Interview with Carolyn Raffensperger

February 1st, 2009

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The Living Hero Podcast proudly presents an interview with environmental lawyer and public health advocate, Carolyn Raffensperger. Carolyn is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, where she has worked since 1994.

In 1982, Ms. Raffensperger left a career as an archaeologist in the desert Southwest to join the environmental movement. She first worked for the Sierra Club where she addressed an array of environmental issues, including forest management, river protection, pesticide pollutants, and the disposal of radioactive waste. As an environmental lawyer she specializes in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment.

We talked about:

• faulty assumptions underlying environmental decision making • the precautionary principle--what is it? • a new report on health, aging and the environment • reversing the burden of proof on the safety of industrial chemicals • corporate structure and your inalienable right to a clean and healthy environment • changing laws: rights of future generations and the commonwealth • reform: the biggest obstacles and the greatest opportunities • the essential nature of the arts and how they function in the process of change • genetically altered seeds, the sex of plants, and the farmer-scientist breeding project • “turning the Titanic,” ecological medicine and the economics of aging

Carolyn is co-editor of Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy published by M.I.T. Press (2006) and Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle, published by Island Press (1999). Together, these volumes provide the most comprehensive exploration to date of the history, theory, and implementation of the precautionary principle.

Carolyn Raffensperger is responsible for coining the term "ecological medicine" to encompass the broad notions that both health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She has served on editorial review boards for several environmental and sustainable agriculture journals, and on USEPA and National Research Council committees. Her bimonthly column for the Environmental Law Institute's journal Environmental Forum appeared from 1999 until 2008.

Our guest has also been featured in Gourmet magazine, the Utne Reader, Yes! Magazine, the Sun, Whole Earth, and Scientific American. Along with leading workshops and lecturing frequently on the Precautionary Principle, Carolyn is at the forefront of developing new models of government, which will depend on precaution and ecological integrity, and guardianship for future generations.

For more information, visit the websites of The Science and Environmental Health Network and of Guardians of the Future .

Enjoy the show! (The program is 45 minutes)

Listen at your convenience!

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