I will turn 50 years old on August 17, 2023. Initially, I had dreamed of going to New Zealand or Hawaii on my birthday. Instead, I will swim 15km of Harrison Lake and then I will run 35km. The total distance will be 50km. I will complete this test in endurance to raise money for Ecojustice. Ecojustice Canada is Canada’s largest environmental law charity. Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all. Their strategic, innovative public interest lawsuits lead to legal precedents that deliver lasting solutions to our most urgent environmental problems.
My father, Jim Keeling, was on the board of directors of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, which is now Ecojustice. My father drowned on May 18, 1996, at Harrison Lake. I will be swimming from the point where he had his boating accident to the Harrison Hotsprings. My father drowned when he was 50 years old.
There is a lot of talk about the environmental challenges that we are currently facing. There is climate change, the depletion of our natural resources, and our unsustainable lifestyle. Some would argue that our environmental challenges are rooted in our current economic system. We have a linear economic system and some would argue that we should transition to a circular or a steady-state economic system.
My father was a lawyer, but he spent the majority of his working years being a manager of a race track. A memory I have of my father is of him sitting behind the betting line area and watching race after race on a small television set. He watched the horses going around and around in a circle. A linear economic system is where raw materials are turned into products that consumers use until they throw them away as waste, and there is no concern for environmental consequences. The linear economy is one of "take, make, dispose", and a circular economy is "make, use, return". Some would argue that the circular economy is the answer to our problems.
We did not grow up in a religious household. But I believe, similar to Henry David Thoreau, for my dad, nature was a religion. Environmentalism and naturism were not recognized ‘religions’ back in 1996, but if this was an organized religion, my dad would have been one of the adherents. He was passionately committed to helping environmental organizations.
Indigenous people honor those who have passed. They honor and show respect to their elders and they attempt to keep their memories alive once they pass from this world. As a daughter, I have failed to do that since my father passed. I think about him often, but his name will only occasionally come up in conversations. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "don't die with your music in you". This fundraising effort is a way for my dad to have a voice.
Completing this endurance swim and run will be one of the ways that I can show respect and honor to my father. All money raised will go directly to Ecojustice in Jim Keeling’s name.
I have trained hard for this event, but there will be moments during the swim and run where I will want to give up and quit. Just like in life, we face challenges and obstacles, and sometimes it might seem easier to quit. But I will not quit.
For me what will give me strength is knowing that my father departed this world in a not-so-kind or loving way. I know in my heart that he struggled and suffered greatly. I will use that belief to give me the mental strength that will be needed to complete this endurance event.
I appreciate your support