California is in a historic drought, but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from pouring buckets of ice water on their heads for the Ice Bucket Challenge, a campaign aimed at raising money and awareness for the ALS Association, which supports the research and treatment of Lou Gehrig's disease.
The #IceBucketChallenge has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter with countless videos uploaded of people getting doused, all in the name of charity. Even notable figures like Martha Stewart and Former President George W. Bush have taken part in the campaign. The social media frenzy involves someone dumping a bucket of water on his head and then nominating a few others to do the same, or donate to the ALSA, or both.
Unofficial "rules" for the challenge say a dumpee should donate $10 but if they decline to be doused, they should donate $100. President Barack Obama has been challenged by several celebrities (including Ethel Kennedy and even Justin Bieber) but declined and instead donated an undisclosed sum to the ALSA, according to the White House.
In California, the campaign has suffered some backlash (under the hashtag #NoIceBucketChallenge) as critics call the stunts careless and wasteful. A number of disapproving memes have also sprung up and been shared all over social media.
The California State Water Resources Control Board recently enacted emergency drought regulations this summer, which punishes water wasters with fines up to $500 per day.
But according to the board's director, George N. Kostyroko, the Ice Bucket Challenge "doesn't violate any of our regulations."
Kostyroko added in an email, "People should always use good judgment whenever they use water while we're in a drought. On the other hand, we understand that this is a charitable event."
To date, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $62.5 million from existing donors and 1.2 million new donors. This is a significant increase over the same period last year (July 29 to August 23), when the ALSA received $2.4 million in donations.
If you want to contribute to a good cause, consider giving money instead of (or in addition to) pouring water on your head. And if you do decide to film yourself, get creative: dump a bucket of salt water on yourself at the beach or have a friend happily blast you with a hose in your garden!
And lastly, don't forget to include donation information to the ALSA in your video — after all, this campaign is about charity, not you.