Celebrating Progress event

What a success! EAN hosted “Celebrating Progress” this year for the first time, with interesting presentations from keynote speakers ProVeg, Founders Pledge, Effective Giving and many more. We are grateful for the open atmosphere, inspiring discussions and enthusiastic attendees. We covered many topics centered around the progress made in regards to Effective Altruism in The Netherlands and more broadly; in addition, touching on both “promises” and “endurance” as virtues. Doing good can also be challenging and full of setbacks. However, by staying committed to thinking critically about the best ways we can create a positive impact. 

Thank you to all those who presented, volunteered and attended the event. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Sustainer Homes for providing us with the fantastic and inspiring venue. 

If you missed this event and would like to be informed about our upcoming events and workshops please register for our newsletter via our website or let us know by contacting info@effectiefaltruisme.nl. That way, we can ensure that you won’t miss out!

EAGx the Netherlands 2018

Our first EAGx the Netherlands conference in 2018 was a great success! For pictures visit our Facebook page. For videos visit the EA video channel

Want to know more about EAGx? See EAGx Global

This year’s theme: Stay Curious

Curiosity is the driving force behind Effective Altruism. Which charities are most effective? How could technology change our world? How should we think about efforts that might or might not succeed?

The 2018 conference was designed to fuel your curiosity! See here for more info.

ABOUT EAGX THE NETHERLANDS

The first EAGx the Netherlands!

During this event, academics, professionals, and students alike were gathered in order to explore the most effective and evidence-based ways to improve the world. The conference featured speakers from the effective altruism community as well as professionals and researchers from relevant fields. There were advanced talks on various topics as well as interactive discussions.

Both EA beginners and veterans were welcome!

The conference was organized by Effective Altruism Netherlands at Seats2Meet Utrecht CS.

Keynote speakers

William MacAskill

President of Centre for Effective Altruism, Author of Doing Good Better, founder of 80,000 Hours and co-founder of Giving What We Can, William MacAskill is one of the key figures of the Effective Altruism community.

Sneak peek: Click here for a recent 80,000 hours podcast featuring William MacAskill

Natalie Cargill

Natalie Cargill practices discrimination and equality law as a barrister in London. She is especially interested in effective interventions to promote anti-speciesism.

Michael Plant

Michael Plant is studying for a DPhil in Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he researches the most effective ways for individuals and governments to increase world happiness. He’s written for the New Statesman and the Huffington post and is currently helping Peter Singer write a book on the ethics of population growth.

Speakers

Click on a speaker’s photo for more information about their session.

Alje van den Bosch

EA careers

Christian Tarsney

Normative Uncertainty & Cause Area Diversification

Elias Kock

How can we use finance to scale effective interventions?

Hauke Hillebrandt

Is EA Neglecting Structural Change?

Joeri Kooimans

How to Deal Well with Critique

Kellie Liket

10 failures in my EA career

Maarten Mulder

How to nudge Joe Public towards effective donating;
Barriers to donating and how to take them down

Marijke Leliveld

Why may people be hesitant to adopt EA philosophy

Max Stauffer

Complexity Science & Computational Modelling: Expanding Our Analytical Toolbox

Michiel Koning

Moderator

Nora Ammann

Translating EA Community Building Strategy into Local Group Tactics

Remmelt Ellen

Values-to-Actions Decision Chain

Sam Hilton

Self improvement, rapid skill building and personal productivity

Stefan Torges

Considerations for Fundraising in EA

Tobias Leenaert

How to Create a Vegan World

Christiaan Broekman

Institutions: EA’s blind spot?

David Krueger

Artificial Intelligence and Existential Risk (AI-Xrisk)

Floris Wolswijk

EA and Entrepreneurship

Jelena Luketina

Machine learning careers for EAs

Johannes Ackva

Effective Energy Altruism

Konrad Seifert

Translating EA Community Building Strategy into Local Group Tactics

Marek Duda

Software for Better Coordination of the EA community

Markus Anderljung

Mental health for EAs

Michelle Hutchinson

EA and Academia

Monique Kwakman

Women’s Meetup

Pablo Moleman

Working with the Food Industry to Reduce Dependence on Animal Ingredients

Robin van Dalen

Moderator

Sjir Hoeijmakers

Chair of EA Netherlands

Stijn Bruers

Rational Ethics and Moral Illusions;
Wild Animal Suffering

Vera Schoelmerich

Moderator

Meet the organizers

Denisa Pop
Programme & Speakers

stan

Stan van Wingerden
Logistics

Marieke de Visscher
Communications

profielfoto EA

Lotte Levelt
Communications

remmelt200

Remmelt Ellen
Event Manager

Code of conduct

We intended to create a welcoming and fruitful event. 

Take a look at our code of conduct.

Let’s Get Physical: Four Effective Ways to Make a Bodily Donation

By Pablo Moleman

Yesterday, I received a parcel containing two cotton swabs. The accompanying letter kindly asked me to rotate them against the inside of my cheek for (at least) thirty seconds each, exerting pressure similar to brushing one´s teeth and then letting them dry for five minutes. I obliged, and after that returned the swabs in the enclosed prestamped envelope. Now, my chances of being able to save a human life have been raised by about five or six percent point – to be more precise, by about 0.1 pp for every lifeyear still ahead of me. When the DNA sample I sent to Stichting Matchis is matched with that of a person in need of stem cell transplantation, I will have the incredible opportunity to give them the gift of life.

Registering as a stem cell donor was quite an easy thing to do, and it made me realize that it – along with other possible actions such as donating blood or organs – is something worthy of consideration for effective altruists. These kinds of actions have the potential to save human lives for relatively little effort and are a nice change from more familiar ways of helping others, such as donating money or time.

That´s why I wrote this short blog post about blood, stem cell and organ donation (both live and post-mortem). I am not, nor proclaim to be, more knowledgeable than others on these matters. I simply want to share with you the fruits of about two hours worth of googling.

1. Blood donation
Donating blood can be done once every few months and takes about an hour of your time each instance. How often you are allowed to donate depends amongst others on body weight and gender (males can donate more frequently than females). The technique is not very invasive – similar to blood being taken for measuring your blood profile. One donation helps about 5 people in need, and about 35 donations are required to save 1 life. In short, it´s quite an easy and sure way of doing good!

Each donation is preceded by filling in a form on personal health and behavior that may increase the risk of diseases. A recent flue may require you to skip a donation and a visit to a tropical country to pause donations for half a year. Intravenous drug use and, controversially, male homosexual contact are reasons for permanent exclusion from donating blood.

In the Netherlands, demand of blood is about equal to supply at the moment, but it´s always good to have a bit more to retain a stable supply or in case demand increases. There are shortages of certain blood groups (O-) and there is a shortage of plasma donors, so it´s especially effective if you are able and/or willing to do such donations.

You can sign up to become a blood donor here.


2. Stem cell donation
Donating stem cells is quite a sure way to save a life, if a match is found. You have to register by sending in a cheek swab (you can take it yourself and it is painless) that will be analysed, of which the results put into a database. There is a screening involved similar to that with blood donations but rules are less strict (gays are not categorically excluded).

If your data matches that of a cancer patient in need of a donation, you will be contacted and asked to donate. This happens to about 1 in 1000 registered donors each year, so don´t expect to be ´lucky´ very soon. If it happens, what is required is that you stay for about 24hrs in the hospital for the cells to be taken operatively from your body.

There is currently a shortage of registered stem cell donors, so signing up increases the odds that suitable donors can be found for a patient, and the amount of matches that can be made.

More on the procedure signing up can be found here.

3. Organ donation after death
Organ donation after death is (presumably) non-painful. I personally think there are not many rational arguments against registering as an organ donor but still most people refrain from it. If you have not registered as an organ donor, please consider doing so. One donor can save up to 8 lives!

Chances that a registered donor actually becomes a donor after death are quite slim, due to the special circumstances under which death has to occur for the organs to be retrieved. But registering is not much of an effort and there is currently a very troubling shortage of donor organs.

You can register here.

4. Organ donation during life
Organ donation during life (for instance, a kidney transplant) can be done for a close friend or family member, but only if there happens to be a match. For people that are not in this position, but wanting to be effective altruists, it would of course be more straightforward to actively search for a matching stranger to donate to. Most of us have a kidney to spare and chances are there is someone out there in much larger need of it than ourselves. This, in fact sometimes happens: according to De Correspondent, about fourty to fifty people in the Netherlands every year perform these so-called ‘Samaritan donations’, and the number is increasing.

If you are interested in becoming a Samaritan donor, you can go to your doctor and apply. You will start a (long) procedure where both your health and strength of your motivation are checked. You will be informed of the medical procedure and a number of risks and possible health effects involved, that you will have to consider. These are not large, but still exist and will have to be weighed against a high probability of saving another person´s life.

If you are eager to learn more, here you find a more detailed case for live kidney donation (thanks to Imma for pointing it out to me).

There is also a brief discussion of this topic in Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save. Lastly, De Correspondent ran a beautiful series of articles on it, that explains the motives of donors as well as the procedure involved:

– [1] https://decorrespondent.nl/…/Hier-mijn…/16374302175-3047d0c8

– [2] https://decorrespondent.nl/…/Hier-mijn-…/9193545075-77728c5c

– [3] https://decorrespondent.nl/…/Hier-mijn…/35414188425-1e6de09a

Conclusion
For people interested in helping others, and specifically in saving lives, donating blood and registering as a stemcell or after-death organ donor seem to be worthwhile additions to donating to effective charities. The potential gains are not as high as in some financial donations (it takes 35 blood donations to save one life) but personal costs involved are relatively low. Because of the low time expenditure they can easily be an addition to donating time and money, not a subsitution.

Also, the possibilities presented by these methods are much less constrained by personal (financial) circumstances than time and money donations, making them viable options for nearly everyone. The notable exception is the exclusion of active male homosexuals from blood donations in the Netherlands. This exclusion is the subject of societal debate and several countries have already relaxed standards, so for homosexually active altruists it could be of interest to watch how the situation evolves.

Samaritan organ donations during life require a much larger time expenditure and are physically much more invasive. There is a good case to be made in favour of them nonetheless that requires attention.

The topic of bodily donations could benefit from more publicity both inside and outside the EA movement.