Feeling Crappy? Happy Happy
Who’s To Blame? Boral? Gold Coast City Council? The Koalas? Or YOU?
December 21, 2010
1

Q. A construction materials manufacturer is currently planning to develop lush natural, Gold Coast bushland into a quarry. They say that the resident koalas and wildlife will be better off with a quarry established. Regardless of whether or not you think the corporate giant is talking out of its backside, answer this: Who’s to blame for the quarry?

Is it:

A. The developer

B. The council

C. The opposing local residents

D. All of the above

E. The koalas

Koala
Creative Commons License photo credit: Paul J. Morris

If you answered D – congratulations! you’d be right.

(If you answered E – I’ve got nothing…you’re clearly on crack and probably should be worrying about that instead of reading a blog post about a quarry. ;) )

A Real Situation

Anyway – the situation outlined above isn’t just some hypothetical question, it’s actually happening right now on the Gold Coast in Queensland, just minutes from where my Mum lives.

To say the local community (my Mum included) is up in arms would be an understatement. In fact, we were discussing it on the weekend and in-between formulating new expletives to describe the evils of councils and greedy corporations, an idea popped into my head. Granted, it wasn’t an idea I was too willing to accept, nor one that I thought my fellow conversationalists would be eager to hear.

Still, never one to shy away from a heated debate, I threw it out there anyway.

It was ALL of our faults, I ventured.

(Stick with me and you’ll soon see how this relates to overcoming negative thoughts/emotions.)

Yep, that’s right – although none of the local residents, the well-meaning environmental groups, myself or my Mum wanted the quarry (especially when fuzzy little koalas were at risk), we’d all unwittingly played a part in the fact it was now being proposed.

How Were We Part Of The Problem?

Well, rewind three years to when I was renovating my kitchen – the dark cupboards and tiles were getting me down and I wanted something newer and ‘nicer’. Back then, I distinctly remember requiring grout for the tiling. I also remember needing plastering material when my dog chewed a hole in the kitchen plasterboard shortly after. Funny how owning a dog can suddenly increase your DIY skills exponentially.

As for my Mum – she’d recently moved into a new home in a ‘greenbelt’ bordered estate. Several months earlier, that same house had certainly needed cement for its foundations and construction.

Then there’s the environmental groups – when they’re not on rubber dinghy’s chasing whaling boats, you’ll find that just like you and me, they go home to brick and tile abodes too (and as much as I’m sure they wouldn’t object to it, I highly doubt that it’s cow dung – and not cement-laden bricks -  holding their roofs up).

Of course that leaves us with the Council – average people like you and me who are just trying to get a job done. Part of that job is to encourage more people to move to the Gold Coast to grow the area and build the economy for the benefit of ALL residents. The cement for all those new homes has to come from somewhere.

We Don’t Want It, But Our Needs Have Created A Demand For It…

We need the products of the quarry for the standards of living we demand. It’s as simple as that.

While we all want to blame Boral, the reality is, our lifestyle of ever increasing consumption requires more and more from the earth – yet, none of us wants to accept responsibility for it.

Think of how our consumptive lives demand more than ever from our environment… We all need oil for the many types of plastic products we use, from iPods to car tyres. We need more trees to be cut down so that the main ingredient in our spaghetti bolognaise has somewhere to graze. What’s more, we’re constantly encroaching on bushland in order to house our ever increasing population.

We’re all responsible for the drain on the earth’s resources, but soon forget that when something terrible happens in ‘our own backyard’, or when something awful like the destruction of natural fauna habitat gets our attention.

Far from condoning the building of the quarry I’m suggesting that it’s helpful to look a little further than the ‘evil corporations’ and recognise why they even exist in the first place: Demand. Without ongoing demand for products from the quarry, it wouldn’t be worth Boral’s time to spend millions on it. No business operates for fun. Businesses operate for profit. Without demand there is no profit.

If I didn’t want a new kitchen just because it would look nicer, if we didn’t want new homes just because can afford them, new quarries would have no reason for being. Sadly, with the rate of our consumption showing no signs of slowing, quarries like the one at Tallebudgeera continue to make news and are having to be built closer and closer to residential areas (and on top of koala habitat).

Forget About The Blame Game

So, before we look for someone else to blame, we might first look at how we can take actions to reduce the problem – not just now, but in the long term. THAT’S empowered, enlightened action and action that WILL change the world – even if it’s bit by bit, one person and one quarry at the time.

It’s insanity to fight a problem you’re contributing to. Instead, become part of the solution and look at how you can help others do the same.

Bringing It All Back Home

So – how does this relate to managing depression, negative thoughts and unpleasant mind states?

Well, all this quarry business made me think about how we so often ‘blame’ undesirable feelings/moods/thoughts on something else. It’s our job, our partner, our finances, our imperfect bodies, our neighbours, our government and anything else other than US that’s responsible for our low mood. If only these things would change, do what we want or go away altogether, we’d be able to be happy.

However, when you look inside yourself and put your hand on your heart, can you honestly say that playing the blame game is the best solution? OR – Is there some degree of responsibility YOU can take for how you’ve been dealing with life so far?

If you can, congratulate yourself for getting on the path to a happier life, because it’s only when you recognise that you share responsibility for everything that happens in your life (if only to the degree that you have a variety of options when interpreting events and perceiving situations), then and only then can you do something to improve your reality.

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About author

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Camilla Jones is the writer behind www.tameyourmindmonkey.com and author of the free eBook, 'On Purpose, With Passion' - a workbook designed to help you uncover new meaning, direction and passion, in order to lead the happy, fulfilled life you've always dreamed of. To receive your free copy of 'On Purpose, With Passion' email camilla@tameyourmindmonkey.com, with 'ebook' in the subject line.

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There is 1 comment

  • Imelda Mckenna says:

    Many of your points are on the nail. However, life as we know it in the 21st century has become a fine balancing act. We are primed from birth to achieve and our expectations in the present era is one of “must have”. As a babyboomer my expectiations were not fueled by the media so my “must haves” were usually things that were utilitarian for example a washing machine or electric heating or a carpet on the stairs. Such items were purchased with cash which had to be saved in the old fashioned way of the bank book or for the lucky who “had” the biscuit barrel.
    Nowadays we cannot remove the influences of TV, shopping malls, magazines credit cards and our peers. For those with a social conscience it is a fairly lonely road to converting consumers into thinkers and recyclers. Thankfully there are people who will ask us to question the present day norms and the echo of a whispered word is one small step towards taking responsibility for actions. It’s ok not to “have” – you don’t need to keep up with your friends with the latest iphone etc. The balancing act comes into force when we accept that we need certain things to live in the 21st century but we can find contentment in things other than material possessions.
    Well done Camilla for your thought provoking blog.

    [Reply]

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