He was however (& in fact) everything but, and all of the resources that the marine biologist needs to effectively communicate his/her work and find a new competitive edge.
Cousteau was an innovator, an environmentalist, an author, and an explorer. He facilitated access to a new frontier, afforded a vehicle to take people there, and communicated that process exceedingly well. Along for the ride were
indeed marine scientists of all disciplines, reaping the benefits of this unusual collaboration.
Cousteau is known as an early practitioner, or possibly even the father of ‘divulgation’ – more commonly known today as the ‘Public Engagement with Science and Technology’. Attracting, and more importantly ‘engaging’ the public has drawn our entire civilization one step closer to the sea.
This step, I believe, is an evolution of our predeterminism here on the Blue Planet.
I am asked frequently about ‘what it takes to be a marine biologist’, or about job opportunities in marine biology. While I value the profession immensely, as that is the root of my education and early field experiences, I am not a marine biologist. Working on the shoulders of giants, my own work seeks to take yet another bold step into a new region of ocean space – where two-dimensional limits of depth and time that have been nothing but major roadblocks for the better part of the last century are effectively removed. That is possible with novel applications of existing technology, and fresh innovations as a diving practitoner.
As I’ve brought that experience forward, yes, marine scientists have benefited from the work, and that love affair that many of us have with the ocean and its inhabitants (thanks to Cousteau) can be embraced – and hopefully viewed with a renewed sense of opportunity.
For years, I’ve imagined being able to leave the shore and spent a day, a weekend, a week, or possibly longer before returning home to terra firma. That freedom from the two dimensional chaos we live in day in and day out is a paradigm altering event – and we’re close.
This type of exploraton is not about thrill-seeking, nor about an ‘adventure’ – it is about reaching and breaking through frontier limits – be they physical, psychological, or something virtual and in between. It’s about finding new ground, and affording an opportunity to work laterally on a new plane, rather than just continue deeper and deeper through known planes of existence and space.