The precautionary principle was created to discontinue or prevent policies and programs that have the possibility, however great or small, of harming the environment. The precautionary principle’s goal is to ethically guide governments and nations towards decreasing or eliminating completely the negative impacts human interference and technology can have on the environment. The European Union strongly follows this principle when it comes to making decisions about genetically modified (GM) crops being introduced to Europe’s farmland. The precautionary principle was implemented following a wave of reform that occurred due to the great damage that had been done to the land while under the past rules and environmental recovery procedures.
…show more content…
Even as evidence for safer GMs grow, the precautionary principle trumps most changes from being introduced because if there is any calculated risk, no matter how small and even if there exists evidence that gives great indication to the contrary, it is still considered too great a risk. The precautionary principle has also been linked to a curb in the amount of investments poured into European science research which reduces greatly the ability to develop products that could meet the needs of the current European farming system and the future one. The slow growth of technological development means innovativeness and competitiveness decreases too. The principle advocates the testing of new technologies and the setting of strict regulations for chemical and technology companies to determine that their products are safe. There exists laws in place that do this anyway but the precautionary principle creates its standards from unsubstantiated scientific evidence. This naturally deters such companies from radical innovation and developing new products.
In one such instance where the precautionary principle was used, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) convinced the European Union to block the genetically modified substance called Bt corn. Which when tested in a lab at Cornell University, the pollen from the Bt corn was found to impact the developing life cycle of the monarch butterfly. At the larvae stage some did not survive and monarch caterpillars experienced