5 ways Jacques Cousteau pushed to protect the planet

From advocating for coral reefs to blowing the whistle on nuclear dumping, the work of the legendary ocean explorer and conservationist is recognized in a new documentary.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau opened up the underwater world for exploration—then spent his career working tirelessly to convince others to preserve it for future generations.
Photograph by Yousuf Karsh

Watch Becoming Cousteau, a National Geographic documentary currently playing in theaters.

At the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, celebrities like Jane Fonda and Pelé mingled with the likes of the Dalai Lama and George Bush. But when it came time for presidents, prime ministers, and other world leaders to gather for an official photo, they only cared about one public figure. As they gathered for the photographer, the leaders clamored for the aging Jacques-Yves Cousteau to join them.

Cousteau is known as one of the fathers of scuba diving, which he helped pioneer in the mid-20th century. A former French naval pilot, Cousteau had become increasingly interested in ocean exploration. In 1943, as he searched for ways to make the depths more accessible to

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