Hear About Ocean Adventures During a Chat With Jean-Michel Cousteau
You don’t need sea legs, scuba gear, or even a life vest to go on an adventure with the son of one of the world’s most famous ocean explorers. All you need to do is stop into Faneuil Hall.
On Wednesday, July 16, environmental activist and world traveler Jean-Michel Cousteau, the first son of Jacques Cousteau, will lead a two-hour discussion alongside a panel of experts about the threats of climate change on the ocean’s environment, and what people can do to help ensure that the wildlife under the water’s surface continues to thrive for centuries to come.
He will also tell tales of his time at sea.
“My life is so filled with fascination,” said the explorer. “In the past month I was in Fiji, I was in Papua New Guinea, I was in Australia, and then New Caledonia, where there was a meeting with 41 countries…concerned about what’s happening in the Pacific.”
While he plans to share stories from his adventures around the world, the explorer said the main focus of his appearance will be centered on the shift in temperatures in the ocean and atmosphere, and how they will impact living conditions both at sea and on land.
“I am going to be talking about climate change, and problems that certain countries [and islands in the Pacific] have, which nobody ever talks about,” said Cousteau, who arrived in Boston this week on board the Charles W. Morgan, a restored whaling ship that will be docked alongside the USS Constitution in Charlestown for an entire week. “These countries will more than likely disappear, because they will be washed away by ocean rising and the lack of resources that have been taken away.”
The event is hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in partnership with NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Mystic Seaport Museum, and will feature a panel of experts touching on ocean conservation, whale research, and maritime history.
Cousteau said he plans to discuss his recent voyage on the Charles W. Morgan, and highlight the fact that the whaling ship went from a vessel that once hunted whales to one that now promotes awareness about the importance the animals have to the ocean’s ecosystem, and how they need to be further protected.
Cousteau, who has spent “most of his life on ships” bouncing between continents, and following in the footsteps of the work of his father, said despite the fact that most news reports highlight the negative effects of global warming, and promote scare tactics, he’s optimistic that people can adapt to the environmental changes, which in turn will create new technologies and new jobs, and lead to solutions to some of the threats.
“We need to stop using the ocean as a universal sewer and garbage can, which is what we do. It is affecting all the marine life, including the creatures we capture and put on our plates. We need new technology to stop affecting that life support system, which happens to be the ocean. But we are getting there,” he said. “What has happened in the past [in terms of storms] will increase, and the strengths of these storms will continue, and we need to have the technology and need to face up to this. And I think we can.”
Cousteau said he feels blessed to have the opportunity to travel around the world to talk about these problems and solutions, and he hopes people will react positively to the message he spreads. “It’s a privilege, and I try to do my best to really reach out to as many people as possible —especially young people, who are the new decision makers—about what’s going on and what they can do to help,” he said. “I’m here to help…and suggest that everybody can make something to change the way we have mismanaged our life-support system.”