Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge

So I was nominated by my friend Edwin -- who [a] lives in Holland, and who [b] I've never actually met -- to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. He's been reading my blog for years. That automatically earns him a challenge response.

I've been watching the progress of this internet phenom for the last few weeks, seeing it move from cool and funny to populous to mainstream to... backlash. It's the latter stage I find most interesting.

People have complained that it's a waste of water. It is, in a way, but that's pretty misleading. First, it's raised a whack of money for ALS, which isn't really a waste; that water has gone to good use. Second, I (like most people) learned in Grade 4 about the water cycle. Pouring water onto the ground doesn't waste it. It either gets absorbed into the ground or evaporates. If it evaporates, it eventually falls as rain. Groundwater is used by plants to grow, and they transpire that water back into the air, where it again returns as rain.

But there are other ways to "manage" that waste. Matt Damon poured grey water from his toilet over his head. Watch my video for how I managed it.

People have expressed concern over the impact of the campaign on other charities. Being the Chair of a charitable organization, I can tell you "charitable competition" is real. If my organization could come up with an internet phenom that would raise us 70 MM$ in 2 months, we would do it. In a heartbeat. But it's a real issue that people sending $100 to ALS means they might not send it to the United Way or the Crohn's Foundation or whatever their other favourite charity is.

What's interesting is that this campaign didn't start as a challenge for ALS. It started in New Zealand as a challenge to donate to ANY charity. ALS just picked it up and ran with it (and good for them, I say).

So I'd like to get the campaign back to it's roots. I believe that we "haves" (and that's ANYBODY who can read this -- those of you who can afford internet access and a computer are a HAVE relative to countries where the median annual household income is $2,000) have an obligation to give back.

It is with honour that I present to you my response to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I wasn't the only one with the idea that day. Here's another guy:
He drove out from Calgary to do it
In truth, I have glaciers much closer to my house than the Athabasca Glacier (which is about two and a half hours drive away). I wrote about one here, and another one here. The trailheads to access each are 30 min or 60 min from my house, respectively. I would have gone to one of those, but the "hiking to the glacier" part isn't in the cards right now with my still-healing leg. You can drive to within 600 m of the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. You can take a snow coach ride up onto the glacier, and go for a walk on it if that turns your crank. So I went there instead.

I haven't been to the Athabasca Glacier in about 15 years. I was impressed how far it has receded since the last time I was there. Parks has erected little markers at the terminal moraines, one of which (the 1992 marker) is visible in the video. I remember way back when in the 1980's you could go right to the toe of the glacier, where there were ice caves. Can't do that now; the toe is sitting in a giant meltwater lake.

The movie's proof positive that I don't run iMovie that well. It was supposed to be in glorious HD so that my friend Edwin would see how fabulous the Athabasca Glacier is. I even wanted to figure out how to include this picture of a bear I saw on my way up there.
A shaggy brown coloured black bear
iMovie kept crashing while I was trying to record the audio, and I finally gave up. Ah, well.

The idea behind this thing is to challenge people. I'm going to challenge a bit differently:
  • I challenge my friend Edwin to come see my glaciers for himself. He already dumped water on his head and donated to ALS. Good for him!
  • I challenge my friend Gary Paukert to come up with something creative. He's a good sport, generous to a fault, and understands the impact that giving to a charity can have.
  • I challenge my daughter. She's in Oz right now, up near Cairns. I challenge her to stand on a sandy beach and dump a bucket of warm sea water on her head. She ought to like that.
  • And then, like this news anchor in Australia, I challenge everyone else everywhere to do their bit for charity. Still, he was a bit pompous about it, so I think he really should have a bucket of ice water dumped on his head. Don't be like that.


Edwin said...

Wow Derek this is probably the most elaborate Ice Bucket scheme I've come across thusfar. Especially if I take your 'temporary dissability' into account. One with great justification to it as well.

I'm impressed; both by the lengths you went to as well as by the amazing Canadian scenery, not only in this clip, but also in your previous blogposts and facebook entries.

Great challenge and a visit is something I'm looking forward to!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more Derek. Plenty of worthy charities out there, and although ALS is a terrible disease, it's not a cause that is dear to my heart. People need to be brave enough to donate to a cause that matters to them. Spread the wealth!