Would you save two strangers or your partner?

A review of ‘Strangers Drowning’ by Larissa MacFarquhar

By the end I was sad.

It all started well. The writing style is very vivid, very intimate. It draws you in. You peer through the window into these people’s lives, they invite you in and you become friends. Together you share in their triumphs and their pain.

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What would the Martians think?

Last weekend I saw The Martian in the cinema with my family.   It was a really enjoyable film.  At times entertaining, gripping and emotional.   Much more interesting than what I had feared might be a rather slow and self pitying one man show.  Matt Damon made a very compelling botanist and started to erase the image of him in my mind from Team America.

But I should make clear now; this is not a film review.  These are just the thoughts running through my head whilst watching the film about what our films, our stories and our heroes say about our ethics…

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Why I choose to give now

Each year more than six million people die from preventable diseases. 2.4 billion people live on less than $2 every single day day.

If your average person in the US just donated 10% of their income they could protect 700 people from malaria for at least three years with mosquito nets or treat 7,100 people for neglected tropical diseases that keep them from work and school.

But what if you could double or triple even those numbers? What if in the future we discover even more helpful ways to donate our money? Would we regret ‘wasting’ our donations on less effective interventions in the past?

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EA Global Oxford: Figure out the most good you can do and then do it

Last weekend I attended the Effective Altruism Global conference in Oxford. This was the third in a series that saw events in Melbourne and at the Googleplex in California. These events were the biggest in Effective Altruism’s short history.

Even two weeks later my mind is still buzzing with all of the fascinating things I learnt, my inbox and Facebook feed are going crazy with messages from the great people I met and I’m trying to keep up with all the exciting projects I could make a difference in.

This means I could probably write at least another ten blog posts based around things I got out of the conference. But today I want to share with you a simple yet powerful message.

If you care about helping others and making a positive impact in the world then what you need to do is quite straightforward.

Figure out how to do the most good in the world you possibly can.

Then do it.

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7 Tips for More Cost-Effective Giving

Have you taken the Giving What We Can pledge? Maybe you’re trying giving. Or you’ve switched your old donations to more effective ones. Perhaps you’re fundraising for effective charities.

Whatever you are doing it’s fantastic.

Thanks to Giving What We Can we know donating to a top charity makes a huge difference. What you might be missing to make your giving go even further are just a few tips on the method or timing of your giving.

Here are 7 tips to make your giving that bit more effective. Continue reading

Tell all your friends!

This year I finally took the Giving What We Can pledge and now donate 10% of my income to the most effective charities. It’s been a really rewarding experience, and I have got to know a fantastic community of like-minded people in the process. I join 1100 other people who donate 10% or more of their income with Giving What We Can. Together we’ve pledged $434 million to some of the best charities out there. What could be more incredible than that?

How about 2200 members? $868 million pledged?

Giving What We Can doubled their membership in 2014 and broke 1000 members this year. They are planning to double our members and thus our impact.

We can help.

We can grow the membership, we can increase the funds raised, we can spread the word.

We can be advocates.

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8 ways to shop more ethically

Long time readers may remember that many of the positive changes I am trying to make – around which this blog is based – were nudged along by my Day Zero List.  One task from this list of my 1001 things to do in 101 days was to make 5 ethical swaps.   As I began writing this I thought I had been slacking and had one left to go but I realise I also switched my e-reader so I can tick this one off.  Brilliant!

In this – the third and final part of my easy ethical changes series – I’ll share with you the swaps I’ve made for this task plus a few other ideas I’d like to try.  I’ll need you all to help hold me to trying at least one!

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10 Easy Vegan Swaps

Thinking about going vegetarian or vegan but don’t know where to start?  Why not just try and make a few simple lifestyle swaps to make your life more animal and environmentally friendly?

Guest blogger here at Practically Ethics, Coralie (aka El Skief) recently wrote about how even being a bit more vegetarian or vegan is better than not trying at all.   To help you do the best you can here are a few easy things you can swap to be that bit more vegan.

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What kind of fundraiser are you?

There are a couple of big things you, yes you, can do to help support some of the most effective causes.  You can tell people about them and you can get money for them.

Fundraising for effective charities is an ideal way of doing both. All you need is passion and time.

According to Just Giving the average fundraising page receives £177.

Donated to effective charities this could mean 354 people treated for Schistosomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases , around 88 anti-malaria nets protecting two people for 3-5 years or nutritionally fortified food for over 2950 people!

That’s a huge impact right there.

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