Senior Geothermal Associate at Clean Air Task Force, working on next-generation superhot rock energy. Interested in climate change and systems thinking.
Thanks for the feedback! I updated the title to be a bit more descriptive
Thanks for catching! I missed them when doing my initial scan of the nominees list.
Hi Ben! I have been checking your podcast feed and haven't seen this episode come up. Did I miss something, or do you have a sense of when it will be posted?
I'm curious to know what open questions he has after all the research he's done. What research still needs to be done? What are the biggest areas of uncertainty that he sees in this space?
Do you worry at all about a bait-and-switch experience that new people might have?
I would hope that people wouldn't feel this way. I think neartermism is a great on-ramp to EA, but I don't think it has to be an on-ramp to longtermism. That is, if someone joins EA out of an interest in neartermism, learns about longtermism but isn't persuaded, and continues to work on EA-aligned neartermist stuff, I think that would be a great outcome.
And thank you for the fact-checking on the books!
I agree that it should be! Just not sure it is, at least not for everyone
These are very reasonable concerns. To address them, I think it might make sense to limit submissions so that only people employed at EA orgs could submit, and only for bills related to their work at the org. Those people would presumably have the specialized knowledge needed to evaluate the legislation, and most EA orgs aren't advocating for legislation that is polarizing within the community.
Alternately, submissions could stay open to everyone but the person receiving/organizing the submissions could be empowered to ask for more info about the submission, ask for qualifications from the person proposing the idea, or even delete submissions that aren't aligned to current EA priorities (e.g. related to abortion). I'd like to believe that, if the submission form asked folks to only submit things they had a lot of knowledge about, that they would self-monitor.
I think this could be a great approach, but my concern is that people might not check the forum often enough (or might not check the tag). My personal experience suggests that one email every few weeks with a list of bills to call about all in one place would be better. But of course that might not be true for others!
I've heard this from activists I trust, but can't cite a specific source. That said, this article (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/what-calling-congress-achieves) has a paragraph which discusses the impact of calling about small bills (control-F "mud-flap" to find the paragraph).
I paid for a lifetime subscription to Freedom (freedom.to/), an app that blocks certain websites from your phone and computer during pre-set windows. It cost like $60 (one-time cost) and has made an extraordinary difference in my productivity.
Things my office has bought me that are well worth the money/that I will buy for myself in the future if I need to: a mouse/mousepad, a second monitor, and a good (comfortable, height-adjustable) office chair.