Effective Altruism

  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Status
  • Project created by Philo

The Problem

My wish is that more people will learn about effective ways to give their time and money.

Our Plan

My project was to complete the day of compassion assignment for Scott Plous' Social Psychology course on Coursera by making a significant contribution to a high-impact charity and writing about the thought process behind it, in an attempt to educate more people about the most effective ways to give. I did this by donating $1,000 to Population Services International, which does very effective work in improving the lives of people worldwide, and then writing about it to spread the word about how to give effectively. If one cares about maximizing the one's positive impact in the world, some ways are better than others, and it's often quite hard to tell what works and what doesn't just by thinking about what a charity does or considering things such as its overhead costs. For example, if you care about making people healthier, there are lots of possible choices. For example, one could donate to a charity that deals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or you could donate to an organization that prevents the spread of malaria by distributing bed nets in developing countries. The best evidence suggests that it costs around $50,000 to add a year of healthy life for the former case, and about $30-40 in the latter; thus, if you care about making the world much healthier, the largest impact would be to donate to the latter cause. My donation was enough to make most of someone's entire adulthood healthy (the work Population Services International does adds a year of healthy life for about $35), and I was able to do so from the comfort of my own living room. By combining the head and the heart, we can make a much bigger impact on the world. If you're interested in learning more about this concept, search the internet for "effective altruism" to learn more about how with a little thought, anyone can make the world a much better place.

Themes Addressed

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    Food Choices

The Benefit

About Roots & Shoots

We are nurturing the compassionate leaders of tomorrow.

Get To Know Our Model

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