After taking care of a giant sea otter for several months, a creature which is approximately six feet long, Jacques Cousteau turned to his son Jean-Michel and stated, "People protect what they love," upon the creature's transfer to a different location.
"But how do you protect what you don't understand?" asked Jean-Michel Cousteau at the recent Outdoors in Mammoth event. He pointed to the need for humans to protect the planet, but he said people do not understand that many of the actions they take every day are destroying it. He pointed out that we need to give future generations the knowledge that the rivers and oceans are our life systems and we should not pollute them or any other part of the Earth.
The younger Cousteau visited Mammoth Lakes for two days and spent his time taking nature walks, visiting Hot Creek, and giving the final keynote speech at the wrap-up dinner to the event on August 6.
A first of its kind locally, Outdoors in Mammoth was organized by Jesse Langley, who until now has been mostly known for plans to bring a large, luxury condo-hotel project called The Sherwin to town. Langley worked with Paul McFarland of Friends of the Inyo, Danna Stroud from the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mary Canada from Sierra Business Council, Leslie O'Berry from the High Sierra Energy Foundation and Brian Robinette, owner of Sierra Conservation Project since February to make sure the event went off without a hitch.
Langley met Cousteau on Fiji Island where the son of the legendary ocean explorer was hosting his Ambassadors of the Environment Program.
"The goal of this two-day gala was to share the nature that we have here, and make the celebration of it real," Langley said. "It's an opportunity to educate people on how to take care of the environment, as well as a creative way to sustain the economy," added the young environmentalist who hopes to continue the event on an annual basis.
Cousteau agreed with Langley during his speech, stating that the environment and taking care of it needs to be looked at as a business in order to get people involved.
"Sorry to take the romanticism out of it," Cousteau said. "But we have to get people to stop with the 'monkey theory' of just throwing things over their shoulder when they are finished and not worrying about where it will end up."
"It's a great program that we can capitalize on here so that we don't just have to rely on skiing," Langley explained.
Learn more about Cousteaus Ambassadors of the Environment at www.aote.org