THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE DIGEST

September, 2014

Thoughts From the Executive Director:

The blogs included in this month's newsletter largely address the issue of how we all decide how to ethically manage and share our relative abundance. Even when we believe we know the right course of action, the challenge for all of us is actually doing it... and doing it consistently.

All the religions I am aware of and many secular points of view define perfection. In the secular version, perfection is conceived in ethical terms like Peter Singer's analysis of giving in The Life You Can Save. But we all realize, whether we are religious or not, that we fall far short of perfection.

Psychologists have studied how people cope with this gap between what they believe is right to do and what they actually find themselves doing. This problem is often referred to as "cognitive dissonance." The tendency for most of us is to change our thought, in this case our view on giving, to conform with our actual behavior — not giving what we know we should and not giving it as effectively as we should. So we develop justifications for our behavior.

Our challenge at The Life You Can Save is to help people develop a clear foundation with which to examine the ethics of their giving, knowing that they might fall short of doing the most ethical thing, but not changing their view to conform to their shortcoming. Instead, we would like to acknowledge our own humanity, acknowledge our faults, but work consistently to improve our giving. By striving towards our personal best, we put the focus on giving more, and giving more where one's money will get the most bang for its buck. The Life You Can Save suggests a "Pledge" as a way of helping us keep to our goal of giving more.

Meeting this challenge is hard for all of us, including Peter Singer and those of us at The Life You Can Save, but we allow the goal of fighting the devastating effects of global poverty to remain in the forefront of our minds as we establish our personal budgets. We may move out of our comfort zone, but we come closer to living up to our own values.

There's more to come on this subject in the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy this month's many thoughtful blogs.

Good living and good giving,

Evidence Action (EA) as now our #1 recommended charity, along with Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). Find out why.

Evidence Action (EA) as now our #1 recommended charity, along with Schistomiasis Control Initiative (SCI).

We've made a change to our charity recommendations, adding Evidence Action to the list. Evidence Action now shares our top ranked spot along with SCI. If you're not familiar with Evidence Action, we hope you'll take a moment to learn about the outstanding work this organization does on behalf of the world's poor.

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Will you help make it "Possible" to treat another 200,000 patients in Nepal?

Will you help make it 'Possible' to treat another 200,000 patients in Nepal?

Possible's second Quarterly Impact Report appears here. As one of our recommended effective charities, Possible is a nonprofit health care company that delivers high-quality, low-cost medical services and treatment to the world's poor.

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How do you prioritize your spending?

How do you prioritize your spending?

There are countless things we can do with our money. More than half of us in the industrialized world can meet our basic needs and have the luxury to ponder our own answer to this question.

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How do we see extreme need when we can't see it?

How do we see extreme need when we can't see it?

Our desire to give to those emotionally and physically closest to ourselves is understandable — how do we see beyond this natural instinct?

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The impossible becomes even worse: facing climate change in the developing World.

The impossible becomes even worse:  facing climate change in the developing World.

Scientists predict that developing nations will be the most vulnerable to future climate change. But many of these countries have trouble handling even today's climate and weather. How will they survive the much greater changes to come?

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Twelve children a minute die from extreme poverty — can we start by saving just one?

Twelve children a minute die from extreme poverty - can we start by saving just one?

Every day 18,000 children die from hunger, measles, malaria, diarrhea, and other conditions that have been eradicated in the developed world. That's 750 children every hour, 12 children a minute. Why do we stand back while these children die, and what can we do to do our share to save a child's life?

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How much are we willing to spend to save a child's life?

How much are we willing to spend to save a child's life?

As former Director of Economic Analysis for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Roy Gamse became used to seeing costs per life saved in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. That's a stark contrast to the several thousands of dollars to save a life and $50 or less to prevent or cure a debilitating handicap via the charities spotlighted by The Life You Can Save.

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Thanks to "Seva," one of our recommended charities, Datso can now see her baby brother. Can you help another child do the same?

Thanks to Seva, one of our recommended charities, Datso can now see her baby brother?  Can you help another child do the same?

This month's Success Story is brought to you by Seva Foundation Canada, who helped Datso regain her sight in time to meet her new baby brother.

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When is gambling guaranteed to reduce unnecessary suffering or premature death?

When is gambling guaranteed to reduce unnecessary suffering or premature death?

The Life You Can Save has recently joined up with an innovative organization called Spin for Good that's tapping into the ever-growing online gaming industry to help charitable organizations raise funds efficiently. Founded by Steven Levitt of Freakonomics and economist Amee Kamdar, the site has partnered with a number of excellent charities including our list of recommended organizations to raise money through gaming.

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