A legend continues

Once upon a time there were two little boys. One followed his father on amazing adventures, the other watched entranced at strange new worlds being revealed by them. One was Jean Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau. The other was, of course, me. I loved watching Cousteau’s programmes of deep sea exploration. Many people did, even people who didn’t read books on science and exploration marvelled at the worlds he revealed beneath the blue blanket that cradles our Earth. He had that ability, to enthuse millions with one of the most glorious gifts anyone can have – a sense of wonder.

The alien worlds he revealed were awe inspiring, beautiful, fragile. He also campaigned tirelessly to conserve our marine environment. As he pointed out the oceans are the source of all life on Earth – to pollute and poison them is to kill ourselves. It is billions of years since simple life forms dragged themselves from the ancient seas and began the long evolutionary march that would create birds, otters, tigers, snakes, monkeys, and people. And as another legend, the great Arthur C Clarke, once pointed out we still carry that marine evolution within us. Our bodies are mostly water, our skin like a spacesuit to allow an aquatic creature to move freely on the land. Marvelling at the images the BBC’s Blue Planet revealed I couldn’t help but remember those Cousteau films I watched a kid.

So I was very interested – not to mention happy – to see this article on Jean Michel Cousteau on the ENN – Environmental News Network. Carrying on the family name and the exploration, as well as the same call for more research and the cry to battle for conservation of our remarkable environment. The five year old in me who wanted to dive the depths and find submerged cities and mighty krakens is delighted that new generations will experience the wonders of the deep brought to them by the Cousteaus.

Which links very neatly to the fantastic science history I read recently, Monturiol’s Dream. A mid 1800s Catalonian socialist revolutionary who designs and builds the first proper submarine in the world. The review is, as ever, on the Alien Online.