This TED talk by Peter Singer starts off with the story of the two-year-old girl who was hit by a van and was ignored by passerby people, which was deeply unsettling to millions in China. At this point, most of us are thinking, “how can a human being do that?”, “I would never do that… But Singer says before we give ourselves too much credit we need to reflect on UNICEF “reports that in 2011, 6.9 million children under five died from preventable, poverty-related diseases. Singer questions if it really matters whether or not weʻre not walking past them in the street, that the children dying are far away, are of different nationality and ethnicity. He asks “what is really important is if we can help reduce the death toll? Can we save some of those 19,000 children dying every day?” “And the answer is, yes we can.”
Singer says that each of us spends money on frivolous things, on things we donʻt really need. If we just took that money and for example, donated it to the Against Malaria Foundation, they would use the money to buy mosquito nets, which would protect the children and reduce the number of children dying from malaria, “just one of the many preventable diseases that are responsible for some of those 19,000 children dying every day.”
Singer says that itʻs fortunate that more and more people get this idea and the result is a growing movement called effective altruism, which combines both the heart and the head. The heart connected to the kind of empathy that understands human suffering no matter where in the world they are and the head makes sure what you do is effective and well directed.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
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