Friday, June 26, 2009
A True Hero
"I want to fight until the day I am no longer able. Fight for what? For the world, for life, for happiness, for fresh air, for songs, for the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea."
Ever since I can remember I loved Jacques Cousteau. I was always so fascinated with his ocean explorations as a kid. His study of sharks is what really got me to love him, though. (You may remember the mention of my shark obsession in my WIPster interview.) He really worked so hard to destroy the fearsome man-eating image most people envisioned when they thought of sharks. He taught people to see them for how amazing they truly are, and respect them. He reminded that in a world without sharks, humans would not survive. He did all of this in his amazing lifetime and that is just barely the tip of the iceberg of all his work.
"We must not only defend sharks because they are useful and beautiful, but we must protect the sea that feeds them. And also restore the balance of the great ocean's ecosystem, of which sharks form an important link and on which we ultimately depend."
Requins, Innocents sauvages, J-Y Cousteau et Yves Paccalet, Ed. Robert Laffont 1997.
Even though he has left this earth he will forever have my admiration. So you can imagine my excitement when I found the Cousteau Society headquarters *almost* in my neighborhood. I kid you not, it's literally a 7 1/2 minute drive. I am so happy I discovered this before we moved! The girls and I drove there on Tuesday. They had a tiny museum filled with some of the most amazing things. The girls were not as excited as I was, although K really liked the mechanical shark. If only we lived here while they were older...
Life size mechanical great white shark
I could have spent hours in that tiny museum but they let me have about 45 minutes. I think we reached a good compromise! (That is one of the keys to parenting, wouldn't you say?) I learned so much about his life and his amazing family. I look forward to the day when I can share my love and gratitude for Jacques Cousteau with my girls, and have them fully understand. Until then I can continue telling them stories of his expeditions and teaching them to respect and care for our oceans and planet. I think that's what he would want us all to do.
From the Calypso
Underwater camera from the late 1970s