

Quote: "Our life depends on empathy because we're connected with all creation..." Carolyn Raffensperger

 Sharyle Patton is the Co-Director of the Commonweal Health and Environment Program and Northern Co-Chair of the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Network. She was previously Director of the Citizens Network for Sustainable Development, active as an NGO representative at many UN environmental summits and the Cairo and Beijing women's conferences, and is also a videographer who for twenty years has produced a large body of work, including the PBS NOVA documentary, "The Man Behind the Bomb."

 Bioneers Series III includes the following programs: 

  • BN301 Part 1: The Duh Principle: Better Safe Than Sorry
  • BN302 Part 2: Energy Security: the Growth of Soft Energy
  • BN303 Part 3: Light At The Edge of The World: Reinventing The Poetry of Diversity
  • BN304 Part 4: Greening Medicine: the Mainstreaming of Herbs
  • BN305 Part 5: Soil and Soul: The Future of Farming
  • BN306 Part 6: I Heard the Voice Of A Porkchop: The Theoretical Promise Versus The Actual Perils Of Genetically Modified Organisms
  • BN307 Part 7: Less Is More : Toward A Zero Discharge Industry
  • BN308 Part 8: Daughters of Thoreau: Not Too Well Behaved
  • BN309 Part 9: Plants and People: Who's Cultivating Who?
  • BN310 Part 10: Getting the Real Story: Bypassing Corporate Media
  • BN311 Part 11:  Nature As Healer: Restoring Life As Community
  • BN312 Part 12: The Wonders of Gaia: Nature is Symbiotic
  • BN313 Part 13:  Nature and Spirit: It's All Connected 

The Bioneers series consists of three sets of 13 programs each:
Bioneers Series I The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature
Bioneers Series II "Improving Environment By Changing The World
Bioneers Series III 

Inspired by the philosophies of the Deep Ecology movement, the Bioneers are heroic examples of people living as if nature mattered. Join us as we look deeply into the magic and mystery of the convergence between leading-edge science and ancient wisdom for a Declaration of Interdependence for the new millennium. Though these programs were produced in the 1990s the contents of this series are timelessly relevant. 

HOST: Michael Toms     INTERVIEW DATE: 2002            PROGRAM NUMBER: BN301