Late Lessons from Early Warnings: The Precautionary Principle 1896-2000, a Conversation with David Gee

October 15, 2009
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

European Environmental Agency: EEA is an agency of the European Union. EEA's task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. They are a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. Currently, the EEA has 32 member countries.

Late Lessons from Early Warnings: The Precautionary Principle 1896-2000

From Miasma and Cholera to Mixtures and Contaminants: some reflections on causality, prevention, precaution and progress, a presentation by David Gee, October 2009

Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment, Committee on Improving Risk Analysis Approaches Used by the U.S. EPA, National Research Council
This report was referenced by David Gee during the call.

Listen to Recording

CHE hosted an international conversation with David Gee, Senior Advisor at the European Environment Agency (EEA). Michael Lerner, President of Commonweal, discussed with Gee a wide variety of topics of importance to environmental and human health, including chemical science and policy, recent work in the field of EMF science and the far-reaching framework of ecological health and the implications such a framework has for policy changes.

CHE was also pleased to have the executive director of the EEA, Jaqueline McGlade, join the call.

David Gee has worked for over three decades on occupational and environmental risk reduction with UK Trade Unions (AUEW, TUC & GMB), with the Environmental group, Friends of the Earth, UK, where he was Director; and as a consultant. Since December 1995, he has been working for the European Environment Agency, an EU information providing body, in Copenhagen, where he is responsible for "Scientific Liaison and Emerging Issues". He is secretary to the EEA Scientific Advisory Committee. He has worked on a range of subjects, such as the risks and uncertainties arising from chemicals, radiation and asbestos; on clean production and eco-efficiency; on green taxes & ecological tax reform; and on communicating scientific complexity and uncertainty to non-specialists. He is currently working on the links between environment and health, particularly of Children; and on the practical application of the precautionary principle, following the report that he initiated/co-authored: "Late Lessons from Early Warnings: the Precautionary Principle 1896-2000", (EEA, 2001).

Other recent publications include "Economic Tax Reform in Europe: Opportunities and Obstacles", chapter in "Ecotaxation" ed. T O'Riordan, 1997; "Approaches to Scientific Uncertainty" chapter in "Health at the Crossroads: Transport Policy and Urban Health", ed. by T Fletcher and A McMichael, 1997; "Chemicals in Europe: Low Doses, High Stakes?" (EEA/UNEP, 1998); "Children in their Environment: Valuable, Vulnerable and at Risk", (EEA/WHO Ministerial Conference 1999); "Late lessons from Early Warnings: Improving Science & Governance Under Uncertainty", with Andrew Stirling, in "Environmental Science & Preventive Public Policy", ed Tinkner J., Island Press, 2003.

Jaqueline McGlade became Executive Director of the European Environment Agency on June 1 2003. Prior to this she was Natural Environment Research Council Professorial Fellow in Environmental Informatics in the Mathematics Department of University College London where her main areas of research included spatial data analysis and informatics, expert systems, environmental technologies and the international politics of the environment and natural resources. Previous appointments have included Director of the UK’s Centre for Coastal & Marine Sciences, Director of Theoretical Ecology at the Forschungszentrum Jülich Germany; Associate Professor at the Honda funded International Ecotchnology Research Centre, Senior Scientist in the Federal Government of Canada and in the USA, Adrian Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge and Professorships at Warwick University and Aachen.  Professor McGlade has won various prizes including the Minerva Prize, the Swedish Jubileum Award and the Brno University
Gold Medal. She also has Honorary degrees from Wales (Bangor) Kent and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture & Commerce.
Professor McGlade has worked extensively in North America, south-east Asia and west Africa; she has published more than 100 research papers, written popular articles, presented and appeared in many radio and television programmes, including her own BBC series The Ocean Planet and Learning from Nature and more recently Our Arctic Challenge, a film about sport and tourism in Greenland. She has given public lectures worldwide on climate change, energy and sustainable development, environmental information, conflicts over environmental impacts of industrial and natural activities, environmental technologies and the use of multimedia and modern forms of web communication.
Professor McGlade was Chairman of The Earth Centre and a Board Member of the Environment Agency. She is currently a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and a member of the Environment Advisory Committee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UK-China Forum and UK-Japan 21st Century Group. She is also Director of the software company, View the World Ltd.
Recent books: Advanced Ecological Theory (Blackwell 1999); The Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem (Elsevier 2002).