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Making Better Environmental Decisions : An Alternative to Risk Assessment - Mary O'Brien

Making Better Environmental Decisions

An Alternative to Risk Assessment

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For the past quarter-century, government and the private sector have relied heavily on risk assessment for making decisions, allowing widespread environmental deterioration. In this book, Mary O'Brien recommends a simple yet profound shift to another decision-making technique: "alternatives assessment." Instead of asking how much of a hazardous activity is safe (which translates into how much damage the environment can tolerate), alternatives assessment asks how we can avoid or minimize damage while achieving society's goals.Alternatives assessment is a simple, commonsense alternative to risk assessment. It is based on the premise that it is not acceptable to damage human and nonhuman health or the environment if there are reasonable alternatives. The approach calls for taking precautionary measures even if some cause-and-effect relationships have not been fully established scientifically. The process must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action at all. Equally important, it must be democratic and include potentially affected parties.O'Brien not only makes a persuasive case for alternative assessment; she tells how to implement it. She also shows how this technique has profound implications for public health, for our stewardship of the environment, and for a truly democratic government.Published in association with the Environmental Research Foundation.

Industry Reviews

"Risk assessments are a recipe for the continued degradation of ourenvironment. People who want to leave a healthier planet for our childrenwill find Dr. O'Brien's book an invaluable resource, a ray of hope, and acall to action." Bern Johnson, Executive Director, U. S. Office, Environmental LawAlliance Worldwide (E-LAW)

Goal: Replace Risk Assessment with Alternatives Assessmentp. 3
How Does Risk Assessment Actually Work?p. 17
What Are We Defending with Risk Assessment?p. 39
When Scientists Shut Their Eyes: Pretending That the Safety of Hazardous Activities Can Be Estimatedp. 59
When Decision Makers Become Compromised: Pronouncing unnecessary Hazardous Activities "Acceptable"p. 75
When a Society Isn't Serious About Environmental Health: Assessing a Narrow Range of Optionsp. 89
Who Loves, Uses, or Cooperates with Risk Assessment?p. 101
Unnecessary Societal Triage: Comparative Risk Assessmentp. 113
Alternatives Assessment: The Case of Bovine Growth Hormone and Rotational Grazingp. 129
Alternatives Assessment vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis: There Is More to Life Than Moneyp. 139
We Already Know How to Do Alternatives Assessmentp. 147
We Know How to Push for Alternatives Assessmentsp. 171
The essential Features of an Alternatives Assessmentp. 191
A Society That Assesses Its Alternativesp. 203
Alternatives Assessment: More Information, Fewer Pagesp. 215
Getting Startedp. 225
Barriers to Alternatives Assessmentp. 235
Forces for Alternatives Assessmentp. 251
Notesp. 255
Referencesp. 267
Indexp. 285
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262650533
ISBN-10: 0262650533
Series: Published in Association With the Environmental Research Foundation
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 11th May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41