Why I reject the Precautionary Principle!

I reject the Precautionary Principle.

What are you nuts?!

Just to remind you (via Wikipedia): the precautionary principle or precautionary approach to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.
What could be wrong with that?

Here is what's wrong: It is almost NEVER possible to prove that a contemplated course of action will have NO harm. At least it is impossible if "proof" means with proof with certainty.

But even if you weaken the standard of proof to something weaker than that, there is something much deeper that is wrong with the Precautionary Principle. Many choices involve trade offs in which we sometimes may need to do harm to produce a greater good. You make such choices every day in your life. You do it when you thin seedlings in your garden. Or every time you cut your lawn. And at a larger scale, we continually make such choices at a social level - in the controlled burn of a forest or the eradication of an invasive species.

Nature forces such choices on us, and what we really need is a guide to how to weigh harm in the pursuit of the good. A guide to decide when the good outweighs the harm. Never says the Precautionary Principle! But our daily practice belies a very different standard and one that it behooves us to understand better if we want to make judicious decisions about how to right the wrong we have produced in the environment.