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I’ve seen it asserted many times that humans are not disposed to taking care of the environment because we are not fine tuned to deal with prevention. Environmental protection is about preventing bad things from happening in the future, and we are consumed with instant gratification and easy fixes to our problems.

Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows. I just wonder how we reconcile such a view with the fact that religiosity is so important? Is eternal damnation after our death not something we are trying to prevent? And indeed much of the concern in the health care debate is about preventing future health problems from arising. The sporting goods industry booms by selling us running shoes, swimming trunks and exercise equipment – in part because we want to look better to attract mates, but certainly because we are considering the consequences of not being healthy.

Readers are encouraged to share other observations about what we do today to prevent undesirable outcomes in the future from happening. Consider this my prophylactic petition for the week. Maybe the things we consider only apply to ourselves. Do we take prophylactic measures on behalf of others? My wife and I have savings accounts for our kids, does that count.

5 Responses to “Prevention, Instant Gratification and Easy Fixes”

  1. sherlock says:

    Insurance, except for the mandated kind, is an individual taking preventive measures.

    Also, I was at the Giants-Redskins game on Sunday. In order to prevent my misery at the typical Giants second-half collapse and inevitable loss to the horrible Redkins, I got drunk.

  2. jb says:

    Geez the list is endless here, c’mon. 401(k), IRA, rainy day savings, aren’t we sacrificing to prevent the possibility we might not be able to afford bread tomorrow?

    To the contrary of this assertion that we are not wired for prevention, I would submit that most of us are risk averse. In fact the life insurance business exists based on the fact that most of us are willing to accept a bad bet that we will die early.

  3. Steve says:

    Wearing seat belts, particularly before mandated. Brushing your teeth, washing your hands, etc.. As jb said, it is an endless list, and I would argue that immediate gratification activities are guided by a sense of prevention, such as “better eat something now, it may not be there tomorrow.”

  4. Unrelated to the post:

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

  5. Brent says:

    I have at least 10 days of food on hand as recommended by FEMA. We have bug out bags for whatever reason. I have cash on hand for emergencies. But those are in case bad things happen. I guess, what I do today so bad things DON’T happen- well that would be like changing my oil- and brushing my teeth. OH, I don’t use credit cards or borrow money!

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