The annual Southeast Environmental and Safety Seminar (SEESS) attracted hundreds of people and several speakers to the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute on March 19.
Naturalist and international conservation advisor Brian Keating was the opening speaker. He discussed his numerous trips to Antarctica, and how he has traced the journey of the great British explorer Ernest Shackleton, who tried to sail to Antarctica, and walk across the continent, in the early 20th century.
Shackleton and his 27 crew members spent two years battling the conditions in a quest for survival. He and the crew eventually returned safely.
"He pulled off the impossible," said Keating. "He kept his men together, he kept their enthusiasm up and buoyant, and he managed to bring a remarkable story to us of human endurance, ability and leadership potential."
Keating has been to Antarctica each year for each of the last 14 years, and he has followed Shackleton's expedition route four or five times. The result is a presentation filled with stories, and video footage, about life on the continent, which Keating said it reflects the beauty, the dangerous and the remote nature of Antarctica.
It's not only a celebration of the environment and of wildlife, but Keating said it reinforces the value of safety.
"Shackleton was a risk-taker, but he did it from a calculated risk perspective," said Keating. "He took the big risk, which was to do the trip in the first place. When the expedition started to fail – when the ship got frozen in – then he started to do day-by-day calculated efforts to keep them alive, to keep them buoyant and excited about life."
The other speakers were:
*Motivational speaker Curt Minard discussed his own approach to safety. He was involved in a workplace accident in 2008, and explained the impact that the accident had on his own life.
*Safety consultant Jim Balmer discussed traffic safety issues currently affecting Saskatchewan and Alberta.
*Environmental engineer Cameron McNaughton talked about baseline soil gas and surface carbon dioxide flux work at the Aquistore site near the Boundary Dame Power Station.
*Dr. Mark Moyad was the keynote speaker. He provided health advice on how to become stronger and healthier mentally and physically. In 2009, he was named as one of the most influential doctors in the U.S. in a USA Today survey.
A trade show was also part of the seminar. Numerous companies had displays that promoted their businesses, and their efforts to promote safety and preserve the environment.