GREEN CROSS 20TH ANNIVERSARY: 2020 STATEMENT JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU
My awareness of nature started when I was young. It began when I was a kid when my father threw me overboard. I then became a scuba diver, and learned to want to save my own ocean backyard from being used as a garbage can and overburdened. I grew up wanting to help my father and his team.
The ocean is our life support system. There is only one water system and we all depend upon it. There are between 4,000-5,000 children under 5 dying every day from having access to polluted water, and that needs to change.
The concept of borders is a thing of the past. Today it is one planet, one ocean, one people, one water system, and that is the way it is.
For me, President Gorbachev is the most unique individual of our species. He was in charge of a big country, and decided the way things were going in the world had to change. He promoted freedom, but recognized that freedom is not “free.” His approach was that “no longer are people telling you what to do. Now you have to make decisions for yourselves.” This is for me is very symbolic of what the President has done.
President Gorbachev opened the door for something that no other major head of government had ever done, which was to say “ok, now we need to focus on our life support system, our planet, and now we need to make sure there is a future for the generations coming up.”
So he decided to create Green Cross International. To me, that was in itself a revolution, in the sense that here is a man going from one extreme to another, all to make sure that the human species will have the best possible life. In order to do that, he showed how we have to take care of the environment where we live.
But he also opened the way for the development of a global Green Cross network. He suggested that there might be people in countries who want to establish a Green Cross national organization so to focus on their own local priorities, as long as they respected the overall philosophy of Green Cross International.
This sounds simple. But President Gorbachev’s approach to building a network shows how incredibly creative his brain was, and how determined he was to support the people of Planet Earth.
So, I do my best to support him. I am travelling all over the world, advocating for the oceans, and I hope I am being helpful. I wish I could do more. I am so respectful of President Gorbachev. He is the one who created all of this.
I am optimistic about the future. Climate change has always happened, and we are responsible for our own emissions of CO2, which is accelerating the climate change process. The natural protection of our coastlines is being removed. We are taking more from the ocean than nature can produce. We are heading for a natural bankruptcy.
We are no longer hunters and gatherers. We have become farmers, and that is the approach we have to take with the ocean. We need to promote sustainable ocean farming. That means farming fresh water and marine species that are herbivores, and we need these fish farms to be away from the ocean because of pollution threats. Scientists are coming up with amazing answers that will be shared with investors, who will apply these measures. The answers are there. We need to better manage ourselves, and promote education. We need to take care of these things, but I am optimistic.
Green Cross has been a leader in focusing on the priorities. We are following these issues and will never stop.