I’m hoping that you’ll help me while I do something crazy. It is both crazy and incredibly exciting. On the 24th of February I will begin a cross-country ride spanning 3,000km through New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff as part of the Tour Aotearoa. It is something that I have wanted to do for quite awhile, but rather than doing it (only) out of ego I also want to achieve something more. During the ride I’ll be raising funds for Oxfam. During 2017 I personally donated many thousands of dollars to Oxfam. In 2018 I’d like to help fundraise another $10k, but I’ll need your help. You can track my movements, as I struggle through the mountains of NZ here https://touraotearoa2018.maprogress.com?id=12560
For years I’ve given a significant chuck of our income to charity. Every year I tweet and instagram to the world how many thousands of dollars I’ve donated. I tell myself that I tweet and instagram my annual donation in an attempt to help “normalise” altruism, which is partly true. However I mostly wish to celebrate these donations. The reality is that it makes me feel wonderful to support extraordinary organisations such as Oxfam who are doing important work for those most vulnerable on our tiny shared blue dot.
I subscribe to Peter Singer’s writing on utilitarian ethics and effective altruism. If we saw a child dying in the street we would do something about it. In the age of the internet the same logic now applies globally. We can instantaneously donate to an organisation like Oxfam and almost immediately effect lives on the other side of the planet. Proximity is no longer a valid argument for inaction. We can help a child dying of curable diseases on the other side of the planet with the same ease as we could help a child dying in the street in front of our home, and therefore we have the same obligation to the child overseas as we do to the child in the street. The logic is simple and easy to act upon.
In 2017 I donated many thousands of dollars to Oxfam and Amnesty International. Do I do this because I am rich? No. I run a small architectural studio from which I draw a modest wage. I also have a significant mortgage debt. Some may suggest that logic would dictate that I should get out of debt before helping others. That thought has often crosses my mind, however it is very easy to find reasons not to give. Instead I look at my finances and see that I can service my debt while also helping those in immediate need. I can do both, therefore I must do both. There is no ethical reason to choose one over the other. The contribution calculator at THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE makes donating easy, regardless of ones income. https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/take-the-pledge
Please donate. It is a massive motivator for me during this huge ride.
All photos via http://www.touraotearoa.nz