The Risk-Monger

Archives for Sustainable Dev.

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 took his children to see Noah during the Easter break. Rather than celebrating a Biblical story, he found himself trying to explain why environmentalists were portrayed as good and those embracing technology and human endeavour suffered the wrath of God.

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

The Risk-Monger understands that IKEA is considered one of those sweet, well-loved retail chains that most consumers want to believe does good things. Unfortunately, if IKEA were to be looked at beyond their Allen key PR, their sustainability record would be rather sour. Why don’t we look?

Posted by David Zaruk

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

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

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

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