Ice Bucket Challenge in drought-stricken California? Use dirt, men say

Most everyone by now has heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but two men in drought-stricken California are trying to push a message of water conservation by using dirt instead. As in, dumping a bucket of dirt on their heads.

The viral campaign to raise money for ALS research by pouring a bucket of ice water over one’s head has emerged as prickly controversy recently in California, where 97.5% of the state is experiencing “severe” drought -- the third-harshest on a five-level scale, according to the latest U.S. Drought Map. 

The state’s reservoirs also remain “seriously low,” officials have warned.

So for some Californians, watching people douse themselves with ice water flies in the face of the conservation rhetoric being stressed by state and local officials. Earlier this week, people were even using the #droughtshaming hashtag on Twitter to criticize the challenge as wasteful.


In a video posted on YouTube, the men say they were dared to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, but decided to use dirt instead to highlight the severity of California’s prolonged drought.

“In recognition of the California drought, we kind of altered the proceedings if you will,” one man says in the video.

But the men’s endeavor is generating its own critics. Some commenters argued it would require more water to wash off the dirt, including Mark B., who wrote: “ much water will it take to wash that off?”

Utility officials have suggested people undertaking the Ice Bucket Challenge address the drought situation by skipping a shower or by recycling the water.


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