Lately, if someone says “environmentalist” the mental picture is somewhat disturbing. In today’s world, these are the people who often keep vital progress at a standstill. They behave in extraordinary ways to get their point across and most of them believe that it is their way or the highway. Some even advocate violence to support their positions; this link gives examples of several startling positions of today’s environmentalists.
The controversial theory of Al Gore on Global Warming has lately been shot full of holes by the scientific community. Yet, he continues to lecture and advocate his theory. The EPA, et al, have lobbied and so far blocked the Keystone Pipeline, which would provide an estimated 42,000 jobs and decreasing the cost of oil in the production of gasoline.
When I think of environmentalist, I prefer to think of Jacques Cousteau. Recently in the hair salon I bought up the name of Jacques Cousteau in conversation; sadly the young lady attending me, probably in her thirties, had never heard of him. But Cousteau was a man that headed a group dedicated to studying and preserving both the sea and the environment. He did not mandate that one must follow his ways, but instead made information available to the population. He was a leader and teacher by example. He was someone that one could look up to and hope to emulate—a real role model.
Jacques Cousteau was a French Navel gunnery officer as a young man. He and his family weathered the German Occupation of France in the Second World War. He went on after WWII to become an explorer, a scientist and researcher. In 1950, he acquired his ship, The Calypso, which was once a British minesweeper that Cousteau had converted to an oceanographic research vessel. (John Denver, another peaceful advocate for the environment, wrote a song about it.) Cousteau also co-invented the self-contained underwater breathing devices, better known as SCUBA diving equipment with Emile Gagnan.
When I was in school, we were often assigned to watch “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, as well as specials that were broadcast on television at least once a year. These were filmed as he and his crew on The Calypso traveled the seas and brought maritime fascination right into our living rooms.
I can’t imagine how little I would know about conservation, the environment and the sea, if Jacques Cousteau had not influenced me. I am sure I am not alone. Thankfully, the Cousteau family carries on his work today.
Yes, we must think about our environment and the future of our ecosystem, but this cause does not involve unproven science and it does not have to be carried on the shoulders of violence and intolerance.