The Risk-Monger

Archives for Health & Lifestyle

This week, as a known activist and anti-industry lobbyist releases a “documentary” where she pretends to be a journalist, we see a good illustration of the need for a mechanism to separate the real journalists from the predators. Like lobbyists, journalists should have a transparency registry so innocent policy-makers and industry representatives can communicate in good faith, without deception and ulterior motives.

Posted by David Zaruk

Postcard from Tacloban

The Risk-Monger recently went to Tacloban and was shocked to see how a new industry of aid risks undermining the long-term resilience of the local inhabitants. While there is still much to do, the first thing that must be done is remove the international directors and project managers of the aid NGOs. They are creating a master-slave culture of recipientism and, as they are first and foremost concerned with their donor PR, they do not seem to be capable of listening to the needs of the local population.

Posted by David Zaruk

The Risk-Monger shows that if the implementation of the precautionary principle were rational, then coffee would need to be banned. Fortunately, in this case, normative reflux steps in – our values and love of the benefits blinds us to the real risks and allows us to enjoy coffee despite the evidence.

Posted by David Zaruk

The more the pesticides industry denies safety accusations, the more guilty they look. The erosion of trust is built into the precautionary blacklist game – a game the industry will never win.

Posted by David Zaruk

The Risk-Monger recently spoke at a crop protection industry conference on how to prepare data requirements for implementing the new pesticides legislation. I am not sure they liked my main point: that the data they will generate does not matter … at all. Still, they were polite.

Posted by David Zaruk

I Pollute

Imagine a religion that looks at the problems in the world and concludes that it is because others sin. “If only they could be more like me!” A faith without humility and mercy is hypocritical – a congregation of zealots. As environmentalists build their beliefs into their new temple, the eco-theologians need to remind their followers of the virtue of humility – that they are not without sin.

Posted by David Zaruk

Sustainability Bias

We need a new term to be able to capture how people can be self-contradictory or outright hypocritical when pushing personal environmental decisions they have been told are sustainable. Like a symptom that finds a name (and then becomes a disease that can be treated), we can now begin to look at how we can treat sustainability bias.

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

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

Dear CEO, I am really ready to give up. I have written to you, and about you, many times hoping to get you to see things more objectively. I have even offered to come to your offices (at no charge) and explain to your staff what it is like to work in a company. I can only conclude that you are not interested in listening to anyone you might not agree with. Thus I have resorted to writing you this open letter.

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

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

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