Welcomed this evening into the vaulted halls of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Spey had the distinction of viewing the US premiere of the film L’Odyssée – part of the French-American Climate Talks on Ocean (FACT-O). As those illustrious and lustrous readers of Spey well know, Spey takes our commitment to our planet very seriously. As we launch our own expedition to save an endangered species in the rivers of Scotland, it was both refreshing and insightful to be joined by the daughter-in-law of legendary undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the lovely Ms. Jan Cousteau, together with her son, the charismatic conservationist Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Make the planet great again
The film chronicles the great ocean going adventures of the Cousteau family and provides a glimpse into the passion (and some may say madness) of its celebrated patriarch, Jacques-Yves. There is plenty to love in the film. From gritty, touching characterization (acted by Lambert Wilson, Pierre Niney, and Audrey Tautou), to picturesque plunges into the world’s oceans, the film captivated the environmentally-inclined Washington, DC audience (indeed, brief mention of the Paris climate accord by Patrick Lachaussée, the First Counselor of the Embassy of France, elicited a defiant sigh from the crowd and applause as Macron’s now-infamous “make the planet great again” challenge was reprised). But perhaps the greatest message taken from the film, and indeed from chats with the family after, was that as much as Jacques-Yves and his sons achieved, so much is left to be done.
Marine biologist Dr. Rebecca Albright, who joined the discussion on the impacts that warming temperatures have on marine life, perhaps gave the clearest call-to-action of the evening: “Band together. Effect change.” We needn’t have the global celebrity enjoyed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau to raise awareness of these critical issues and influence policies that support and sustain our planet. Spey is doing what we can to protect one environment, but there is plenty more to achieve. Will you take the plunge?
Image: Lambert Wilson as Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Credit: Pan-Européenne and Fidélité Films.