There is nothing funny about 780 million people without clean drinking water. Or 2.5 billion people that lack access to a toilet or proper sanitation. So it may surprise you that Academy Award winner Matt Damon has taken a decidedly humorous approach to solving the problem.
He announced that he will not go to the bathroom until the world water crisis is solved. Here’s his faux news conference that launched his Strike With Me campaign.
Damon’s potty campaign is for his 20-year-old charity Water.org that helps bring clean water and sanitation to some of the poorest African countries. Although the world water crisis is deadly serious, Damon and his celebrity pals are educating by entertaining. His unique and funny approach to storytelling cajoles the viewer into participating in his, ahem, movement, while communicating the urgency of the cause. He has even solicited the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Olivia Wilde, Jason Batemen, and the Jesus of all celebrity social causes, Bono, to join in the fun and poke fun at themselves and the celebrity practice of taking themselves way too seriously when they’re out saving the planet.
That should be enough firepower to propel any big-hearted social cause. But it’s not for Damon. He and his water cronies announced that the fundraising campaign goal must be met by November 19, 2013 for their self-proclaimed World Toilet Day. Damon figures that the one invention that has saved more lives than any other should have it’s own special day. What better way to bring attention to the water and sanitation crisis than to give the thrown its own thrown?
There is a lot to like about Damon’s Strike With Me campaign. It makes the critical issue of clean water approachable and embraceable. The campaign doesn’t take itself seriously at all, which ironically underscores the seriousness of the issue. I particularly appreciate the shots Damon takes at the media, the media takes at Damon, and his celebrity friends that dismiss him as just another star trying to save the world.
Now, juxtapose the Strike With Me entertaining humor to the emotionally wrenching and excruciatingly maudlin Sara McLachlan animal cruelty public service announcement, and you can see why I’ll strike with Damon.
Sure, animal cruelty sucks, just like filthy water that is being fed to hundred of millions of people. However, we can take on these issues with a heavy heart and a tear in our eye, or we can go to battle with optimism, humor, and by telling entertaining stories that educate and motivate individuals to action.
Which way do you prefer?