I MUST admit to not having read the hugely hyped erotic page-turner Fifty Shades of Grey. The name, though, led my undisciplined thoughts to shades not of grey, but of green.
To call someone a bit green was once a put-down of his or her inexperience, and to be green with envy was to be unbearably covetous.
In recent years, though, the word has been variously applied to the tree radicals of the 1960s; a political party that has branched out into non-arboreal issues; and developers who lust after "greenacre" land on which to further spread the urban sprawl.
Much more numerous, but not very vocal unless aroused, are ordinary Sunshine Coasters, the real people behind what is called public opinion. They just love where they live and want to get on with their lives, but with businesses, jobs, livelihoods and lifestyles now directly affected or threatened by the economic downturn, many of them are understandably looking for a quick fix, and who can blame them?
Enter big Clive Palmer. His plan for saving the Sunshine Coast from itself is to replace a Yaroomba beachfront sand dune with a gigantic tourist resort.
The concept won't score many environmental ticks, but just as truth is said to be the first casualty of war, environmental protection could well be a casualty of the straitened economy.
In the current cold economic climate, a significant percentage of Sunshine Coasters could well soften their opposition to our region becoming just another Gold Coast or an imitation of mega-resorts elsewhere in the world. Embracing instead the siren call of Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, they will excuse Clive's offhand dismissal of environmental concerns and see him as the Coast's white knight.
Perhaps they will be proved right in the short term, but our region is now paying for having put almost all its economic eggs in one basket labelled TOURISM.
Regardless of the current downturn, this industry is famously subject to fickle fashion and thus to the ups and downs of inbound tourism, so I wonder about the long-term benefits for a region sadly lacking in a diverse mix of other industries.
If Clive really wants to help the Sunshine Coast with his money, I hope he hires the best brains to show him how to do so with a little more respect for its remnant natural environment than he has shown so far.
By so doing, he could be remembered gratefully as the big fella who learned to work imaginatively with rather than against nature and made the Sunshine Coast all the more appealing to world-weary tourists looking for something different.
Perhaps, too, he could give our university's ground-breaking Innovation Centre a few of his millions to push ahead with enabling and fostering a good mix of new enterprises so that there will be some diversity of employment and opportunity to balance the vagaries of tourism.
Footnote: Some 40 years ago, the then Maroochy Shire chairman and state MP David Low put forward a far-out plan to extend the Mooloolaba harbour's breakwater out to Mudjimba Island, thus making a harbour for cruise ships.
Maybe the white knight could revisit this idea. Only joking, Clive.