Environmental prevention: why do we need it now and how to advance it?
In order to embrace different cultures of prevention in various scientific and behavioural domains, action is needed not only at the governmental levels but also among prevention professionals and the public themselves. Traditional approaches to prevention have in common that they address individuals (e.g., adolescents, parents), social groups (e.g., school classes, families, peer groups) or entire populations with the aim to induce mostly deliberate, intentional and motivated changes in behaviour, based on the assumption that people choose their behaviours consciously through rational decision-making. Yet, the contexts of behaviour as well as its frequently impulsive, habitual or even automatic aspects are less or not considered. Decision makers and front-line professionals need normative and argumentative support to engage in improved prevention strategies that change the context and affordances of human behaviour and limit the commercial strategies that capitalise on faulty decision making. The beliefs in the efficacy and legitimacy of environmental prevention strategies have to be mainstreamed. The experiences with COVID19 and with tobacco regulation have shown how much new laws and policies combined with enforcement have changed behaviours and habits first, and by changing behaviours changed norms and perception of legitimacy that eventually might have a generational effect. The session will be an open debate about the potentials, challenges and ethical implications of environmental prevention.