Honoring World Humanitarian Day

August 19, 2015

“I’ve always believed real change comes from the heart.
To make real change, you must appeal to the heart. That’s what I have always tried to do through my films and educational programs – inspire curiosity and a sense of responsibility through the heart.”
– Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel speaks with the young future leaders of tomorrow at Oceania 21 Conference in New Caledonia. © Nicolas Imbert

Jean-Michel speaks with the young future leaders of tomorrow at Oceania 21 Conference in New Caledonia. © Nicolas Imbert

World Humanitarian Day is a time to celebrate all those who inspire humanity – to act more caringly, kindly, and compassionately for our global population. There are many people around the world, spanning across continents, countries, politics, and generations, seeking to help the world become a better and more humane place. Today, I would like to honor all those who continue to live their lives with that sense of purpose – to better our planet, for now and for our future.

But I also want to remind us that every day, each of us hold the solutions to creating a better future. As individuals, our choices every day determine the course of the future. It will take every one of us making small but meaningful choices that will change our world. As individual citizens, we must also be part of the solution. Clean water, I believe is a critical issue facing the world. Today, there are over 750 millions people across the globe who lack access to safe water. Water is not confined by borders: oceans cover the majority of our planet, rivers flow across landscapes, and rain falls with no regard for international boundaries. And neither should be limited is humanity’s universal access, and right, to clean drinking water.

I hold many issues close to my heart. In 2014, I had the honor of attending a conference in New Caledonia where island nations of the Pacific came together to discuss the future of their countries in the face of climate change and sea level rise. Here, millions of people will likely experience more frequent powerful storms and cyclones, which threaten fresh water and food security, energy reliance, and the future of their homelands. We are all one human, global, population. What happens to these island nations is a reflection of the rest of humanity. Climate change is a global issue and deserves the attention of the world.

As honorary board member for Green Cross France, I will be attending the International Conference for a Green and Inclusive Economy in Geneva in October 2015. With the United National Climate Change Conference approaching in Paris in December 2015, world leaders and experts are coming together in Geneva to give a vision for the future and send a strong message to the decision-makers that will convene in Paris. The time for action is now. We need to make sure that solid decisions are made this coming December so that our world can move towards a more sustainable future.

I have spent my life exploring our global oceans and sharing my adventures and stories with people around the world in order to show others how deeply interconnected we are. There is only one ocean, one land, one system, which we all depend upon for survival. Which is why, I always say, “When you Protect the Ocean, You Protect Yourself.”

Today, and every day, share your stories, be kind to those around you, and remember that we are all connected. #ShareHumanity

Warm regards,


Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society
with Jaclyn Mandoske