Hello, I am unpleasantly surprised by how few activists are concerned with the risks to humanity on the general/effective side compared to how many activists there are over climate, environment, etc. I think technology is a far bigger risk and can strike sooner than, for example, global warming. Additionally, AI will likely be able to solve nature's problems easily. Therefore, I think that activists should focus primarily on research and development of safe technologies.
I am a beginning existential risks activist and I would like make some climate activists think and take their mission more broadly and effectively. But I certainly don't want to make the situation worse, which is why I'm asking for your opinion here.
Convincing people what to be activists about has a huge potential, but it can also make things worse. Convincing people of anything carries the risk of various types of failure, and for example Toby Ord in his book The Precipice says that convincing others to fight for a cause other than the one they hold dear is (worse than) counterproductive.
Do you think that Ord is right? Do you think there is a type of communication with activists if I want them to see their mission a little differently?
I think that a big problem is, for example, their feeling that they belong somewhere, which for some can be the most important thing about their activism. I would take that one from them because existential risks activism is still weak and thus does not have a large community they could belong to.
Here is my plan:
- contact several activists and talk to them. to test how willing they are to talk about the effectiveness of their activism.
- draft an open letter to activists accordingly
- ask individual activists how it affects them
- correct it according to feedback
- publish it
I think it would be important to emphasize that they does not have to abandon their cause, that it is enough to see it from a broader perspective. That we want the same thing (nice planet, nature, for people and animals), we just want to achieve it differently. That they don't have to leave their climate community (in fact, it may be better if they stay in it to spread new ideas there). And that I appreciate their work and have no doubts about the importance of the environment. It is also not necessary to organize demonstrations etc., I think that at this stage it is enough for people to educate themselves and learn to perceive the risks. So I don't want anything difficult from them.
I would appreciate your opinions on this topic. Above all, I am concerned with how not to damage our cause. Inefficient effort is not so bad and can be made more efficient. Alternatively, I would welcome more advice on how to be a good existential risks activist. Thanks