The San Francisco 49ers do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS Ice Bucket challenges will always have it’s share of doubters

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” — K. Munro

A wise friend of mine responded to criticism over his participation in the ALS Ice bucket Challenge.

The backlash to my friend and the debate that enrages over some ice and some water is an interesting argument to watch.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen this type of debate over charitable causes and their noble efforts to bring awareness to their fight. It’s a difficult task, especially with charities. People don’t want to be manipulated into doing good, they feel that good deeds should go unoticed and be unheralded.

They should.

The problem in today’s world is that not enough of us are doing good deeds that deserve to go unnoticed. To many organizations that need our help and support go unnoticed. So Ice bucket Challenges and social media try to come in to that picture, with some mixed reactions (Though mostly positive from what I’ve seen)

First World Luck

I’m lucky… We’re mostly all lucky to have the privilege of taking some fresh drinkable water thats clean and disease free taken from a relatively secure sewage system that isn’t rampant with feces and mutilated or decaying carcasses of livestock or worse of human remains. To combine that fresh water with ice and pour that over our heads while recording it on an expensive camera and uploading it on an expensive computer in an expensive home into our expensive internet for the rest of our first world friends on our expensive social networks to enjoy is an expensive and wasteful act that at the end of the day involves many intricate parts and devices that would equal to the entire income of a family in the devloping world for maybe their lifetime. What a selfish act and how disgusting it is for people to be so wasteful.

But that’s not fair.

If you questioned the legitimacy of this act and the wastefulness of the resources involved then I dare you to give up the first world lifestyle that you currently occupy. I dare you to give up the well paying jobs and the cushy things you take for granted, like hot water, a roof over your head, clean drinking water and a working toilet.

It’s not a perfect system

Sure charities get a bad wrap and sure not all charities are run by saintly people and sometimes as little as 30-5% actually make it to the end recipient who is in most need of the funds/aid/help, but that 5% goes a long way. That 5% has taught countless kids to read, has brought clean water to millions and made life a little bit better for countless families around the world suffering from one problem or another over time.

Its not a perfect system, but what in our society really is? Finance? Real Estate? Government? No system is truly perfect because of the flawed human beings in charge of those systems. Every person on this world is flawed and is very capable of making mistakes. But we are all also very capable of making extremely good decisions and those decisions make a big difference in this world and the lives of others in need.

At the end of the day it (Charities) is a system that though flawed does bring the community together to help our fellow human in this world we call home. This is the society we have to work with, these are the tools and the technology that we have in our hands. We are a young species in terms of intellectual and emotional capacity. Humans are a selfish race and we can’t help that we consume and take from this world in order to live the lives we are used to and survive from the elements and dangers of the wild. There is a massive inequality amongst us. The majority of this world deserves better than the circumstances they are given and the majority who have a better life can’t help but complain about how bad having a good life really can be.

I’m sad that outrage is being poured amongst the few who do choose to use the tools and technology of social media and viral mechanics for what they feel are good causes. The critical mind in us all questions the motivations and tactics behind many of the participants. And though the majority might not have the right intentions when participating, I think it’s beautiful that they are participating, that they were persuaded using todays techniques for virality and tribal behavior for what is at the end of the day an amazingly worthy cause.

Do you even know what you’re doing?

Is ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease the most pressing problem this planet has? Who am I to say? Education, clean water, human trafficking, environmental issues, healthcare… the list goes on for worthy causes that deserve our attention and resources… In an altruistic world we would all be pitching in to bring an end to these common world problems that first worlders take for granted and complain about.

I applaud all who participate in programs that build awareness and raise money for worthy causes… even ones who’s practices are a little unclear… good work is still being done somewhere along the lines… even if it is only 5%.

The more important thing for people complaining about transparency is to not shit on the participation and the motivations of people trying to help, but to look for new and innovative ways to improve the processes that they complain about.

This is simply the world we live in now, and this social media/ technological plethora of devices where we as a society is always on is not going away. We need to adapt and find optimal ways to make the inevitable acceptable and to evolve as a species to include everyone in the community.

Don’t stop believing

I’ve seen the fruits of the 5%, it teaches kids in the developing world how to read, it gives equal opportunity to special needs individuals, it raises awareness and brings attention to causes. It plants seeds in all our minds and takes whatever little attention we can spare to think and care about something/someone that isn’t ourselves.

I hope that at the end of the day, this Ice bucket challenge will bring awareness to that one ten year old girl somewhere around the world who watches a video of her favorite celebrity getting ice poured on them. She opens up a wikipedia page and reads up on ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease. She plants that seed in her mind. She does well in school and gets into a reputable University… when it comes time to pick a specialty she gets into medicine because ever since she say Bill Gates get dunked on by Ice the want to help ALS victims was always in the back of her mind and the curiosity to solve an incurable disease always intrigued her. She then dives into research and who knows maybe stumbles upon some previously unknown treatment/cure for ALS! Stupid dream I know but it’s not an impossible one.

To the questioning public of this Ice bucket challenge please continue to criticize and question the legitimacy of this event and future events like this, it will hold all accountable and force participants to really understand and question their true motivations for participating. It keeps us all honest and makes us innovate ways to make this process better.

To the participants in this noble quest, keep up the good work, and don’t stop because of a few raised eyebrows.

To the ones participating just to get in on something cool and viral keep doing what you’re doing even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Because even your message and your participation is going to somehow reach someone else and plant that seed of difference to change this world for the better, whether it’s for ALS or another worthy/noble cause. =)

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