I have been suprised by many peoples heartfelt sense of loss for Steve Irwin(as does my husband). My first reaction on hearing the news was that’s sad…especially for his family, but that it really wasn’t a surprise considering his high risk behaviour!
When everybody got stuck into Germaine Greer for saying her usually insensitive way, I tended to agree with her, being a person who prefers not to disrupt the integrity of a creatures natural habitat.
Then again, my husband and I often swim against the mainstream feeling. The first thing we knew about our fellow Australian Steve Irwin was when we saw him being animated in South Park! So when we crossed channels from the ABC to see Steve approaching a deadly snake, and putting sunglasses on so it wouldn’t hit him with deadly, blinding poison we paid attention; I was hysterical with horror, disbelief and laughter, so were the Masai tribe who he drove to in need of extra water because the snake had struck him. He survived that one.
We understood that he could be so loved in the U.S. because of their adoration of the outrageous, larger than life characters. I took my neice and nephew to Australia Zoo and was impressed, especially the koala exhibit, but when I read in the newspaper extracts from his book about how as a teenager he grabbed Red Belly Black snakes out of the bush, five in one afternoon and took them home in his esky, I thought this is a lesson for our children about what not do do.
The fact is, Red Belly Blacks are are rare in some areas, and as they are the only predator of the more aggressive and predominant Brown Snake we are not amused. It occured to me that if Steve was a kid again, he would have been diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin, but he was fortunate to have a father who had a passion that allowed his boy to use up all the mad energy,(his dad said, Steven was a monster as a kid).
I hope that the next generation are able to step back when they are out being Wildlife Warriors, and think throughthe cause and effect of what they intend to do to save the environment, and I hope that the grief felt for this Aussie adventurers death will trigger them into a committment to saving all flora and fauna, including us, by thwarting the climate change that is upon us, which will wreak havoc on our earthly paradise.