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.
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.
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.
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.