April 8, 2010

LKL Exclusive: Philippe Cousteau on finding a solution to an old problem

Posted: 06:00 AM ET

By Philippe Cousteau – his commentary is a Larry King Live web exclusive and his thoughts are his own.

My grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, was an eternal optimist and believed in the ability of humanity to find solutions to the world’s problems.

Now more than a decade after his death and on the eve of his 100th birthday, I am concerned that we are still struggling with the same challenges that he faced throughout his lifetime. Daily onslaughts against the environment such as the new proclamation to open up offshore drilling, while not as bad as it could have been, are still a worrisome sign.

We are a society that still too often treats the environment as somewhat of a nuisance…to be cared for only when it suits our needs. As one of the fathers of the modern environmental movement, my grandfather was a pioneer of ocean exploration. As my father Philippe Cousteau Sr. got involved, together they began to explore the human connection to the environment and our critical role as a part of the global system.

Now, as a member of the 3rd generation, my work is to issue a call to action. Awareness is no longer the name of the game…action must be our goal. ‘Sounds good’ you might be thinking, but how do we make it happen? I have spent many years working in education and media, from hosting documentaries, to being a spokesperson for Discovery Education to revolutionizing youth service through my non-profit EarthEcho International.

Surprisingly, I believe that the solution might just come from an unexpected place…video games. Games are an amazing educational tool and finally the technology is available to really make them a useful part of the environmental movement.

This April, my company Azure Worldwide has partnered with the University of Virginia to launch what we are calling an educational “life” game that simulates an environment, in this case the Chesapeake Bay, and allows players to take on roles that represent the more than 16 million people who live on, and make their livelihoods from the resources of the Bay.

From watermen and farmers to developers and policymakers, as the game is played, every decision has an impact on the health of the Bay and the wellbeing of the stakeholders each player represents.. Inspired by the Sim games that have been so popular over the years, The U. Va. Bay Game is a pioneering step forward and allows people to finally understand that if we are to solve the environmental crisis we face and build a stronger, healthier and more prosperous society we must begin to recognize our collaborative role with the world around us, both human and natural.

On April 8th we are celebrating The U. Va Bay Game at an event at the University of Virginia. This is just the beginning of the Game’s journey; already we are working to develop a version for the K-12 educational audience and because the Game is built as a flexible system it can be applied to any watershed throughout the world.

Thus, the Game becomes a tool that can challenge players to build healthy environments not only in the virtual world, but also in the real one. My grandfather would certainly think this is a exciting project and that he would believe, as I do, that saving our world is one game we can’t afford to lose.

- Philippe Cousteau is the co-founder of Azure Worldwide and EarthEcho International. He is the grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.  To find out more about the U. Va. game, click HERE

Filed under: Environment • Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive • Philippe Cousteau

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Maria Copelli   April 8th, 2010 9:25 am ET

Phillipe ,I remember as achild watching your fathers documentation,of sea life challenges ,triumphs as well! This research you continue to do ,is so priceless,your Love for the earth below and above is evidence of your Love of creation,and intelligent design! Love Maria C.

A. Smith, Oregon   April 8th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

Yikes, after reading thru a ton of Op-Ed I find the exclusive is that Philippe Cousteau is hawking a video game of environmental awareness based on the life game premise.

Sorry but the environment is no game. Violent video games written by US Military DOD programmers and mass produced for American children are so popular that a slow environmental awareness video game would likely flop and have very few players that actively played it after the 1st. week.

Nature Channel, and CNN specials which highlight the plight of the many Republican led assault on the Earth's environment is in my opinion the way to go.

Show American's the huge massive toxic dump sites across America and around the world which Republican led corporations left after making as much money as they could. America now doesn't have the wealth for the taxpayers to foot the clean-up bill. 3rd. world country's certainly do not have the means, funds nor ability to clean up the huge toxic dump sites American Corporations created in their countrys.

Show the many American towns closed due to Republican led corporations that raped that area's natural resources and then fled town to do the same in another remote location.

Show American's the faces of these Corporate Environmental Criminals and a snap-shot of their crime sites.

Dodie   April 8th, 2010 3:39 pm ET

United Nations Wildlife conference held for 2 weeks starting February 12, 2010 rejected the ban on Tuna, Polar Bear Trading, etc.. Basically, the light is green for everyone to continue to deplete our resources until none are left!

The 175 nation convention saw resistance from Asian countries, particularly Japan, to a ban on the trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna. The fish is prized as sushi but stocks have plunged more than 80 percent since 1970. Short-term economic interests hampered efforts to restrict trade in several lucrative marine species at the Doha Convention.

Memphis Slim   April 8th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

Walk. Ride a bike. Plant a garden. Turn off the lights. Install solar and windmill power. Walk. Stop using only one side of clean white bond paper, plant some trees, turn the Air Conditioning up to 76 degrees and lose some weight. Walk. Carpool. Take a bus. Lose some more weight. Eat real food. Stop eating crap. Walk. Turn out the lights.

Awww. Never mind.

tursiops   April 8th, 2010 4:56 pm ET

If we can't even convince the public that climate change is real - due to ratings-chasers like Beck and Limbaugh, financed by big energy - how are we going to convince them of the even subtler problems of the ocean and the environment? No more fish? Just a temporary swing in the fish stocks, that technology will fix and cause jobs. No more water to drink? Just a problem in limited places, technology will fix it and cause jobs. No more beaches we can swim from? Let's charge for plastic bags, that'll do it.


A. Smith, Oregon   April 8th, 2010 5:35 pm ET

@ Memphis Slim is it to much effort to recycle drink containers?

When I moved out of California, America had no bottle bill and ALL drivers in California had to dodge sacks of beer bottles that were dumped out in the roads during the weekend on every Monday commute.

Oregon was among the first in America to have Voter Initiatives and create the bottle bill.

When you see millions of ton's of metro city garbage being shipped offshore to dump into the Ocean every single day, there's plenty of reasons to do even better.

Sooner or later, millions upon millions of people around the world are going to be eating the plastic, lead, mercury, cadmium and toxic chemical wastes dumped into the Ocean.

Bon Appetit

LacrosseMom   April 8th, 2010 7:33 pm ET

DITTO to what A. Smith from Oregon said!

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 8th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Good to hear he is carrying on his grandfather's legacy. If it can help in this way, well that will be great.

What I would like to know is........who is going to clean up the huge pollution mess we now have in the Pacific Ocean. There is always money for wars and other things, how about this one. Come on the corporates, etc., etc.,

If they are dumping all the metro city garbage into the can this be allowed to happen. Isn't this a crime against the environment. Is someone turning a blind eye?.........Makes you wonder alright.

Individuals must play their part too and think about what they do and how it impacts on everyone-else around them. Get educated, don't live in ignorance and selfishness.

Dub1045   April 8th, 2010 10:00 pm ET

Does it really take more energy to recycle plastic than to use virgin feedstocks?

Do we really want to end/reduce the use of fossil fuels? Stop blaming everyone else and do your part. Park or sell your car(s) at least one of them. Plan trips to accomplish in one what has taken numerous ones in the past.

Move into a smaller home. Don't be an Al Gore, actually reduce your energy usage and make certain you ask others around to do the same.

Use technology to manage your lifestyle and stay at home instead of taking energy consuming trips whether for work, vacations or daily activities.

Brag about what you don't have or energy you don't use.

gigi   April 8th, 2010 10:01 pm ET

I do not concider american idol a negative bully show. it is a family show There are prime time show which show a bully form of violence,
i find a bully is found at every age, even adults. american idol a great family show, it inspires you to be better, not a bully..

A. Smith, Oregon   April 9th, 2010 12:47 am ET

Heads up for fellow Windows Operating Bloggers:

Microsoft plans to release 11 security bulletins on Tuesday April 13, 2010 to fix 25 documented vulnerabilities that expose Windows users to remote code execution attacks.

Five of the 11 bulletins will be rated “critical,” Microsoft’s highest severity rating. The flaws affect all versions of Windows, including the company’s newest Windows 7 operating system.

The vulnerabilities will address security holes in Windows, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Exchange.

Michael Corona, CA   April 9th, 2010 9:35 am ET

If I dump rat poison in someone's drink, I go to jail. If I dump millions of gallons of poisonous chemicals, I am a profitable corporation. Enough said.

Veronica Mcnamara   April 9th, 2010 11:49 am ET

Jacques Cousteau has long been one of my heroes. I often think he should have been awarded something akin to a Nobel prize for his discoveries, research and body of work. It's so heartening to know his grandson is following in those giant footsteps. I am a sailor and love our oceans, they are the only ones we shall ever have and are full of magic both above and below. It's up to all of us to protect them and keep them clean.

StopTalkingDoSomething   April 9th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

(Insert sarcasm) You get those Republicans A. Smith. After reading your comments I don't know how to feel about this video game. Republicans will probably ruin it too right?

Last I checked California was liberal to very liberal and I can see that you've experienced problems there as well. Let's stop the finger pointing and move forward together. Only then will we be able to begin to solve the worlds problems.

No hard feelings friend. It's our world and our problems. Now what are you and me going to do about it? I just recycled my soda can...

Dodie   April 9th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

@ A. Smith, Oregon

Thanks for the heads up on security issues.

Just like the results from the United Nations Wildlife conference, Money takes precedence to everything else including our health, our environment, the planet we will leave to our children and grandchildren.....

Your statement of “Bon Appetit” is incredibly visceral and right on target! I might also add tons of decomposed human waste to aid in our digestive process.


@ stopTalkingDoSomething

Interesting name…… do you practice what you preach?
“The world as a Trash Can” ……. Title of my new book……is subject to large corporate interests all over the world. The goal: to make as much money as one can at the cost of everything. Unfortunately, this bleeds on both parties; however, the Republicans are in bed with corporate entitlements and philosophies more than the Democrats.

No individual is squeaky clean in Washington. That is a given and fully understood!

Ashannak   April 9th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

How I wish your grandfather's movies (i.e. The Undersea World of JacquesYves Cousteau) could be on DVD so all could see the work he did and the message he was trying to get out. I do so hope you may be successful in your endeavors. I grew up watching anything and everything your grandfather did. Now I'll be watching you....I hope.

StopTalkingDoSomething   April 9th, 2010 4:49 pm ET

@ Dodie

Please reread my comment and you will find the answer to your question.
Thanks for paying attention though instead of just trying to promote yourself like so many bloggers.

getupstandup   April 9th, 2010 4:50 pm ET

I think this is a great idea, as the younger generation spend alot of time in the virtual world.
We also need people power like those at care2, to be informed and empowered to make a difference in the world.

Dodie   April 9th, 2010 7:24 pm ET

@ StopTalkingDoSomething

I read that... (I just recycled my soda can...)

I was expecting something more from you.

With the name you chose, I had great expectations (Eager anticipation)............. only to trip on my ass-umptions!

Dodie   April 9th, 2010 7:38 pm ET

@ StopTalkingDoSomething

Your kindness and banter reminds me of someone.

Very clever and ingenious!

Jim   April 9th, 2010 8:35 pm ET

Looks like he's just selling something to me...

Mark   April 9th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

So a guy who flies all over the world is complaining about offshore oil drilling? What am I missing here?

tone   April 10th, 2010 10:48 am ET

the problem is the world is full of stupidity and hate. look at the posting for seal hunting season. i only wish i could get these innocent creature killers to come to step up to each and everyone. no hesitation.

kindness and heart are something most in this world lost along time ago. humans as a whole are on their way to extinction....

fix it mom...make it all go away.....

Shelby   April 10th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

Well I agree with A. Smith.
I think that people need to help the earth and some people say that they will help. But, others just don't want to live because some people are not doing a very good job.

YoYi470   April 11th, 2010 12:22 pm ET

. The legacy lives on. Yours is a fantastic and laudable effort. Keep it up Larry and Philippe. Thank you.
Digne d'éloges. Merci.

Joe in Kalispell   April 11th, 2010 2:56 pm ET

I met Philippe Cousteau Sr briefly at a convention called Man-Sea 70 in San Francisco. I am glad to see his son is carrying on the family legacy. Unfortunately he may well be waging a losing fight.

kay   April 11th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

I am the child of Depression Parents. They taught us well. Use every last thing possible. Use too much, it won't be able to reproduce. A world-wide ban on fish and shellfish would be a good idea. The seas are reaching the point of no return. I'm not a vegan and wouldn't like the fish lack, but sometime drastic measures are necessary.

After all, when all the fish are gone, the Asians will have no sushi or shark-fin soup, the Russians no caviar and Americans no turtle soup.

Sad, the total lack of foresight in the planet's populace.

Terry W. Brookman   April 12th, 2010 12:10 am ET

The sea has already reached a point of no return. This has been known for twenty years. The pollution traps and bottom feeder data that was started in the seventy's showed we were at extinction levels. The level of die off is above seventy percent as of five years ago. If we stopped eating seafood and stopped polluting right now it would be over a hundred years for a recovery. Some would never come back and perhaps most. That is what time it is folks like it or not, we may have to start eating each other if we want to stay alive. If you have ever seen Solient Green then all I can say is welcome to the future. Seven billion and more on the way.

Jules   April 12th, 2010 11:45 am ET

We are not "special" we are all merely parasites leeching off our host (the planet Earth) in order to survive. Adapting to the changing environment like the AIDS virus we learn to overcome illnesses like chicken pox the way it learns to overcome "aggressive medical treatments".

DAISHI   April 12th, 2010 12:18 pm ET

If A.Smith thinks a slow game won't make it, he's never played a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game.

Corbijn   April 12th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

This is a good idea and should be given a chance. I'm sure this hasn't been jumped into without any thought. Video games are amazing teaching tools. Even if it doesn't catch with little ADHD American kids who's parents let them play whatever they want it will probably be successful around the world. Having kids in kindergarten play this will at least expose them to the issue, what's wrong with that?

This story has nothing to do with any anchor on FOX, Obama and his administration, Microsoft, etc. It's about someone trying to make a difference. If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 17th, 2010 11:43 pm ET

I think that only Jesus Christ can save us now........on his return. Looking forward to that.

Earth's problems are just getting too big for man to solve, but God loves tryers.........and we all must try and work together on this one continually. .

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