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Community & Business

13 May, 2020

OPINION: We are spolit.

Greater choice has made us more entitled rather than more gracious.

By Phil Brandel

We are spoilt

Several years ago I travelled to Malawi which is one of the poorest countries on earth. When I say they are poor, I don’t mean starving.

They live on one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the world. The lake is full of edible fish, and mangoes and paw paw grow like weeds.

Most villages have some chickens and the odd goat. They don’t have shops, or electricity or running water, but what they do have is happiness and enough to eat.

I’ve spoken to dozens of farmers during the current COVID crisis and it’s made me realise how much food we produce that goes to waste.

If the skin of a piece of fruit is marked or damaged, it’s likely going into landfill. There’s nothing wrong with the flavour of the fruit or the nutritional value only its aesthetics.

Supermarkets only take premium grade fruit, because we refuse to buy fruit or vegetables that are slightly damaged.

According to Ozharvest “Each year over 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill, enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools”

Imagine how much better off our farmers would be if every second piece of fruit they picked didn’t end up in the bin. They could work less, and our weekly fruit and vegetable prices would come down.

I recently had dinner with an old Irishman who saw that my 6-year-old had left the crusts of her sandwich on the plate.

He told me “any child who leaves that much food on a plate has never been truly hungry” this elderly gentleman had grown up in a family where kids empty tummies was the norm, rather than the exception.

Did you know that Colgate has over 500 varieties of toothpaste? On the Coles website, there are nearly 30 different types of toilet paper and they all end up in the same place.

I think about the people who are losing their minds over the lack of toilet paper/pasta/flour on shelves and I think back to the stories my mum told me about growing up in the shadows of war.

Back when people fought over water and essentials. Material for wiping your bum could be found at numerous places.

Greater choice has made us more entitled rather than more gracious.

We have never been invaded nor ever had a civil war. We have never suffered through famine or through a brutal dictatorship.

In 1964 Donald Horne published his book The Lucky Country in it he wrote that “Australia is a lucky country run by second-rate people who share its luck”.

At the time Horne was referring to our leaders but that quote could now apply to any of us. We are the lucky country and lately, we have been taking that for granted.

Sure times are tough right now, but we could have it worse. Much, much worse.










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