Note: Before reading my post, please know and understand I did not make any of the meme photos used in this blog myself, but found them on the internet. My use of them does not necessarily mean they reflect my own opinion, but are inserted only for food for thought and humor. Please bear that in mind as you read. Thanks!
I accept the nomination.
Who nominated me?
Can I still contribute something to the discussion anyway, in the form of a blog post and not a video of me dumping a bucket of ice water on myself? Good, thank you for that.
I’ve resisted the urge to say anything about the ice bucket challenge from my perspective living in Peru, a desert, and with several of our friends and people we minister to who don’t have running water in their shanty homes. Who buy a big barrel of it every few days and save as much of it as necessary for washing their dishes and clothing, as well as taking sponge baths with it.
Then, they buy another barrel.
But don’t worry, I’m not about to guilt trip you. I’m just saying that’s the context where I find myself in. I have an abundance of water compared to my friends in Pacifico. I merely state that information up front for some context about this.
However, my Peruvian wife and I have had several breakfast table conversations about the point of these videos in which she has asked me “and what about when people from Pacifico are on the internet and see these videos?” and I have to concede, she’s got a good point.
But in all honesty, I’ve not asked anybody I know who is without water. So I don’t know how they feel, I can only speculate.
When I first heard of and started seeing videos of the ice bucket challenge, I thought to myself “how terrible that people suffering from this thing called ALS make a video of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water on their head!” Then I realized I was mistaken.
Over the past several weeks, social media has been flooded (mostly Facebook and Twitter, at least from how I’ve been seeing updates about this) with one of the most effective fund-raising campaigns of all time.
Think of all the times you’ve seen people make their own Harlem Shake videos or other things, but this time, to raise money for a cause.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” encourages participants to dump buckets of freezing water on their heads to raise awareness for the debilitating condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It has become a national pastime to watch friends, family and favorite celebrities get wet in support of ALS research.
Participants are encouraged to donate $10 if they complete the challenge, or $100 if they don’t. So far at the time of this writing, the videos have helped raise more money in the month of August than ALS Association raised in all of 2013. This sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?
How Will The Money Be Spent?
As I’ve been following the stories and videos in my Facebook news feed, from enthusiastic participants to wet blankets alike (see what I did there?), I have to admit I have more of a positive reaction than a negative one about the whole matter. I’ve enjoyed watching people keep taking it to another level and trying to top the current daily status quo of what one does for an original and creative ice bucket challenge. I enjoy seeing people’s interpretations and spins on it (ie, Patrick Stewart writing a check, and then pouring some ice into his wine glass, for example).
No wasted water in Captain Picard’s challenge!
I have also seen a few people raise red flags with concern about the challenge. Some are legitimate.
Many Christians have objected to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the moral grounds that the ALS Association conducts embryonic stem-cell research. This is reasonable and you can donate your funds to an organization that doesn’t use stem-cell research.
Others have said that the ALS Association does tests on animals in unethical ways as part of their research.
That could be true.
But What About All That Wasted Water — There are People in Poor Countries Who Don’t Have That Luxury
Or what about the drought in California?
I see a few of people discussing “wasting water” and raising concerns such as how people in developing nations don’t have any water to drink or bathe in. The idea, which I can *understand*, is great, but come on, at least be consistent in your own life if you’re going to be a Grinch about it!
Are you really so concerned about not wasting something we have in the affluent West because someone somewhere else in the world doesn’t have what you have at all, let alone in abundance?
Do you own more than one translation of the Bible? Bibles are forbidden in some countries and people caught with them have them confiscated. Are you going to blow the dust off the translations you’re not using and give them away because they’re going to waste while others lack?
Do you own a Kindle, laptop, smart phone, or any other gadget that you may be using to post your complaints about wasted water from? Many people in developing nations don’t have those either. Do you have more than one?
Are you going to stop doing other things that are a ‘waste’ because other people in the world lack the luxury you can afford? Like eating out at restaurants and not eating everything on your plate because you’re full? Poorer people don’t have that luxury of wasted food, either.
I don’t intend to judge people who are knocking the ALS ice bucket challenge on grounds of wasting something when others don’t have such a luxury, but chances are you might be “wasting” a lot more than just water, so try to relax a little bit.
If you truly want to do something practical about the lack of clean drinking water in the world, a great organization you can donate to is The Water Project.
From their site:
The Water Project brings relief to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.
Providing access to clean, safe water helps capable and determined people realize the hope they have for their own futures.
The Water Project works closely with local in-country teams and partners to develop clean water programs alongside these heroes. We carefully select implementing partners who have long term relationships and commitments to the people they serve.
So, for those that are concerned that all that water is being wasted, you can channel your energy (and money) into a cause that will help with that.
Feel free to add something to the conversation below.