Turning a milestone in Ocean Conservation - Jean-Michel Cousteau's 75th Birthday
Today I turn 75. In the 75 years that I have been on this blue planet, I've been privileged to travel to every continent and to sail every sea. I have borne witness to humanity at its finest--from the invention of the Aqualung by my father Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan in 1942, to the then-deepest dive in 1961 by Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh. With much of the world, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in 1969 and was awestruck by the rover Curiosity’s transmission of images from Mars in 2013.
And I’ve seen humanity’s worst. I have agonized at the near extinction, due to over fishing, of the bluefin tuna. I have been at ground zero of the two worst oil spills in history, the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon. I continue to be saddened by the way we treat the ocean as a garbage can. And I am angered beyond words about the continued captivity of orcas and other marine mammals solely for entertainment.
But I believe in the power of one. I feel strongly that every action counts. I know that we will, no, we must, make a difference for the better. We must embrace a completely different perspective of how we work in, exploit and manage the natural world, far beyond simply the search for new technology. We need a new philosophy about the appropriate use of technology and our relationship with nature. We must remember that it is the ocean that keeps our planet habitable, and so far, too many of our activities undermine the health and vitality of nature.
So, instead of celebrating my 75 years, I would like to raise a glass to celebrate our life-support system, our blue heart. Our Water Planet is now 4.54 billion years old. May we enjoy and appreciate the gift the ocean provides for us all and return the favor by doing all that we can to protect our ocean planet.
Here’s to another 4.54 billion years and many more.
From underwater, diving the coral reefs of Fiji, I send my personal regards and Oceans of Thanks,
First Photograph: Jean-Michel Cousteau with his mother, Simone. Photo courtesy Private Collection
Second Photograph: Jean-Michel Cousteau with a rescued orca. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society