I feel a little conflicted about how viral the ALS ice bucket challenge has become. On one hand, this challenge has exploded on to our social media and has raised huge awareness and funds for a disease that many people didn't even know about. Myself, like many others I am sure, didn't know what this horrible disease could do to a person, that you could become trapped in your own body, every movement becoming 20x harder to nearly impossible. The thought of it makes me claustrophobic, ugh. The lives of the afflicted, and those close to them, a derailed, permanently. There is no cure, yet. So I am super thankful to the challenge for opening my eyes to this disease. And for helping people open their wallets to a cause that was underfunded.
But on the other hand, I see video after video, of people dumping buckets of water over their heads. This may seem trivial to many, it may seem like a fun opportunity to get a video of yourself doing something quirky online, but this side of it makes me cringe. For the past 6 months we have been working hand-in-hand with communities where water is not not always available. In the one community they only have access to water twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that is only if there is enough water pressure to make it to their community which is the last in the water table. And this water that I am talking about, is not even clean enough to drink. This water, that they have access to on a bi-weekly basis, is merely for washing and cleaning. For clean drinking water this community has no choice but to go out and buy it.
I am not writing this to come down on anyone about doing the challenge. Good on you if you donated. (And our daughters are having a blast watching all of you guys dump freezing water over yourselves!) I am no stranger to water overconsumption right now. We have gone from living on a boat, where you have to be an absolute tightwad about water consumption, to living in our hometel, where my showers are warm and long, and this is coming from me, who is working hand-in-hand with these less fortunate communities. I am writing this, so as you read it you can remind yourself of how fortunate you are to be living in a place where the water is available for you to consume.
I also encourage you to double donate, or triple, or however many times you wish. If you have been nominated to do the ice bucket challenge, donate to ALS and also send another donation to an organization that helps provide clean drinking water to some community in need. Or don't use the water at all, donate, and send a letter to your local government representative mentioning the money and resources you just saved your city by not dumping the water and encourage them to in turn donate to a good cause!
This brings me to this weeks Shopping For A Cause. If you don't want to just donate, then spend. Spend your money somewhere where your money will be put to good use. No One Without is a clothing social enterprise that has paired up with Thirst Relief International to provide safe, clean water to those in need. They have aligned themselves with this organization's mission to "overcome death and disease from the consumption of contaminated water". With the help of the bio-sand filters from Thirst Relief, people have the ability to create water from both contaminated water sources as well as ground water sources. So the next time you want or need to buy yourself a shirt, go and buy it from No One Without, who with each purchase provide one person with clean drinking water for 25 years. Their clothes are comfy, look great, and are affordable. Get the word out about No One Without, because the more people know about them, the more people they can get clean water to. Make them your annual "donation", or buy everyone one of their shirts next Christmas and with the gift include the info on their website, about how that shirt just gave one other person water. That's a double gift.