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Jacques Cousteau: Underwater Explorer

06 September, 2010

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Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight program. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

People desire to explore the unknown. People climb tall mountains. They sail to far off islands. They study volcanoes, and caves and rocks. But for most of human history, when people reached the sea, they had to stop. For thousands of years, most people could only wonder at what lay below the ocean’s surface. That is, until one man opened the underwater world for anyone to explore.

Voice 2

Today’s Spotlight is on Jacques Cousteau. Jacques Cousteau was an underwater explorer who was unwilling to stop at the water’s edge. He worked most of his life exploring the ocean. He increased human understanding and worked to teach people about how important it was to care for the planet.

Voice 1

Jacques Cousteau served in the French Navy during World War Two. It was in this service where Cousteau made his first underwater experiments. He knew that the key to studying life underwater was to enter into the underwater world.

Voice 2

Until 1940 there were two main ways to go under water. The first was called free diving. The diver would hold onto a rock and would jump into the water. When the rock had pulled the diver deep enough, he could let go of the rock and swim freely. But he could stay underwater only for as long as he could hold his breath.

Voice 1

The other method was to use a large metal helmet. The helmet fit over the diver’s head. It had tubes that led up to the surface. Workers up in a boat had to make sure air was pumping down the tubes to the diver. The tubes and helmet made movement difficult. Neither method satisfied Jacques Cousteau. Free diving did not permit a diver to stay down long enough; and the helmet did not permit a diver to move freely.

Voice 2

Jacques Cousteau desired the freedom of movement of free diving. But he also wanted the longer time underwater of the helmet system. In 1943, Cousteau co-developed an air tank system that a diver would wear on his back. The system supplied air only when the diver breathed in - so no air was wasted. Cousteau called it the Aqualung. It is similar to the diving tanks that are still used today.

Voice 1

Jacques Cousteau could now travel down and see what a shipwreck looked like. He could swim with the fish and discover new, strange creatures. Today, many people dive - for work or for enjoyment. Cousteau is the father of modern diving.

Voice 2

There are thousands of animals in the ocean, but most people see them without ever going in the water! Today, we have powerful cameras and technology. Divers can make wonderful films of the underwater life. But when Cousteau first used the Aqualung, there was no underwater camera good enough to use with it.

Voice 1

But Cousteau knew that if he was going to be able to get money for further explorations, he was going to need to bring back films to show people. They would need to see things for themselves. So he designed his own underwater film camera.

Voice 2

Up to that time, very few people had seen things under water. With the Aqualung and his new camera, Jacques Cousteau began to open up the mystery of the ocean. People could watch divers moving through the water as if they were flying. Cousteau said:

Voice 3

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is fixed to the earth. But man has only to sink below the surface of the water and he is free... he can fly in any direction- up, down, sideways- by just turning his hand. Underwater, man can fly like an angel.”

Voice 2

Cousteau did not only make his underwater films to get money, he also made them for the general public. At the 1956 Cannes film festival, his film The Silent World, won the highest prize - the Golden Palm. Also, for seven years, Cousteau had a television show called The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

Voice 1

In 1950 Cousteau decided he wanted to do even more underwater exploring. He began looking for a new boat and found one that he would he would use for the rest of his life. It was called The Calypso.

Voice 2

The Calypso and its crew soon became as much a part of Cousteau’s films as the underwater creatures. The crew were in close living conditions during the long trips at sea. Everyone helped to make the Calypso work well. Many of Cousteau’s crew members worked together for many years.

Voice 1

Over the years, the Calypso added a helicopter, and underwater windows. It also carried small submarines that could carry one or two people deep underwater. Cousteau also invented these. But with each new part added and with each new exploration, Cousteau’s first thought was always on the safety of his crew. One book* about Cousteau says:

Voice 4

“Cousteau treated his teams with a very high regard for their safety. Major and very costly projects would be delayed while equipment was tested again and again... The first law on Calypso would always remain: Never take unnecessary risks.”

Voice 2

The lasting influence of Jacques Cousteau was that he taught people to care about the ocean. He even pointed out how each major religion calls people to care for the natural world. He says this:

Voice 3

“Faith after faith tells its followers to open their eyes to nature as evidence of God’s greatness... All through time, and across countries and cultures, religions have also held the environment holy. It is the substance from which God created His greatest gift - life itself.”

Voice 1

Jacques Cousteau died in 1997. He had worked to connect people with the natural world. Today, the Cousteau Society continues to work to “improve the quality of life for present and future generations.” It continues to produce books and films that educate people about the natural environment.

Voice 2

Jacques Cousteau said that “People protect what they love.” and Jacques Cousteau loved the natural world. He tried to discover all he could about the world. He shared his discoveries, not so the world could use them for gain, but so that people may be more thankful for the wonder of the world around us.

Voice 1

The writer and producer of this program was Adam Navis. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program. Computer users can hear our programs, read our scripts, and see our word list on our website at http://www.Radio.English.net. This program is called “Jacques Cousteau: Underwater Explorer.”

Voice 2

If you have a comment or question for Spotlight you can e-mail us. Our e-mail address is Radio @ English . net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Comments

Mr Minh

Mr Minh said on August 17, 2009

Jacques Cousteau was certainly one of the idols of my youth, his TV programs held me spellbound

I’m very surprised that he’s also revered by the youth of Vietnam

How I’d loved to see him & Davis Attenburgh talking together

juan Reyes

juan Reyes said on September 06, 2010

Jacques Cousteau knew the beauty of nature; he loves to help every creature to be safety. I love to watch the documental from this great man.

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