June 21, 2010
Posted: 05:13 PM ET
Posted: 04:01 PM ET
Philippe Cousteau is the CEO of EarthEcho International and the grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau.
The sun was coming up when we drove away from the hotel in New Orleans, bound for my 5th trip to Grand Isle. The projected low for the day was 88 degrees, a new record and a bad sign for hurricane season ahead, but by now I was getting used to the heat. The next few days would see us retrace our steps from the weekend with a day in Grand Isle, LA, and one in Alabama. I was asked by the producers at Larry King Live to host the field segments for a two-hour telethon that they are producing to raise money for the communities and wildlife impacted by the disaster that has spread through the Gulf for more than 50 days. I was delighted when they informed us of their plans because while other disasters often attract huge outpourings of charity in this country, people have been slow to realize that there is tremendous suffering going on in our back yard and an equally tremendous need for the nation to unite in order to help.
We pulled into Grand Isle and boarded the small boat that would take us out into Barataria Bay. As we headed out into the Bay the now familiar smell of oil wafted over the bow and the silhouette of shrimp boats retrofitted for their job of skimming oil flashed past us. Already their oily catch was collecting behind them as they moved in unison, a phalanx of soldiers desperately trying to collect as much oil as possible. These are the lucky few, people who have found employment to replace a livelihood that is now out of reach for them. Over the past 6 weeks, I have seen this disaster unfolding first hand from below the surface and the impact on the environment and the local communities at the surface. As nature itself goes, so goes these communities, the fate of both is inextricably linked to the other. As I thought about it over the past few days, seeing now familiar faces struggling to come to grips with this disaster I have become more and more frustrated for those fighting on the ground.
Posted: 11:33 AM ET
Imagine an oil iceberg the size of the state of Kansas. Imagine only being able to see the tip of that oil iceberg. This is what we are dealing with in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf region has been my home all my life. We as Americans have an obligation to see this catastrophic disaster through from beginning to the end. Whether it be aid for the environment, or aid for the businessmen.
It is my sincere hope that we can find a resolution to this horrible disaster. First and foremost, we must find a way to stop the oil at the source before we can even begin to assess the environmental and financial ramifications. I implore the media, the Government and the companies involved now more than ever to see this process through for the many Americans that have been severely affected by this epic event.
I think it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure that every I is dotted and T is crossed. I believe that there was a good relationship between the oil executives and the people of the gulf coast region because the oil companies do create jobs and revenue for the people of the gulf region. However, the responsibility of safety and restoration falls on these executives. The people of the Gulf Coast expect the oil companies to protect their beautiful waters. I do believe that with determination, resilience and total cooperation, we, as people who rely and enjoy the waters of the Gulf Coast will be able to get back to the beaches that we all love.
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