ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: The True Cost

We are all familiar with the plague that has recently invaded Facebook. ALS Ice Bucket challenges are spreading awareness of the disease,
but only because of how annoying they are. I am a full supporter of the cause (donation part atleast)
but not of the videos of ice being poured on people’s heads. I feel like the majority of  media I am absorbing on my Facebook feed is
Ice Bucket Challenges, and it has to stop.

While browsing the pages of Wired Magazine’s website, I came across this article.

Rhett Allen uses technical data and computation to figure out an estimation of how much the Ice Bucket Challenge really does
cost. Using data for how much ice production costs and how much ice is made to be used for the challenge, he came up with an
estimated $378,000 in electricity bills just to produce the ice. This cost doesn’t include the cost of the water (monetary and environmentally)
but I can assume that number is also quite large too. Imagine if they just donated all that money?!
I just find it interesting how viral trends grow so rapidly in a short amount of time. This month’s just happens to be the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
At least it goes to a good cause…don’t get me started on the Harlem Shake.

Who here has done the actual ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?



3 thoughts on “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: The True Cost

  1. I think that the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised a substantial amount of awareness and money for ALS Research. I do agree that it creates a lot of waste. I think the challenge is fun and funny and I enjoy watching them, but it is a huge waste of water. It is ridiculous that people are dumping water and ice to support one charity when there are other charities with goals to give clean water supplies to underdeveloped countries. Yes, the challenge has done a lot, but it has also wasted unnecessarily the resources which may run out at some time.

  2. To start, I completely agree with your statement that these videos are annoying and filling up any and all of my social media feeds. Not only do these plague said social media sites, but national media outlets such as NBC and ESPN have also joined in on the trend, and most don’t even mention the very worthy and important cause that is being donated to once you dump a bucket of ice and cold water on your head and stand there drenched, looking more than a little silly. Also, at this point, or at least within my group of friends, many just want to do it because they feel left out that someone else was nominated to do it, and not because they want to donate.

    Allen’s computations are amazing; if everyone took a step back and looked at how much money was being wasted on a viral trend that is aimed at raising donations, the ALS foundation would hopefully have a lot more money. And as you mention the environmental cost of using all that water, I recently was scrolling through my Instagram feed when one of my friends had a very interesting picture posted: (I’m not sure how to add a picture in the comment, otherwise I would, but I’ll do my best to explain it) it was the picture shown as your featured image with the caption “America”, and below it was another picture of a boy sipping little to no water out of a cap of a water bottle with the caption “Africa”. With all I have read about water shortages and the need for clean drinking water in Africa, it really made me think that as a country we have become somewhat disconnected; here we are dumping ice cold water over our heads for Facebook or Instagram likes, while people in other parts of the world struggle every day just to find water that isn’t dirty or infested with bugs carrying diseases.

    Here’s Charlie Sheen doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge the right way:

  3. Great points everybody and nice post Hunter. I agree. Being from California, where there is a HUGE water shortage, many of my friends who were challenged chose to use that annoying video space to take a moment to talk about some of the environmental costs you all have brought up and then they dumped a small glass of ice water on their heads. Slightly anticlimactic, but an informative and thoughtful way of challenging the challenge.

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