Underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau visited with East Carolina University students Oct. 1 before delivering the premier lecture for the Voyages of Discovery lecture series on campus. Cousteau urged better management of the Earth's oceans, which make up 75 percent of the planet. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Cousteau calls attention to ocean resource management

Oct. 2, 2014

By Lacey Gray
For ECU News Services

Renowned underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau urged action to protect endangered ocean resources in a presentation Wednesday, Oct. 1 at East Carolina University.

“Marine debris is a global problem with a global solution,” he said. “Every one of us can change this problem.”

Cousteau presented “The Great Ocean Adventure” to an audience of approximately 1,500 in Wright Auditorium, as part of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery lecture series.
Students listen attentively to underwater explorer, film producer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau. Students from a variety of disciplines including biology, coastal resources management, maritime studies, anthropology and the Honors College were selected for the opportunity to meet with Cousteau.

He said that all individuals are connected to the oceans, that without water there is no life, and that decisions made about how those resources are managed have tremendous impact. The chemicals in the products produced by industry and discarded trash all make it into the water systems that ultimately flow into the oceans, affecting marine life, he added.

Cousteau introduced a video showing thousands of bits of plastic, bottles, bags and trash that littered the water and shores of Necker Island, 1,200 miles north of Hawaii. “We were shocked to see what was out there in the middle of the ocean,” he said. “What people think is, out of sight - out of mind.”

Cousteau’s work continues a mission initiated by his father, Jacques Cousteau, to preserve the oceans and the life within them. He asked the audience to consider how they might make a positive impact on the environment, especially critical water resources. “I know we will make a difference, but we have a lot to do,” he said.

Cosponsors of the Cousteau lecture included ECU’s Chancellor’s Office, Office of the Provost, Division of Research and Graduate Studies, Division of Student Affairs and Division of Health Sciences. The Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations and many friends and supporters. To contribute, contact Major Gifts Officer Jennifer Tripp at 252-737-4201 or

For additional information about the Voyages series and upcoming speakers, visit