From Part 2 of a three-part series on the Precautionary Principle in Rachel’s Environment and Health News:
Is this action necessary? What a profound question. Try this yourself: In thinking about any activity that has the potential to harm the environment or human health (or your community), ask yourself, “Is this action necessary?” And, “Does it have to be this way?” These questions naturally lead to asking, “What are the alternatives?” Think what a different world it could be if everyone asked these questions routinely.
This reminded me strongly of Masanobu Fukuoka, who wrote in The One-Straw Revolution (Rodale Press, 1978) that:
The usual way to go about developing a method is to ask “How about trying this?” or “How about trying that?” bringing in a variety of techniques one upon the other. This is modern agriculture and it only results in making the farmer busier.
My way is opposite. I was aiming at a pleasant, natural way of farming which results in making the work easier rather than harder. “How about not doing this? How about not doing that?” – that was my way of thinking. I ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no need to plow, no need to compost, no need to use insecticide. When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary.