I haven’t had a rant in a while. Perhaps nothing has rattled me that much lately, so I’ve let things roll off me like water off a duck’s back. Speaking of water …
By now, most of you are aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also known as “Lou Gehrig’s” disease or Motor Neurone Diseases in the UK has come up with an innovative way to raise money for its cause. The Challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same. Recipients of the Challenge have 24 hours to comply or they are asked to make a donation (originally set at $100). The Challenge has gone viral with the participation of celebrities and other public figures. Facebook and Youtube are popular media outlets for sharing the videos.
As the movement has grown, people are choosing to both donate AND get water dumped on their heads. How much money people donate can range from $10 to $100, or even more.
All in good fun, but most importantly, all for a worthy cause that has raised record amounts of money for a disease that currently has no cure.
I recently did the Challenge and posted the video on Facebook. I have no connection to ALS and prior to my nomination, knew little about it. I now know a lot more because of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
So, why am I ranting?
For whatever reason, I’m suddenly seeing a lot of hostile comments interspersed with the videos of those participating in the Challenge. I don’t understand it.
The range of criticism is vast:
“Participants are posting videos only to get publicity and boost their own egos.”
“The Challenge is wasting water.”
“We’re dumping water on our heads when people all over the world are really suffering. It shows we are disconnected to the global community.”
“ALS is stealing funds from diseases like cancer, which affects more people.”
That last one was the final straw for me. Really? Are we now comparing diseases to see which is more worthy of funding? Exactly how do we measure the worthiness of one life against another?
For me, charity is very personal. Why we donate to some causes and not to others is no one else’s business. That also applies to how people choose to use social media. If they are posting videos of themselves for the Ice Bucket Challenge, then it’s their business. Don’t like it? Don’t watch the videos. Don’t comment. Don’t share. Unfollow the person if it offends you so much. It’s that simple.
If you think the Challenge is wasting water, consider how you can conserve water the next time you take a bath, a shower, or do your laundry. Water is everyone’s responsibility every time we use it.
I don’t disagree the world is in turmoil, and many people are suffering. We cannot possibly know the plight of those living through war, starvation, and poverty unless we’ve experienced it. We can help by donating money, time, and giving of ourselves in creative ways to make the world a better place. By being born in the west or a developed country, we are extremely fortunate, but we cannot help those less fortunate by apologizing for the way we live.
If you think your money is better served donating to PETA, cancer, or another cause, then DO IT. The Ice Bucket Challenge is certainly not dictating where your money should go. If anything, it has given visibility to other charitable organizations that need help.
Lastly, don’t rain on the parade of those who are trying to do good. They’ve already had ice water dumped on them. Negativity helps no one. Convert your judgement, scorn, and mockery into something useful or SHUT UP.