The month of November marks a special time for reflection: it has been 10 years since the loss of an iconic character who taught many of us to appreciate “the ugly ones” in nature.
He left footprints in the sand that we can still learn from and appreciate.
Do you remember the strange and wonderful TV conservationist we called “The Crocodile Hunter”, Steve Irwin, who died suddenly in 2006?
He was both a little crazy and very brilliant at the job of becoming the champion of the unlovable animals in nature’s line-up.
Think of the panda and baby elephant as the “beautiful people” on the dating site, and the reptiles as the one’s whose profiles never get a second look. That’s who Steve Irwin taught us to appreciate and even cherish.
Well, there’s some interesting reasons to keeping his memory alive and today, even if you don’t know who we are talking about, you will be entertained and, we suspect, come away a little transformed by the videos and stories we will be sharing.
Let’s start with a video just to refresh our memories about Steve Irwin’s unusual brand of enthusiasm…
So, who was Steve Irwin?
Steve Irwin was the world-famous Australian known as The Crocodile Hunter, a popular TV personality ten years ago. He didn’t actually “hunt” any animals for the show, but rather “found” them and then told us all about them in the most compelling way.
He died at 44 years young, from an accident involving a stingray, on September 4, 2006,
The voice of Steve Irwin so commonly issued from family televisions around 2000-2005, that his loss was like an important light going out.
But then it wasn’t just about us, was it? After Steve’s death, the lights went out on some of the conservation momentum he created.
Remembering Steve Irwin as a Teacher
Steve Irwin also taught us a lot about making hard things fun. And life is hard. Very often we have to take some risk and get past our fears about the hard things.
But he wasn’t just a wacky, do-anything television personality, like most we see on TV today.
Today on EverWideningCircles.com, we point you to a set of videos below (three parts), where the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin) demonstrates his commitment to conservation and his sincere appreciation for animals.
Just watch his instantaneous calm, a split-second after something happens that would make most of us instantly hit our own “fight or flight” buttons.
You see in this next video, he never even flinches, because he is a teacher who knows the animal he is teaching us about is frightened for its life, and his compassion is palpable through all these escapades.
Take a look at what the adventure “performers” on TV today could not do…
The Crocodile Hunter’s Most Dangerous Moments, Part I
Why are the “Steve Irwins” of the world so precious?
First, here’s a funny story that I like to tell about how Steve Irwin was a part of many children’s (and parents) lives at the beginning of this century.
Here’s a story I wrote about a pivotal day in my life. (See if any of the following sentiments ring a bell.)
“I was picking through the brussel sprouts in the produce section at the grocery store one afternoon when I heard the news. My best friend Jane, who knew I was an animal lover, came running up to me.
“Did you hear? Steve Irwin!.. He’s…(sobbing)… gone!… (more sobbing)… stingray…(a little gasp)” she attempted to explain, but it was muffled by our combined quiet whimpers while we rocked back and forth, crying in each other’s arms for several minutes there in the organic section.
When my bag of brussel sprouts hit the floor, they went rolling in all directions. The ground below my feet seemed to shift significantly right along with them.
I mumbled, “What about the ugly animals and unlovables he was promoting and protecting!?”
“What about the moral compass Irwin was setting for conservation around the world!?”
“What about the heroes and good guys who we all need to measure ourselves against!?”
Jane and I were the best of friends and we had a lot of things in common, including the fact that we both had a house full of kids and animals. My gosh, we were raising menageries! Entering either house came with an explosion of sounds from barking dogs and their tapping toenails, to the delightful laughter of children running out the back door.
Both our houses were run through with rescued dogs of every size, cats, guinea pigs, land crabs, and in our house, we raised orphaned wildlife for our state’s game department, so you never knew what you might find in our yard: baby moose, fawns, injured foxes, seagulls, skunks, and porcupines.
And so, Jane and I were “urban animal conservationists” and we didn’t even know it.
And that’s why we took Irwin’s death so very hard.
It was a passing of an era for us. Irwin was like that crazy, lovable uncle, in the background noise of our homes.
Remembering Steve Irwin as Authentic
We all have (especially children) well-developed antennae that help us sort the actors from the real people, the ones with their passion at their core. Steve demonstrated that the celebrities who are real in their convictions shine through.
Here’s another video that demonstrates that…
The Crocodile Hunter’s Most Dangerous Moments, Part II
Here’s another to complete the set:
The Crocodile Hunter’s Most Dangerous Moments, Part III
Again, it’s rather incredible that in the midst of being attacked, Irwin didn’t act with malice or flee with cowardice; instead, he does his absolute best to remain invisible to these animals and leave them be.
Celebrate Steve Irwin Day!
Irwin’s legacy lives on in his daughter Bindi Irwin and son Robert Clarence Irwin, as they take ever larger roles at the great Australia Zoo.
To keep that legacy fresh, the conservationist has his own holiday: Steve Irwin Day!
Steve Irwin Day, which is on November 15th, is just what it sounds: a celebration of the life of the Crocodile Hunter. Here’s an excerpt of what the holiday’s about, as per the Steve Irwin Day website:
“Steve Irwin Day continues the legacy of Conservation, Family and Fun that Stevo created. KHAKI IT with us! Steve Irwin Day on November 15 – is an international and annual event to celebrate the extraordinary life of the one and only Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.
Khaki is more than a colour [sic]. It’s an attitude. It’s a stand to do something positive in our world and a passion to make a difference. And when you make a difference – you KHAKI IT!
- Wear khaki and make a donation to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors
- Celebrate at Australia Zoo on 15 November
- Renew, reuse and recycle
- Clean up your local beach
- Build a possum box or a frog pond in your backyard
- Lock up your dogs and cats at night.” 5
Check out steveirwinday.org for details, how to get into the action, why you should “Khaki It!”, and even how and where to donate to the organization that is doing great work on conservation.
And I’ll have to leave you with one last unusual homage to Steve Irwin: a music video made to honor his energy and great way with conservation words! Take a look…
That’s our article for today folks!
Strange and wonderful as it is, we can celebrate the characters who lead us on journeys we could never have gone on without them.
Enjoy your week! Stay curious, hopeful and open!
~ Dr. Lynda
- “Australia Zoo Team Catch a Crocodile on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.” YouTube. Australian Geographic, 27 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5IjWD_fKaY>. ↩
- “Steve Irwin’s Wildest Animal Encounters (Part 1).” YouTube. Frighttrain260, 30 Apr. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrPV7CI7WTs>. ↩
- “Steve Irwin – Most Dangerous Encounters (Part 2).” YouTube. Frighttrain260, 26 Apr. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVOzvGoTg2M>. ↩
- “Steve Irwin’s Wildest Animal Encounters (Part 3).” YouTube. Frighttrain260, 30 Apr. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f53jd4uFZwY>. ↩
- “Steve Irwin Day : Khaki It.” Steve Irwin Day. Australia Zoo, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. <http://www.steveirwinday.org/khaki-it>. ↩