Jean-Michel Cousteau (Headshot Credit to Tom Ordway, 2005)

Jean-Michel Cousteau

“Ethics and Science”


Monday, March 19, 2015
7:30 p.m.

Launer Auditorium • 1001 Rogers Street
Columbia College Campus


Photo Copyright: Tom Ordway 2005

About Jean-Michel Cousteau

Explorer. Environmentalist. Educator. Film Producer. For more than four decades, Jean-Michel Cousteau has dedicated himself and his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet.

Since first being “thrown overboard” by his father at the age of seven with newly invented SCUBA gear on his back, Cousteau has been exploring the ocean realm. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Cousteau has investigated the world’s oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone for much of his life. Honoring his heritage, Cousteau founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work.

Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and education organization, serves as a “Voice for the Ocean” by communicating in all media the critical bond between people and the sea and the importance of wise environmental policy. As Ocean Future’s spokesman, Cousteau serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media.

He has produced over 80 films, received the Emmy, the Peabody Award, the Sept d’Or, and the Cable Ace Award. In 1989, he became a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times where his articles appeared in over sixty newspapers worldwide. Reaching millions of people globally through Ocean Futures Society, Cousteau continues to produce environmentally oriented adventure programs and television specials, public service announcements, multi-media programs for schools, web-based marine content, books, articles for magazines, newspaper columns, and public lectures.

In 2006, Cousteau’s initiative to protect the Northwest Hawaiian Islands took him to The White House where he screened his PBS-KQED documentary, Voyage to Kure, for President George W. Bush. The president was inspired and in June 2006, he declared the 1,200-mile chain of islands a Marine National Monument—at the time the largest marine protected areas in the world.

As chairman of the board and president of Ocean Futures Society, Cousteau travels the world, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and business. He is dedicated to educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change.

Jean-Michel Cousteau has both created and been recognized for many “firsts” in a variety of endeavors. In February 2002, he became the first person to represent the Environment in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, joining luminaries including Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Africa), John Glenn (The Americas), Kazuyoshi Funaki (Asia), Lech Walesa (Europe), Cathy Freeman (Oceania), Jean-Claude Killy (Sport), and Steven Spielberg (Culture). Cousteau was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Athens Environmental Foundation for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, mandated to design and support projects that will improve the environment in Greece and beyond.

In the first attempt ever to return a captive orca to the wild, in 1999 Cousteau merged three non-profit organizations to form Ocean Futures Society to continue research and care for Keiko, the captive killer whale of Free Willy film fame. In working with Keiko, Cousteau and his team pioneered both husbandry techniques and scientific research on wild orcas. In 2002, Keiko was returned to the wild and entrusted to the Humane Society for continued long-term care and monitoring.

In another “first,” on Earth Day 1997 Cousteau led the first undersea live, interactive, video chat on Microsoft Internet, from the coral reefs of Fiji, celebrating the International Year of the Reef and answering questions from “armchair divers” throughout the world. In 1998, Cousteau participated in a live downlink from the Space Shuttle Columbia to CNN to highlight the International Year of the Ocean, discussing NASA’s contribution to ocean awareness with astronaut and marine biologist, Rick Linnehan.

Cousteau has been honored with the Environmental Hero Award, presented to him by then-Vice President Gore at the White House National Oceans Conference in 1998.

Cousteau also has a long history of innovative design in the field of architecture and the ocean. Acting on a childhood dream to build cities under the sea, he pursued a degree in architecture from the Paris School of Architecture and remains a member of the Ordre National des Architectes. Artificial floating islands, schools, and an advanced marine studies center in Marseilles, France, are among his projects. In 1969, he led the transformation of a 100,000 square foot section of the Queen Mary into the Living Sea Museum in Long Beach, California. He also directed the design and development of the Parc Oceanique Cousteau in Paris, an innovative public attraction to teach visitors about the ocean without displaying any captive animals.

More recently, Cousteau has been involved with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, an environmentally and culturally oriented family resort, conceived as a model to prove to the business community the economic benefits of environmental concern and design. In order to expand the impact of ecological tourism, he created L’Aventure Jean-Michel Cousteau, a flagship dive operation at the resort in Fiji. He is currently forming an action partnership to expand this ecologically responsible model to other sites.

In recognition of his many and diverse contributions to learning, Pepperdine University awarded Cousteau an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Humane Letters in 1976. He has received DEMA’s 1994 Reaching Out Award and the 1995 NOGI Award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. In 1996, Cousteau was awarded the SeaKeepers Award from Showboats International, and the John M. Olguin Marine Environment Award from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. In 2003, he was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and became a Trustee of the British Virgin Islands National Parks as well as being the first recipient of the Ocean Hero Award from Oceana. He has also received the Poseidon/Lifetime Achievement Award from Reef Check and been elected to the Global Green Board of Directors. In 2008, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jules Verne Adventures and the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Schedule

Time Event Location
3:30 p.m. Q & A Panel Discussion for students, faculty and staff Dorsey Gymnasium
7:30 p.m. Lecture: “Ethics and Science” Launer Auditorium
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Previous Ethics in Society lectures

2014 Nina Totenberg, Award-winning Legal Affairs Correspondent
2013 Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation
2012 Christine Brennan, Award-winning Journalist, Sports Analyst and Best-Selling Author
2011 Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
2010 Michael Beschloss, award-winning presidential historian
2009 Edward James Olmos, actor, producer, director, Hollywood activist
2008 Mike Huckabee, former governer of Arkansas
2007 David McCullough, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
2006 Soledad O’Brien, television journalist and CNN co-anchor
2005 Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Harvard Law School graduate and environmental ethics advocate
2004 Arun Gandhi, founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence and grandson of the late Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
2003 John Kasich, former U.S. congressman
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