The human species is a truly wonderful organism. It can survive on top of Everest without oxygen. Not many animals can do that. In May 2006, Justin Gatlin ran 100m in 9.77 seconds. In Feb 2006, Kjasa Bergvist jumped to a height of 2.08m. In Sept 2005 Carlos Coste completed a dive of 105m, without oxygen. Tom Sietas did it with fins in July 2005, and got to a depth of 212m. There are many animals that can do those things, but there are none that can do two of them!
Humans are smart. They can build a super-computer that is so sophisticated that it can sometimes beat a chess player by the name of Kasparov. Put those brains and physical prowess together, and you have one hell of a species. Add in a pretty incredible survival instinct.
At midnight on my last night on call at Christchurch Hospital (NZ) in 1995 the phone rang. A patient had just arrived by long range helicopter from the Chatham Islands. Six hours ago he had been attacked by a big Great White Shark. I first met him lying on an X Ray table. Kina, an 18 year old Maori had been abalone diving at a depth of about 15m when a Great White wrapped itself around his waist. A combination of adrenaline, strength and and an incredible will to survive got him through the next 10 seconds. He tried to poke the eyes, but the head was too broad, and he couldn’t reach the them. He wacked it on the nose, and it let go of him. He got to the surface, and the thing had a second go at him, jumping clear out of the water. They managed to get him onto a boat, and rushed him to the nearest hospital (Christchurch) 400 nautical miles away.
There he was, lying on the X Ray table, tough as nails. He had a big bruise around his waist, where the thing had bitten him fair on his weight belt. He had a deep laceration running the length of his thigh, with 3 deep scratches running the length of his femur. He had a 1 inch wound over each groin, and I could see both femoral arteries pulsating. He had a 1mm nick over each side of his scrotum, where the teeth must have JUST come together. The first words he spoke were “When can I get back in the water,Doc…..eh?” How about “NEVER!”
Individually, humans are smart, strong, fast, and have a huge survival instinct. Put us together as a global community, and we are as dumb as bat shit. We know that climate change will be a problem. We know that we need to reduce emissions. We know that we MUST reduce emissions. Next year human emissions will be much higher than they were this year. Collectively, what has happened to our survival instincts?
On 10/2/08 the first of the “LifeSaving Energy Big Swim” series was held on Lake Jindabyne, a 7 km swim from Kalkite to the town of Jindabyne. All 20 competitors finished the event, which was held in near perfect conditions, and an impressive $21000 was raised on the day.
Well done to Terry Casey who swam the longest swim of his life, and would have put most people half his age to shame. Colby…. swam the Lake in a blistering 1 hour 35 minutes, and won the mountain bike donated by Tathra Beach and Bike for the swimmer who gained the most sponsorship. There was a fine showing from the South Coast Anglican College, and there are some pretty quick swimmers in the mountains. There was a huge turnout from the Tathra surf club, who were on the lake in force to make sure that all went smoothly. Thanks also to Drs Cath Newman and Gabe Khouri who were on the lake for medical backup. In particular, I would like to thank all the sponsors in the mountains and on the coast who supported this event. We had gold coin donations, magor individual sponsors, businesses and swimmers all get behind this event, and it was an heroic feat to raise $21000, the amount necessary to install a 2 KW photovoltaic system and a 400 Watt wind turbine on the roof of the Jindabyne surf club.
We will have the system installed as soon as we can get a DA through council. The next “LifeSaving Energy Big Swim” will be in Narooma on the weekend of 19/20 April, to raise money for renewable energy for the Narooma and Bermagui surf clubs. This will be a 7 km swim in the Wagonga Inlet. Where too next? Clean Energy For Eternity aim to get all 7 surf clubs in SE NSW set up with renewable energy by the end of the year.
Surf Life Saving Australia gets interested
Representatives from surf clubs and associations from around the country get together with landcare to discuss an EcoSurf policy for SLSA. It is hoped that “LifeSavingEnergy” will become a big part of the policy development. Tathra surf club is to be set up as a “beacon” club for LifeSaving Energy.