By Peter Montague
"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
"In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
"The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action."
The Essence of Precaution:
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;