Five reasons why I don’t like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:


Well, someone had to say it. Not a condemnation of those of you who have taken the challenge, just a critique of the challenge itself.

1- It takes attention away from other charities and other worthy causes. The originators of the ice bucket challenge are geniuses, I give them that. Nothing like an exponential increase in donations using social media to propagate and ensuring the virality of the campaign. However, ALS isn’t the only charity worthy of your attention and enthusiasm. Other charities who have been ignored in this whirlwind have resorted to unconventional methods to get some attention ( So go ahead, adopt a child, donate to the Red Cross, help fund research into other dangerous diseases, and support the ALS foundation as well if you so wish. And while you’re at it, say a prayer for the oppressed minorities in Ferguson, US. Pray for the innocents in the warzones of Gaza and Israel. Pray for people being hunted down and butchered in Iraq daily by ISIS. As it stands now we are inundated with more ice bucket challenge videos than we should care for while the plight of the unfortunate or oppressed go largely ignored (

2- I am generally against the idea of social media challenges. This fad only perpetuates this phenomenon that is sweeping social media circles. Some of these challenges can be pretty dangerous (check out the fire challenge). The ice bucket challenge already has claimed one life ( The more we discourage these challenges, the more lives we potentially save.

3- As an Environmental Scientist, I don’t like the idea of all this water being wasted. Assuming 1 million people have already taken the challenge, that’s equivalent to about 8 million liters of water, assuming the use of a small 8 liter pail on average. That is enough water to take care of the daily water needs of 80,000 people in most developing countries according to the WHO (

4- Social pressure is the new peer pressure. Once nominated online, the pressure is on to not lose face, without consideration to whether or not you are able to meet the challenge. Not everyone is comfortable showing themselves on video. Not everyone has the financial means to donate on a whim. So we all get herded like sheep into this grand master scheme, with no complaints. I for one enjoy having an opinion and the will to decide whom I support and when I do it. I refuse to let social media decide that for me.

5- It is self-congratulatory. Probably the most important reason why I am against this challenge. As a Christian, Jesus himself warned us no to do these sort of public displays of charity.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “(Matthew 6:1,2 )

So give, but give in secret. Do not wait for someone to nominate you to give; give in your own time, from your own convictions and please don’t make a big fuss about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s