Anyone with a social media account or access to the Internet can't help but notice the recent celebrity trend of having someone dump a bucket of water over their heads. Although entertaining to watch, the bigger purpose of the ice water dumping is to bring awareness to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
So what could possibly be the downside of raising that much money to find a cure for a disease that kills two people per 100,000 each year? The answer is thirst.
In 2006, rapper Jay Z visited Africa and participated in the documentary "Diary of Jay Z: Water for Life" to bring awareness to the need for water. YouTube was a hot topic at the time, but trending topics and hashtags weren't a thing yet so many people were unaware of his charity:water assistance for developing countries.
Organizations like charity:water raise money for developing countries who don't have clean water. According to the nonprofit organization's site, "Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war."
While three million people were helped with their water supply by the charity group, the population continues to grow. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.1 billion people don't have access to a decent water supply, and 2.4 billion people don't have access to any sanitation facility.
Almost two billion people die annually due to diarrhoeal diseases, with the highest population under the age of 5. While poor hygiene in hospitals certainly doesn't help, the lack of financial resources to improve sustainability of water is a bigger issue. Imagine what these people's reactions would be to watching celebrities have perfectly good cold water and ice thrown over their heads for fun.
As arrogant as it may seem of actor Patrick Stewart to just fill a glass with ice and put liquor inside, he wasted far less water than other celebrities. Now whether he intended to just weasel his way out of the challenge behind the idea of "class" or warmth is another story entirely, but the results don't change regardless of his rationale. Stewart saved water.
Supporters of the Ice Bucket Challenge may feel that the water waste complaint misses the point of bringing awareness to a larger issue. Watching celebrities freak out after ice water has been dumped on them is more exciting to watch than observing them drink a beverage.
An estimated 30,000 Americans have ALS right now, but thousands don't compare to billions. Water is already wasted in water fountains, decorative home fountains and even cleaning appliances that aren't eco-friendly. So is it really worth it in the end to add to the waste in water supply? While some celebrities, such as Jay Z, have already used their celebrity to bring awareness to clean water, others never really jumped on that bandwagon. Maybe it's about time to join Mr. Shawn Carter, who donated $1,000 to charity:water to build a water well and a "play pump" to help children avoid going into water holes. That's a water fight to remember.
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