Effective Altruism is a growing social movement, aimed at finding the best way to help others. I was first introduced to do this after hearing a thought experiment from the philosopher Bryan Singer. It goes something like this:
You just left home on the way to some event, wearing your newly purchased clothes and shoes. While walking, you came across a pond. When you moved closer, you realize there is a child in the water, struggling for air, drowning. Of course, you think immediately to save the child. Even when you will mess up your new attire, you do not think twice because that child’s life is much more important.
We do not have to imagine ourselves in that situation as we are currently living in it. Millions of children are dying in the poorer parts of the world from causes that could be easily prevented with proper investment. If we are not doing anything, are we then just choosing to walk past the child?
This story really impacted me. I don’t remember anymore how I first came across it. But, since then, I’ve been more fascinated with the movement.
I then started following the relevant websites and podcasts surrounding the movement. The first is the Effective Altruism website, which mostly talks about the philosophy behind the movement itself. The second one is GiveWell which researchers which effective charities to donate to. I then came across 80,000 hours which is more about pursuing high impact careers. 80,000 refers to the number of hours people on average work in their careers. I then started following the relevant podcasts such as 80,000 hours and Vox’s Future Perfect.
Honestly, I still do not know how I will get involved. I already had dialogues with the community leaders here in Spain. I am hoping to make the Barcelona chapter much more active. We will see.