Jacques Cousteau

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Jacques Cousteau

Many people know that the earth is covered with water. In fact, 3/4 of the earth is water.

The major oceans (i.e. Atlantic, Indian, etc.) are salt water. We can't drink salt water.

Sadly enough, we are destroying our oceans and various other parts of our precious earth.

But there are people out there who commit their lives to preserving the earth. One man in specific

has accomplished such a thing. He has worked to preserve the oceans and the rest of the marine

world from our destruction. He has used modern technology and has written several books to try to

make the people of earth better understand the gentle world beneath the water and to prevent it from

being destroyed. This man I am talking about is none other than Jacques Cousteau. I have written this

paper to describe his life and major things he has done.


Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11th, 1910 in St.-André-de-Cubzac, France. Jacques was

always interested with water in his youth. When Cousteau was 10, he visited the U.S. where he spent

several months in New York City which included time playing stickball with the neighborhood children.

He left the U.S. with a sense of wonderment about the high technology of this country.

In his early teen years, he began fulfilling his fascinations with his interests in machines and in film

making. One of his early accomplishments were building a battery-operated car at 13. He also

secretly saved his money and when he had enough, he bought a home movie camera. In his later teen

years, Jacques became bored with school and began causing trouble. His parents found out why his

grades were dropping and sent him off to a boarding school. This new environment gave him the

discipline he needed to excel in this new school. Upon graduation, he applied for and was accepted

into the Ecole Navale* at the age of 19.

Following completion in the Academy, he entered the French Navy as a midshipman. He got

involved in an accident in which doctors said that he would never be able to use his left arm again. The

Navy sent him to a ship out in the Mediterranean Sea to get well. After swimming in the water every

day, he proved the doctors wrong. After his recovery, Cousteau's shipmates gave a pair of watertight

goggles so he could swim underwater. When Cousteau dived underwater, he was fascinated with the

world beneath the sea.

Cousteau became involved in underwater explorations of the ocean environment in 1936. In 1937,

Cousteau married Simone Melchoir and together they had two sons, Jean-Michael and Phillipe. Two

years later, Cousteau was called to fight in World War II. While in W.W.II, Cousteau and French

engineer Emile Gagnan worked on and perfected the aqualung or SCUBA* They used the aqualung to

recover enemy mines after W.W.II.


Cousteau can be proud of his many accomplishments in his life. During his work in the Navy with

the undersea research group, Cousteau and Emile Gagnan developed the aqualung in 1943 which

enabled divers to go underwater for a long period of time. He also developed the Bathyscaphe, an

immersible boat and begun as one of the pioneers of underwater photography.

Cousteau's best work and accomplishments have come from his explorations of the undersea world

on the Calypso. His work has spawned many books including The Silent World written with Frederick

Dumas in 1953 which received critical acclaim. In addition to the several well known books he has

written, he has produced several films including The Silent World in 1956 and World Without Sun in

1966. Both of these films have won AcademyÒ Awards. In 1968, Cousteau began to produce his

well known television series to introduce the public to undersea life and to raise their awareness of the

need to protect ocean life.

Some of Cousteau's many honors include the Medal of Freedom given to him by President Ronald

Regan in 1985 and again in 1989. He was also honored by France with membership in the French



Jacques has made numerous contributions to society. Use of the aqualung and Bathyscaphe has

greatly enhanced the ability of researches all over the world. In fact, the popular sport of scuba diving

would obviously not be possible without the development of the aqualung. Cousteau's books and films

have delighted readers and viewers for many decades now and will continue to do so for many years

into the future. Cousteau will probably best be remembered for his strong commitment to the marine

environment and his use of his television series to promote better understanding of the undersea world.

Cousteau's devotion to the protection of the ocean and its life forms inspired him to develop the

Cousteau Society which currently has over 300,000 members worldwide. Because of the work

Cousteau has done and his many followers, the oceans may be able to be saved from their sure

destruction by the thoughtlessness of so many in this world.