The Risk-Monger

Archives for Environment

My dinner with Axel

Last month the Risk-Monger was seated at a table with Axel Singhofen, the adviser on health and environment for the Greens in the European Parliament and former toxics campaigner for Greenpeace’s European Unit. Axel spent a good part of the evening telling those around the table his stories about how “industry” had been so wrong over the last decade.

Posted by David Zaruk

In 2013, European science has been weakened by poor publication practices and the infiltration of politics within the production of data. From Séralini to Kortenkamp, activist researchers have used their white coats to whitewash evidence-based policymaking, diminishing the public perception of research. The Risk-Monger fears the politicisation of science will only get worse.

Posted by David Zaruk

The Death of Dialogue

The Risk-Monger spoke at a stakeholder dialogue event organised by PlasticsEurope. Why is industry the only actor trying to engage and reach out to other stakeholders (in keeping with the European Commission’s ideal expressed in the 2001 White Paper on Governance)? Can you have a dialogue when activists are attacking your right to be a player in the process? In my enclosed speech base document, I told them that their public trust has been eroded because they are too nice and too tolerant towards the activist attacks.

Posted by David Zaruk

Anti-Social Media

The Risk-Monger has seen a lot of narrow, myopic thinking finding reaffirmation on social media sites. As prejudiced thinking surrounds itself in silos that give comfort and support, dialogue and consensus-building suffers. In that spirit, the Risk-Monger has started micro-blogging on Facebook to further reinforce his bad ideas.

Posted by David Zaruk

A recent 16 year study taking 5000 samples of blood and sperm from young males entering the Danish military from two towns (using the best available analytical technology) found no decrease in sperm counts or evidence of endocrine disruption. The researchers chose not to publish their findings. Why not? That is a very good question.

Posted by David Zaruk

It has become more common practice for environmental campaigners to “make things up” to increase public outrage and further their activism. The Risk-Monger suggests that there is something wrong with lying and that it is high time for activist NGO groups like CEO, Sum of Us or Greenpeace to consider enforcing internal ethical codes of good conduct.

Posted by David Zaruk

While Corporate Europe Observatory has tried to enforce greater transparency on industry, they repeatedly don’t think that freelancers they contract to write articles for them need to follow the same rules. They have employed Stéphane Horel to find something evil that the chemical industry is doing. This is not journalism, it is not transparent, it is not ethical … and, from the evidence the EC has provided online, it is not worth their time and money.

Posted by David Zaruk

Something went very wrong earlier this year with how DG SANCO pushed through a precautionary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to “save the bees”, in a period of four months, without proper evidence, without consultation and without any attempt to manage potential risks. While the Risk-Monger expected an internal investigation into possible abuse of procedure within DG Sanco, nothing came about. So before his lectures start, he is doing one himself.

Posted by David Zaruk

Whether it is from campaigns in the Philippines against Golden Rice as a solution for Vitamin A Deficiency, which kills hundreds of thousands of children per year, or spreading a culture of activist civil disobedience in non-Western societies, Greenpeace has been spending millions in developing countries to impress its anti-progress, anti-development message on locals a bit too busy for green idealism. This form of neo-colonialism is beginning to draw reactions.

Posted by David Zaruk

How to use a child

A child’s voice, when heard clearly, can put an adult to shame. So should we be surprised when adults use children to further their campaigns? We don’t want children to be used in factories, battlefields or scientific testing, but what about in front of cameras and in political debates? Last week, Malala Yousafzai, became the… » read more

Posted by David Zaruk

An Exhausting Idea

Why is it that most cars have designed the exhaust pipe to emit toxic fumes right at the precise maximum exposure level for an infant in a baby carriage / stroller? It has been the standard design for almost a century, and no one has apparently considered whether those most vulnerable in our society should… » read more

Posted by David Zaruk

One would expect European policy to promote jobs and competitiveness. But when most of the people influencing policy in Brussels have never worked in a company that makes things or provides services (and considers corporations as vulgar and immoral), should we be surprised that regulators are unable to push balanced job-growth policies?

Posted by David Zaruk

We have been told, repeatedly, for two decades that climate change is happening, it is man-made and if we don’t change soon, consequences will be catastrophic (if it hasn’t already started). Evidence though shows 16 years of flat global mean temperature, and a failure in climate models whose predictions were deemed 95% certain. Still authorities are certain. The Risk-Monger begins a series of blogs on the commonality policy crisis with a simple question: How stupid are we?

Posted by David Zaruk