Tag: environmental hazards

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals: September (Part 2) by Melanie Boeckmann

Health, Risk & Society

Towards a better understanding of risk-taking: key concepts, dimensions and perspectives

Jens O. Zinn

The current study of risk is dominated by the risk minimisation approach that frames risk and risk-taking as something undesirable that should be avoided as much as possible. However, this approach to risk often fails to consider the broader conditions and motivations of risk-taking and to examine why people expose themselves to danger. In this editorial, I explore two key concepts – voluntary risk-taking and risk behaviour – considering the ways in which they represent opposing views in risk studies. I make the case for a broader approach to ‘risk-taking’ that addresses the complex tensions between risk-taking and risk aversion in the social, natural and material contexts of everyday life. I examine how risk-taking is characterised by varying degrees of control over decision-making, different mixes of motives, the impact of socio-structural factors, forms of routinisation and habitual risk-taking, how power is involved in risk-taking and how identity is used to challenge experts’ views. I discuss the role of stigma in risk-taking and how general societal contexts and organisational cultures influence the risk-taking. While there is increasing research on risk-taking, there is still scope for further publications that will advance our understanding of risk-taking in its social contexts, and in this editorial, I address issues that will form the basis of a forthcoming special issue of Health, Risk & Society.

‘Fuzzy’ virus: indeterminate influenza biology, diagnosis and surveillance in the risk ontologies of the general public in time of pandemics

Davina Lohm, Mark Davis, Paul Flowers & Niamh Stephenson

Influenza viruses are radically uncertain, leading to scientific and procedural challenges for diagnosis and surveillance and lending influenza symptoms a high degree of indeterminacy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

We Need to Address Environmental Racism In Nova Scotia

Ingrid Waldron calls for public support of Nova Scotia Bill 111: An Act to Address Environmental Racism.

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Environmental racism is the disproportionate location of polluting industries, sites, and other environmental hazards close to racially marginalized communities and the working poor. It has serious implications for the health and well-being of communities that have historically been marginalized.

On April 29, 2015, a Private Member’s Bill entitled Bill 111: An Act to Address Environmental Racism was introduced in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly by Lenore Zann, NDP Critic for Human Rights and Aboriginal Affairs.

The purpose of this first-ever legislation on environmental racism is to consult with Mi’kmaw, African Nova Scotian and Acadian communities throughout the province in order to provide them with an opportunity to share their concerns about environmental racism and collaborate with government to devise strategies and solutions to address this issue.

Duncan’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Photo Credit: Angel Petropanagos

The Act requires several Ministers to establish a panel to examine the issue of environmental racism in Nova Scotia and to provide recommendations. The panel is to be composed of:

  • Three members chosen by the Minister of Environment from among the members of the Round Table established pursuant to the Environment Act;
  • Two members chosen by the Minister responsible for the Human Rights Act from among the members of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission; and
  • Three members chosen by the Minister responsible for the Human Rights Act, of whom there must be one from each of the following: (1) the First Nations’ community, (2) the African Nova Scotian community, (3) and the Acadian community.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.