This was a commission from Nature Magazine for the Opinion column written by Daniel Gilbert. The headline was “Facing Grave Danger” with a strap line,”Our brains are hardwired to make poor decisions about harm prevention in a modern world. But we can fight it.”
It was a fascinating read about how our poor decision-making was putting us at enormous risk of sending humanity into an early grave.
The piece started with an introduction about a system that was introduced in 1876 to prevent premature burial. People were afraid of being buried alive, so bodies were left for a period of time before they were interred to see if they’d come round!
The piece then goes on to illustrate how one decision is made at the expence of another (the guy who wrote this has a PhD in this particular area, I am giving a synopsis!) and how this tied in with our tendency to make bad decisions with our “African Savannah” brain, which makes us more afraid of snakes than climate change.
So to keep humanity out of an early grave (i.e. being killed off by climate change, deforestation, over-fishing, burning fossil fuels etc) we need to start making better decisions. So the illustration was to be a grave digger with images of the things we aren’t afraid of (but should be) on his body.