Monday, August 18, 2014

On the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Fundraising and awareness are wonderful things. Through them people become informed about issues that can harm people as well as raise capital to support finding solutions for the aforementioned issues.  Yet with regard to the Ice Bucket Challenge I find a few points that sour the experience and will prevent me from joining in the campaign (but not from donating towards a cure). 

The first point that I have noticed through social media and tv programs that discuss this is a shaming of those that criticize any aspect of this. Seriously. There emerges a gang level mentality of those that are pro this movement (or any popular movement) where the mass erupts in many different ways to defend itself from any and all perceived attacks. An example is one that I watched happen via social media where a person I know was shamed into doing this after previously stating they would not and gave many reasons why.

But I suppose beating down a persons resolve so they can "see the errors of their ways" and become part of the mass once more is all par for the course of being a good person, right? Hell I'm absolutely expecting the shaming, the insults, the attempts to get me to open my mind and reconsider, the attempts to get me to ask forgiveness by participation. 

Good luck with that. 

And the damnedest part is that once a person rejects the course of action of the masses the individual becomes vilified and disliked. In my case I'm used to being the villain; it comes with the territory if being a ginger.

The most pressing point I have about the Ice Bucket Challenge is it wastes a finite resource: fresh water. Yes I know that it's not much per each challenge however that usage just keeps adding to the already wasteful treatment of our fresh water reserves. This challenge adds more strain on all the water wasted from poor municipal infrastructure, leaky pipes, excessive watering of lawns, filling swimming pools, and so on. 

Now we think that this is no big deal to use our fresh, drinkable water for such a good cause. Is that a case of American Priveledge? Not really as other countries have adopted similar challenges for causes other than ALS. So then is this First World Priveledge? Quite possibly yes. First world countries have access to better living conditions and more resources than others have. In turn we are more 
Iikely to indulge in excess; especially when that excess is for a good cause.

Now am I a saint that never wastes water? No way. I know I am bad about my water usage some days but I have been trying to curb excess use as much as possible. Just do some research about the area you live in and check rain fall totals as well as drought conditions. Just some cursory research can show you that our water reserves are not as strong as we perceive them to be. 

Again bringing ALS to the collective mind and generating funding to help put down this disease is a grand, noble endeavor. My challenge to those who are advocating this is as follows:

Can we come up with another way to raise awareness and generate funding for ALS without wasting our water?