The books are complementary to Dow’s remediation measures now being addressed by Dow and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Based on editor and sustainable research professor Joel A. Tickner’s coverage of the precautionary principle in his anthology "Precaution, Environmental Science, and Preventive Public Policy" (2003), I would advise that Gov. Jennifer Granholm adopt the precautionary principle in conjunction with the Michigan Legislature’s "Homeowners Protection Act" (HB-5812). The HPA by itself will not provide the protection necessary to secure a clean, safe and healthy environment.
The precautionary principle bridges the gap between science and policy by encouraging policies that protect human health and the environment in the face of uncertain risks. As stated by Tickner, "precaution is at the heart of centuries of medical and public health theory and practice. A part of the Hippocratic Oath, ‘First do no harm,’ underscores a duty to prevent damage to health as well as the concept of primary prevention in public health."
Oxford University Press recently released "Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques" (2006). The book offers techniques adaptable to solving environmental problems such as those in the Saginaw Valley communities, the Saginaw Bay and the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers.
The book presents the theory and practice for creating effective education and outreach programs for conservation. Co-authors Susan K. Jacobson, Mallory D. McDuff and Martha C. Monroe describe an exciting array of techniques for enhancing school resources, marketing environmental messages,. using mass media, developing partnerships for conservation, and designing on-site programs for natural areas and community centers. Valid case studies from around the world illustrate techniques and describe planning, implementation, and evaluation procedures, enabling readers to implement their own new ideas effectively.
The book covers such topics as: designing successful conservation education and outreach, learning and teaching with adults and youth, changing conservation behaviors, conservation education in the school, making conservation come alive, using the arts for conservation, connecting classes and communities with conservation, networking conservation, getting your message out with the written word, taking advantage of education technology, and designing on-site activities.
Another modern format for reclaiming citizen rights to a clean, safe and healthy environment is offered in Tom and Katherine Daniels’ book, "The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions" (2003).
The handbook, endorsed by the American Planning Association, discusses the important role that private, nonprofit groups have come to play in environmental protection efforts. Case studies describe aspects of environmental planning in communities of all sizes. The handbook – straightforward, practical, and action-oriented – includes six parts: 1) The environmental planning process, including taking stock of the local environment and the legal, economic, ethical and ecological foundations of environmental planning, and creating an environmental action plan; 2) planning for sustainable water supply, sustainable water quality, sustainable air quality, solid waste and recycling, and toxic substances and toxic waste; 3) planning for natural areas, including the nation’s landscape treasures, wildlife habitat, wetlands, coastal areas, natural hazards and natural disasters; 4) planning for working landscapes, including farmland and ranchland, forestry and mining; 5) planning for the built environment, including transportation, energy, sustainability, and greenfield development; and 6) environmental planning challenges at home and abroad, including positive trends and urgent needs for sustainable environmental planning.
The information given in these books is all worthwhile, and certainly applicable to reclaiming our rights to a clean, safe and healthy environment in the Saginaw Valley.
Richard A. Maltby is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is the former county planner in Midland. He lives in Midland.