Feedback requested for an animal advocacy and longtermist career (direct and research)

by MichaelDello1 min read18th Jun 20204 comments

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I'm finishing my PhD in space science in a few months (hopefully!) and am looking at career opportunities. I'm particularly interested in working in animal advocacy or longtermist work (e.g. think Future of Humanity Research Institute), in particular how we can reduce suffering of humans and non-humans in to the future. I've been developing a list of organisations I'd like to apply to for work, and would like to share them here, both for reference and for any feedback or organisations I've missed. I've also provided my specific background and situation.

My primary goal is to be elected to the upper house of either NSW state government (3 years from now) or Australian federal government (2 years from now) for the Animal Justice Party. I think I have a realistic chance at this and will have this in mind when choosing where to work. My preference therefore is for work based in Australia, or work that can be done remotely, but I'm open to moving internationally. My PhD is in space science, and I've been looking at the use of geophysics for off-Earth mining, colonisation and asteroid/comet deflection. I've been writing about existential risks and influencing the far future alongside this.

My other background is working with various EA chapters and organisations, an undergrad in geology and geophysics, working as a geophysicist in the resources industry, and various political and non-political animal advocacy and outreach.

Faunalytics
80000 Hours
Rethink priorities
Future of Humanity Institute
Centre for the study of existential risk
Commission for the Human Future
NSW Animal Liberation
Animals Australia
Vegan Outreach
Sentience Institute
Sentience Politics
Animal Charity Evaluators
Australian Space Agency
ALLFED
Mercy for Animals
Open Philanthropy Project/Good ventures
Foundational Research Institute
Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative
GFI
Food Froniter
Other ACE recommended charities
ProVeg
Vision of Earth
Wild animal initiative
Qualia Research Institute
Centre for reducing suffering

Any feedback on these organisations, or if there are some along the theme that I'm missing, or any other advice, would be greatly appreciated.

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One consideration: how do your choices affect your chances of getting elected?

Have you considered non-political work for the Australian government? Maybe policy work related to your PhD? Is that compatible with running (and having run) as a political candidate? EDIT: Ah, I see Australian Space Agency in your list.

Maybe also the UK Civil Service (as a Commonwealth citizen), but that might actually hurt your chance at getting elected in Australia if it signals "allegiance" to another country.

Have you ruled out earning to give?

What about working at a plant-based or cultured substitutes company? See GFI's list.

Thank you so much for the feedback!

I did think about working for a government department (non-partisan), but I decided against it. From my understanding, you can't be working for 'the crown' and running for office, you'd have to take time off or quit.

The space agency was my thinking along those lines, as I don't think that counts as working for the crown.

I hadn't thought about the UK Civil Service. I've never looked in to it. I don't think that would affect me too much, as long as I'm not a dual citizen.

I haven't completely ruled out earning to give. I worked in the energy industry for 18 months before my PhD earning to give, but felt a pretty low personal fit for it. If I found a job that I was also intrinsically passionate about, I would consider it, but not otherwise.

Ah I hadn't thought about the for-profit plant-based food tech side of things, thanks, I'll think about that.

Just so you know, FRI is now CLR.

Another EA org doing work for animals is Charity Entrepreneurship. You could also start a charity through their incubation program, although doing so might not leave you much time to run with the Animal Justice Party.

Hello Michael,

1) Have you read the book "How to Create a Vegan World: A Pragmatic Approach" by Tobias Leenaert? I believe it is a very good reference for effective vegan advocacy.

2) I have noticed UN is not on your list. Have you considered working, for example, for UN's COPUOS?

By the way, I sympathise with your position because I will finish my MSc thesis (Preliminary Trajectory Design for a CubeSat Mission to a Near-Earth Object) in a few months (hopefully!), and I am also looking for an effective career. I only found out about EA, via 80000 Hours, at the beginning of my MSc, and noticed that Aerospace Engineeing does not seem to be in high demand. According to the 80000 Hours most pressing problems page, the topic more closely related to Space seems to be "Governance of outer space" from the "Potential highest priorities" list. However, economics or law backgrounds are likely more suitable than engineering for that area...

Do you think there might be other effective careers in Space, such that I could capitalise on my Aerospace Engineering background? For example, in terms of planetary protection, besides asteroid collision risks, space weather and space debris could be relevant. I wonder if I should aim for a Phd in these sort of areas... Any advide would be appreciated!

I have also been fantasising about being a representive of the party " People–Animals–Nature" (the Portuguese party closest to Animal Justice Party). I have only became a member a few months ago, and have not been that involved, but I would like to change this.

Good luck for your Phd!

Vasco