Ethical pesticide policy : beyond risk assessment

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dc.contributor.advisor Dr Bruce Hucker en
dc.contributor.author Watts, Meriel Ann en
dc.date.accessioned 2007-05-25T01:53:33Z en
dc.date.available 2007-05-25T01:53:33Z en
dc.date.issued 2000 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--Planning)--University of Auckland, 2000. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/442 en
dc.description.abstract This thesis sets out to develop a pesticide policy process that is ethical, one that fairly addresses the needs of society whilst at the same time minimizing the impact of pesticides on nature. The process that is developed here is context dependent: it is not a prescription for all public policy processes, but one specifically for pesticides in one country at a particular period in time. Nevertheless, the general principles are widely applicable to other areas of policy, particularly those involving technological risks, and to other countries. Much of the material used is drawn from the New Zealand experience, with two major exceptions: United States data is used to describe the toxicological risk assessment process and its failures, and studies conducted in Asia are used to illustrate community participatory research. The development of Auckland City's Weed Management Policy is used to illustrate the potential of the proposed approach to pesticide policy. It is argued that the reductionist science of toxicology, on which current pesticide policy heavily depends, fails to accurately predict the effects of pesticides on human health and on the environment. It is shown to be based on a particular set of values that cannot be said to represent those of society in general. These two factors contribute significantly to the differences in the acceptability of risks from pesticides by lay people and by technical experts. There are also gender and race differences in assessment of risk. It is argued that to base pesticide policy on toxicology is irrational because this science fails to incorporate ecological rationality, i.e. the interconnectedness of nature, and social rationality. It is also argued that pesticide policy based on the anthropocentric approach of the domination of nature, which broadly underlies the mechanistic worldview of science, is unethical because it fails to take into account the needs and interests of nonhuman nature. Ethical pesticide policy is therefore based on ecological rationality ( as well as social rationality) and a recognition of the intrinsic interests of nature, both aspects of an ecocentric ethic. The ecocentric ethic is practically applied to pesticide policy processes by using the decision rule of the principle of minimum harm, which is an expression of the precautionary approach. The objectivity and cultural authority of science are challenged and the way is cleared for the introduction of other knowledge into the ethical pesticide policy process. It is scientism, not science that is rejected, and science takes its place alongside other knowledge systems. Wisdom is incorporated into the policy process by including the knowledge of members of the community and of public interest groups who have understanding and experience of the effects of pesticides, and also the management of pest, weeds and disease in agri-ecosystems in ways that minimize harm to nonhuman nature, principally by the methods of organic agriculture and natural farming. Democracy is improved by including in the decision-making those who lie in the path of the policy: public interest groups that bring expertise, experience, and social values, farming interest groups that bring the views of those who use pesticides and those who manage the agri-ecosystem without them, and the appropriate bureaucrats. The pesticide industry is not included in the decision-making group for ethical reasons. The tripartite approach is augmented by a person representing the interests of nonhuman nature, an ecocentrist whose role it is to ensure that the principle of minimum harm is adequately applied. This is an acknowledgement of the need for considerable attitudinal change, particularly on the part of bureaucrats and pesticide users, in order that the ethical pesticide policy process lives up to its potential. Distributional justice issues are addressed by requiring that the policy decision-making group consists of 50 percent women/50 percent men, and 50 percent pakeha/50 percent Maori, to reflect firstly the gender differences in the acceptability of risks from pesticides, and secondly the bicultural nature of New Zealand as afforded by the nation's founding legal document, the Treaty of Waitangi. en
dc.format Scanned from print thesis en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA972989 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Ethical pesticide policy : beyond risk assessment en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Planning en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.local.anzsrc 1205 - Urban and Regional Planning en
pubs.org-id Faculty Creative Arts & Indust en


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