Preventative Cost to Avert Danger: The Benefits of Prevention Far Outweigh the Costs

The benefits of prevention far outweighs the cost associated with it.

In most cases it is always desirable to prevent things from happening especially if these things pose risk or danger to people. As the old adage says "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."

The Concept of Preventative Cost

In the field of environmental science, particularly when trying to weigh the benefits of conservation, the concept of preventative cost is an important concept. Preventative cost is the cost incurred to avert possible negative or dangerous environmental consequences. For example, farmers may build terraces or plant hedges along the edges of upland farms to prevent erosion that will rapidly reduce soil fertility. Or trees may be planted around one's lot to reduce the impact of strong winds to homes during severe storms. Or dikes may be built to prevent erosion of coastal fringes. On a large scale, the investments made to prevent severe global climate change can avert extreme conditions that may threaten the planet earth. The costs involved in conducting environmental research, innovations in environmental technology, enforcement of environmental policy to mitigate the effects of industrial and automotive emissions, among others can be categorized under preventative costs.

Life of a Motorcyclist

The idea of preventative cost is not only applicable in the field of environmental science but in almost all facets of daily life. For example, to prevent serious injury from road accident, a motocyclist should buy a helmet, leather support for the elbows, shoulder padding, leather boots, among others. A person driving a car should always allocate maintenance costs to keep the vehicle in top shape and prevent such things as losing brakes just because the brake fluid is gone. Or simply wearing a hat when the sun is high up to prevent stroke or hypertension.

But some people seem pathetic to the danger they put themselves just because of carelessness. In many cases, this author observed many motorcyclists wearing their helmets around their elbows. Are helmets not made to protect the head, not the elbows?

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Why are motorcyclists not wearing their helmets? Some of those mentioned are the following:

1. Helmets are too heavy.

2. This need not be worn when someone drives slow.

3. Helmets are expensive.

4. A helmet messes up hair.

5. Air could not circulate well in a helmet and makes their head hot.

6. Other people don't wear their helmets.

7, There are very few vehicles on the road.

8. They will not be recognize when they wear one.

For sure these are bad reasons because a simple helmet that costs $20 dollars far outweigh the costs of hospitalization when indeed someone meets an accident. Is a broken head better than a messed up hair?

Make Do

Other people are also content with "make do" or palliative solutions. Until such time that their vehicle's tires become so bald with use, these do not get replaced. Even just plain procrastination in changing parts that rattle or malfunction can bring disaster.

Global Implications

To avert the danger of untoward incidents or outcomes from happening, it is therefore sensible that people care enough to think that the relatively small amount they invest in preventing likely events or disastrous consequences will have a long way to go. In the global scenario for example, the issues of global warming or global climate change must not be taken lightly but must be in everyone's agenda. People need to invest in efficient, sustainable technologies and renewable energy sources that will save resources or reduce harmful emissions. This was aptly demonstrated even by a simple rural, indigenous folk through his passion in producing cheap electricity (see Ingenuity by Indigenous People: Hydroelectric Generation Through Material Reuse). Or one can simply choose to undertake an environment-friendly farming system like natural farming.

The idea of preventative cost must be borne in mind especially when dealing with irreversible environmental damages that may well persist and compromise man's future.


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Posted on Aug 8, 2011
Tanya Wallace
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Posted on May 23, 2010