Earth Ethics Institute
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Introduction to the Precautionary Principle


Facilitated By Michelle Maloney
5 Hours Profession Development Credit for Faculty

The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action. Topics for discussion will include scientific and legal uncertainty, and case studies from the fields of environmental law and social justice.  Participants will be asked to engage in discussions about the practical implications and application of the precautionary principle in their own practice and decision making frameworks and create a lesson or action incorporating the Precautionary Principle into their specific disciplines or department – due to director of the Earth Ethics Institute within 3 weeks of the Academy.


As a result of successfully completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

        Define the Precautionary Principle.

        Explain the significance of the Precautionary Principle within a larger context of ethics.

        Explain one way in which the Precautionary Principle can be applied to decision-making in our community.

        Develop a lesson or module exploring the precautionary principle

Evaluation will include completion of workshop and participant must develop a discipline specific lesson plan or course module that incorporates key concepts of sustainability and/or the precautionary principle. Lesson plan is due to the director of Earth Ethics Institute within three weeks of the workshop, and will be posted on the Earth Ethics webpage.

Michelle Maloney is an environmental lawyer and activist, and is Co-Founder and National Convener of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance. Michelle is the current AELA representative on the Executive Committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the Chairperson of the Queensland Environmental Defender’s Office. She is currently completing her PhD at the Griffith University’s Socio-Legal Research Centre and her research interests include the role of law in reducing consumption of natural resources, Earth Jurisprudence and the nexus between sustainability and social justice. Michelle lives in Brisbane, (Queensland) with her husband and daughter..



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Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 1201, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724