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Severe Climate

About effective environmentalism

Effective environmentalism is a research field and practical community that aims to find the best ways to tackle environmental issues, and put them into practice.

We've re-launched this initiative in early 2024.

What is effective environmentalism?

Effective environmentalism is a philosophical and social movement applying the principles of effective altruism to environmental challenges like climate change, air pollution, and biodiversity collapse.

This means that effective environmentalists:

  • Use evidence, reasoning, and careful analysis to find the best ways to tackle environmental challenges.

  • Act according to these insights.

This makes effective environmentalism both a research field, which aims to identify promising solutions to environmental challenges, and a practical community of people and organisations using these findings to do good.

What principles unite effective environmentalism?

Effective environmentalism isn't one set of projects, but a set of principles underpinning its search for the best ways of tackling environmental challenges:

  1. Prioritisation. Our goal is to find the best ways of tackling environmental challenges, so it's important to numerically weigh how much different actions help. Some actions have impacts that are several orders of magnitude larger than average. This research is important, because our intuitions aren't great at understanding scale, and we are in constant triage.

  2. Open truth-seeking. Instead of sticking to one way of doing things right from the start, it's important to look at many different ways to help and find the best ones. This means spending a lot of time thinking carefully about what you believe, always being open to new ideas and evidence, and being ready to change your mind a lot.

  3. Consider humans and animals. We build a healthy environment so that people and animals can live in safety and comfort. We shouldn't turn a blind eye to the welfare implications of environmental actions, but make sure that they benefit prosperity. Likewise, we can make environmental action work to reduce animal suffering.

  4. Collaborative spirit. Effective environmentalism has strong roots in utilitarianism, but this doesn't mean that the ends always justify the means. Building an impactful environmental movement requires integrity, honesty, and compassion to effectively collaborate. Together we can achieve more.

How can you take action?

There isn't a set way to take action as effectively as possible. This depends on your personal fit and circumstances. People interested in effective environmentalism frequently apply the ideas of the movement by:

  • Choosing impactful careers that contribute to environmental solutions or a better understanding of the causes and drivers of environmental change.

  • Donating to carefully chosen, independently evaluated charities.

  • Grow the effective environmentalism movement and inspire others to take action, too.

Who runs this website?

This website is maintained by Ruben Dieleman and Soemano Zeijlmans, who also run the Effective Environmentalism newsletter. We currently run this initiative in our free time, but hope to turn it into a larger organisation to grow the community.

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