Updated: Aug 30, 2019
If you're on any form of social media you've no doubt seen videos of people taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The rules are this; after receiving a challenge from a "friend", you have 24 hours to either repeat it, dump an ice bucket of water over your head (while fully dressed), or donate $100 to ALS. It's the social media version of a chain letter. Remember those when were were kids? Of course, when I was a kid, they were actual letters. I hated them then, and I hate them now.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for supporting charitable causes and ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a good cause to support. However I have some concerns about the particular method of spreading awareness:
1) Are people really aware of ALS and are they donating to ALS.org or are they simply following the crowd like any other fad? It appears that everybody who's anybody is jumping on board and taking the challenge as a means of publicity. It's number one on every Hollywood Press agent's to-do list. I truly hope some of those millionnaires and billionnaires are doing more than getting wet.
2) What if you don't choose to support ALS? Does it follow that those who choose to do nothing are not philanthropists? Perhaps you have another charity that you support, or you volunteer, or maybe you simply don't have the cash to donate to a charity you've been pressured into supporting. Bottom line, why should we be subject to social purgatory for choosing not to partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge?
3) Lastly, and most significantly, California is in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record. Globally, we are in the middle of an all out water crisis. And it's only going to get worse. So forgive me if I don't think dumping thousands of gallons of water is a good thing. The water crisis is a cause that needs much more awareness. It doesn't just effect California. And contrary to some of the posts online, our water supply can run out.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the drought. He directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages and asked residents to reduce their water usage by at least 20%. Several cities including Anaheim and Pasadena have instituted water rationing measures and those not adhering can be heavily fined. (Source California Drought+++)
The below is a picture of a recent visit to what used to be a lake, and as you can see by the dried up fish, is no longer. This scene is happening all over the west.
If you need more convincing as to how dire the situation in California alone is, take a look at Buzz Feed's article 14 Facts Everyone Should Know About the California Drought
Also, here's a great article from Scientific America, What to Do When We Run Out Of Water.
On a global level water shortage is a crisis of biblical proportions. 3.4 million people die each year from Water related disease. That is almost the entire city of Los Angeles. Here's some more sobering facts:
An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.
Over 2.5X more people lack water than live in the United States.
More people have a mobile phone than a toilet. (Source water.org++++)
These facts and more can be found at Water.org an organization driven by the vision: Safe water and the dignity of a toilet for all, in our lifetime.
So, as a new initiative for spreading awareness of the Water Crisis and California Drought, I challenge EVERYONE to this -- The Shot Glass Challenge.
Here's how it works. Get a shot glass. Fill it with ice cold water. Videotape an action figure, toy, collectible or object (e.g. Daryl Dixon Action Figure) having the ice cold water dumped on them/it. Points for creativity. Come up with 3 ways you will conserve water for the next 30 days. Then issue three people this challenge. They can; choose to accept the challenge, video tape it, list their 3 for 30 conservation efforts, and/or do something to support a charitable organization, cause, community, educational initiative and so on in the way they are comfortable supporting e.g. Volunteer, promote, donate whatever amount of money you can afford etc.
Cutting back on your water usage isn't as hard as you think. Make a conscious effort to do just three things, three pattern changes that will lead to a dramatic cutback in water usage. Then challenge three people to do the same.
Here's three quick tips on how to conserve water:
1. Set your mower blade a notch higher. Taller grass shades the soil and reduces evaporation.
2. Trash or recycle your tissues instead of flushing them. And flush less!
3. Take advantage of the conserving benefits of your dishwasher. You use less water running it then washing by hand. But remember to run your dishwasher only when it's completely full.
And please! Choose the donate to ALS.org or another charity as the option instead. I did. Don't waste anymore buckets of water, especially YOU Californians!
Join Dug Up Story's new initiative - The Shot Glass Challenge cause we can't afford to dump anymore water. #SupportandConserve