Sunday, March 1, 2009

Peter Singer, Choice Theory and CHANGE!

It's been ages since I've blogged - life has been so busy...but hopefully now things will be different.

Firstly though - I went to hear Peter Singer speak at UWA the other night about his book 'The Life you can Change'. He discussed aspects of the psychology of giving, why people do or don't etc. His speech was moving and very interesting.

He talked about the fact that people don't give because they don't think the money gets there, the issue never improves (there's STILL poverty in Africa after decades of aid) they don't see other people giving and think 'Why should I when others have more money?' they feel like it's a drop in the ocean etc etc.
The facts tell a very different story. 20years ago 40% of the world were in extreme poverty, now it's only 20%. The aid is getting there - in more effective ways (which support whole villages and promote self-sustainability). And as he points out, it's not about the ones you can't save - our focus needs to be on the life we CAN save.
There were suggestions from the audience about the government giving on our behalf via taxes, but Peter Singer said whilst that was a good idea, some people were put off it because when you give through taxes your donations go to the politically motivated destinations. Australian aid predominantly goes to PNG, Indonesia and Iraq.

A lot was said, but in essence his plea was for not for some people to give a lot, but for everyone to give a little. His suggestion for an low to average income was 1% and the scale rises with income proportionally.

He has set up a website where you can pledge your support. We talked about it and decided we would pledge this and work on it this year through buying many of our goods through OxFam (they have heaps of Fairtrade Organic stuff like tea and coffee) and buying'unwrapped' goods for family and friends who would appreciate it. The kids decided they'd like us to buy a goat as a family too so that's next pay's project.

Check out the website yourself. You can buy his book from it too if you're interested in buying it.

On another note - I returned from the 4 day intensive Choice Theory course...changed.
I walked into work straight after and resigned from my HOD position. Still teaching but not as HOD. I feel liberated! I learned that sometimes what you want and what you need are two very different things. And I will be making very different choices as a result.

To anyone out there who has heard of Choice Theory and contemplated doing the Intensive Course - I say GO FOR IT. I know this has/will be life changing for me, and the flow on for my family and how I interact with others is already noticeable. What a positive experience.

Have a wonderful week. :)


Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

What an inspirational story. I'm so glad you led me to you!

Unfortunately, the bead soup drawing already happened... but, one of your countrywomen (Linda Stokes) won it!

Cwm Goch Chronicles said...

Thanks Beverly!
I'll be back for more inspiration from your site anyway!
your work is beautiful :)