Guest Author Jeanette Castaneda writes about arts & entertainment topics, pop culture trends, and celebrity news (or feuds). You can follow her on Twitter @jeanettec03.
Matt Damon is a passionate advocate in ending the global water crisis. He's been involved with the cause since he co-founded the charity, Water.org, in 2009. In order to celebrate World Toilet Day, the nonprofit organization released a video staring Damon last week where the Oscar-nominated actor announced that he would boycott the use of a toilet until everyone in the world has access to clean water and a toilet.
To quote one of the reporters in the video, "Whaaa?"
OK, I get it. He's just taking a stand against the global water crisis and this isn't a personal promise to really avoid a toilet till a solution is found, right? That could take a while. The force is with you, Matt.
Regardless, this sort of viral video attempt to shed light on a serious issue tends to work well in bringing awareness (Kony 2012, for example). There's even a website (StrikeWithMe.org) where you can take the same pledge with Damon and help bring clean water around the world. Considering the drastic stats regarding our universal water supply, Matt Damon sure means business.
Water.org reports that nearly 780 million people lack access to clean water (this is more than 2.5 times the United States population)". A more startling fact is that 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation; 1.1 billion still practice open defecation."
These statistics are jaw-dropping and although Damon is no doubt joking about his boycotting bodily functions, water supply and sanitation should not be seen as luxuries to these parts of the world.
After watching the video a few times, I can say it was funny, but more so, it made me analyze the cause. According to the Los Angeles Times, Water.org's community outreach officer, Mike McCamon, states that statistics don't motivate change as much.
"We could do a million of the traditional PSAs," McCamon said. "But people just aren't shocked by statistics anymore."
The video is meant to combine humor, informative bits, and social media momentum. "If it's just funny, then you move on with your day," said Jennifer Tisdel Schorsch, the nonprofit's chief marketing officer. "But if it's funny, and it makes you think, that's very powerful."
Damon and his charity have done just that with their amusing and insightful video. With Water Day coming up on March 22, we all are asked to join the strike. I will not boycott the use of a toilet, but I can help aid the cause to allow those less fortunate the dignity of having one.