Skip to main content

tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  June 30, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

6:30 pm
e it. but over many millennia clocks may say day when it's dark outside. al jazeera london. >> to check out the latest on our website this week on talk to al jazeera, explorer and environ mentalist jean michel cousteau. >> we're the only species on the planet the only species on the planet that has the privilege not to disappear... it's our choice. >> he spent more time under water than any living person. as the son of the legendary jacques cousteau he was drawn to the ocean at tan early age. >> i would take my bag and i would go to the coastline, almost everyday, on my way to school. and one of the things
6:31 pm
i wanted to do was to catch octopus. >> he's dedicated his life to educating the world in particularly children about the importance of the sea. coustea partners with earth's youngest generation. teaching them to create the kind of positive relationship with the planet, he says we need to survive >> i look at kids in the eyes, if i'm a little bit concerned, and i said i will never, never let you down. >> as a diplomat for the environment, cousteau works to convince policy makers in corporations, that they must commit to pursuing alternative forms of energy. >> enough is enough... we need change... >> he's also collaborated with n.a.s.a. >> for me, there is one system... >> and represented earth at the olympics. >> my dreams are coming true (laughs).... >> and he plans to keep on diving.... >> until i get to be 107... >> i spoke to jean michel cousteau in santa barbara california
6:32 pm
where his ocean future society is headquartered. it was founded to carry on his pioneering work. >> my generation grew up on the undersea world of jacques cousteau. your dad opened up this universe to generations. how, how has it changed from the 1960s in that initial exploration to to now? >> well, i think his curiosity uh is what made him do what he did and open the door uh in a easy way compared to many other ways uh to uh exploring the ocean and seeing and discovering what is at the end of the day a life support system to every one of us. the majority of all life in the ocean and on earth uh on land is because of the ocean and the foundations of all life which is the plankton zooplankton, phytoplankton.
6:33 pm
without them it wouldn't have any life. we wouldn't be here. so we didn't know that in those days and so the curiosity of my dad was to keep going, going, going, and people would ask him what do you expect to find on your next dive? and he always said if i knew i wouldn't go. and uh what i say today myself is what is your best dive when they ask me and i say the next one. >> well i was just going to say that you've been diving the better part of 70 years. how much do we know about the ocean at this point? >> we don't know very much. we've only explored the shallow waters because so far the technology does not allow us to stay there deep for long periods of time. we're getting there. slowly getting there. as a matter of fact, there's new equipment which i've just been certified and i'm looking forward to... >> the exo-skeleton. >> the exosuit. where you can go down to 1000
6:34 pm
feet in minutes, spend 10 hours you're totally free. you propel yourself, and in 5 minutes you're back and you can film you can take samples and so on and that's going to help but we're only talking about 1000 feet. today we know maybe 300 feet so we have a long way to go to discover many, many new species whether it's animals or plants we connected to all of these. most most people don't realize that the majority of the pharmaceutical products that you use originally come from the ocean and we mimic that, those products but if it wasn't for the ocean we would have a lot of problems today. >> you mentioned chemicals and heavy metals and people respond to what they see. you don't see chemicals... >> it's a primary sense, vision. >> so how do you address this issue that people don't relate to because they don't see it? >> work.
6:35 pm
jobs money. and people listen, and if you can create new technologies to capture these running waters before they get to the ocean capture them treat them and some of it is being done by the way, and that means not only work that means money. and that's going to help a lot of people on the 30% of the planet where we live and it's going to protect the ocean which we need to do. >> as humans we segment ourselves, we create borders, we have cities and towns and states and countries and we think in those terms. you can't really think that way with the ocean. >> the good news for me is what i call the communication revolution. where today you have 7.2 billion people we can communicate with each other. that was not the case 20 years ago. borders were probably okay today it's an absurdity.
6:36 pm
borders are meaningless. the united states has showed that. there's 50 states. there's no borders to go from one state to the other. there's one ocean, one land one system which we all depend upon and i may not say that that quickly but uh we're the only species on the planet the only species on the planet that has the privilege not to disappear. it's all choice. and i believe we head--, we heading that direction of making the right things so we won't disappear. >> we're sitting in santa barbara. it just experienced the worst oil spill that it's seen in 50 years. five years ago we had deep water horizon. this is not the bulk of the world being careless. these are powerful groups, powerful companies um very robust, political action groups, how do you penetrate that? it's a small powerful group that
6:37 pm
is really responsible in many ways for this global damage. >> i've experienced the uh different catastrophes that took place such as what happens in prince william sound with the exxon valdez in alaska. today, the resident population of orcas that was there that live as long as we live that are the most clever sophisticated creature they are to the ocean what we are to the land. they cannot reproduce anymore because of what we've done over there. i went to uh spain where there was another spill. i've seen people cry losing their jobs, not even able to catch fish and the banks would take their boats away. billions and billions of dollars have been spent to compensate the people who lost their jobs and lost their equipment
6:38 pm
sometimes and got very very sick, many of them including some that died while the dolphins were giving birth in the oil and breastfeeding in the oil and today we're finding out that many of them have not survived or cannot survive or may be very very sick and may not be able to reproduce. who knows? well that money could be used for new technology for a way for these companies to switch to stay in business and switch to renewable energy, whether it's the sun whether it's the wind, whether it's the currents, or the difference of temperature, there all new technologies that are being put together by pioneers people who are spending all their resources in order for that to happen. enough is enough. we need change. and we can sit down with those people. they have families
6:39 pm
they have children they care. but they're so focused whether it's government or industries into now, now, now because of their business which is too big a profit this year not 10 years from now, or to be reelected in two years from now whatever. but these people have families. they have children. so we need to sit down and have a dialog. we're not there to point fingers or blame them. we're there to come up with solutions for them to continue to be in business, for them to come up with solutions for our species to continue to enjoy beyond this planet and manage our resources in a sustainable way. >> i want to switch gears a little bit. i want to talk about your latest film. you've produced 80 films many of them which are award winning. the latest secret ocean um it's it is promoted with a phrase. "it says the smallest life in the sea is the mightiest force
6:40 pm
on which we all depend." it's a great phrase, but what does it mean? >> well, you know i've been diving almost 70 years next month. and um i now, thanks to the new technology that is available, i can see things i've never seen before. thanks to that technology and secret ocean is unveiling secrets, by allowing that technology to bring these images to the public. and for them to understand that whether it's the plankton or many other species of the foundations of all life in the ocean, and as it goes up the food chain, it allows the big fish the dolphins the whales and so on to be alive today. and it's connected to every one of us. so it's a very exciting approach and i think it's just the beginning of many, many many more discoveries we're going to be able to make with
6:41 pm
that equipment. and you know what, the majority of the people who come to see the show when i'm there are kids. and they're going to make much much better decisions than we have made. >> why, why do you think that i mean i want them to make better decisions but you know their parents haven't done very well. their grandparents haven't done very well. why do you have so much hope in the kids? >> i think it has a lot to do with exposure, with education and uh we are now, we show like secret ocean to be able to pass on the information which are making kids uh very, very excited. and you know we have a program an ocean future society which i created after my father passed away which is called ambassador of the environment, and the questions that the kids ask us on our educational programs are unbelievable. and sometimes i, we have a hard time to get the right answer because they are so sophisticated.
6:42 pm
kids are amazing. if you give them a chance, and they are the ones who, and i don't know how i can convince you because you sound a little bit not very very optimist. >> can we change? can we fundamentally change all the destruction that we've created? >> see it's not can we... we are... i look at kids in the eyes if i'm a little bit concerned and i say i will never never let you down. because i want them to have the same privilege that i've had and that we can provide them with. and uh that's what recharge my battery every time because otherwise i would quit go and hide somewhere, and try to catch the last fish in the ocean. i've been sitting with people all over the planet, it doesn't mean that they're all listen to, but many of them do. they want,
6:43 pm
they want to do the right thing. they have families they care. >> still ahead on talk to aljazeera cousteau talks about god, and a grand plan. stay with us!
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
>> i'm lisa fletcher and you're watching talk to al jazeera we're back with explorer conservationist, film maker jean michel cousteau. >> so you said that you have logged more time underwater than any living person. is it true that when you were a boy you would grab your book bag and head off to school, but some days never actually make it, you'd go to the ocean and you'd stay? >> well, it's not that simple because i i was getting in trouble but you know i would take my bag and i would go to the coastline, almost every day on my way to school. and uh one of the things i wanted to do was to um catch octopus.
6:46 pm
today i cannot do it anymore because there's octopus and i used to go lift walks and i had learned from the local fishermen how to treat them and uh so i would catch 1, 2, 3 and then i'd go to school, i was late my uh, professor was yelling at me, jean-michel, you're late again. and then in the afternoon i would go and get my octopus and i would sell them. and my uh biggest client was the chief of police. >> well what does 77 year old jean-michel say to 7 year old jean-michel? >> get wet. (chuckle) no i mean kids are amazing because if you start to show them uh the opportunities that are there, now today legally they cannot scuba dive until they're 10 years old but you can take them
6:47 pm
snorkeling you can show them things. >> do you ever get used to what you see under the ocean? do you ever forget to appreciate it? >> no, you know one of the uh obligations we have is to connect. and um if i'm somewhere and i feel i don't want to go because i love where i am i go. because i want to see what i haven't seen. i want to share what i haven't been able to share yet with anyone any place and i was in mexico just uh recently and uh, to be able to answer questions to hundreds of kids who have never seen the ocean was for me amazing. and i love that. >> you've seen the the beauty of creation. you've seen extraordinary sites that most people will never see in their entire life.
6:48 pm
do you believe in a higher power or do you believe in a creator? is there a grand plan? >> we are the grand plan. as i mentioned earlier we have the opportunity not to disappear, it's our choice. and uh i'm totally convinced that we cannot um, use any kind of excuses to not take action ourselves. and whatever one believes in which is great and i respect that completely, needs to be connected with reality of everyday life. and make sure that if you're happy, you want to continue being happy. if you have a problem, if you're starving if you're not happy, other people can help you and we need to do that, and again, because of this communication revolution
6:49 pm
there's no excuse anymore and we can all on the planet, have a decent life that we can make that happen. when you realize that there are up to 4 to 5 thousand kids under the age of five who are dying every day, every day, every day, because they have no access to clean water or enough water, that can change tomorrow. we're not talking about billions of dollars. we talking about making sure they get access to water. which is the source of all life. so that we can do. and that we are doing and we will do. >> are we running out of time? >> no, time is of the issue because the more we delay the more difficult it gets but i don't believe it's too late and i may be more and more difficult
6:50 pm
but we still can do it. and today again, if i didn't know about this communication revolution where you know i was in um india not very long ago in a room with one gentleman on the computer and there was 100 people around asking questions not about india, but about the rest of the world. so these people know particularly how privileged we are in this country where five percent of the world's population consume 20% of the energy and same thing in europe, japan, so we can make a difference, we can change that we can make it happen. >> you're watching talk to al jazeera he's had his head under water since since he was 7 and he has no plans to stop any time soon. i'll ask cousteau where he's looking forward to diving next.
6:51 pm
6:52 pm
6:53 pm
>> this is talk to al jazeera. i'm lisa fletcher, and i'm with educator and explorer jean-michel cousteau. jean-michel, you, at the olympics, were actually chosen to carry a flag for the earth. talk about that a little bit. >> well, i felt very privileged to have been invited to uh carry the flag to represent the environment. which had never happened before and uh that was added to all the other uh specialties and um that was not only an honor but a dream of mine because when i was a teenager i wanted to represent france in the olympics in the 1500 meters.
6:54 pm
and i competed and competed to be retained as one of the four people that they keep, 3 to 1 and 1 backup and i became number 6. so it was very disappointing for me because i worked very very hard and uh so much that i was exhausted and i was throwing up i was, it was horrible, but when they asked me many, many decades later to help carry the flag at the opening uh of the olympics, that was very exciting and then later on i was in athens carrying the flames as well. and that was uh, very exciting. so my dreams are coming through. >> we've been talking a lot about technology. you conducted um an undersea live video chat. you've worked with nasa. >> oh... >> share some of that with us.
6:55 pm
>> oh that was there's so much, you know there's a gentleman who was a, a biologist we used to work down with the united states navy down in san diego and uh he was very concerned about uh the dolphins and the sound and the effect that it had on the dolphins and he was studying this and then he said my dream is to go in space. and i said well great well one day he gives me a call, and we're talking about several years there, uh where he said uh i'm going to nasa and uh i'm learning and he was in texas and then one day he calls me and he said they retained me. i'm going to go and be one of the members going up in space uh to repair the hubble telescope and then he said and if you're interested we're going to do all the repeat and you know the public needs to know that every astronaut is a scuba diver first. they experience being weightless. and everything they do in space to repair and so on,
6:56 pm
they do it underwater in the tank in texas. so he invited me to go and watch them repair the hubble telescope where they remove some computers, put new ones and so on. and i was there like a a visitor, but a great honor and then uh, several i guess a year later he called me and he said, i'm going in space. uh would you like to be there? i'd like you to be there when we're going to take off. and uh i said sure, so i went to florida and i was there, but prior to that i said if you're going in space could you honor my dad who wrote the silent world? and i have a book that the first book that he ever wrote that he gave me and it's signed, jacques cousteau. can you take it up in space, because symbolically for me it
6:57 pm
it's a way of connecting 70% of the planet to the [08:27:49] entire planet as you see it from space. and he said, yes. and so he took the book and i watched them take off and uh i'm so excited and honored because when they came back all the members uh of the uh space trip signed the book and it was certified by nasa. so um, for me there's one system and uh we all connected to that system and uh to be able to share this with the public for me is so important to realize that we have this amazing privilege of uh understanding the world we live in and how connected we are. >> how much are you getting in the water these days? >> not enough but uh dozens and dozens. i'll be um soon diving for two weeks down
6:58 pm
in baja california to uh work on the new show that we are working on which is called odessea which will be presented at the film festival in cannes next year. and uh odessea, s-e-a at the end. and uh we are also uh going to go to french polynesia uh in july so i dive-dive-dive dive-dive-dive and that's how i recharge my batteries. >> how long are you going to keep diving? >> until i get to be 107. >> why 107? >> because i started at 7 and i want to celebrate 100 years of diving. >> can i go with you on that trip? >> yes. >> you've been watching talk to al jazeera. jean-michel cousteau thank you so much. >> you're very welcome it was a pleasure and i hope we'll do much more. i'm going to take you up on that dive. >> you got it.
6:59 pm
>> i think we're into something that's bigger than us ' they wanted their country back >> al jazeera america presents the passion.. >> onward! pain... >> it's too much though... >> and triumph... >> inspirational real life stories... >> all these labels the world throws at you, that's what drives me to push... >> of ordinary people >> i tasted the american dream. i liked it... >> living extraordinary lives... >> if we could multiply this program, we could change the world... >> from the best filmmakers of our time, >> i give al jazeera tremendous credit, because it's not traditionally what broadcast journalism does... >> the new home for original documentaries al jazeera america presents only on al jazeera america
7:00 pm
>> on al jazeera america >>'s a vital part of who we are... >>they had some dynamic fire behavior... >> and what we do... don't try this at home! >> tech know where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america >> this is aljazeera america. i'm paul, and tony harris is on assignment. beyond the rink. greece misses a multibillion-dollar loan payment to the imf. and it's the first country with that dubious decision, and thousands of people filling the streets of athens. diplomatic breakthrough, the u.s. and cuba are about to reopen embassies in havana and washington. and world leaders c