Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I Disagree With the Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS ice bucket challenge has been running rampant around social media the past few weeks.  The point of the challenge is to donate ten dollars to ALS Association or other charities (though most chose ALS), and dump a bucket of ice water on yourself.  Then once you are soaking wet, you challenge three other people to do it.  Or you can skip the bucket and donate 100 dollars instead.  Hmmm…

I have some serious issues about the whole challenge.  Let me preface by saying the donation part is not at all what I have an issue with.  On the contrary, that’s part of what I wish was emphasized more.
The point of the challenge seems to me to guilt or even bully people into doing it or face donating 100 dollars.  Oh my!  I don’t want an ice water bucket dumped on me, and I also don’t have a problem donating 100 dollars either, I just don’t know if I have 100 bucks to give at the moment.  The idea that I should feel guilted/bullied into donating is crap.  I donate money when I can, which isn’t as often as I like, but I also don’t need a “challenge” to do it. 

The other point, that I didn’t realize at first but saw someone else mention, is the self congratulatory nature of the ice bucket challenge.  It’s a pat on the back for anyone who does it.  Because you donated a whole ten bucks?  And made a video about it?  I would do the ice bucket challenge, donate 100 bucks, and not post a video.  Because the video and recognition isn’t the point.  The donating money to good causes is the point.

This challenge has raised a lot of money for ALS, and that’s wonderful.  Lou Gehrig’s disease is absolutely terrible, and I cannot imagine what people suffer when living with the disease.  In no way am I belittling the good this money will do to fight a terrible disease.  But do people really need to be challenged to donate money?  Are people that selfish?  Why can't you donate without having been challenged to do it?

I also don’t appreciate the water that is being wasted.  When other countries are struggling to get fresh and uncontaminated water, and here in our first world nation we are just dumping buckets of it out…it really pisses me off.  How many gallons of water have been wasted in this challenge that could have been fresh drinking water for a rural town that has none?  I realize the inherent argument in that it isn’t the same water they would have access to, but it is water from the same earth that we all inhabit.  And in an attempt to do something good, we’re throwing away another good we could give.  Or flaunting the availability of tons of fresh water…

This whole challenge is bringing up the feeling of exactly why I like organizations like Kiva.org.  I donate 25 dollars in a loan (or whatever amount you can afford) to someone who uses the money to fund their project.  Be it fresh water, or education, or what have you that 25 (ish) dollars helps them and they eventually pay you back.  So that same money can go to help someone else.  A donation of even just 25 dollars can help people over and over again.  For people who are tight on finances but want to make a difference, this is an amazing opportunity!

I’m not saying making one time donations are bad, especially not for medical research and assistance.  What I’m saying is more people should donate because it’s a good thing to do and not because you’ve been challenged to do it.  The whole thing just bothers me.  Give because it’s right not because someone challenged you to.


With that being said, tomorrow when I get paid, I’ll be going to either Kiva.org or Water.org to help finance a water project in deference to those who don't have water and in defiance against the water that is being wasted in my opinion.  If anyone challenges me to the ice bucket challenge, I will not take part and I will not donate 100 dollars instead.  One, because I really don’t know if I have that kind of money to throw around anyway, and two, I won’t waste water that we take for granted.  I’m not going to challenge other people to behave differently.  But I will ask that people give to good causes when they can and not when they’ve been issued a challenge.


2 comments:

Nathan Park said...

I agree. Idk if a nominee is supposed to donate without doing the ice bucket challenge or not. This worries me because my friends are young and I'm afraid that they don't have the money to donate for ALS since they don't want to do the ice bucket challenge nor donate. I thought this was for fun, so I did it, but then I realized that this challenge is BS when it comes to money.

Alexandra Mitchell said...

I think you have to donate either way, bucket or not. But with the bucket it is only ten bucks. But if you pass, then you're supposed to donate 100 bucks.

As for your friends, if they are challenged and don't want to do either, that is completely their call and they shouldn't be bullied into donating money they don't have or dumping ice water on themselves.