Topic Contributions


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

If anyone is still reading this today and is curious where I ended up, I just took a job with Sentience Institute as a Strategy Lead & Researcher.

Updating on Nuclear Power

Cost is one factor, but nuclear also has other advantages such as land use, amount of raw material required (to make the renewables and lithium etc. for battery storage), and benefits for power grid.

It's nice that renewables is getting cheaper, and I'd definitely like to see more renewables in the mix, but my ideal long term scenario is a mix of nuclear, renewables and battery. I'm weakly open to a small amount of gas being used for power generation in the long term in some cases.

Minor political parties as an advocacy strategy: The case of animal politics

Hm, good to know and fair point!  I wonder if we can test the effect of extra funding over what's needed to run a passable campaign by investing say $5,000 in online ads etc. in a particular electorate, but even that is hard to compare to other electorates given the number of factors. If anyone else has ideas for measuring impact of extra funding, I'd love to hear it!

Minor political parties as an advocacy strategy: The case of animal politics

Seeking grants from EA grant makers is something I haven't at all considered. I wonder if there are any legal restrictions on this as a political party recipient  (I haven't looked into this but could foresee some potential issues with foreign sources of funding). On the one hand, AJP can generate its own funds, but I feel like we are still funding constrained in the sense that an extra $10,000 per state branch per election (at least) could almost always be put to good use. Do you think we should we look into this, particularly with the federal election coming up?

Minor political parties as an advocacy strategy: The case of animal politics

"This being said, the format of legislative elections in France makes it very unlikely that a deputy from the animalist party will ever be elected, and perhaps limits our ability to negotiate with the other parties."

This makes some sense, as unfortunate as it is. Part of the motivation for other parties being willing to negotiate with you or adopt their own incrementally pro-animal policies is based on how worried they are that they might lose a seat to your party. If they're not at all worried, this limits your influence.

But I wouldn't say it entirely voids your influence. The more votes you receive, the more it shows other parties that people care about animals enough to vote accordingly. If they want to try and gain some of those votes to beat out other opponents from major parties, they may still adopt some pro-animal policies if they think it might mean getting elected. I think it's still possible to have some influence in systems where minor parties are unlikely to get elected.

Minor political parties as an advocacy strategy: The case of animal politics

I just want to add that I personally became actively involved with the AJP because I felt that political advocacy from within political parties had been overly neglected by the movement. My intuition was that this is because some of the earlier writings about political advocacy/running for election work by 80,000 Hours and others focused mostly on the US/UK political systems, which I understand are harder for small parties to have any influence (especially the US).

One advantage of being in a small party is that it's relatively easy to become quite senior quite quickly if you are dedicated, and then have a modest influence on party policy and strategy.

By way of disclosure, I reviewed a draft of this post and am a member of the AJP (e.g. have run as a candidate several times and am the deputy convener of the NSW state branch).

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

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.

X-risks to all life v. to humans

Am I reading the 0.1% probability for nuclear war right as the probability that nuclear war breaks out at all, or the probability that it breaks out and leads to human extinction? If it's the former, this seems much too low. Consider that twice in history nuclear warfare was likely averted by the actions of a single person (e.g. Stanislav Petrov), and we have had several other close calls ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_close_calls ).

Why making asteroid deflection tech might be bad

When I say that the idea is entrenched in popular opinion, I'm mostly referring to people in the space science/engineering fields - either as workers, researchers or enthusiasts. This is anecdotal based on my experience as a PhD candidate in space science. In the broader public, I think you'd be right that people would think about it much less, however the researchers and the policy makers are the ones you'd need to convince for something like this, in my view.

Why making asteroid deflection tech might be bad

We were pretty close to carrying out an asteroid redirect mission too (ARM), it was only cancelled in the last few years. It was for a small asteroid (~ a few metres across), but it could certainly happen sooner than I think most people suspect.

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