“Instead of becoming hopeless, create hope.”
Those thoughtful words were spoken Friday night by Fabien Cousteau. He and his sister, Celine, were in Miami as their father, Jean-Michel, hosted the world premier of his new documentary, My Father, the Captain: My Life with Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Check out my review of the film.
Seeing this family was a highlight of the conference I attended for environmental journalists, as Jacques Cousteau was and remains my number one hero. The college freshmen I teach at FIU have no clue who he was, so I have to explain why he was so inspirational and how he became the world’s most recognized figure of the 20th century.
Granddaughter Celine, who is six months pregnant with the fourth generation, talked to me about how one person can change the world. People across the world tell her how her grandfather inspired them. “One person can have a domino effect. You don’t know how far that ripple effect goes.”
Fabien pointed out his grandfather’s support network. “Jacques Cousteau opened the door to concern about the environment. But he couldn’t do it alone. It was a communal effort, and he was the face of it.”
When I asked him what he says when speaking to schoolchildren, his words become sharp. “I say we need a revolution. We need all of you, an army of young people to change what we’ve done.”
Thanks, Fabien, and the four other Cousteau’s who shared their spirit of determination with journalists who could use a boost or two.
That spirit will be needed to save Planet Ocean, and especially our coral reefs—an early victim of
global warming. They could be gone within 100 years, as discussed in my article here.
With the bad news about the environment getting consistently worse, it would be easy to give up. But Jean-Michel Cousteau says he finds the reason to continue when looking into the eyes of a child, because that child will inherit the consequences of our actions. He can’t bear to disappoint today’s children and future generations, because they are looking to us, with innocent eyes, and they deserve a fighting chance.