Jacque Cousteau Centennial

“If I make it possible for our children and the children not yet born to live with dignity in the ‘world symphony’ than i will have fulfilled my mission.” – Jacque Cousteau

Today is the one hundredth birthday of Jacques Cousteau, who was an oceanographer, filmmaker and environmentalist.  His tv show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” documented his many trips aboard the Calypso, was a fixture of public television in the 70s.  Through use of the latest SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) and other equipment he helped invent, and self-narrated in his thick French accent, the program brought nature into our homes on a weekly basis.  With his son Phillipe, Cousteau consistently exposed man’s effect on nature on numerous missions.

He was an inspirational character and would be at the forefront of the conversation about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (and all the others) that have despoiled our oceans.  I saw him speak at SUNY Stony Brook in the 80s and his basic message regarding the survival of mankind were as follows:

  1. Educate the children
  2. Protect the environment
  3. Do something significant for Africa and the so-called “third world.”

On a day when the FIFA World Cup is “kicking off” in South Africa, and the world’s attention will be turned to the continent for the first time in the tech-driven 21st century, it’s a good time to remember Jacques Cousteau’s lessons.  Last night a huge concert took place that will be broadcast on Vevo today, and by now we have seen many “world music events” like this (that aren’t award shows): Live Aid, Amnesty Concert for Hope, Telethon for the Heroes after 9/11, Live 8, The Concert for New York, etc.

It’s corny but John Denver wrote a song about Cousteau’s boat the Calypso in collaboration with Jacques Cousteau himself. Here’s a great interview with John Denver (MTV, 1984!) talking about Captain Cousteau and writing “Calypso.” He said “it was one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”

and finally, Suzanne Vega…

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