Educator, Environmentalist and Film Producer
For more than four decades, explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer Jean-Michel Cousteau has used his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet.
Since first being “thrown overboard” by his father at the age of seven with newly invented Scuba gear on his back, Jean-Michel has been exploring the ocean realm. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel spent much of his life with his family exploring the world's oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone. After his mother's death in 1990, and his father's death in 1997, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work.
A response to his father's call to “carry forward the flame of his faith,” Jean-Michel's Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and education organization, serves as a 'Voice for the Ocean' by fostering a conservation ethic, conducting research, and developing marine education programs. Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned spokesman and diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media. He has produced over 70 films, and been awarded the Emmy, the Peabody Award, the 7 d'Or - the French equivalent of the Emmy, and the Cable ACE Award.
Today, as president of Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel travels the globe, meeting with world leaders and policymakers, both at the grassroots level and the highest echelons of government and business, educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to help energize alliances for positive change.
Through Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel continues to produce environmentally oriented programs and television specials, public service announcements, multimedia programs for schools, Web-based marine content, books, articles for magazines and newspaper columns, and public lectures, reaching millions of people all over the world.
In February 2002, Jean-Michel became the first person to represent the environment in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Jean-Michel joined seven other highly esteemed individuals who represented the five continents symbolized in the Olympic Rings and the three tenets of the Olympics, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Africa),John Glenn (The Americas), Kazuyoshi Funaki (Asia), Lech Walesa (Europe), Cathy Freeman (Oceania), Jean-Claude Killy (Sport), Steven Spielberg (Culture), and Jean-Michel Cousteau (Environment). Jean-Michel was also appointed to the board of directors of the Athens Environmental Foundation for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
On Earth Day 1997, Jean-Michel led the first undersea live, interactive video chat on Microsoft Internet from the coral reefs of Fiji, celebrating the International Year of the Reef and answering questions from “armchair divers” throughout the world. In April 1998, highlighting the International Year of the Ocean, Jean-Michel participated in a live downlink from the Space Shuttle Columbia to CNN in New York, discussing NASA's contribution to ocean awareness with astronaut and marine biologist Rick Linnehan. Also in 1998, he was a spokesperson for the United States Pavilion at Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Acting on a childhood dream to build cities under the sea, Jean-Michel pursued a degree in architecture, graduating from the Paris School of Architecture in 1964. He remains a member of the Ordre National des Architectes, the French counterpart of the American Institute of Architects. Artificial floating islands, schools, and the headquarters of an advanced marine studies center in Marseilles, France, are among his projects. More recently, he has been involved with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, designed to demonstrate an environmentally responsible and culturally appropriate ocean-oriented resort.