I'm one of the Philly group organizers, with a BA in Sociology from Haverford College. Currently building career capital while doing EA projects on the side. I have a background in social movement theory and structural functionalism.

Current Projects:

  • Running the Local Career Advice Network
  • Effective Environmentalism community building

Full projects list:

vaidehi_agarwalla's Comments

What posts you are planning on writing?

Thanks for checking Aaron! I've been meaning to update this thread.

1a) I came very close to publishing this in November, but realised it needed a lot more work to be readable and ended up splitting the post into 3 to make it more readable. I've been prioritising other projects, aim to publish by April 2020. 1b) I have a bunch of interesting papers collected but haven't made progress yet. Will likely start after 1a)

  1. I wrote and never published this because:
  • I think it was too generalized and overly simplistic
  • I think some of the things I wrote were likely wrong/inaccurate
  • I felt the most effective way to help developing EA presence was assisting existing projects and direct work.
  • Why writing the post was still valuable:
    • Helped me clarify my own theories of movement building
    • Ended up witing a few other posts to explain some of my assumptions
    • I've shared it with others trying to answer these questions

3a) This became a much more ambitious and comprehensive volunteer project, but it also means that progress has been slow and incremental. I plan on writing a post about how the project failed and lessons learnt (but I'm experimenting with some new ways to make progress on this and want to see the results first).

b) This post is written, but i didn't see the value of posting another call for climate change on the forum since, as with 2), I updated towards doing direct work to make progress on this space. (I'd be curious to hear if you think there's still value in posting such a post)

We now have an Effective Environmentalism directory and have started weekly calls on different EE related topics on facebook. Would be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

  1. I created an (almost) comprehensive Effective Environmentalism Resources page. Some of us are now working on a more user-friendly introductory resource for non-EAs.
vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform

How valuable is building a high-quality (for-profit) event app for future EA conferences?

There are 6 eag(x) conferences a year. this number will probably increase over time and more conferences will come up as EA grows- I'd expect somewhere between 80-200 EA-related conferences and related events in the next 10 years. This includes cause-area specific conferences, like Catalyst and other large events.

A typical 2.5 day conference with on average ~300 attendees spending 30 hours = 9,000 man-hours would be a range of 720,000-1,800,000 man hours over 10 years. Of this time, I'd expect 90% to be taken up doing meetings, attending events, eating etc. Of the remaining 10%, so 7,200-18,000 saving 1% of this time is in the range of 7,200- 18,000 hours or roughly seems pretty useful!

For reference, 1 year of work (a 40 hours work-week for 50 weeks) = 2000 hours.

What are the key ongoing debates in EA?

Getting people from non-STEM backgrounds, specifically non-econ social sciences and humanities.

What are the key ongoing debates in EA?

Expanding on those points: Should EA be small and elite (i.e. to influence important/powerful actors) or broad and welcoming? How many people should earn to give and how effective is this on the margin? (Maybe not a huge debate but a lot of uncertainty) How much/should we grow EA in non-Western countries? (I think there's a fair deal of ignorance on this topic overall)

Related to D&I: How important is academic diversity in EA? And what blindspots does the EA movement have as a result?

I don't think all of these have been always publicly discussed, but there is definitely a lack of consensus and differing views.

vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform

I brainstormed a list of questions that might help evaluate how promising climate change adaptation efforts would be.

Would anyone have any additions/feedback or answers to these questions?

EA Updates for February 2020

It's great that you include updates from non-EA sources, it's great to see updates from outside the EA bubble.

vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform

Meta-level thought:

When asking about resources, a good practice might be to mention resources you've already come across and why those sources weren't helpful (if you found any), so that people don't need to recommend the most common resources multiple times.

Also, once we have an EA-relevant search engine, it would be useful to refer people to that even before they ask a question in case that question has been asked or that resource already exists.

The primary goal of both suggestions would be to make questions more specific, in-depth and hopefully either expanding movement knowledge or identifying gaps in knowledge. The secondary goal would be to save time!

How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation?

Thanks for clarifying, I get what you're saying now!

TL:DR: while I'm in agreement that these things would be valuable, in the current state it wouldn't make sense to prioritise them when there's a lot of value to be found in increasing awareness of existing resources, even if they are imperfect and writing about resources where there currently are none for common events.

  1. I agree that there is a severe lack of resources, we actually link to the South Bay discussion lists (unfortunately since you made the resources there isn't anything new regarding discussions sheets). We are also slowly adding and developing them as I am running a series of guided discusisons for the Philly group.

Given where we were at with the resources up until recently, the most valuable and time efficient thing to do was to organise existing resources and then evaluate what the most pressing gaps in knowledge were. i.e. it was better to have some resources for all the basic group activities - be that running discussions, how to host events, moderating talks, venue, food and logistics, leadership structure etc. As you can see, a long list of topics! the goal was to consolidate movement-wide knowledge, and have resources well-organised and accessible.

I don't think your group was unique with regards to needing resources, although I think other groups may do more socials and other kinds of meetups that require less preparation.

  1. I agree that there isn't a curriculum, and that taking lessons from education science would be very useful and valuable. I think that we can definitely work to make EA principles and ideas more accessible by a large margin. Currently, there aren't enough people working on group building resources to do something like this, and I believe that just improving the knowledge of existing resources will provide the most value to group organisers. That being said, Catherine, who is in charge of the Resources team, does have an education background, and I think that has definitely influenced our work positively!
How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation?

I don't think there was an exact question on this (unless I'm mistaken), but as a proxy I'd be curious to see a breakdown of this question for new vs. older groups and more vs. less experienced group organisers. It wouldn't be a perfect proxy, since older groups may still not know about resources but also not need them, but might be worth considering.

How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation?

I think people usually do ask what resources exist, they tend to use the Group Organisers Facebook or Slack to ask those questions. I think it makes sense so that only interested people see those questions, but that information is not easily available to organisers who aren't in those groups.

We are working on an FAQ series for EA Hub resources, which will include information on how to start a group, run events, find key content, contact people, graphics and more. The aim is that all basic questions about group resources can by a quick search and reduce community time asking/answering questions. (of course, people can always comment and ask more detailed questions!)

Load More