ideas for massive risky stunts for a purpose?
June 28, 2011 11:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm developing a series of specials based on big, dangerous, epic stunts all revolving around water to raise awareness about all the ways we're abusing and destroying this vital precious resource. would love some ideas along the lines of - kayak the Bering Strait, as it's about to be threatened because of climate change opening up the Northwest Passage. serious, significant risk is a must.

other thoughts -
-hang gliding from a hill in Hong Kong to emphasize airborne pollution from China - flying in the clouds
-getting stuck in shrimp nets in the Gulf of Mexico to call attention to sea turtle deaths
posted by TMezz to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
I'm fascinated by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Maybe hang out there for a bit?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:04 AM on June 29, 2011

Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro to see what remains of its snows. It's beautiful territory from top to bottom, and while the climb isn't exactly K2, it's not a cakewalk, either.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:16 AM on June 29, 2011

No limits freediving is extremely dangerous.
posted by atrazine at 12:24 AM on June 29, 2011

unfortunately the Great Pacific Garbage Patch doesn't make for particularly interesting viewing...
primarily consists of suspended particulates in the upper water column. Since plastics break down to ever smaller polymers, concentrations of submerged particles are not visible from space, nor do they appear as a continuous debris field. Instead, the patch is defined as an area in which the mass of plastic debris in the upper water column is significantly higher than average.


The size of the patch is unknown, as large items readily visible from a boat deck are uncommon. Most debris consists of small plastic particles suspended at or just below the surface, making it impossible to detect by aircraft or satellite. Instead, the size of the patch is determined by sampling.
posted by russm at 1:27 AM on June 29, 2011

When you are looking for "big, dangerous, epic stunts" are you looking for cinematic stunts that are dangerous but doable for a fit amateur/presenter figure with training - or stunts that represent tough challenges for world class professional athletes.

The north face of the eiger is still one of the most iconic and famous climbs world wides - and has been significantly affected by climate change
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:41 AM on June 29, 2011

Niagara Falls in a barrel!
posted by TheCoug at 1:41 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

One of my friends was doing a kayaking trip from Pittsburgh to the Gulf of Mexico, trying to raise awareness of threats to the Mississippi. Website

Some professional whitewater kayakers run huge waterfalls - definitely qualifies as epic stunts, but I don't know if it matches what you're looking for.
posted by Metasyntactic at 1:59 AM on June 29, 2011

Swim the English Channel blindfolded.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:06 AM on June 29, 2011

Parachute from Angel Falls.

Swim a prodigious length of the Amazon River.

Swim the entire length of the Amazon River by relay.

Stage a tree sitting operation at a logging operation in the Amazon Rain Forest. You could face violence, arrest, and deportation.

Scuba dive under an Antarctic ice shelf. Film the cracks.

Run the length of the Haiti (deforested) / Dominican Republic (forested) border.

Swim an oil rig relay. Map out oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and swim from Florida to Mexico, touching the base of as many oil rigs as you can along the way. This could highlight the recent oil spill.

Infiltrate an active coal mine by way of an adjacent publicly accessible cave. This would have the striking effect of transitioning from a beautiful, untouched underworld to the dirty, mechanized hand of man. Miners are sure to be hostile. This may not even be possible.

Track a team of migrating animals that has been forced to increase their migratory distances due to the changing climate. Relay run that distance with the herd. Helps if they don't travel faster on average than a human long-distance runner.

Follow migrating birds in an ultra-lite aircraft. Same idea as above. Danger factor increased if crossing largely uninhabited or treacherous terrain such as a desert, ocean, or mountain range.

Follow migrating fish or whales. Again, same idea as above, but the difficulties increase. Fish probably swim farther and faster than can be achieved by relay swimmers.

Scuba dive into the cove at Taiji, Japan during the annual Taiji dolphin hunting drive. Somehow survive the harpoons of the fishermen. Instant international attention.

Ride a shifting jetstream in a hot-air balloon. Document the struggle to steer the balloon to where it should have gone before the shift.

Spend time in an artificial atmosphere tank that simulates the carbon dioxide and pollution levels projected by scientists for some arbitrary date. Emerge coughing and gasping.

Complete a coastal circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean by sailboat during the summer ice retreat. This would take you from about 66 degrees latitude at the Bering Strait and Iceland to 83 degrees latitude at the tip of Greenland. This trip would allow you to document the ice melt along the coastlines of various countries and hotspots, including the United States, Canada, the Northwestern Passages, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Russia, which would strike home the point that Climate Change has international relevance. Along with documenting signs of melt, you could survey wildlife (polar bears, elk, reindeer) and sealife (seals, fish).

This is fun. I'll come back if I have any more ideas.
posted by troll at 4:14 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

scuba dive tailings ponds in the Alberta tar sands or other mining operations
posted by canoehead at 8:07 AM on June 29, 2011

So do we get a credit if you like these?

I think anything involving big-wave surfing is always good, visually. What's the most polluted place you can surf, without causing more damage to that environment?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2011

I saw this done in a surfing video, so I can't claim it's an original idea, but it was a neat stunt: surf the wake created by massive pieces of glacier ice breaking off and falling into the ocean.
posted by zen_spider at 11:05 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

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