With four grandkids under five and another on the way it is important that one day I can say to them that I tried my best.
In 2006 I had a near death experience when I crashed my motorbike in sand on the Plenty Highway. After that I decided that every day had to count. Climate change became the thing that mattered to me as not many people seemed aware at the time.
In 2007 I kayaked from Brisbane to Adelaide along the Darling River, paddling over 2000 km and walking over a 1000 km where there was no water. I gave climate change seminars and presentations along the way.
Physically my shoulder is still dislocated from the accident, so it doesn’t work so well. The good thing is that paddling seems good for it. My knees are buggered so I can't run anyway. Maybe I have an aptitude with the kayak and I certainly enjoy it.
Although I've done other big trips before - the Murray Darling, the Mary River, Brisbane to Sydney and up the Goulburn River across Victoria, this trip across North America and England is my most ambitious trip yet.
My goal is to showcase that we are experiencing unprecedented chaotic climate events all around the world: Fire tornado in Canberra, early fires near Sydney, Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, the melting Arctic and flooding in the UK; they might seem unconnected but they are not. We know that are all related to more energy in the atmosphere and my job is to highlight that.
When you do an adventure like this you start with your fingers crossed because you are never really ready. The biggest worry that I've had in the past week is that I have just seen a video of the river in New Orleans. Man does it flow fast! Not sure how I will go paddling up that, but it will be done.
The Paris talks are at the end of November so I have nine months to paddle across the USA, Canada and England. Coming across a white bear with only a capsicum spray in my pocket is an adventure I hope to avoid.
I am leaving Canberra on the 14th January 2015 to arrive at Sydney Opera House on the 31st January. I then leave the Gulf of Mexico on 20th February for Hudson Bay via the Mississippi and Great Lakes. After a flight across the Atlantic it is across the UK, through London, across the English Channel and then up the Seine to Paris for the Climate Talks in November 2015.
My message is that most Australians want deep emissions cuts to come out of the Paris negotiation. We don't want to pollute the world and are embarrassed by the stance of our current government. Ignoring the science is tantamount to fanaticism. It is the exact opposite of a conservative approach.
We call on Australia's and Canada's government to take a reasonable approach to risk management. We are two of the worst emitters per head, and on top of that Australia is the largest exporter of pollution.
This arduous journey is to focus the attention of citizens across the English speaking nations on our joint responsibility for doing our bit.
This rig is what I use to get around on in Australia for speaking engagements. It is a conversation starter.
Your life is never the same after you do these sorts of trips because you meet so many amazing people. They always surprise you and there is so much to learn about things you never even thought of.
How do I feel? Fantastic, excited but sick all at the same time. That was also how I felt before I did the Darling River in 2007. It is a fear that goes away when you get to actually do the job.
Steve is available for presentations anywhere, anytime that fits his schedule. You can book at firstname.lastname@example.org. He arrives at Sydney opera house (eastern side) at 4:00pm Saturday 31st January 2015 where he will be greeted by Bob Brown. Please feel welcome to greet him.
This Week in Climate Change (formally The Week That Was), a weekly review of climate change politics, policy, innovation and science from Climate Reality Leader Andrew Woodward. @climatecomm