The Adventure

Dr. Joe MacInnis on the Gulf Oil Spill, Leadership and Heli-Hiking

Posted by Jane Carswell on Fri, Jun 18, 2010

Dr. Joe MacInnis discusses the Gulf Oil Spill at CMH's Bobbie Burns Lodge

by Bob Ramsay

For a renowned deep-sea diver, medical doctor, author and environmentalist, Joe MacInnis has a habit of finding himself in the epicenter of incredible things.

One is the CMH Summer Adventures trip he'll be headlining from July 24-27 at CMH's Bobbie Burns Lodge. But even  bigger is his recent appearance in Washington as part of film director, James Cameron's initiative to find a way to cap the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Joe MacInnis knows Cameron well; they worked together on finding and filming the Titanic, and both have real street cred when it comes to the environment (Remember the plot of Avatar?). So Joe wasn't surprised to get the call from Cameron last month to join 25 deep ocean experts in marine science and technology in Washington to come up with new solutions to America's worst environmental disaster.

Said Joe: " Many of us had worked in research subs at depths greater than two miles. But we  weren't sure we could really make a contribution, because BP has more than 100 engineers out there. That said, we  felt we had to try, because the conventional answers didn't seem to be working."

The result of their gathering was a report - which Joe MacInnis had a hand in writing that's been sent to the U.S. agencies involved with the cleanup.

Here's what Joe said about the experience - and the issue that sparked it:

"When you see what's happened down there in the Gulf, what you really see is our relationship to the natural world writ large. It's how we deal with climate change, overfishing, energy use, and ultimately, how we're killing ourselves."

"These human threats to the natural world can only be navigated through leadership. That's why I came up with the idea of "Save the Planet Leadership."

Joe MacInnis will talk about that unique take on leadership while he's with heli-hikers at Bobbie Burns.

"In the last five years, I've talked with pretty much everyone I've worked with who has  a view on leadership and I've come up with 12 traits I believe are essential to leadership as we enter what's already a hugely environmentally-conscious age."

MacInnis also articulates a number of steps to acquire those leadership traits, "because leadership can be taught."

"The perfect example was James Cameron and his Washington initiative, says MacInnis. "He's not best-known as an environmentalist, so he comes from outside the mainstream. But he displays what I call a ‘cool competence' on the subject. He's done his 10,000 hours of gaining experience in the subject. Another leadership quality Cameron displays is to be able to deliver on stage. In other words, he can write and speak extraordinarily well."

"And given what a battle saving the planet still is in many of the corridors of power, you also have to be psychologically and physically tough. The pressure can wear you down, so you have to be in great physical shape."

For Joe MacInnis, many of these qualities are neither new or fancy. But in a world awash in leadership theories, this heli-hiker believes they could be the very ones to save the planet.

Joe MacInnis will present the details of Save the Planet Leadership during his Bobbie Burns trip. To join him, contact CMH Summer Adventures at 1.800.661.0252.

Bob Ramsay is a Toronto communications consultant and writer. He’s also a CMH heli-assisted ski-touring newbie, a heli-hiking veteran, a long-time colleague of Dr. Joe MacInnis and a boundaryless recruiter of friends to enjoy CMH adventures.


Tags: Bobbie Burns Lodge, CMH Experts