Recently a meme has swept the country: the “ice bucket challenge.” Its goal is to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. While I have no objection to something relatively harmless making the rounds in the name of a good cause, I feel that it is mostly a representation of a culture of sameness and a culture of obedience. By that I mean that we should be aware enough of the way the world works to do good deeds without an internet meme challenging us to do so.
Have a look at the 15 most common causes of death in the United States…
Percent of Total
|1. Diseases of the heart||28.5|
|2. Malignant tumors||22.8|
|3. Cerebrovascular diseases||6.7|
|4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases||5.1|
|5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)||4.4|
|6. Diabetes mellitus||3.0|
|7. Influenza and pneumonia||2.7|
|8. Alzheimer’s disease||2.4|
|9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis||1.7|
|10. Septicemia (blood poisoning)||1.4|
|12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis||1.1|
|13. Primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease||0.8|
|14. Parkinson’s disease (tied)||0.7|
|15. Homicide (tied)||0.7|
Of note is that many of these illnesses (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease) would benefit from changes in behavior, most notably diet. With that in mind, I challenge my readers not to dump something unpleasant on themselves to “raise awareness” of something, but to act. I challenge anyone who reads this to a one month vegan challenge. If you go vegan, I’ll go vegan.
Yes, I know that as a dietary vegetarian, I am closer to vegan than most of my readers, but I know that if I can eat a vegan diet, so can you, and I know that we will all benefit greatly from it.
Comment on this and let me know when you want to start, and it’s on. So what do you say?