As we grapple with global warming, ocean acidification, and the possibility that life on earth really is doomed, it is with considerable chagrin that we recall how Jacques Cousteau sounded the general alarm thirty years ago. The celebrated underwater filmmaker, co-inventor of scuba diving, television star, sage of the environmental movement, and bon vivant died in 1997. But before he left he had developed a brooding pessimism about the future of humanity.
At a rally in Seattle in 1977, where he headlined in a sold-out basketball arena with energy expert Amory Lovins and population theorist Paul Ehrlich, Cousteau predicted the dire consequences of a runaway human population and its apparently insatiable appetite for fuel to heat, move, and feed itself. Cousteau toned down his pessimism for the audience of 15,000 in the arena that night, urging them to take responsibility for the environment before it is too late. But an hour later, in an interview with a pair of reporters from the Seattle Weekly, he laid out his far more dismal vision.
“Fossil fuels are polluting the air and the sea and now people are saying that nuclear energy is the answer,” sa... Read more