At first glance, Climbing For Awareness seems like a nice idea. The idea is that a special climbing team is attempting to climb the 7 Summits, or highest peak on each continent of the world, in an effort to “raise awareness of eating disorders and change peoples perceptions of eating disorders”.
Problemo Numero Uno
The expense. Do you have any idea how much money it takes to climb just Mount Everest alone? Estimates, depending on how many of your toes you feel are extraneous, range from $30,000 to $75,000 per person and up. Now times that by six for Mounts Kilimanjaro, Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstenz Pyramid, & Vinson. I’m just saying, you could buy a lot of in-patient extensions for ED’d girls whose health insurance has run out with that kind of green. Or if while climbing Kilimanjaro you witness the numbers of African children dying from malaria, you could save 26,250 kiddos by buying mosquito nets at $20 a pop. That’d be almost enough to put Sally Struthers out of the late-night cry-a-thon business.
Problemo Numero Dos
Their mission. First up: “raising awareness” for an “often ignored or neglected disease.” Um, they are DISORDERS, not diseases and last I checked get an obscene amount of publicity which probably in turn begets even more eating disorders. Second: they also want “to show that having or had an eating disorder is not debilitating.” Actually they are very debilitating. That’s kind of the problem with eating disorders.
Problemo Numero Tres
It’s catching. I do realize that these people’s hearts are (probably) in the right place but there seems to be an epidemic of selfish look-at-me “charity” going on in our country. I can’t tell you how many times in the recent past I’ve heard this spiel about raising awareness. Snow Kiters raised awareness (but no money) for wind power in North Dakota. Rock climbers say that their “primary purpose” for climbing in China is to “raise awareness for potential environmental, historical and social risks.” That’s nice and all but I’m guessing that their primary purpose for climbing remote regions in China is to put up some wicked FAs (first ascents – the ultimate bragging right in climbing), nebulous philanthropy notwithstanding. Bicyclists ride 15,000 miles to “raise awareness of the international consequences of global warming.” I’ll be the first to say that riding 15,000 miles is impressive but do they really think that international leaders are going to look up from their piddly civil war disputes to say, “well, gee, if a pampered American with a crew and endless sponsor dollars at his disposal can ride a bike then surely we fix the environment!”
I Swear I’m Not A Jerk
I know there are bigger issues (Darfur? Myanmar? Twinkiegate?) to get upset about than some misguided people whom I’m sure really are trying to be nice. But my problem is that it really does take so little to help people in need and diverting these potentially life-saving funds to some grandstanding surfer who will make a pretty speech and then go home to his 4,000 square foot home in Malibu is a travesty.
Has anyone read Three Cups of Tea? You should.