Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I must admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Steve Irwin’s TV antics. At first, years ago when he first appeared on our airwaves, I did enjoy. But after a while, he kind of got annoying.
But his television work was, by far, not his only work. Nor was it his most important work. Mr. Irwin was a diehard conservationist. He cared about animals, cared about taking care of them, cared about making sure they had a habitat, cared about removing them from endangering humans or humans endangering them. And he didn’t do this in some New Age, crystal-collecting, PETA type fashion. He was simply a classic conservationist, no more, and definitely no less. That was his greatest work, caring for nature and sharing his love for the flora and fauna of our planet with basically the entire world. That will be his legacy, I believe, not going “Crickey, she’s an huge buggah!”
His beliefs, his actions, his passions are all things to which, as a southern boy, I can relate. Regardless of the stereotypes put upon us, most of us rednecks are staunch conservationists. No, we don’t work for PETA or GreenPeace, and yes, we eat meat. But we were also taught that we do not own this planet, this land, these animals. We are but tenants who must keep watch over, and take care of, this fragile planet and its varied species.
Those are the things I believe in, and those are the things Mr. Irwin believed in. That is why I respect him, and not because he became a multi-million dollar brand.
Mr. Irwin died on September 4, 2006 after a stingray barb punctured his chest cavity and went into his heart (as an aside, the video footage of the attack, which is most likely to be destroyed, also shows Mr. Irwin personally pulling the barb out of his chest and heart.)
Rest in peace, Mr. Irwin. You will be missed.
February 22, 1962 - September 4, 2006