If you love animals and nature, then you might recognize Steve Backshall, the famous explorer and CBBC presenter!
Well, Steve is also a record holder, since he kayaked across the Thames river with his adventure buddy Tom McGibbon and officially set the fastest time to row the length of the Thames by double canoe/kayak with portaging (Teddington lock).
So we simply had to meet him. 🤓
What did we talk about, you ask? Well, about the deep blue sea, of course! 🌊
For example, did you know that 71% of our globe is covered by water, but that only 2.5% of it is fresh liquid water?
In fact, most of the water on Earth is frozen away in glaciers (large areas of thick ice) or hidden in underground caves.
Steve knows all these facts and more, so we decided to play a little guessing game with him...
We showed him some of the record-breaking marine animals in the new Guinness World Records 2024 book, and he had to guess the records of those animals!
And how did he do?
After asking him lots of animal questions, from the fastest marine mammals (orcas) to the largest freshwater mammal (the hippo) and from penguins to whales, we can confidently say that Steve smashed the challenge!
The Guinness World Records 2024 book is all about our Blue Planet! How much do you know about it?
Do the Quiz and find out!
Steve has made it his mission to talk about the efforts we all must make to save our seas from global change.
“I’m touring around the country talking about our oceans,” he told us, “and talking about the most iconic animals that live in them.”
We are talking about the future and what we can do to preserve our seas.
Steve told us that, as the oceans get warmer, everything in them starts to change...
And, according to him, it is mostly the younger generations that have the power to help save nature and the wildlife! 💪
Kids all over the world grow up loving the sea, playing on the beach and in the water.
Isn't it fun to chase the waves, look for treasures washed ashore by the tide, and discover the marine animals? 🐟
Sadly, however, our oceans are plagued by plastics and microplastics, creating dangerous zones such as the Pacific Garbage patch: the largest oceanic garbage patch. 😱
So how can young people make a change?
According to Steve, recycling, respecting the animals and correctly disposing of trash are little everyday things that make a huge difference.
“Every single, tiny thing you can do matters,” Steve explained, “and we can all make a difference if we work together.”
The most important thing is to realize the power that you have, and to realize that your efforts are important.
Among other active efforts to protect our waters, for his tour Steve partnered with several charities to bring more awareness and proactiveness in the battle for cleaner oceans.
In his efforts to spread awareness, one of Steve's allies is the initiative Kids Vs Plastic, from National Geographic Kids.
He told us: “They are amazing activists who are still in school and who have managed to help out our oceans one piece of plastic at a time. They show that one single person can make a difference.”
"The way we perceive the use of plastic, and particularly single-use plastic, is important to realize what a huge difference one single person can make," he continued. "And, particularly, it's important how we get rid of that plastic."
If you think that one plastic bag or one straw could kill a whole animal, then you realize that not using that object or disposing of it properly could also save that animal.
But how do you become an explorer like Steve?
If you dream of learning more about wildlife and fantasize about embarking on amazing adventures, here is Steve's advice: start with small expeditions and learn the basics first!
In his words, “Start from your own backyard.” 😉
For example, start by learning how to pack an adventurer's backpack, or study and explore your surroundings...
Preparation, fun and always respecting our planet (and the animals and plants that live in it) are all small but very important things that will make the explorers of tomorrow! 🤓
A passion for water
“I think I’ve always been crazy about oceans,” Steve explained.
Are you like Steve? Or, perhaps, is his story inspiring you to explore the oceans?
“One of my first memories as a toddler is going down to the seashore, and it’s something that is part of most children’s lives.”
But now, let's talk about the record that Steve broke with his friend and paddle partner Tom kayaking down the Thames river.
“We had wanted to do it for a long time and we discovered that the existing similar record was very achievable. So we started training until, sadly, I got Covid a week before we were due to go," Steve explained.
In the meantime, somebody else broke the record: the fastest time to row the length of the Thames by single canoe/kayak (Teddington lock) was broken in 2021.
But that didn’t stop the two friends, who continued to train until they decided to “just go for it and make it happen”.
That's the spirit, guys! 😎
Finally, in August, they took on the challenge, starting from Lechlade Bridge and arriving at Teddington in only 20 hours and 29 minutes, an excellent time! 🥳
Tom and Steve supported each other throughout the entire attempt, keeping each other focused and awake despite the difficulties of the paddling. 🙏🏽
“We were a very good unit, we kept each other happy and we made endless terrible jokes,” Steve told us.
Having supportive friends is priceless. ❤️
We kept each other going.
"This was one of the hardest things either of us have ever done," Steve said after the record-breaking paddle. “It’s something you share it with a friend and a challenge you complete as a unit. And I could never have done it alone.”
So, if you want to achieve something but don't think you can do it alone, ask for the help and support of a friend, or someone you love - just like Steve.
That's what friends are for! 😊