A Dash Of Cold Water On The Ice Bucket Challenge. Six Things You Did Not Know

Mark Zuckerberg Bill Gates Rice Bucket Challenge

After the ice bucket trend went viral, exploding all over Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and every kind of social media networking site imaginable, we’ve become sick of seeing everyone and anyone, from celebrities, to politicians, to child activists, to ‘Karmnu ta Randu‘ next door pouring all kinds of cold liquids over themselves to look cool and posting their shrieking, screaming, yodeling videos online for all the world to applaud. People are finally starting to ask certain questions.

1. Are you really doing it to help someone in need, or for the narcissistic pleasure of promoting nothing but yourself? Slacktivism, is a term referring to what happens when a person makes believe that s/he is promoting a charity or cause, when in reality the issue is more about that individual feeling good about himself or herself and showing off.

If one thinks about it objectively, the ice bucket challenge originally was set up as an idea where one either had the choice of pouring a bucket of icy water over his or her head to promote awareness, or else donate a sum of money. The point however is, if out of 100 people, all 100 use the bucket, and no one donates at all, where will the ALS Association get its money to research Amyotrophic Schlerosis from?

By the way, if it’s all about awareness, how many of these ‘ice bucket’ videos contain any actual information about what the disease is, why the money is needed, or how it will be used? Is it about awareness really, or about everyone patting himself on the back about how kind-hearted and cool he is?

2. The ALS Association supports testing on animals. While tens of celebrities, wanna-be celebrities, politicians, writers, etc, were being submerged and overwhelmed by the ice bucket mentality, ex-Baywatch star and life-long animal rights activist Pamela Anderson refused the ‘challenge’ after having delved a bit more on what was actually going on. On her Facebook page, she wrote that ‘in recent experiments funded by the ASL Association, mice had holes drilled into their skulls and were infected with crippling illnesses. Monkeys had chemicals injected into their brains and backs and were later killed and dissected’. She ended her tirade by exhorting anyone who wanted to donate to do so to other non-animal testing charities

3. The Catholic Church in the US also spoke against the Ice Bucket Challenge since it is an organisation which supports embryonic stem cell research, which is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Embryonic stem cells are cells derived from embryos developed ‘in vitro‘.

4. In its own official website the ASL Association admitted that only 27% of the money collected with the ice bucket challenge is actually used for research. The other 73% are used for expenditures accrued by the organisation, mainly training, community services, fundraising, and administration. That being said, are we really donating to help sick people, or to help ASL employees attend personal courses and finance work-related dinner parties?

5. The Wall Street Journal reported how, on August 22, residents of Pingdinshan in the province of Henan in China, raised a peaceful protest against the ice bucket challenge, holding empty red buckets over their heads and promoting the slogan ‘Henan, please say no to the ice bucket challenge’. This, after earlier in the month, the province began suffering from an acute drought with people not having enough water to survive, as well as crops dying because of insufficient irrigation. Similar droughts are also being experienced in California and India. Not so funny wasting water when so much of the global population is literally dying of thirst, is it?

6. India’s twist on the charity campaign is called the ‘Rice Bucket Challenge‘. This is not just a convenient pun – the rice bucket challenge consists of taking a bucket of rice, and simply donating it to those who have nothing to eat. Simple, direct and from the heart. The idea originated from an Indian journalist who, taking into account the drought, thought it was better to feed the hungry, than waste water the country did not have. This locally-tailored idea practically and tangibly helps those less in need without the need of third parties or the focus being on using such a stunt to gain popularity for one’s self. At the most, one can always take a picture while donating the bucket of rice to the poor and hungry, and post that on Facebook. Interested to know more?

Go to facebook.com/ricebucketchallenge

Are you in favour or against the Ice Bucket Challenge? Why?

Do you have any ideas on how Malta could tailor the ice bucket challenge to address problems and issues at a local scale?