Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge Should Dry Up

First appeared on Blogcritics.

ice 2The Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds to combat ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis) has gone more than viral – it is a worldwide phenomenon born out of good will. What is better than doing something to help others? Those who are allowing themselves to be doused with ice and water are generous and loving, and the notion of "calling out" (challenging friends, families, and colleagues) people to do the same thing is a clever idea.

Celebrities like Today's Matt Lauer, singers Shakira and Gwen Stefani, and even some members of the New York Mets  have become soaked in ice and water for this most worthy cause. Many other celebrities and people all over the world have joined in the chilly good fun. The ALS Association clearly adores this challenge idea because it is reaping bigger contributions than ever before, and there are those who believe this type of thing is here to stay and will change charitable giving forever.

ice 3While the idea appears to be fresh and seemingly new, think of how this all started – in sports. Golfer Chris Kennedy, from Sarasota, Florida, got the notion to use the idea to raise money for a relative who has ALS, and it all went viral from there. Truth is though sports fans have seen players dumping buckets of ice and water over their coaches’ and managers’ heads for many years. That tradition of celebrating a victory on the field has now morphed into one of the biggest fundraising ideas of all time.

But before we start calling for even more widespread Ice Bucket challenges, there is one salient thing everyone is overlooking – we are wasting a huge amount of water in the process. Water is the most crucial resource for people all over the world, and in these times of widespread drought and famine, wasting even a precious drop of water seems particularly absurd – especially as there are many people  dying of thirst.

ice 1So while the concept to do something unique and attention grabbing to raise awareness and money for good causes is an idea that I totally support, I think we need to do it without wasting a vital resource like water. Actor Charlie Sheen actually had a great idea for a challenge – he dumped a bucket of cash ($10,000) over his head, all of which he is donating to the charity. He also called out his old friends at Two and a Half Men to do the same. That Charlie really knows how to spread the love, doesn’t he?

So while the Ice Bucket Challenge is a great idea, we need more people doing what Charlie Sheen has done (that is without question one sentence I never thought I would ever write). We need to think of creative ways to do a challenge without wasting water – or any other precious resource for that matter. My thoughts range from recycling materials, household garbage, or those annoying Styrofoam packing peanuts; you take your pick.

The best things to come out of the Ice Bucket Challenge are charity and awareness. ALS (known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a worthy cause, but there are many other ones out there. Why not come up with your own environmentally friendly challenge for the charity of your choice? Whatever it is you will be making a difference while not depleting any resources necessary for human life, and that will indeed be something heroic you have done that is worthy of your selected cause.

  Photo credits: wisegeek.com, today.com, tmz.com      

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