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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

archive for April, 2007


by ~ April 13, 2007

The Packard Foundation is doing a very cool thing that you are invited to participate in.

They’ve set up an online forum to solicit input on the new program they’re hoping to fund, for reducing nitrogen pollution.

They’ve developed a draft strategy for the program. But in order to combat the blind spots that can occur when such things are developed in isolation, Walt Reid, director of Packard’s renowned Conservation and Science Program, decided to tap the resources of the net.

The result is an online forum for all interested and affected parties — including experts, stakeholders and the public — to comment on and contribute to the strategy work.

This is a terrific opportunity to have an impact on a critical and increasingly dangerous environmental threat — and to support the efforts of one of the few private philanthropies that still funds actual scientific research.

The forum will be live and open to public participation through May 10th.

The invitation from Packard, which contains all the details, including how to join the forum and relevant contact information, is just below.

Please send this permalink to any of your students or colleagues who would be interested in participating.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation invites you to be part of an online collaboration to create strategies for reducing nitrogen pollution. Please join at http://nitrogen.packard.org.

An increasingly dangerous threat to our environment and human health, nitrogen pollution is degrading water quality and coastal ecosystems, contributing to climate change and posing a variety of health risks. Despite its rapid growth and harmful consequences, the problem of nitrogen pollution has received relatively little attention, except in areas suffering the consequences. In response to this gap, the Packard Foundation is exploring opportunities for philanthropic investments to make a significant contribution to solutions.

Since the most robust strategies for addressing a problem as complex as nitrogen pollution can not be developed by Packard alone, the Foundation has launched a public forum for collaboration. Everyone with an interest in reducing nitrogen pollution is invited to join and work together to create effective strategies for addressing this pressing problem.

The forum will be live and open to public participation through May 10th.

Packard will make the full product of this forum available to the Foundation’s Trustees at its June Board meeting and the Foundation staff will use the product of the site in developing a recommended strategy for the Trustees to consider. Once the forum closes, the outcomes of this work will be available to the public, archived online and protected under a Creative Commons License.

Thank you in advance for participating in this important collaboration.


Here are a couple tips for getting registered and contributing to Nitrogen.packard.org:
o To register or sign in for Nitrogen.packard.org, click the “Sign In” link in the upper right corner of the screen. From the registration screen, enter your username and password or click register to register a new username
o Before you begin participating, introduce yourself to the community by clicking on the “Introduce Yourself” link on the left hand column of the home page. Once on the introductions page, click on the edit button in the upper right hand corner, and then add your introduction to the list.
o Now you’re ready to participate! The items in the left-hand column of the home page are the different ways you can participate on the site. For instance, you can choose to edit the nitrogen/agriculture strategy by clicking on the wiki link, or you can discuss the strategies by clicking on the discussion link
o We recommend you start by going to the wiki and reading through the strategies. Then go to the strategy that aligns with your own work, go to the bottom of that strategy, and add a paragraph describing the work that you already have underway under “Projects, Programs, and Organizations.”
o Even more valuable, of course, would be for you to start revising the possible outcomes or strategies or for you to add an entirely new strategy that you think would be effective.
o Finally, please contribute your thoughts to the discussion section, rate the impact and cost effectiveness of each strategy by taking the survey, and help expand and refine the stakeholder map.

If you experience any technical difficulties registering or using the site, please be sure to email or call Tech Support: [email protected]; tel:+1-650-917-7288.


by ~ April 8, 2007

Today, my ‘Re:framing’ column in The New York Times was on the scientific evidence that has been used by industry and the U.S. Agriculture Department to support safety claims about biopharma crops. These are the next generation of plants that have been genetically engineered to grow drugs and industrial chemicals in open fields in the U.S. and around the world.

The column is basically my entire book, Intervention, crammed into 1300 words. As a result I had to leave out some important stuff, so I decided to post some of it here.

One of the things I would have liked to dig into a bit was the USDA’s statement about the amount of scientific input the agency uses to develop its regulations.

As evidence, the person I spoke with mentioned that in 2002, the agency had commissioned a peer-reviewed National Academies study on the subject, called Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants.

It was a curious example to choose. Because I read that report when I was writing Intervention, and it sure sounded to me like the USDA got handed its head on a plate.

Continue reading »