Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Pooh Change

Where I come from this stuff is called Pooh change. It is virtually useless as actual currency. If you go into a shop with a handful of it to pay for something, shop assistants don’t get paid enough to count it. There is virtually nothing left that you can buy with one of these coins. But there are millions of them in circulation weighing down pockets and purses all over Australia and no doubt adding to the carbon load as they are trucked around. They do not represent the carbon and energy that is embedded in them and yet they are beautiful crafted objects designed by Stuart Devlin that combined could do a lot of good.
I like to play a bit of mischief with Pooh change. It’s not so much mischief as maybe bringing about a Pooh change. Pooh as in Winnie has a centre of gravity problem which with a little bending he could possibly improve. Pooh also likes to philosophise on lovely days while ambling around with his friends.  I like to go for walks on lovely days too and take a handful of accumulated Pooh change and sprinkle it in places of interest to little growing minds.

I like to create little moral dilemmas for children who may happen upon several little coins together. One coin is happenstance but how come there are several or even several groups of several? Is it ok to keep it, is it spilt by fairies, robbers, bad people, should I tell Mum, should I tell everyone (after I have found most of it)? Does it make children more generous or sneaky and greedy? Or do they too look at it and just say Eww Pooh change?
By sprinkling it around in local playground areas, on walking tracks I hope that it engages children in exploring a little more.  I hope they find the acorns which are smooth and longing to be fondled and symbolically are just as valuable as 5c pieces as seeds of bigger things. I hope that it gives them fantastic dreams of finding enormous treasure and I hope it encourages them or any passing adult to bend down.  I hope maybe it also tickles the altruist gene in children, that they can know generosity and put it in the poor box.
According to Wikipedia there are 80million x5c pieces produced every year. That by my calculation is $4 million of Pooh change produced from 75%copper and 25% nickel  at a cost far in excess of $4million.  Apparently the face value is 2.7cents.  What charity or hospital couldn’t do with that $4million (or the real cost).  And they are not the only ones in circulation.  They have been minted around the world (not just Australia) and probably not from Australian sources since 1966. Then shipped by the ton from all over the world and by creating whacking great holes in our planet for what...Pooh change? Sounds like a plan by a bear of little brain. Maybe my little exercise is a valuable way to put in my 5 cents worth toward education.
Be the change you want to see in the world.

Postscript: A Melbourne based group called YGap running out of St Kilda have a campaign to raise 5c pieces for charity. Check it out at

1 comment:

Colours of Ariel said...

This is something I had never thought about.. What a waste of copper!!!! I have loved reading your blog thus far. You are very insightful and write beautifully. Proud of you :)