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Intersection: Philippe Cousteau On Climate Change

Philippe Cousteau. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Philippe Cousteau. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Rising seas mean Florida is right in the cross hairs of climate change. But experts say there are things we can do to slow it down, and prepare for the worst effects.

Philippe Cousteau is an explorer and filmmaker, the son of Philippe Cousteau Sr. and grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.  We caught up with Cousteau at the Sustainability Symposium in Orlando for a conversation about the warming oceans and whether it’s possible to turn the tide of climate change.

"My grandfather was such a big influence on my life," said Cousteau, who grew up in the US.

"One of my favorite memories, I was 10 years old and the Game Boy had just come out, and this was the thing for every kid out there. We were having dinner, and I remember my grandfather turning to me and asking me about Game Boy. The fact that my 79 year old grandfather knew all about Game Boy, was pretty amazing," said Cousteau.

"As we talked about it, we didn't just talk about the games, he talked to me about 'You know, Philippe, this technology isn't just for entertainment, but we must always look at this new technology to educate and inspire people.'"

Cousteau has produced a series of short web videos about the ocean, inspired by the Wes Anderson comedy 'The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou', which itself was inspired by Jacques Cousteau's ocean exploits.

He says his grandfather would have enjoyed the humor of 'The Life Aquatic'

"He had a great sense of humor," said Cousteau.

"People remember him as this iconic leader, thinker, film maker, storyteller and writer. I remember somebody who loved to play with model train sets, who loved a glass of wine and to tell a good story."

Cousteau said the last 60 to 70 years have seen the greatest destruction of the world's oceans. Still, he's hopeful about the future.

"I am always optimistic. You have to be optimistic," he said.

"There's a lot more work to be done but we are making progress. And I always believe in the ability for humans to overcome challenges."