Person: “Wow, what a bunch of attention seeking losers!” OK, you person? Your focus in this situation is entirely in the wrong place. People put videos up on YouTube where they do a crazy stunt and get hurt, or get really drunk and say something stupid or talk about themselves for 10 minute chunks at a time and none of those exist to serve a larger cause. Some people probably ARE doing this for attention and you know why that’s ok? Because that is a BIG part of the reason it went viral. Viral is good because: 1. The sheer amount of people who KNOW about ALS now. 2. The money that a lot of bucket dumpers (even the attention-seeking ones) have donated. 3. The money other people have donated after seeing about 20 of these pop up in their social media.
Person: “You’d rather dump ice water on you than donate? Gross!”/”People are morons, what they are doing isn’t even what the challenge was!” I personally find it hard to believe that anyone who can make an ice bucket video is so broke that they can’t donate something. I’ve read that initially it was $10 and ice or $100 no ice. Some say it’s ice and no money or no ice and any money. Maybe they did it cause they couldn’t afford the full amount they were challenged to donate. Maybe they wanted attention and didn’t want to pull out their credit card. But strangely enough the latter group of people has still helped because they contributed to the larger cause. “As of Sunday, August 17, the association reported it’s received $13.3 million in donations, a huge jump compared to the $1.7 million it had received during the same period (July 29 through August 17) last year. The sum of donations comes from both old donors and a reported 259,505 new donors, according to the association.” So that seems pretty great.
Now I am trying to seriously wrap my head around the people complaining that the celeb videos (and non celeb ones following suit) aren’t the original challenge.
So you’re seriously annoyed that celebs have done the ice bucket and donated? When a celeb does something their followers see it. That is how I heard about the challenge. So where is the problem in a celeb GETTING ATTENTION when that attention also goes to ALS? What is wrong with you that that annoys you??? Aside from the fact that a lot of the celebs I’ve seen are really active in charity work, even if they weren’t- if it was a cold-blooded PR stunt front to back- it STILL raises awareness and that is likely to lead to donations. HOW IS THAT BAD? The ones that do donate aren’t doing the bucket and donating because they are idiots who don’t know how the challenge works (some may not know, but that still isn’t the point). They want to donate, but they also want to get as many people on board as possible. What is going to get more views (and get the word out more)? A celeb saying “I donated, you should too” or a video where something humorous happens to them??? They want to attract the largest amount of viewers because the more people see it the more likely it is that a video will catch someone who will donate.
In summary, a video or idea cannot go viral without MASSIVE participation. This means that every asshole who wanted to show off, every person who would rather take an ice bath than donate money, every person who had no idea what was going on and never even mentioned ALS, and every person who knew exactly what was going on, said everything beautifully and had a creative alternative to the water dump ALL made this happen. That means that the worst slug of a piece of shit that did this for no reason other than YouTube hits is STILL important because it takes all of those little pieces to make the BIG VIRAL IDEA work. When you call the individual a “slacktavist” because oh they are so lazy, why don’t they do some real charity work? You are completely missing the point that this big, positive thing is inherently made up of TONS of people giving up 30 seconds of their time. If 1.2 million people have taken the challenge, that’s a collective 10,000 hours of contribution. Which is like 5000 feature films. So when you shit on those people (and possibly feel pretty superior when you do) you are shitting on the bigger picture.
Person: “What is wrong with these jerks?! We are in a drought!” I will start by saying, I know it’s not just California suffering from this dry season, but California is ground zero for the most serious part of the U.S. drought and I think I’m seeing this argument a lot from Californians.
DID YOU KNOW THERE IS MORE WORLD THAN CALIFORNIA? WOW! THAT’S AMAZING! The first video I saw and the first one I shared on Facebook were made in Vancouver. Not only is that not California- that’s not even in the United States. People other than the people in the drought area are making these videos. Celebs don’t all live in California.
But plenty do, and plenty of non-famous Californians are doing this too. So since we have already put strict regulation on hose use, garden run off, and water in non-circulating decorative water features, eliminating the bucket challenge from California is the logical next step. When you take a look at how much water that has been used in the ALS bucket challenge, it seems like a staggering amount! 6 million (estimated) gallons*- holy shit. The combined efforts of people across the world have used up 6 million gallons of water. Yikes. “Fresh water is one of our nation’s most precious resources,” Jim Gulliford, executive director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, told The Wire in an email interview. “It is a resource that should never be undervalued or wasted. This becomes even more important when areas of our country are suffering from drought.” Okay, Jim, I’m with you, maybe we should rethink this bucket thing-
But wait… what is actually more disturbing and important is that 6 million gallons of wasted fresh water (assuming that not a single person let that water into a garden or other place hose water would go and be useful), is not a large number. Wait, what? Shirley Li wrote in a Yahoo article, “Indeed, there are many ways to look at the math. If it’s 5 million gallons of water wasted so far in three weeks, that’s a tiny amount compared to the 320 gallons of water used by an American household per day. Then, given 117,538,000 households according to the last census, that’s 37,612,160,000 gallons used in one day. Five million out of more than 37.5 billion gallons equals about .01 percent.” And that’s if you assume that all 1.2 million videos of the challenge happened in the United States. Plus there’s that whole thing about what you can do- start in your shower. A Reddit user broke it down like this, “Comparatively speaking, very little (water is wasted in the challenge). People use much, much more water for everyday activities than they do for the ALS ice bucket challenge. The most obvious example: you use as much water in one minute in the shower as you would use for one bucket of ice water. (The average showerhead uses about five gallons per minute, while the average bucket holds the same amount.) And most people take showers every day, for often quite a bit longer than one minute.” So for every video you see, take one minute off your daily shower time per bucket. Multiply that by however many people agree to do that and you will start collectively saving more water than the challenge has theoretically wasted.
"”If we are interested in water lost or wasted each day, we should be less concerned with water used to draw attention to the insidious disease ALS and more concerned with water leaking from common household faucets," Gulliford (Water Conservation Society) said, adding that a faucet dripping eight times a minute wastes five gallons of water a week. "If the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised public awareness regarding the importance of not wasting potable water, let’s channel that concern in a more positive way and fix leaking faucets."” 5 Gallons a week if it’s only 8 drips a minute. The EPA website states that “Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.” And there are plenty of other ways that we consume massive amounts of water.
“In some parts of California, 50% or more of the water used goes onto lawns and other outdoor landscaping, according to state officials.” Veronica Rocha of the LA Times tells us. Fucking tell that to the people in Africa who just want enough clean water to live. Jesus. Even if we aren’t in a drought, maybe it’s time to give up the obsession with plush, water hungry lawns and do what we’ve been advised for ages which is to have smaller water hungry lawns/gardens, and use beautiful dessert plants and other dry landscaping tools. Or just plant what will thrive in the environment you live in with only a little bit of liquid help. Take what you save on your water bill and donate that amount to a clean water charity. And let’s take a minute to grasp that we are in a state where a woman who changed her lawn for the drought was FINED BY HER HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION.** Are you serious?
As staggering as this information is, personal water use only constitutes about 4% of water use in California. WHAT??? We just covered how epic our personal water waste is. What the hell is going on!? “When you account based on net water use—meaning water that is lost to evapotranspiration or salt sinks and not returned to rivers or groundwater for alternative uses—this translates to 62 percent agricultural, 16 percent urban and 22 percent environmental. And some of that environmental water is used to keep water quality high enough for drinking.” Writes Cathryn Lawrence of the California Water Blog. She goes on to break down how those percentages vary across California and indeed the “Southern Coast” has the highest percentage of urban use. So Southern Californians are in a good place to help make the most of that 16% of California’s total water usage. So I guess if you are in Southern California and you don’t own an industrial facility or a commercial building, you could not dump a bucket of water on yourself and really work to make an impact the 4% which only comes out of the 16% of California’s total water use. Or you could do it and cut one minute off your shower time once. Or you arrange a way for people who have done the bucket challenge to send another 5 gallons of water to California (I am being sarcastic. Don’t do that. It would be stupid.)
Did you know we (California) are a massive farming state? It’s hard to remember that when you’re in downtown LA, but we totally are. 62% of our usable water use goes into the multi-billion dollar farming industry. I’m all about protecting farmers. They are important, and we need them. The economic hit we would take if our agriculture failed would be bad- so we don’t want to eliminate agriculture. (That would be fucking ridiculous). But when farming takes up 62% of our use, sorry guys, but even cutting our ENTIRE urban use and bringing all the ice buckets to California we are still in deep shit. We need to seriously look at California’s agriculture and focus on optimizing the water use there to really start making a difference. (And the government is sort of working on it***).
Also, I just need to clearly state that some articles are treating that 6 million gallon number like the whole thing came out of California- it did not. It could not have. I don’t know how much did cause I don’t have a week to calculate it, but it wasn’t all of it.
But seriously, let us pry ourselves out of California for a minute. Check out this list of charities that are helping clean water get to places that need it.http://www.goodnet.org/articles/1000 WOULDN’T IT BE NICE IF THEY HAD A VIRAL CAMPAIGN FUELED BY SLACKERS AND ATTENTION WHORES TO GET THIS SHIT GOING? Someone get on that.
So okay, people bitching about the drought- good on you, you have tagged onto the viral successful bucket challenge and wow you RAISED AWARENESS! (See how that’s a really good thing?) But from now on, stop bitching about it and do the following:
-Spread awareness about doing the challenge in ways that utilize the water. The Environmental Protection Agency has this official statement for you. “EPA fully supports the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The agency would also encourage participants to be creative in utilizing water, such as holding the challenge in a garden that needs watering, or finding ways to capture water for reuse.”
-Take action in your own life to conserve water. There’s the shower thing, fixing leaks, changing your landscape, etc. Value those ideas or they will just die. Share the ideas with others in positive ways.
-Donate to charities that provide clean water. Spread awareness of those charities.
- If you see a water dump video, don’t attack it or the people involved. You have access to that space of awareness and conversation. Be a decent human being when you present alternatives and new ideas because people will respond to it more.
I learned a TON about the drought, where California water goes, the impact we have, and big-picture utilization of water in the world while writing this. You know why? Because of the stupid ALS bucket challenge.
Person: “It’s so annoying that charity is trendy. These people don’t care, they just want to be cool and get people to like them.”/ “This bucket challenge is useless; people should actually try and do some real good.”
ALS only affects about 30,000 people. Total. That’s it. You know why that’s really bad? Because pharmaceutical companies- the places that research and make the things that cure people- are companies. Research, development, and distribution take money. More money than 30,000 can provide. It’s a shitty reality, but that is why diseases have charities. The money these charities make pay for the cost of finding a cure which is not cheap. Earlier I shared the numbers from Sunday, but let’s look at them to date.
“As of Thursday, August 21, The ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations compared to $2.1 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 21). These donations have come from existing donors and 739,275 new donors to The Association.” –ALSA.org
Tell me that is not important. I will tell you that you are wrong.
And finally; imagine being diagnosed. You have this countdown clock before your muscles fail you. You won’t be able to use your hands, you won’t be able to walk, and you won’t be able to feed yourself. You have a rare disease and there is no cure for it. No one knows about the charity trying to save your life and your self-sufficiency. You are going to waste away and it seems like no one cares. There’s no money on the line to save your life. Fuck. I mean think about being this person. Think about that ticking clock of maybe 2 years before you have deteriorated out of your current health into someone who needs constant care. No really, take a fucking minute to empathize.
And then… this… thing happens where Miley Cyrus and cat videos are being overtaken by people dumping ice water on their heads. Even though the first one you watch has nothing to do with ALS, the person who reposted the link mentioned it, or maybe it’s in the comments. And anyway, that video leads to another one and suddenly Miley fucking Cyrus is soaking wet, laughing and telling her millions of fans to donate to the thing that can save your fucking life- or the life of your kid. And she fucking donated too.
Then you tell me that the Ice Bucket challenge is a pointless, shitty, shallow, lazy, useless fad that is SOOOO ANNOYING. I will tell you that you are wrong.
*This was the higher estimate of two used in this article.http://www.thewire.com/national/2014/08/the-california-drought-versus-the-ice-bucket-challenge/378776/ Calculated on the formula 1.2 million videos, each using approximately 5 gallons of water.
Various articles used for research: