While the Midwest and Northeast are bracing themselves for an early onset Polar Vortex, we here on the West Coast are facing a potential megadrought that could last up to 200 years (what?). Considering the word “megadrought” evokes some seriously apocalyptic vibes, it’s no wonder Californians are concerned with the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
It’s been estimated that the fundraising effort, which in its three-week run has been taken by folks ranging from former president George W. Bush to Lady Gaga to all of your Facebook friends, has used somewhere between five and six million gallons of water (but has raised $70.2 million and counting). Considering Jerry Brown has encouraged us not to flush toilets “more than you have to,” many Californians would argue that the challenge is excessive and wasteful. In fact, the hashtag #droughtshaming was circulating on Twitter to call out Californians who complied with the ice bath:
— Ezekiel Lucas (@EzekielLucas34) August 20, 2014
For the record, Jerry Brown himself made an Ice Bucket video, and in a statement to The Wire, California’s Department of Water Resources information officer Doug Carlson said the department does not see a correlation between the challenge and the drought. “People waste more water than [the 5 million gallons] needlessly watering their lawns,” he said. The Environmental Protection Agency has even offered up suggestions for ways Californians can complete the task in a drought-conscious manner—standing in garden bed that needs watering, for example.
Nevertheless, we commend and appreciate the Californians who are coming up with creative ways to contribute to the ALS Association’s cause while also highlighting the severity of our drought, like the two men in the below video. Instead of using buckets of ice and water, they filled two buckets with dirt and proceeded to pour them over their heads. The video got attention both for its ingenuity and its conservationist spirit, but even they somehow managed to elicit gripes from viewers. “So…. how much water will it take to wash that off?” Mark B. commented below the video. According to the dirt bucket guys, “It took the same amount of time to shower afterward as it normally would.” Sounds like a win-win to us.