Since late July, social media have exploded with videos of people pouring buckets of ice water on their heads in the name of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ALS is a progressive disease of the nervous system. Those with ALS experience a degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells responsible for communication between the brain and muscles. This leads to loss of muscle control and eventual paralysis.
A recent movement called the ice bucket challenge encourages people to take videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and donate $10 toward ALS. Those who choose not to accept the challenge are encouraged to donate $100. After accepting the challenge or donating the money, the participant nominates three other people to take the challenge.
The ALS Association released on Monday, Aug. 25, that they have received $79.7 million in donations since July 29. This is $77.2 million more than was raised last year in the same time frame. In addition, the ALS Association reported 1.7 million new donors, which can likely be largely attributed to the ice bucket movement. With these dramatic results, why are people still criticizing those who participate?
Countless times I have heard people speaking negatively of the ice bucket challenge because people are using it as an opportunity to be self-righteous. If those who use the movement in this way are making the suggested donations, I am OK with it. These videos aren’t bringing harm to anyone else, so there is no reason to take offense just because a few people are seeking to satisfy their egos.
Another common argument people use against the ice bucket challenge is that it wastes water. According to the American Geosciences Institute, the average amount of water used to take a shower is 2.5 gallons per minute. That means a 10-minute shower uses as many as 25 gallons of water. In comparison, the ice bucket challenge only requires one or two gallons. I would rather accept the challenge and skip the shower not only to raise money for a good cause, but also to save 24 gallons of water.
A third criticism I often hear about the ice-bucket challenge is that less money is raised by those who choose to accept the challenge rather than simply donating. However, this argument fails to recognize the benefits of accepting the challenge and nominating others. Not only are people donating who would not otherwise, but also, actually accepting the challenge helps continue to spread the cycle of donation.
If you are irritated by the endless ice bucket posts on social media, you should take some time to think about why you are bothered by the movement and acknowledge the positive differences it has made. TAS