If you’re not familiar with him, Peter Singer is an Australian-born philosopher who teaches at Princeton and who wrote Animal Liberation in 1975, helping to launch the animal rights movement. A practitioner of applied ethics, he has also taken controversial positions on euthanasia. Nowadays, he’s working on less sensitive issues. His latest book is called The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, and it makes the basic point that most of us could be doing more, with very little effort, to save lives around the world.
It’s a given that we would rush to save a small child about to step into oncoming traffic. That’s a no-brainer, an instinct. But, if we’re told that we can save the lives of children worldwide by giving token amounts of money each month, we often react indifferently and then go out and consume. In this interview heard on San Francisco airwaves this morning, (MP3 – iTunes – Feed), Singer gets into how small sacrifices can make big differences, and why we should make them. And if you’re looking for charities that can help make these differences, Singer provides a helpful list on his web site.