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Re: let's build a unified movement, not fight each other

  Alex wrote:
  >However, when environmental organizations start covert operations
  > -- breaking into facilities, engaging
  >in criminal trespass and taking
  >samples of waste ---  we, as a movement, risk losing enormous
  >public credibility.    We would never tolerate our corporate 
  >opponents breaking into our offices and homes and stealing 
  >records and private information from environmental groups.  Why should
  >anyone support such tactics carried out by "environmentalists?"
  Perhaps because they see no reason why large corporations should be given 
  equal rights in law to those of private individuals?  Especially when 
  those corporations are using their corporate powers to avoid disclosure 
  of information that should legitimately be in the public domain - which, 
  in my book, includes all the details of the toxic materials that they 
  >From a personal perspective I would have preferred it for the last 
  professional looking  break in job to just have sampled my recycling bins 
  rather than taking away my computer AND on site back up discs (which they 
  seemed to find more interesting than the cheque book, money and credit 
  cards they left behind).  
  >I'd suggest again three specific transitions that need to be 
  >1.  The transition from "complainer/victim" to
  I think that you may be preaching to the converted on this list!
  >2.  Numbers make a difference and focus on the quantitative aspects
  >of toxic exposure issues is absolutely essential.....   Not all toxic
  >risks and emissions are the same.  It is really important to know
  >the differences.    The worst problems deserve the most attention
  >and priority on an emissions, exposure and population at risk basis
  >when setting issue priorities.   
  I find this less compelling - we haven't really got a clue what will 
  happen to a lot of the residues that are being produced at the moment 
  over a long period and the risk assessment won't help  - hazard 
  assessment is more appealing than risk assessment for the long haul.  
  Accepting the underlying principle of the risk assessment means that we 
  consider that it is OK to kill some people  and then  the only issue in 
  question becomes 'how many?'. We play straight into the polluting 
  industries technocratic agenda if we spend a lot of time debating numbers 
  in their risk assessment models. 
  The logic for the alternatives is easily understood - the debate is then 
  open to all, as it should be, rather than exclusively in the domain of 
  those of us with technical backgrounds (and dominated by industry 
  interests)  and is explained in succinct 'Natural Step' terms for dioxin 
  by Dr Karl Henrik a leading Swedish cancer researcher: 
  Is dioxin natural?   No. 
  Is dioxin stable?    Yes. 
  Does it degrade into harmless substances?     No. 
  Does it accumulate in bodily tissue?    Yes.  
  Is it possible to predict the acceptable tolerances?   No.  
  Can we continue to place dioxin into the environment?       No, not if we 
  want to survive.
  So what about agreeing on some genuine regulatory changes like a zero 
  discharge agenda and reverse onus for polluters ?  (and why is it the 
  grass roots who are leading the debate on this?  why don't our regulator 
  friends promote these arguments if they are so serious about 
  environmental protection?)
  An alternative may be to let a corporation  have any discharge it wants 
  as long as the stack emissions pass through the boardroom after the bag 
  filter/ESP and the directors drinking water intake is downstream of their 
  effluent pipe.;-)
  >3.  Stay away from dogma and indeological approaches.....  Understanding
  >toxic emissions and exposures is a matter of scientific investigation
  >and engineering.  
  But controlling and eliminating them is a social and political question 
  and an ideology that puts people first is a crucial part of that debate.  
  Best wishes
         _\\|//_                Alan Watson C.Eng                  
        (' O^O ')               Oakleigh                      
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