Washington, June 14 (ANI): French ocean explorer inventor, filmmaker, and conservationist Jacques Cousteau would have celebrated his hundredth birthday on Friday, June 11. The ocean explorer is a legend and a true 'man of the seas'. According to National Geographic News, here are a few reasons why.
A pioneer of scuba gear, he along with engineer Emile Gagnan, co-created the Aqua-Lung, a twin-hose underwater breathing apparatus - which was scuba gear in its earliest form.
With the Aqua-Lung, Cousteau and his crew were able to explore and film parts of the ocean depths that had never been discovered before.
"Jacques Cousteau's pioneering underwater documentaries-including the Oscar-winning films The Silent World, The Golden Fish, and World Without Sun-"had a storyline," National Geographic News quoted Clark Lee Merriam, a spokesperson for the Cousteau Society, as saying.
"Their message was 'Come with me and look at this wonderful thing and see how it acts and behaves,'" said Merriam, who had worked with Cousteau for nearly 20 years before the explorer died in 1997.
Cousteau also had another invention to his credit - the first underwater base camp Conshelf I that could house working oceanauts for weeks at a time.
"He was ahead of even the United States Navy, which was doing the same thing in proving people could live and operate underwater for extended periods of time," Merriam said.
A passionate environmentalist, Cousteau campaigned actively against commercial whaling in 1986, to pass the moratorium on the activity. He even had a face off with General de Gualle in France, in 1960, to stop underwater dumping of nuclear waste into the Mediterranean Sea
Bill Eichbaum, vice president of marine and Arctic policy at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said, "If Cousteau were alive today, he would probably be saddened by how little has been done to address pollution, overfishing, and other threats to the world's oceans.
"But Cousteau wouldn't be discouraged. He would be passionately concerned, and I think, even more articulate and aggressive in urging governments, companies, and individuals to protect the environment," he said.
Merriam said, "We miss the visionary, and we're glad he set us on the path that we're trying to keep on." (ANI)