Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Look Cool without Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge

We've all seen the videos. Someone has a bucket of ice water dumped over their head, and then challenges other people to do the same or donate $100 to ALS. The trend caught on and now everyone from Kermit the Frog and Weird Al to Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

According to Charity Navigator ALS has received $4 million in donations and picked up 70,000 new donors. If just half of those new donors had five-gallon buckets poured over their heads, then we're talking about 175,000 gallons of water. That doesn't include stunts like this, or the guy who filled the bed of his truck with water and then laid on the ground while someone opened the tailgate, causing the water to spill out over him.

Why couldn't they just take the cost of renting a helicopter and shooting the video, and donate that money to ALS instead?

But, back to the amount of water this challenge wastes. Consider that the average fire tanker holds 3,000 gallons of water. That's almost 60 tankers full of water. That would make one heck of a dent in a brush fire, such as any of the ones taking place in California at the moment.

If brush fires don't seem like a big deal, then consider this - in August, 2014 alone, the CAL FIRE website reported that fires compromised about 12,000 acres of National Forest land...or about 1/10 the size of New York City. With less than 20% of the blaze contained at the time of this writing, this is one state that can't afford to waste any water, ice bucket challenge or otherwise.

The California Drought website reports that: With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The state has continued to lead the way to make sure California is able to cope with an unprecedented drought.

Alternatives to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Still ready to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and then put others on the spot to do the same? If you're having second thoughts, then here are some alternatives that can help you donate while spreading the word without putting anyone on the spot.

  • Water Bottle Challenge - A case of bottled water is less than $5. Organizations that would appreciate this kind of donation include: volunteer fire departments, Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations, homeless shelters, and Book Thing of Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Firefighter's Bucket Challenge - Get a small beach bucket. Write FIRE DEPARTMENT on the front with a permanent marker. Toss in all your extra change. Cash it out and donate it to the local volunteer fire department, ALS, or whatever charity you want.

  • Clean Water Challenge - Because duh, stop wasting clean water by throwing it over your head already. It looks ridiculous. Instead just donate some money to Charity Water. The charity ranks really high on Charity Navigator, and brings water to the Sahel region of Africa, an area plagued a severe dearth of rainfall.
  • Ice Cream Cone Challenge - Go to your local ice cream shop. Ask them to give a free mini-cone to anyone who donates to ALS. The charity gets donations, the ice cream shop can write off the amount of the mini-cones, and everyone stays nice and dry.

  • Just Donate Some Money - If all else fails, go to your favorite charity's website and donate some money. Better yet, donate your time, talents, or services. Have a yard sale / bake sale / other kind of fund drive to benefit the organization. Volunteer. Anything you do is better than nothing, and they will appreciate your sincere desire to help.
So there you have it. Trust me when I say that I understand the seriousness of ALS. In 2008, our family lost someone to the disease. It was horrible watching the downhill slide, and I can't imagine what this person went through. We also however lost family members to ovarian cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We donate to a lot of places.

And because nobody thinks I'm just picking on ALS, check out this video of the LAPD taking part in the Law Enforcement Ice Bucket Challenge. (Yes, the state having the severe drought situation.) Watch as they pour 50 gallons of water into the street. Wasn't that just...something?

Now it's your turn to weigh in on the topic. Did you do the challenge? How did you feel when nominated? Leave your comments in the space below. I'd love to hear what you have to say about it!