Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photos needed for The Life You Can Save website

We are redesigning The Life You Can Save website, and we want to use photos of people who have pledged to meet the standards for giving to those in extreme poverty.

If you have pledged, and are willing to be featured on the website, please send us a photo, along with a line or two about who you are and why you decided to pledge.

We need colored photos - the more colorful the better - that are at least 600 x 400 pixels, and in shape they should be wider than they are high. They may show only you, or you and your partner or your family, and of course if you happen to have any taken when you were visiting a developing country and looking at a project to help those in extreme poverty, that would be even better.

In sending us your photo, you will be warranting that all people shown in the photo consent to have their image put on the internet (or that in the case of children, the parents or guardians consent.)

If we receive many photos, we will make a selection and run those we judge suitable at different times, so not all photos will be on display at all times.

Please email your photo or photos to


Peter Singer

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another way to decide how much to give

Here's an interesting idea from Ka-Ping Yee, a software engineer working with He writes:


I am trying an experiment I call "personal consumption offsets" (

In 2010, I'll match everything I spend on a non-essential purchase
with an equal donation to an effective charity.

I think there is a good chance that this method may have both practical
and psychological benefits:

1. Anybody can apply this plan, regardless of income.

2. The statement of the pledge is simple and does not involve
choosing arbitrary numbers.

3. I will make more total donations than by pledging 5% of my income.

4. It will motivate me to donate more to charity (because it means
more enjoyment for myself).

5. It will enhance my enjoyment of the things I buy for myself
(because I will know that it also benefits others).

If you like this idea, please consider passing it on


I like it, so I'm passing it on. It resembles, to some extent, the idea behind, which is also worth a look.

I have only one tiny cavil. In his blog, Ka-Ping Yee describes this as an alternative to take the pledge that I have invited people to take, at But why not do both? If you give in this way, then unless you have an extremely high income, or spend almost nothing on non-essential items [or both - but that is unlikely} you will exceed the pledge level. And taking the pledge spreads the message to others - it helps them to see that many people are giving significantly to those in extreme poverty.