IGCSE Response Piece – Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice bucket challenge: who’s pouring cold water on the idea (by Steven Rose)?

In this response piece I shall explore the ethics of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The ice bucket challenge claims to be a challenge, which it is not by definition; a call to participate in an event which proves or displays ones strength and/or ability. There is no ability being displayed by having a bucket of water and ice poured over you, some challengers do not even consent to it happening to them (Jeremy Clarkson), this therefore removes the aspect of an endurance test.

A.L.S.A (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis association) said that they had raised over eighty million dollars; and according to their challenge, you must donate one hundred dollars should you fail to complete the challenge within twenty four hours. If my mathematics are correct, that should mean that eight hundred thousand buckets of fresh water have been needlessly poured over peoples heads.”Drought-stricken residents of Henan and California don’t see the funny side of sloshing tubs of water around” (Steven Rose) The author of the article is being flippant to get his point across. I do believe that those who have completed this challenge outweighs the factor of those who have donated on their own accord.

The water wastage caused by this challenge is horrendous. By raising awareness and raising money for one charity,  others in need (those without access to clean water) are insulted by this. The buckets of water wasted could have helped more than the amount affected by als. “6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.” (U.N water)

Charitable activities is also a problem which most charities are apart of. This means that the money that you donate to a charity does not necessarily go to those that you thought were receiving it. This may go into doctors pay checks, advertisement, and honest things like haulage. The money that goes into advertising campaign on television can go up to one hundred thousand pounds a season (approximately).

“companies dousing their staff en masse in hundreds of gallons of icy water, come across more as wasteful PR exercises” (Steven Rose). This is a very important point which is has not been fully addressed. Some firms and groups use the charity as a front for advertisement and renown among the social networking community. Celebrities could also have been involved in this, using it as another opportunity to step into the limelight, rather than out of good nature.

“More practical is India’s Rice Bucket Challenge”, this refers to giving rice to those in need, rather than pouring fresh water over yourself. I believe that this is the most ethically correct reproach to the ice bucket challenge. This once again highlights wastage and finds and alternative.

What I have just displayed is the reasons the ALS ice bucket challenge is wrong (should not be done). I do not disagree that it has helped people, but I think I have shown that the benefits are outweighed by the costs (or problems/dilemmas). By Louīe Kalvis.


One Response to “IGCSE Response Piece – Ice Bucket Challenge”

  • jnorth Says:


    You have written a well structured piece that frequently takes information from the text and shows your own response.

    Change your purpose and audience – write a letter to Steve Rose or the editor of the Guardian. How does this change the progression of your argument?

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