Jean-Michel Cousteau (President, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society)
” It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of support for Leslie Bissey and her WeOcean Project. Leslie is an exceptional environmental educator and dedicated teacher who has been sharing her knowledge and passion of the ocean with students and adults for years. She was an exceptional naturalist for Ocean Futures Society’s Ambassadors of the Environment program in French Polynesia for several years. Her newest project, WeOcean has created an important link between students, environmentalists, stakeholders and the general public in hopes of making the ocean more familiar and accessible with the ultimate goal to better understand and protect our oceans.
Since first being thrown overboard by my late father, Jacques Yves Cousteau at the age of seven back in 1945, I have been compelled to explore, to discover, to understand the secrets of the sea. My father use to always say, ‘people protect what they love.’ But I continue these thoughts by saying how can we protect what we do not yet understand? Ironically, as we have explored more, learned more about ecological processes within the ocean and made great discoveries of its vast diversity of life in just the past 75 years, we have also degraded, overfished and changed the basic chemistry of the ocean faster than any time in recorded history. We now know the ocean sustains all life on this planet; but we are threatening the very fabric of what holds our rich tapestry of biodiversity together.
Using her love for the ocean and her desire to teach about the importance of a healthy environment, Leslie inspires students to be critical thinkers about how they perceive a sustainable future. We need creative, optimistic, inspirational people who are using their talents to engage the future generation to use all means of creativity to care for our blue planet. Leslie is one such talented environmental leader who is a great inspiration, sharing her love for the environment to inspire people to communicate the urgent need for action. She knows when people see and feel the beauty of the undersea world, they understand in a profound way, the need to take care of our water planet. “
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