How to do more good this year

It’s about this time of year that in a moderately hungover fashion, I cast my mind back and ponder what I have achieved in the last 12 months.

In my day job and as a volunteer, I work at trying to increase public participation in governance.

And I do ultimately think that a more democratic system of governance – across political deliberation, decision making and across public services, coupled with citizenship education and better informed citizens – is the kind of systemic change required to solve the big problems.

However…

I’m aware that this systemic shift might take a while.

In the meantime, it makes me happy to think that each of us still has the capacity to be extremely effective in making the world a better place. That is, increasing the net wellbeing of everyone on the planet.

There are now nearly 1,500 members of Giving What We Can, the network of folks who donate a significant proportion of their salary to do as much good as they can. This is typically realised as donations to low-cost high-impact health interventions. So far, the membership has donated $10m, and is projected to give $500m over members’ lifetimes.

For me, in 2015, I earned £35,000 (before tax). I’m donating £3,500 to their trust, which in turn passes the money to four charities:

  • Against Malaria Foundation
  • Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
  • Deworm the World
  • Project Healthy Children

According to the number-crunchers this should be enough to:

  • distribute 600+ bed nets to prevent malaria; or
  • 3,000+ deworming treatments

…the equivalent to saving at least one life this year.

That’s a Happy New Year.

Learn more (and even try it out) here.

P.S. I’ve also tried to offset my carbon footprint separately with the great Cool Earth and 350.org.

(Photo credit: BY-NC-ND 2.0 Paul Brock Photography)

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