Ian Heye, Staff Writer

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen the countless tweets about the absurdity of the donations given to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Since the collapse of the Notre Dame Cathedral, millions of billionaires and even regular citizens have pledge around $835 million to support the reconstruction of the iconic church.

The news of the donations has, rightfully so, attracted lots of negative attention with Twitter users asking questions like “what about Flint, Michigan?” And these Twitter users have a point. Why are billionaires and regular people deciding that an old church needs to be rebuilt but the city of Flint doesn’t deserve that money for clean water? Clean water is a basic human right. Luckily, after the outrage, Flint received the money it needed to fix its water, $77 million. But what other ways could nearly a billion dollars be used for?

A billion dollars could be used to help give food and water to families living in poverty. According to NBC San Diego, it would take somewhere between $200 million and $400 million to clean an area of trash the size of Texas out of the Pacific Ocean. The money could be used to help protect endangered animals by paying guards to watch for poachers. Three churches in Sri Lanka were bombed and no one is talking about donating to those churches. The list goes on.

However, the Notre Dame Cathedral was a place of worship; the church was still used by Catholics in France. It was a place of beauty with art placed all over the building. For a lot of people, losing this church was losing their place of worship, a place to feel safe, a place to pray. So why are the donations bad?

Even if the cathedral is rebuilt, it would take a lot of time; people who worshiped at this church will have moved on. Instead of building the Notre Dame Cathedral again, build a smaller church so the people who attended the Notre Dame can go back to their place of worship faster. The area could be transformed into a public park instead of a church. The Notre Dame was a place of beauty, but it won’t be the same after the reconstruction; things like a century old organ may not be remade and that sound is gone. No matter how hard the architects try, the church will still be a different church than what is was before, so why not just build a slightly smaller church instead and add an element of modernism into the city.

However, I’m American. I’ve never seen the Notre Dame, let alone live near a structure internationally recognized, so I can’t possibly imagine losing something so iconic for my city. But, if you ask me, all the money being donated to the Notre Dame Cathedral could be used for way better causes than rebuilding an eight-hundred old church.