Be inspired: on the road with the Australian Geographic awardees

By AG Staff 21 February 2019
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Kicking off our series of roadshow events, speakers at our Sydney event inspired and entertained.

If there was a defining moment in last night’s Australian Geographic Awards Roadshow in Sydney, it was these words from Pat Farmer – the man who conceived and completed the world’s longest ultra marathon – a run from North Pole to South Pole (a distance of some 20,000km) to raise funds for the Red Cross:

“I say to all of you, please find a way to help all of humanity.”

I suppose it resonated so strongly with me because I’ve been meditating on the idea of kindness for a while now: kindness to self, kindness to community and kindness to the planet.

All of the evening’s other speakers – wingsuit wonder woman Heather Swan, solo Antarctic sailor Lisa Blair, and plastic-waster warrior Sophia Skarapris – touched on this theme too.

For Heather, who has plunged off skyscrapingly high mountains and cliffs around the world to glide effortlessly (or so it looks) through the air in her ruby red wingsuit, kindness to self includes challenging your fears, rethinking unproductive thought patterns, keeping your mind and body fit and focused, and consuming a plant-based diet, a certain kindness to the planet.

For Lisa Blair, her record-breaking solo journey around Antarctica was motivated by a desire to see if she could actually do it while also raising awareness of climate change (she asked supporters to write a message on a post-it note naming their intention i.e. ‘Ride my bike to work, don’t drive’, ‘Walk my kids to school even in the rain’, then stuck all those notes together and used them as the inspiration for the wrap that went on the hull of her boat).

And for 15-year-old anti-plastic crusader Sophia Skarparis it’s about kindness to the planet by rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling our waste as much as possible. “There is no ‘away’,” she said. “Every year we throw ‘away’ up to 13 million metric tonnes, but every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still on the planet.”

All delivered inspiration in spades. And messages of adventure, conservation and kindness: to self, to community, and to the planet. Now surely that will help all of humanity.

The roadshow now heads to Perth (27 February 2019, State Library of WA Theatre). You don’t want to miss it. Get you tickets here.