Should she?

Jessica Watson set sail from Sydney last weekend in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world unassisted. There has been a lot of controversy about whether she's ready, whether she'll make it, and whether her parents are doing the right thing by letting her go.

The only of these questions I really feel qualified to respond to is whether she'll make it. Of course, I hope she does. I'm not an expert in sailing, so I don't know whether she's ready; and I don't have children, so don't feel qualified to make a judgment as to whether her parents should have let her start.

What I do feel qualified to make a judgment on is whether the general population should be making this judgment, of Jessica or of her parents.

There is no denying that many adventurers don't make it. Some, no many, get rescued at sea off the coast of Australia alone. And yes, some perish. I remember very distinctly a documentary I saw about Andrew McAuley, whose sea kayak was retrieved just 30kms shy of his destination, New Zealand, on his attempt to cross the Tasman Sea solo. More than two years later, his blog remains untended; a haunting self portait retrieved from his kayak is the final item posted.

Andrew was named Adventurer of the Year in 2005. So arguably he was eminently qualified to embark on his final journey. But the thing I remember most from his documentary was his demeanour when he started paddling. It was almost as if he knew this would be his last adventure. Did I think he should have known that, and "had the sense" to stop? No. I think he did the right thing by continuing.

Andrew left behind a wife and small son, so the knockers were many. Just as they are for Jessica, who is underage and must be "protected".

It seems to me that some of the most revered adventurers (we used to call them "explorers") have been ridiculed by their contemporaries. At one time in our history, the only way to prove that it was even possible to sail around the world was to set forth towards what people then thought was the edge of a flat world.

If you ask me, the very moment we take a stand against the adventurous spirit, we lose our sense of what human endeavour is all about; and lose sight of what it is to live.

So should she? Yes, she should. As a society, we must believe in Jessica's ability to make it. And as a society, we must celebrate not only her success, but also her willingness to try.

Follow her blog or log on to her website and show your support.

Triathletes - go green!

OK so after a month of neglecting the Triathlete Chronicles, I feel compelled to fulfil my pledge to support Blog Action Day with a post relating to climate change. Keeping in the theme of the Triathlete Chronicles, I've decided to write about what triathletes can do to reduce their carbon footprint.

1. Act local by supporting local events. Triathletes are quick to jump on a plane to race all over the country and world. Why not support events a little more local? Long course races can be harder to track down, but they're there. In Brisbane, try the Hell of the West instead of flying to Geelong for the 70.3. Yes, I know, you'll still have to drive the four hours to Goondiwindi - but why not car pool for a good old fashioned road trip? Trust me, if you make the effort to look for races that are a little off the beaten track, you will add an unexpected dimension to your racing - you can feel good about injecting something into a small, local community.

2. Go off road. There are more and more off-road triathlons popping up all over the country. Event organisers usually have an ethos of minimum impact, with initiatives such as laminating race numbers and reusing them, BYO swim caps, and using less infrastructure on course. In2Adventure, who run the Tre-X off road triathlons and Teva Adventure Racing Series nationally, publish an environmental policy which governs all their activities.

3. Integrate your training into your commute. Ride or run to work. It takes just a little bit of planning and organisation, but it will actually save you time. Most organisations have showers and bike facilities. In Brisbane's King George Square, the Cycle2City facility houses showers, lockers and a bike mechanic for cycle commuters.

4. Train from home. Instead of driving to training, training, and then driving back home again (or to work, train from home. Training by yourself also adds an extra challenge for some - embrace it, even just for one day a week. You never know, you might just like it!

5. Don't litter. Yes, gel packets are small. Used tubes don't fold up as easily as the new one you take out of your spares bag when you get a puncture. But the effects of litter are varied and serious, whether it be algal blooms, harm to aquatic life, or 'natural' disasters such as bushfires. Planet Ark estimates that Australian federal, state and local governments spend $200million annually to clean up litter, according to this fact sheet put out by the Queensland Government.

Happy Blog Action Day!