Politics & Policy

People Blame Ice Bucket Challenge for Suffering in the Third World

The "waste" of water has raised $22 million toward fighting an incurable disease.

People who think raising money for an incurable illness is a “waste” of water have taken to the Internet to protest the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

“This is, quite frankly, an insult to the parts of the world that have little or no drinking water readily available,” columnist and sports editor Noah Frank said in a post on WTOP.com. “Hashtag activism is not real activism.”

Frank offered no evidence that the challenge had exacerbated the longstanding problem of drinking water shortages or that stopping the challenge could somehow solve it.

To clarify, “hashtag activism” refers to social media campaigns in which participants simply post about problems but do nothing to actually solve them. The ALS campaign, by contrast, has raised tens of millions of dollars for its cause.

Frank is not alone in his opposition. Others have also slammed the challenge as harmful to the Third World. And residents of California are also angry, criticizing participants for “wasting” water while the Golden State endures a severe drought.

Los Angeles Department of Water spokesperson Michelle Vargas, however, pointed out that people in the area could certainly still participate and just recycle the water for something else afterward.

The ALS Association has received $22 million in donations during the past two weeks. And — considering that it received only $1.9 million during the same time period last year — this so-called “waste” is clearly what inspired them. 

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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