The Environment – Hurting vs. Enjoying
The summer of 2005 thanks to the rapid decline of my Isuzu Rodeo, I found myself in the market for a new vehicle. I researched a number of vehicles that were more gas friendly, but I kept coming down to needing a vehicle that I could count on getting me to and from the mountains I hike. I’ve seen vehicles get stuck on the roads I travel. Most notably, Mike E’s car got stuck in a creek crossing during one of our Appalachian Trail outings. As a female who often hikes alone and has on occassion commuted alone at night to snowy ski resorts, a vehicle competent in tough roads and varied conditions is pretty handy. With a heavy heart but a practical mind, I invested in my Nissan XTerra.
“In order to enjoy the environment, I have to hurt the environment,” I concluded at the time.
This week I read the fascinating online diary of Martin Strel. Earlier this month he finished swimming the Amazon River from Peru to Brazil. He completed about 3,300 miles (that’s over 1000 miles longer than the Appalachian Trail!) in 66 days. It is an amazing journey Strel accomplished. However, it does look like his journey also provided an environmental trade off similiar to my XTerra purchase. In his final entry on April 8, he describes his motivation for his swim:
I also want to promote a message of clean rivers, clean water and friendship, because these rivers and water have to stay clean, otherwise the world will collapse. The Amazon river is still very clean, local people use it as a natural resource and I think the Amazon should stay clean forever.
In his March 30 entry, he answers some common questions about his swim including the very first question that popped into my head, “What do you do about the pirahnas?!?”
So I never swim close to the banks. I stay in the middle and I put some gasoline and cream on my wetsuit to stop the piranhas from smelling my body.
Catch that? In order to promote clean rivers, he’s plunging into one of the world’s most dramatic rivers with gasoline on his wet suit. 🙂
Ah well, it is easy for me and my gas hungry SUV to give him a pass. I’m certainly not in a position to throw stones and his motivation of not wanting to be devoured is one I can easily embrace.
Plus if he can swim 3300 miles in 66 days…. odds are he can kick my ass!