Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Operations Lead for Animal Advocacy Africa (& @Animal_Africa). Cameron ran his own eCommerce business for several years before pivoting to charity entrepreneurship to have a more extensive & substantial positive impact on the world. Cameron has been involved in the Effective Altruism community for over ten years & went through Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 incubation program.
In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”
01:15 Cameron’s Intro
- Studying, business, Effective Altruism, earning to give, charity entrepreneurship, starting AAA
03:01 What’s Real?
- Growing up with a logical/reasoned/scientific mindset
- Attending church & religious school
- Being drawn to scepticism, rationalism, atheism, Effective Altruism
- Softening to consider Buddhism/spiritualist elements
- Meditation “It felt like there’s something more going on here”. Interconnectedness, a peace with determinism (no free will)
- There are some moral truths in religious thinking. Religion as metaphor
- Open mindedness & humility
15:30 What (& Who) Matters?
- An early sense of justice “I couldn’t sit back & do nothing”
- Suffering/contentment as a core moral axiom
- The asymmetry betwee suffering & flourishing
- We can learn & grow & become happier from suffering
- Over-simplifying suffering/flourishing
- “Notes From the Underground” by Dostoevsky & Alan Watts
- Understanding/truth/knowledge as a meta-goal for humanity?
- “You can kind of fit everything in” to sentience
- Considering moral scope as a teenager. Other humans. Other sentients. Veganism.
- Watching challenging YouTube ethical debate videos (Joey Carbstrong)… “I can’t answer this… It shook me.”
- A “who can be vegetarian for the longest” bet with a friend. Going vegan 4 weeks later
- The social/family aspect was the most difficult partly because “It challenges other people’s beliefs”
- “I’ve now channelled my vegan angst into this charity”
- “Changing your mind is possible.”
- Digital sentience?
- Animal farming as an obvious, tractable, human wrong
- Wild animal suffering vs. an idealistic reverence for “nature”
- Links between naturalistic epistemology & ethics
38:08 How Can we Make a Better World?
- Effective Altruism: “Doing the most good you can in an evidence based & effective way”
- EA should be a mass movement. Less insular
- Everyone should at least consider the effectiveness of charitable donations (as people invest for the best return)
- Different people can make very different contributions. It’s not “one size fits all”
- “I don’t see the world as a zero-sum game”
- Systemic/institutional change, policy as well as individual consumer/donation impact
- Animal Advocacy Africa: Solving an alignment problem. Matching willing funders with advocacy organisations & helping them capacity build
- Pilot programme completing now (mentors, funders, volunteers)
- AAA Analysis & reports on the state of animal advocacy in Africa, focusing on animal agriculture
- Factory farms are already appearing
- Avoiding the default of African countries following the path of industrial animal agriculture
- Cultural, governance, NGO immaturity challenges
- Very different theories of change are required across the continent: Resisting de-sensitisation, awareness of animal sentience…
- The massive potential for the advocacy movement across Africa
- JustTransition challenges re: traditional & local animal agriculture
- Aligning ethics, health & environmental drivers for win-win-win situations
- Volunteering, donation, job, networking opportunities with AAA & their local partner organisations
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.
Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.
Thanks Graham for the post-production.