On this day in 1953, famous oceanographer and marine explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau (1910-1997) published his first book, The Silent World, a celebration of life beneath the ocean.
"The greatest resource of the ocean is not material but the boundless spring of inspiration and well-being we gain from her," he explained.
The son of a lawyer, during World War II Cousteau served with the French Resistance and was awarded the prestigious French Croix de Guerre with palm for his heroics. In 1946, the innovative explorer established the Undersea Research Group and became a pioneer inventor of marine devices including the anti-shark cage, special underwater cameras, and the Aqualung.
His voyages around the world on his research vessel Calypso are legendary. "From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He's belted to earth," Cousteau said. "But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free."
To safeguard this freedom, Cousteau founded the international Cousteau Society in 1973 to raise awareness and provide environmental education to keep the oceans vibrant for future generations.
He once explained his passion poetically: "Buoyed by water, [man] can fly in any direction--up, down, sideways-- by merely flipping his hand. Underwater, man becomes an archangel."
Carry a message of respect.