The Life You Can Save

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, (MP3iTunesFeed), 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.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.