Some folks are pointing out that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a waste of water. With so many people in under-developed countries dying from a lack of clean drinking water, and so few people dying from ALS, this highly successful marketing campaign that has been so prevalent on social media is misguided.
When you look at the raw numbers, it’s a compelling case.
More people die from a lack of clean drinking water than ALS. You can even find some diseases that kill more people than ALS. But look deeper, how many of those diseases are exacerbated by the way we live, poor diet, alcohol consumption or lack of exercise?
People who get ALS get it because they draw the short straw. Plain and simple. I’m not going to pit one worthy cause against another, but I was nominated for the ALS ice-bucket challenge and I accepted – and donated.
The pharmaceutical industry hasn’t found a cure to help these people because it’s not profitable and doesn’t bring a good return to shareholders. If I can help with a little bit of time, a little bit of money, and have a little fun doing it, count me in.
I wonder, how much money would have been raised for ALS research, if somebody just donated money and didn’t make a funny video that also challenged others to give? A lot less, and there’s no doubt about that.
What is the reason for ALS deaths? Lack of research into a cure. What is the reason for deaths related to a lack of clean drinking water? It’s not the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and it’s not a lack of research money. Can money help? Sure it can, but if you think that giving people access to clean drinking water is important, as I do, then use the publicity that this campaign has generated to say that while you support ALS research, you are concerned about access to water or some other disease that doesn’t get enough research funding. Instead of dumping a bucket of ice water over your head, say you’ll fund research for another disease or you’ll fund a project to bring clean drinking water to those who don’t have it.
It’s like using the fundamental principal of jujitsu, but in a slightly different way. In jujitsu, you use the force of your opponent against them. In this case, use the force of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to bring attention to another worthy case and help raise money for that instead.
Oh, I’m also helping to raise money for a project that will drill a well in Ecuador and provide a continuous source of clean drinking water to a village.