Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I just found out that Steve Irwin was killed recently. I'm sort of two minds on the whole thing.

For one, he deserves great credit for his work. Like Jacques Cousteau and Marlin Perkins (along with poor Jim Fowler who always got saddled with wrestling enraged hippos while Marlin spoke into the camera), he really brought the beauty of nature to the forefront. Through his personality he was able to make nature study popular. No doubt there are thousands of children out there in whom he awakened a real interest in nature and if some percentage of them retain that interest, we will all have benefitted.

On the other hand, I feel that he was remiss in that he downplayed the dangers inherent in screwing with Mother Nature. Don't get me wrong: I feel perfectly safe in the woods. Safer, in fact, than I do staying in a motel or walking down a city street in broad daylight. But that's because I know better than to go dragging kraits around by their tails, I know that polar bears and fer-de-lances are unique in nature in that they will actively hunt humans, I use bear bags when called for and I don't go shoving my hand in holes or crevices.

I don't rejoice in his death, in fact I rue that the world has lost a terrific, charasmatic educator (not to mention husband and father); but in nature, just like everywhere else, there are rules. And Steve Irwin routinely broke them.