It’s been a week of controversy over the ice bucket challenge. I did it on Saturday, I selflessly attach the video here for your enjoyment. What’s prompted me to blog is the reaction of many people to this ‘challenge’. Two things in particular: firstly the implication that we’re so mean we have to be challenged to give to charity by doing ridiculous things to ourselves and posting them online, and secondly that all the challenge does is highlight that in many areas of the world, people would kill to have a bucket of icy water, let alone chuck it over themselves. So here are my thoughts on the matter*.
To respond to the idea that we are, to all intents and purposes, too mean to give to charity without a challenge to our egos: I think this is unfair. I personally give to charity whenever a friend is doing any sort of run, skydive, Sober September, Movember, sponsored walk, sponsored fast, sponsored ride or simply asks. I know, hand on heart, that I’m not mean. I’m skint, and I still give to charity when I’m asked. I don’t, however, give without being asked. I don’t think I’ve ever considered why not, except that unless it directly impacts me, i.e. a friend asks me to, I would consider that I can’t afford it. After all, £10 could go towards Nigel’s feed, shoeing, insurance or vet bills, my diesel and bills, food shopping, insurance etc etc. It doesn’t mean I don’t care.
Then why are we so keen to post videos of ourselves getting soaked and shivering or taking selfies without makeup in order to give to charity? I say who cares, after all, if one of my friends who wouldn’t normally give money to charity or even thought of a charity to give towards without being prompted has donated then it’s a good thing. And I defy you not to laugh at some of them, and that’s a good thing too. There’s nowhere near enough laughter in the world.
So the second point. You’ll all have seen this picture going round social media:
My reply to everyone in the UK – please look out of the window. Cold water is one thing the UK will NEVER want for. If we lived in a desert country then tipping valuable water over ourselves would be selfish, stupid and wasteful. Maybe in the UK throwing sandbags at each other for fun would be a more valid point but in all honesty, that water ain’t gonna be missed. And hopefully you’ll think about choosing a charity which would use the money to directly benefit countries where children have to walk 3km to fetch a bucket of potentially filthy water. And that’s a really good thing – because I wouldn’t have thought of choosing one of them.
I think most of us are nominating charities which support something which we’ve all been touched by, be it cancer, Motor Neurone Disease or ALS, Parkinson’s Disease or MIND, your money helps. I’ve also read the articles which tell us the charities are mis-using the money or don’t know what to do with it. Well, personally I’d rather they had that problem than had too little to make a difference.
So, go on, soak me!
* Usual disclaimer applies: these are my thoughts and opinions. I don’t ask or force you to read them, I don’t expect you to agree with them. Putting your opinions on t’interweb to be read by the world and potentially judged is scary enough. Please don’t add trolls 🙂