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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Re-defining After the Rat Race


I have had the most wonderful time away back in the State and the city where I (mostly) grew up. 
Primarily the visit was to join family members to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of one of my Aunts.
People came from far and wide.
I also had the opportunity to visit with family members on the paternal side and an old school friend, a wonderful highlight of the visit.
I stayed with one of my brothers and his family and their generosity of making a car available (and the Tom Tom navigation system) enabled me to visit many important people and places.
It has been about 23 years since I lived in Brisbane and the city and it's population have sprawled to such an extent that there is no discernible beginning or end between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
I was amazed to see at some points, six traffic lanes in both directions, but even more amazing for me is that those lanes were filled with cars. The roadways were filled with super stores, not just shops, but great big stores with big ugly signs and huge car parks. There were trucks everywhere, freighting everything imaginable to enable this high density population. 
I am going to admit to you all here and now that I have had a time of soul searching and questioning.
In the face of this excess, I floundered.
I thought, "What is the point?" "What does it matter what my little community in Tasmania does to take steps towards a more conscious living style in the face of such excess"
To be honest I felt like my efforts for the environment were like trying to bail a leaking boat with a teaspoon.
That is not to imply that Brisbanites aren't doing their bit because if you look, there are a lot of solar panels on roofs and people are using less plastic and are forced to be more water-wise. Public transport is very widely used and I know from some of my favourite bloggers living in that area, that there are lots of people growing and greening.
It is just disappointing to see people driving distances and crowding shopping centres to buy things they probably don't need or could easily buy around the corner. 
The prevailing mentality seems to be, "bigger = better".
The reality of dense populations and their associated problems really hit me hard front on.
So as I pick myself up and dust myself off, shake free the disillusionment and cynicism, 
I find a re-newed love for the people and my home in Tasmania and a stronger conviction that we can only live our life to the best that we can. I can't control the environment out there, but I can control what happens within my garden gate. I know that fewer visits to the doctor these past years is proof enough for me that our path is right for us.

My father often quoted us throughout our childhood,
"I once cried because I had no shoes,
till I met a man who had no feet"
It teaches me perspective and thankfulness for the things I have not the things I have not.



7 comments:

  1. I can understand how you feel. I personally think the population is growing too fast, and that Australia can't sustain a much bigger population, without losing our standard of living. Not stuff, but things like cheap water (I grew up in Queenstown where the water was plentiful and free), clean air, less traffic, less ugly houses etc. But population isn't discussed very often, even by greens.

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  2. Hellooooooo Tanya and welcome back I have missed you.........

    Glad to hear you had a great holiday and I can totally understand your disillusionment. Twelve years ago I lived at the top end of the Gold Coast and there was a discernible boundary between the two.

    I guess the thing that upsets me is the mass consumerism, all the Super stores spewing their wares and making people think they need more, more, more.

    Ok, I'll get off the soap box and let someone else have a go now.

    Have a great week,

    Claire :}

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  3. What a wonderful quote from your father!

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  4. Great post Tanya, I'm off to Bris-Vegas soon & have been mentally bracing myself to cope with the onslaught of a big fast paced city.
    I'm totally on your page thou.. I wonder if our bigger, must have it now mentality, really buys peace, happiness, love & security, or just a bucket load of FEAR- Which needs more to calm it!

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  5. I really don't like huge shopping centers.
    Consumerism is really rampant in our cities.
    One reason I love to get to the beach.
    A simple life is all I aspire to!
    Chris

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  6. You know, you can lead by example......and lots of people are starting to do it. The ones who live more simply, do for themselves, reject profligacy, grow food and so on are the ones who will do best when the inevitable hitting of the wall occurs. To almost quote Paul Gilding (The Great Disruption) when Mother Nature and Father Greed hit the wall at the same time, something's got to give. You are on the right path. :-)

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  7. " I felt like my efforts for the environment were like trying to bail a leaking boat with a teaspoon."
    I feel this way so often. Great post.

    Have you seen the documentary "Wasteland"? About an artist who spends time in Brazil with local people who cull through mountains of trash for a living. Eye-opening and oddly uplifting.

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