What we do
Our organisation is dedicated to the protection and improvement of the quality of life for present and future generations. More than one hundred books and 115 films to date have documented a variety of habitats: Antarctica, Haiti, Cuba, the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, the Andaman Islands, Borneo, Indonesia, Madagascar, South Africa, Lake Baikal and the Amazon, Mekong, Danube and Yellow rivers among others. Recent expeditions include the Caspian Sea, the St. Lawrence River of Canada and the Red Sea.
Beginning with the co-invention of the AquaLung®, Cousteau teams have led in the development of underwater technology with systems ranging from underwater habitats to submarines and imaging systems. Cousteau engineering teams developed the windship Alcyone and its unique wind-propulsion system of Turbosail™ cylinders. Through cooperation with independent scientists, expedition research ranges from measuring the contribution of nutrients in rivers to the global ocean system, to developing methods to measure primary productivity in the sea, to using new resource management approaches to achieve environmentally sound, sustainable social progress.
The Society speaks in testimony and counsel to governing bodies and leaders on issues of global concern, such as the protection of whales, fisheries, coral reefs and other habitats. In 1990, the Society launched a petition drive to protect Antarctica, the last vast pristine expanse on Earth, as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science; it was at the forefront of efforts that culminated in the international protocol, which guarantees the prohibition of mineral activities for at least fifty years and implements a number of environmental protection measures.
Working with the UNESCO, the Society is establishing a network of Ecotechnie programs at universities around the world, most recently in Tasmania. Defined by Captain Cousteau, Ecotechnie is a new approach to decision-making that integrates the environment with economics, technology, and natural and social sciences President Cousteau joined with Judge Amedeo Postiglione to launch a campaign for an International Court of the Environment, to fill the urgent need for a legal authority to redress environmental damages. As an outgrowth of the 2004 expedition to the Red Sea, Cousteau has negotiated an agreement with the government of Sudan to establish a program of integrated coastal zone management to protect precious ecosystems under the Cousteau Label. Continuing its defense of fragile Antarctica in the face of ongoing threats, the Society is participating in the International Polar Year 2007-2008 through field work with the Census of Antarctic Marine Life.
The Society believes that only an informed and educated public can make the decisions necessary to protect and manage the world's natural resources. Education efforts directed toward members, classrooms and the general population include membership publications Calypso Log and Cousteau Kids, individual information packets on a variety of environmental subjects, statements on developing issues, participation in special events and the innovative Cousteau in the Classroom program, to date reaching over 111,000 students in more than 2,200 classrooms. The Cousteau Society is also working to expand its presence on the Internet to make its 30 years of informative material more readily available to a global audience.