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The World We Choose

Peter Singer, Jane McAdam, David Wallace-Wells, Angie Abdilla
Chaired by Simon Longstaff
Sat 4 April 4:00pm Centennial Hall
Sat 4 April 4:00pm Centennial Hall
Every action has power and every inaction gives that power to someone else. How hard are you really trying to change the world?

There are lots of problems in the world-climate change, the fate of refugees, poverty, Indigenous disadvantage- and it’s easy to complain about them. But it’s a lot harder to actually do something to try to fix them. In a liberal democracy, it is difficult to claim that things are beyond our control, and not the cumulative result of our (in)decisions. Perhaps just voting in elections is not enough. Many of us choose to ignore the looming issues and continue to prioritise convenience, but if we’re not directly tackling the issues ourselves, are we implicitly one of the perpetrators? In this special discussion session, a group of brilliant thinkers will examine what it will take for us to face the reality that every decision and moment of apathy is creating the society we are living in. Is it too late to make better choices – and a better world?

This talk is part of UNSW Grand Challenges program.

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
Jane Goodall

Angie Abdilla

Angie Abdilla is a Palawa, (Trawlwoolway) woman who works with Indigenous cultural knowledges to inform placemaking, service design and the resulting deep technologies for both the public and private sectors. Her published research on Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence was presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Angie and Old Ways, New have published the co-edited the book, Decolonising the Digital: Technology as Cultural Practice, and co-founded the pioneering international Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence symposium. She previously lectured and led studio’s on Human/Technology inter-Relations and Futuring methodologies at the University of Technology Sydney and continues to publicly present on the topic. Angie is a Fellow of The Ethics Centre and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney.


Jane McAdam

Jane McAdam is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. She publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change, disasters and displacement. In 2017, she received the prestigious international Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration, becoming the first Australian recipient of the award. She was also one of four finalists for the NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year in 2017. She was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School in fall 2019 and will be a Global Professor at NYU Law School in fall 2020.


Peter Singer

Peter Singer is known for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life doctrine in bioethics, and for his writings on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. He first became well-known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975. In 2005, Time magazine named Singer one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University.


David Wallace-Wells

David Wallace-Wells is a national fellow at the New America foundation and a columnist and deputy editor at New York magazine. He was previously the deputy editor of The Paris Review.
Since 2017, Wallace-Wells has written extensively about climate change. His best known work is The Uninhabitable Earth. He lives in New York City.