I came to know about his death yesterday and was so shocked and disturbed by the news. No public figure’s death, other than Steve’s, has made me cry before. The reason is that Steve has inspired me in so many levels, directly and indirectly. It’s not like I’ve become a renown biologist or an environmentalist, but the person he was in TV has taught me so many things.
He was passionate about crocs and wildlife in general; he pushed himself to the edge to learn and tell us what he learnt. If it weren’t for him I would have never touched a snake in my life. I touching/catching snakes is not that big a deal, it’s how he deconstructed my “instinctive feeling” that all reptiles are disgusting. It shook one of my fundamental beliefs that all humans are born with certain instincts and loathing reptiles is one of them. You only have to weaken one of the structures that hold your belief system, before you know, the whole thing is collapsing. It’s not as bad as it sounds because you start constructing another one, this time however, more critically. Of course, I didn’t exactly have the maturity to extrapolate it so coherently back then, but I believe it had deep and subconscious impact.
The way he “risked” his life also pointed to another lesson: if we have concrete information about something, we can push the limits rationally and the risk is a lot more calculated. A lot of feelings, awe, fear, respect, admiration etc., all come from what we know about someone/something. Recently I was in
Steve is dead now, but I’m sure he enjoyed each minute of his life that always close to death. I wish I have his life, at least for a few years, before I have his death.
PS. I did a podcast on his death too, I didn't want my expressions left cold in text.