How to inspire a culture of giving

Global poverty can sometimes be felt by people as a problem that they are powerless to do much about. What if it is not? What if you could easily make a real impact by helping those who need it most? Since its launch in 2009, The Life You Can Save is a book that has served as a guide to show millions of people how to take powerful action to transform the lives of people thousands of miles away.

The book is entirely devoted to Effective Altruism (EA): do the most good, and its author, known as the Father of Effective Selflessness, is my guest today on Inside Ideas. Currently Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer is widely regarded as one of the most influential moral philosophers in the world.

Global movement

This influence extends far beyond academia. His work has changed the thinking of millions of people and improved the lives of that much. More than a book, The Life You Can Save has mobilized a global movement achieving results that can be characterized by improving human lives.

After purchasing the rights to the book, Professor Singer made the eBook and audio versions free through the Life You Can Save charity, with Stephen Fry and Kristen Bell among celebrity audiobook narrators.

I think we can achieve a better world that is not in peril like the one we live in now.

Pierre Singer

“We have a whole movement called effective altruism which explains how to be the most effective altruists. Not only to give some of your money away and do good, but to really make sure that you get the best bang for your buck for whatever you give. And this kind of idea applied to global poverty is in the book. He recommends and talks about some of these charities and directs you to our website where you can get the latest updated recommendations and you don’t have to pay.

There are also many EA groups around the world, from “small social groups to the biggest professional networks,” find one near you.

Animal suffering

Relieving animal suffering is a key goal for the EA movement, and Peter’s seminal book Animal Liberation, included by Time in its 2011 Top 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of 2011 Published in English, was called a “Philosophical Bomb” by PETA. that changed the conversation forever. on our treatment of animals ”.

“We must have a broader ethical approach, more global, more impartial, less speciesist. And then, if we use our intelligence, our technologies and our abilities, I think we can achieve a better world that is not in peril like the one we live in now, ”he said.

The covid pandemic is the latest hard lesson in the unhealthy relationships and interactions humans have with animals. And Professor Singer hopes it can be harnessed to inspire a change in destructive eating habits.

“A few years ago, in something I wrote about food, I pointed out that factory farming is a way of producing viruses. You take 20,000 chickens for example, you put them together in one shed, they are stressed from overcrowding and of course if viruses get into one of those birds they will get into all of them and they will mutate as they go. measure. through the herd. he explained. “So they can change and become more transferable to humans, and then you have human handlers who come and pick them up and throw them in crates to be thrown away for slaughter so they can easily pick up the viruses. And viruses appeared that way – the 2009 swine flu pandemic came off a factory farm. I’m not saying the coronavirus we’re living in right now has, but it certainly seems to come from animals, and the more contact with animals we have in terms of breeding for food, capturing animals. wild, habitat elimination, biodiversity so that animals are closer to us and come to invade more our properties, all these things create risks and we would do better if we produced less meat or ideally no meat and did not have the same risk, or a much lower risk of pandemics.

He added: “There are a lot of really bad things we do to the planet, to ourselves, to animals, but – it’s an opportunity, to eat less meat, because that’s one of the easiest ways to get out 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions that are going into the atmosphere right now without sacrificing anything. It would be way better than some of the other things we think about – how are we going to get by without flying or air conditioning? It really is a win-win for everyone. “

Professor Singer not only discusses the biggest questions in the world, he elucidates the behaviors, actions and mindsets that can answer them. So I’m delighted to dive deep into some of these questions with one of the greatest philosophical thinkers of our time.


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