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Why I Did a Base-Jump to Highlight Climate Change

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I'm Michael "Hurricane" Fish, iconic TV weatherman, climate change warrior and BASE jumper. The second two might be news to you, but the first - well... who can forget that fateful forecast in '87. I laughed off a caller who suggested high winds were on their way. Shortly thereafter a hurricane tore down half of the South Coast, killing 18 people. Apportioning blame to me is a misunderstanding, but one I'll never live down.

Despite what most people think, my TV career was not based on my stunning good looks. I'm a highly qualified meteorologist - and lately I've been thinking a lot about climate change. It's probably the biggest problem we've ever faced and it's not going away. If we want to live sustainably, we need to take action now, not when it's too late. The problem is, there's not much in the way of action going on. As a proud owner of a Rapanui t-shirt or two, we decided to do something together to make a point about sustainability.

I decided to show that anyone can take action and change. Base jumping (where you throw yourself off a roof, freefall, then open a parachute) is possibly one of the most dangerous things one can do with themselves. I decided to do one myself. If a 68-year-old meteorologist / fashion icon can do a B.A.S.E. Jump off a block of flats, surely things like riding a bike instead of driving, or buying more sustainable products at the shops can't be so hard?

It took a while to learn all I needed to make the jump as safe as possible. Luckily the United Kingdom has a collection of very fine specialist parachute trainers who were called in to help me.

We gained access in a way that might be, shall we say, frowned upon by the police. That, plus the fact that we had a little crosswind on our hands (I had forecast that earlier but nobody would listen, by the way) made for quite a tense atmosphere on the roof. I have to say, there was a part of me that wasn't quite so keen as I had been discussing the idea a month earlier when we last met. Nevertheless, when it came down to it, the training kicked in and it was all over very quickly.

The video is fun to watch, but - and I mean this sincerely - I do hope my point is not lost.



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