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Jacques Cousteau remembered, 100 years after his birth

CORRECTED, 11:25 a.m.: An earlier version of this blog post gave incorrect information about the network for which Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of Jacques Cousteau, is "chief ocean correspondent."

By David A. Fahrenthold

This would have been the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau, the 20th century's iconic explorer and explainer of the sea. The timing is either perfect, or terrible: it falls in the middle of the country's worst marine disaster in memory.

In a telephone interview from Venice, La.--the town closest to the site of the leak on the gulf floor--Cousteau's grandson Philippe Cousteau Jr. said his grandfather would have been astounded by what's happened over the past 53 days.

He "would look at this oil spill as I do and be horrified by our continued willful ignorance and arrogance that we can exploit nature, that we can maintain our dependence on fossil fuels, and that there [will be] no consequences," Philippe Cousteau said. "It's a frustrating time right now, because you have to wonder, when is enough enough?"

Last month, Philippe Cousteau--an activist and "chief ocean correspondent" for the Planet Green TV network--took ABC News on a dive in the gulf, showing brown globs floating under the surface. It was a perspective on what makes this spill different than those that came before: instead of floating, much of the oil seems hidden under the surface.

"This has got to be one of the most horrible things I've ever seen underwater," Cousteau said through his scuba gear.

On National Geographic's Web site, Jacques Cousteau's son Jean-Michel wrote an essay remembering his father's research. "My father would be heartbroken at what is taking place in our seas today, especially the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," he wrote. Jacques Cousteau died at 87 in 1997.

Cousteau is being remembered this year with a variety of events, including efforts to restore his famous ship, the Calypso, which was heavily damaged when it sank in 1996.

By

David A. Fahrenthold

 |  June 12, 2010; 11:25 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Jacques Cousteau’s exploration of the Undersea World documentary presentation on a T.V. series was enlightening to the American people. Viewers went underwater with Jacques and crew and saw all the sea creatures in their natural habitat. What a shock if Cousteau were to document the Gulf of Mexico Ocean.

Consider another public broadcast TV series featuring Obama struggling to do something that result in as much good as the proverbial fight with the tar baby. He gets stuck more and more and the tar baby is still standing or in the case of oil spill, it is still spilling from the oceans floor polluting every cell and molecule once organic, now dead.

Posted by: klausdmk | June 11, 2010 3:25 PM
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So where the hell is Rush Limbaugh in this entire oil mess? It wasn't so long ago that Rush claiemd that humans couldn't possinly harm something so large as planet Earth, but now, the Wash Post hardly has anything to report about this jerkwad. So what's the matter, Wash Post? No longer comfortable leaning against the fence?

And what's the matter, Rush - no longer so bombastic as before...?

Jerkwad.

Posted by: Byrd3 | June 11, 2010 3:22 PM
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Here's to you Jacques Cousteau! Now more than ever

Posted by: johng1 | June 11, 2010 3:20 PM
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It saddened me this morning to hear BBC WORLD NEWS put on a "scientist" trying to explain how the oil will eventually evaporate and be eaten by bacteria. Like this happens all the time...

Soooo, mind telling me about the mess that's hitting our beaches now, British Polution? Where's the "bacteria" when we need it?

Another UK spin on this disaster is that by punishing BP we are hurting senior citizens in Great Britain who rely on their BP investments.

I have an idea. Tell that to the geniuses at BP who went ahead with this project. I just want it to stop leaking, but apparently EVERY EFFORT INCLUDES OIL RECOVERY -- NOT PERMANENT CAPPING!!!

Idiots.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 11, 2010 3:06 PM
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I find it hilarious the same people who complain that Obama hasn't "cleaned out" oil shills inherited from the Bush Admin are the same people who voted to keep them in with McCain-Palin.

Are you people off your meds?

It is true, there are too many pro-oil people in the government - coastal states included.

I too, wonder when will "enough be enough"? The media grossly under-reports that the well is a MILE BELOW the surface of the Gulf.

Ever try doing something from a mile away? Try it.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 11, 2010 3:01 PM
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Americans seem very avert to look at scientific facts and to think critically about its implications to everyday life. Sadly many Americans like the ones commenting on this post seem very eager to display their ignorance.
The Middle Ocean, the place where that large plume of oil is moving and expanding is the most fertile subtrata of the ocean where most fish find their food. The deep ocean is still largely unexplored and its an equally important place in the eco system. Posted by: hromero10 | June 11, 2010 2:26 PM
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That’s pretty funny but sorry OIL and WATER cannot mix. It’s not possible as one is polar and the other is NOT…. The plumes are dispersant not oil….

Posted by: askgees | June 11, 2010 3:00 PM
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SHGEES,
So glad that I got your goat. I just love tweaking ignoramouses from the far out left.

Posted by: pd2710 | June 11, 2010 2:59 PM
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He would have blamed the Republicans and the stupid American people for not standing up to our horrible evil country and the corporations that milk us daily. Nice Job America, keep destroying the world!!
POSTED BY: PORCELAINPRODUCTIONS | JUNE 11, 2010 1:43 PM
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As you sit there using electricity produced by burning coal and oil to post your ignorance for all to see. LOL Perhaps we should start administering IQ tests and id10t’s like this that score below a 75 should be executed. Let’s turn the table and start strengthening the gene pool. Friggin id10t.

Posted by: askgees | June 11, 2010 2:56 PM
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I only wish I were in @#$%*&% distance of the Gulf so that I could properly express my feelings about that out goof Cousteau.
Good riddance to bad trash!!
Swim with the fishes (large white toothed ones) Jacques.

Posted by: pd2710 | June 11, 2010 2:52 PM
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Yes BP knew this and planned accrodingly....leave it to the media.

Posted by: askgees | June 11, 2010 2:51 PM
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Obama errors in oil spill;

1) Never cleared out industry shills from Bush admin

2) OK'd toxic dispersants

3) No clear & comprehensive green energy conversion plan

We need a clean break from fossil and nuclear, Barack. And we need an Apollo project to be 100% on biodiesel, solar, wind, hydro and geothermal by 2020.

Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | June 11, 2010 2:42 PM
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If Jacques Cousteau had been alive today he would have been at the forefront of educating not just the American public but the entire world about what is at stake here.

Americans seem very avert to look at scientific facts and to think critically about its implications to everyday life. Sadly many Americans like the ones commenting on this post seem very eager to display their ignorance.

The Middle Ocean, the place where that large plume of oil is moving and expanding is the most fertile subtrata of the ocean where most fish find their food. The deep ocean is still largely unexplored and its an equally important place in the eco system.

Hello? Elementary science any one? Jaques Cousteau would have reminded all about the basics and enlightened many about the details, including the government. He would have been the highest profile scientist to help us maintain the ocean ecosystems clean, and help us get out of our dependency on oil.

Before you people go French bashing, and along the way science bashing, think. He would have been the best advocate for the oceans and wildlife that we would have had.

Posted by: hromero10 | June 11, 2010 2:26 PM
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sstk34 you seem to miss the point that Jacques Costeau was the most prominent oceanographer to ever live. The Red Baron, et al, didn't devote their lives to the water. In fact there is no connection to those you name and the ocean.
I echo the sentiments of the first poster. One of the worst? This is the worst I'm aware of and it's barely getting started. There have been no marine disasters to compare to this that I'm aware of.

Posted by: red2million | June 11, 2010 2:13 PM
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One of the worst marine disasters? One? Which ones were worse than this?

Posted by: sugarstreet | June 11, 2010 1:58 PM
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He would have blamed the Republicans and the stupid American people for not standing up to our horrible evil country and the corporations that milk us daily. Nice Job America, keep destroying the world!!

Posted by: porcelainproductions | June 11, 2010 1:43 PM
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George Washington would be 278. If he had lived he would have seen America's worst marine disaster.

If Walt Whitman had lived.....

If Isaac Newton had lived...

If the Red Baron had lived...

Posted by: SSTK34 | June 11, 2010 1:42 PM
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I hate to say it, but it's really not relevant. His son is on TV condemning BP. The real point is not to stop this because of the Coustaeau legacy, but because of people living right now and our children and grandchildren. Otherwise, even wealthy people are going to be livnig in a cesspool. At some point even the wealthiest are going to run out of places to escape to. We can do better than this. We're supposed to be getting more advanced, not less.

Posted by: Grandblvd03 | June 11, 2010 1:25 PM
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This would have been the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau, the 20th century's iconic explorer and explainer of the sea. The timing is either great, or terrible: it falls in the middle of the country's worst marine disaster in memory.
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So? News relevance?

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | June 11, 2010 1:20 PM
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