Jean-Michel Cousteau's Gift for the Future

Jean-Michel’s father, Jacques Cousteau, the renowned explorer, ecologist, filmmaker and scientist who studied the sea and all forms of life in water, said: ‘People protect what they love.’ Realising that ‘we can’t protect what we don’t yet understand,’ Jean-Michel Cousteau has dedicated Ocean Futures Society to advancing the Cousteau legacy for a world increasingly in need of information and inspiration.

Since being thrown overboard’ by his father at the age of seven with newly invented scuba equipment on his back, Jean-Michel has been exploring the world’s oceans. For nearly 20 years he served as Executive Vice President of The Cousteau Society, launching Ocean Futures in 1999 ñ a dedicated non profit, marine conservation and education organisation.

The Ocean Futures Society serves as an important voice for the ocean by underlining the critical bond between people and the sea. As President, Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the general public through a variety of media and education programmes.

From various Cousteau expeditions around the world, Jean-Michel has seen first-hand the beauty and intrinsic value of coral reefs, fully acknowledging the vital connection between the health of these eco-systems and the quality of people’s lives. These experiences have demonstrated that increased awareness and education, are the necessary first steps in achieving sustainable management of reefs and their associated fisheries.

Ocean Future’s Sustainable Reefs Programme is a global, coral reef education and awareness-building project. It comes with a sumptuous package of materials including a CD, a cartoon book for young sea environmentalists and an information video on how we can all sustainably manage our precious coral reef eco-systems. Since the programme’s launch three years ago, the organisation has been ensuring this material is continually distributed in all the appropriate languages and free of charge to ocean-bordering communities around the world.

In recognition of his work, the organisation, Reef Check, recently presented Jean-Michel Cousteau with a deserving accolade ñ the Poseidon Lifetime Achievement Award. ‘Protected reefs can restore themselves if we just give them a chance,’ he says. ‘We must work together. Protecting them will be our gift to the future.’

Positive Living readers can join Ocean Futures, free of charge. Membership provides opportunities to get involved and interact with others who share a concern for marine life. You will receive the Jean-Michel Cousteau Dispatch, updates on marine conservation news, events and information on educational programmes.

Watch Sustainable Reefs: a Gift for the Future’ on

To become a member

Contact: Ocean Futures Society,
325 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara,
California 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 899 8899

Celine and Fabien Cousteau join their father Jean-Michel,
on a film expedition dive in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Photo: © Carrie Vonderhaar,
Ocean Futures Society and KQED
Photo Courtesy of NCPB