Monday, September 04, 2006

"Steve, from all God's creatures, thank you. Rest in peace."

Today is a sad day indeed, as animal lovers, conservationists, and adventure-seekers alike all mourn the untimely passing of Steve Irwin. I am particularly sad today, as I considered the croc hunter a bit of a hero and something of a role model.

He was, if nothing else, a non sequitur. Steve was from a remote region of Australia, and was obviously a bit rough around the edges—if he had hailed from Alabama, I'm certain he would have fit more comfortably into the NASCAR set than the country club set. And despite his immense popularity here in the states, I know he was not always similarly loved by his countrymen. Without fail, every Aussie I have asked about Steve Irwin explained through a pained grimace—the same one Americans wear when discussing David Hasselhoff with excited German tourists—that he was not a good representative of Australia.

So it really is a bit surprising, if you think about it, that an Aussie "redneck" would become the international spokesman for the conservation movement.

I first became enamored with Steve Irwin when I was in college. We all loved his adventure-seeking, laugh-in-the-face-of-danger approach to life. But I soon saw that there was a rhyme to his seemingly-unreasonable antics. By doing these outrageous things with crocodiles, he was able to get the whole world (including beer-swilling fraternity boys in Alabama) to take notice of his true passion—protecting God's wondrous creation from destruction. If this guy is not afraid to talk about what he really cares about (or even to have a good cry over the death of a furry little animan), then I shouldn't be either. Whether that thing you care about is the environment, your faith in The Lord, atrocities in Darfour, or anything else, you shouldn't be afraid to talk about it (and talk about it with passion!) just because it doesn't fit with your background, or with what the world might expect of you.

In this respect, we can all learn a lot from the croc hunter's legacy. God bless you, Steve Irwin.


Blogger Lt. Dan said...

Amen Bubba. Steve was one of the most entertaining television personalities of recent memory, but also did a tremendous amount of good through his educating people about animals and the environment. At least now he will be with his dog who fell victim to a crocodile a few years ago.

5:28 PM  

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