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Face-to-Face: Is the Ice Bucket Challenge worthwhile?

Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are senior Charlotte Smith and junior Stevie Becker. The issue: Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge worthwhile? The Ice Bucket Challenge has been trending on social media as a way to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Those nominated to participate can fulfill the challenge by either dumping ice water on their heads, donating 100 dollars, or doing both.

Senior Charlotte Smith and junior Stevie Becker debate of the ALS ice bucket challenge
Senior Charlotte Smith and junior Stevie Becker debate of the ALS ice bucket challenge


Do participants of the ice bucket challenge genuinely want to raise awareness?


Charlotte Smith: I think that a lot of people just do the Ice Bucket Challenge because their friends nominated them and they think that it’s fun. I don’t think a lot of people really know what the disease is.


Stevie Becker: For the people who, before this challenge, had no idea what it was, it has at least given them a general idea—and if not, then it gave them a general idea that [ALS] exists which I think is a good thing.


CS: I think people do it because they’re nominated and it’s more of a, “Would you rather do something effective and donate money or dump ice on your head?” and most people kind of chose that because it’s easier and it’s sort of a fun thing to post on Facebook. It’s all just missing the point.


SB: I don’t think it matters if people set out to raise awareness or if they just did it because they got nominated because it’s obviously worked considering how much it’s been spread and how much has been raised for the cause thus far as a direct result of this challenge. Maybe for the most part people aren’t too invested in caring about the disease, but it’s happening and it’s getting the word out.


Is the challenge effective in raising awareness and benefiting the cause?


SB: Obviously yes. Due to the amount of money raised for the cause, now it’s actually a topic of discussion that people are aware of. For example, right now, this Bark story is a perfect example of the way this challenge has brought ALS into the public eye.


CS: Yes, it is effective in raising awareness, but the thing is I don’t like the Ice Bucket Challenge because I think there are other ways of raising awareness that aren’t setting it up so it’s an either-or situation. It’s good that it’s raising awareness, but I feel like it could’ve taken a different approach.


SB: That’s a good point.


Since we are in a drought, is the Ice Bucket Challenge harmful?


SB: I don’t think the drought being an issue of the Ice Bucket Challenge is a problem even a tiny, tiny bit. The cause of the drought in California isn’t from individual people, it’s more from agriculture, and when 80 percent of the water is used for agriculture, it’s not making that big of a difference.


CS: We are in a drought, so any water we can be saving, we should be saving. Just because we personally aren’t the ones directly causing the drought, doesn’t mean we can’t help it. Wasting a bunch of water isn’t helping anyone.


SB: Then, by that logic, we should all stop taking showers and drinking water.


CS: Showers are necessary and dumping ice water on your head isn’t. Nobody is cured by dumping water on their heads.


SB: It’s not helping them directly, but it has raised over 100 million dollars so far–100 million dollars that can be used to help the people suffering from ALS. It’s really just a tradeoff between wanting to make an extremely minimal difference to the water supply in California or ignoring the thousands of people living with the neurodegenerative disease.




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About the Contributor
Kayla Aldridge, Author