The Challenge

In July 2011, I wrote the following…

It was only last week (or was it two weeks ago?) that Twitter was a-buzz with all of my friends raving about how good/different/bad/ugly/fun/slow/stupid/clever/awesome Mac OS X Lion (10.7) is. At that point, Lion had been released for approximately 24 hours and at a steal of £21, I was heavily considering it too.

But then I remembered that amongst the media hacking scandals and the instability of the global markets, there was a famine going on in Africa. Now, I don’t want to get all on my moral high horse and blow my own trumpet and all those other cliches, but in that moment I realised something. I don’t need Lion – I’ll give the money to people who actually need it, instead.

So I did. And it felt good – it felt right. It felt just. Here I am in my comfortable house in England on my lovely MacBook wearing nice clothes. Wanting an upgrade for something that won’t really impact my life in any great way. Instead my money provided clean water for a day for 175 people.

That’s 1 person, impacting 175 people. For 1 day.

Better than nothing, I suppose.

But then I thought, what if I don’t just do this with Lion. What if, instead of buying anything surplus to my needs, I give the money away to the crisis, until it is over. A lovely idea but totally unsustainable – not because I would be lacking in anything, but because I just don’t think I could tear myself away from materialism quickly enough.

The more I dwelt on that thought, the more I realised I wanted to be less materialistic. And it occurred to me – instead of replacing the value of something with a donation, what if I bought the item in question anyway and donated its value to one of the charities dealing with the crisis. That will both help those in need and help me to reduce my materialism.

Why I am I blogging about this? To share my experience, to encourage other people to join me in the experiment of ‘spending double’. Above all to encourage my friends, co-workers, family and anyone else willing to listen to stop feeling sorry for people in these situations and instead do something about it.

So, friends, join me. Spend double (or even just 10%,20% or 30% extra) and send out an almighty roar in your actions for Africa.

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