These last four days have been a whirlwind and highly satisfying. On Friday, I flew to Oakland for the Effective Altruism Global 2016 conference at UC Berkeley. It was a real treat to meet and interact with over 1000 wonderfully smart and motivated people. Effective Altruism (EA) is an organization of members who use rational and scientific methods to figure out how to do the most good in the world they possibly can. For some people, this is in the form of donating to very intentionally chosen charities. For others, the optimal route is social entrepreneurship. Even more people are focused on existential risks to humanity—events that could wipe out our species, e.g. nuclear/biological war or artificial intelligence. Pretty heady stuff.
The conference was three days long, and featured really interesting talks and workshops with titles like Virtue Signaling, How Can We Fix Science?, Navigating Intellectual Disagreement, and Probabilistic Decision-making. My one disappointment was that climate change as a cause seemed very underrepresented. This jives with the recent results of a census survey conducted on the EA community. This was my first time attending an EA event, so I definitely plan to coordinate with other EAs on climate change community building within the movement. If you're reading this and want to help make climate change a more represented cause in the EA community, please get in touch with me!
The conference couldn't have happened in a more ideal location for me, because Berkeley (actually, Oakland) is also the home of the Center for Carbon Removal. I've been talking with Noah Deich and his team for almost a year, but this was the first time I got to meet them in person. We talked a lot about how we can grow the carbon removal community and identify the needs of people trying to move forward on projects. We also talked about the need to make it easier for people who are interested in carbon removal to connect and collaborate.
Again, if this is something that interests you, let me know. Right now I'm looking for people who are enthusiastic about carbon removal as a climate change solution (not just mitigation) to go into business.