Today is Steve Irwin Day in Australia. I took the girls to school and my little Wildlife Warrior Sarah truly wished to spend the day at Australia Zoo in honor of Steve and his legacy. I, on the other hand had other plans in mind for my day. It was not that I didn’t want to be there to support the day but Steve meant more than just the Zoo and his work there. His influence spread across the world in waves of Wild actions and Wild risks that he took to get up close and personal to the wildlife and to show it to everyone around the world. He WAS the crocodile hunter and he LIVED his message wide open for the world to see. His death was a great loss to his family, Australia and the World! For this reason, I chose a quieter and more reflective action to honor this day. I took my dogs to the beach and we walked the sands where he once surfed.
The beach we walk is the same one that I walk at least 3 times a week. Those who know me on facebook, have seen many photos of this beach in my 365 day project. A scattered few can be seen here in the morning either fishing, walking their dogs or personally walking in their own reflective space. We once lived in a house overlooking this same spot and therefore today’s reflective walking meditation brought me back to when we first arrived in Australia.
We were the crazy Yanks that picked up our lives in 2009 and once again, traveled the globe to live in new lands. Our 2nd day here, we showed up at Australia Zoo too late to meet Steve, but having just read Terri’s book, “My Steve” we were full of the stories and reflections of their lives. We had that book signed and were mere tourists on the block. Terri commented that I was beautiful and that she rarely met anyone dressed like that to come to the zoo. It was SO hot and therefore I frocked a royal blue summer-style dress that I didn’t think was that special but I remember how she looked directly into my eyes when she spoke and we shared a moment. I was still full of the stories in the book and I felt like she was an old friend. I said that I was sorry for her loss and that it must have been so difficult to write that book. Some would say I was naive. However, her response was “You have no idea!”I have seen her since but not shared that moment as she walks the grounds of the Wildlife Hospital where I volunteer.
On that day, all the rememberances and signed shirts and artwork lined the walkway behind the crocoseum. I was overcome with the emotion of it all and the huge hole that was left when Steve died. It was felt all around the world and at the time we were living in London! People evrywhere left flowers and written thoughts in honor of this single man, this legend in the history of Australia.
Since that day, I have come a long way and having always been a huge advocate for the animals, my passion has grown for an Australian species, the koala.
Right now in Australia, many species of native animals are under threat from the destruction and loss of habitat leading to fragmented populations unsustainable and pushing the tipping point. Our Great Barrier Reef is under threat as well, perhaps in peril of losing it’s World Heritage status. I attended the 3 Senate Inquiries around Australia regarding the Status, Health and Sustainability of the Australian koala and yet again after much evidence, our Environmental Minister has postponed a recommendation to list the koala as threatened Nationally. Evidence speaks for itself and destruction of habitat, fragmented and unsustainable populations, dog attacks, car hits and disease will one day, most likely be their demise. A simple listing could help preserve the species but this seems to be in conflict with the development, logging and mining industries and the bottom line is the dollar. If Steve were alive today, would he not be speaking out loudly? My guess is YES but he is gone. Terri stands up for conservation, as do her children. Is their voice heard around the World? Steve’s father, Bob Irwin has stopped being politically correct and I applaud him in his conservaton efforts and messages recently published. I recently had the pleasure of meeting him at his property and his lovely wife Judy. They live the message in a simple abode surrounded by the wildlife they love.
Kudos Steve, for all you stand for and all that you did for the native wildlife of Australia.
As I raise my own children and can see them following in your footsteps to be passionate Wildlife Warriors as well, I give credit to you for your inspiration and sheer madness for the species that we all love. As I walked the beach today with my dogs, a beautiful Sea Eagle followed overhead scanning the sea grass and gliding peacefully. “What a beauty” was whispered to the sands and sea.
In your memory, I will do whatever it takes to continue your legacy to strive for a better future for our wildlife and our children. Blessings to you Terri, Bindi and Robert and to you Bob and Judy. You are all in my heart today.