Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Precautionary Principle

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2238



The precautionary principle requires that where there is the potential for serious or irreversible harm to the ecosystem or human health, anticipatory measures should be taken to prevent such harm; furthermore, uncertainty as to the likelihood or extent of the harm should not result in the postponement of cost-effective measures to avoid it.



There is a general consensus that the precautionary principle arose in Germany as the Vorsorgeprinzip as early as 1970s and was expressly adopted in German law (Cameron & Abouchar, 1991). Interestingly, this occurred at a point in time when many environmental statutes around the world were first being enacted as separate pieces of legislation. Some trace the development of these environmental statutes to the publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (Richardson & Wood, 2006). The origins of the precautionary principle may have arisen even earlier in...

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canadian Environmental Law AssociationTorontoCanada