The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Challenging fresh water waste

by | Aug 25, 2014 | News, Other | 0 comments

“I think we should be questioning the wasteful nature of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Perhaps, there is a better way of promoting ALS than by wasting fresh, clean water.”


AUTHOR’S NOTE: When I watched my first few friends do their Ice Bucket challenge, I felt a little uneasy. As more and more people within my network partook in this viral social awareness campaign, this feeling of uneasiness grew to a point where I felt compelled to voice my concerns.

Yes, you see it multiple times a day on your news feed. People are throwing buckets full of ice water on themselves in support of ALS research and nominating others to follow suit.

The bone-chilling reality.

Challenging the challenge.


I think that promoting ALS research is fantastic! There are a lot of positive things that have resulted from this social movement.

That said, I think we should be questioning the wasteful nature of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Perhaps, there is a better way of promoting ALS than by wasting fresh, clean water.

It is no surprise that a large majority of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge participants live in countries that have the most fresh water reserves in the world. I quote King Crimson, “Doesn’t mean you should, just because you can”. Just because we have an abundance of fresh water doesn’t mean that we should go about throwing it away, even for a good cause.

“No need to remind you that fresh water is a very precious limited resource.”


Millions of people dumping fresh water on their heads every day equates to millions of litres of fresh water being wasted. No need to remind you that fresh water is a very precious limited resource.


Challenging the challenger.


No doubt, some would argue: You wash your car every two weeks and take long showers everyday. So, you too are wasteful. If you care so much about people wasting fresh water, then stop doing these things yourself. They would be right. I am wasteful, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to reduce my wasteful consumption. And it shouldn’t stop you either. Yes, North Americans aren't very mindful of their water consumption. But does this really justify the fact that they should waste even more than they normally would just to do the Ice Bucket Challenge?


What can you do?

Some celebrities, like Matt Daemon, have made interesting points in their own Ice Bucket Challenge videos. That said, it is too late to change the fact that ice water is the integral part of this challenge. So, if we can’t stop people from consuming fresh water to promote the cause, then I would encourage people to think about where they do their Ice Bucket Challenge. Don’t do it aimlessly in your driveway or on the street. Do it in a lake and use lake water (if you have access to one). If you live in the city, do it underneath a tree so its roots can absorb the water. If you have a vegetable garden, do it there. As you can see, you can support ALS by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge without being entirely wasteful. However, I would encourage more people to simply donate if they want to support the cause to avoid consuming even more of the world’s fresh water. Share this article if you agree.

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Meet the author.

Taro-Abarbanel Uemura

Taro Abarbanel-Uemura

Marketing Strategist

Meet Fortified Marketing's founder and lead marketing consultant. Taro loves reading fascinating articles on various marketing-related subjects, just as much as he enjoys writing about them. When he isn’t savouring a latte while working on his newest blog post, he can be found at a coffee shop in Ottawa's Little Italy, or marathoning shows and documentaries on Netflix.

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