Anti-dam campaigner paddles for big issue
PADDLING 6600km north from the mouth of the Mississippi River in New Orleans to Hudson Bay in Canada's Arctic Circle is more than just a massive physical challenge for Ballina adventurer and Mary Valley advocate Steve Posselt.
The 62-year-old civil engineer is outspoken about the threat of climate change and will use his kayaking expedition next year as a platform to raise awareness of the issue.
He voiced similarly loud concerns against the Traveston dam and met with fellow supporters at the Kandanga Hotel on Wednesday night to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the quashing of the Traveston dam threat.
The visit came just before he sets off on his Mississippi journey.
He is the first to admit the trip could be "a bit of a struggle".
"The Mississippi travels at 5km an hour, and I only paddle six," he laughed.
Then there's the wildlife to consider.
"I want to get out of Canada by the end of September because that's when the polar bears will be where I'll be. I don't fancy facing a polar bear with a can of capsicum spray."
Travelling up the Mississippi and across the Great Lakes is a huge journey, but amazingly, Mr Posselt will do much more than that: he starts his trip kayaking from Canberra to Sydney, and after the North American jaunt he will paddle from Bristol, England, to Paris, via the English Channel.
In total he will paddle 8000km over 10 months, ending the trip at the Paris international climate conference in November 2015.
"When I get to Paris I want a million signatories saying the Australian government doesn't represent all Australians and we want deeper emission cuts," he declared.
This will be Mr Posselt's fifth major kayaking trip, which started when he paddled and walked his wheeled kayak 3250km from Brisbane to Adelaide via the Murray-Darling system, including dragging the specially-modified wheeled kayak 1080km because the Darling was in drought.