Anyone who’s read my blog around Christmas knows that Easter is my favourite time of year.
Christmas Schmistmas. For me it’s all about Easter and the chocolate. I know there was originally a meaning to the celebration but for most of us it’s been lost in the excitement of chocolate bunnies, eggs and the occasional Humpty Dumpty.
Although I can appreciate expensive (decent) chocolate, for me, nothing goes past our Red Tulip brand of chocolates here in Oz – which only seem to be available at Easter.
Because I’m choosing not to eat chocolate at the moment, I haven’t bought any eggs yet. Usually by now I’ve started indulging, before going all-out on the eggs for sale AFTER Easter has come and gone. You have to start early though, as there’s often a danger of missing out on your favourites.
So, you can appreciate how perplexed I was when I heard that this year, Australians will spend $185.7 million on Easter chocolate (an increase of 5.2% from last year). Now obviously I’m all for chocolate; Yay for chocolate is what I say. But almost $200m… that’s ridiculous?! There are only 23 million people in Australia. That’s a lot of chocolate per person (particularly given that many are too poor – or healthy – to indulge!).
When confronted with such figures I cannot but help feel guilty. On behalf of the Red Tulip (caramello egg and bunny) loving-me and my fellow compatriots. And I’m sure other developed (first-world) countries are no different (less so those where the majority of the population celebrate other religions of course!).
It occurs to me that for $200m we could provide A LOT of medical supplies to refugee camps in the horn of Africa, clean water could be provided to those in central Africa and income generating projects could be funded in Myanmar or Nepal. Or if you want your money to remain close to home, in 2011 there were 105,237 homeless people in Australia and medical research organisations are always struggling for funding.
Australians will apparently spend $3 billion over the Easter break. Our country’s annual foreign aid budget is $5.2 billion and yet we can manage to blow over half of that in a four-day weekend. What. The. Fuck?!
I don’t want to sound all preachy. Hell, I forgo physiotherapy appointments so I can drink $18 bottles of quaffing wine (Taylor’s Cabernet Sauvignon, in case you’re interested!). I believe individuals have the right to decide how best to spend their money.
But it should give us pause for thought. What if we cut our Easter Egg spending by half? What if WE went without, just buying treats for the children in our lives. We could do something else with the money we save: donate to a charity or buy better wine.
It’s definitely worth thinking about. Isn’t it?