MOTHER's Newsworthies: Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Maria Telkes and Dr. Ben Yellen

Learn how Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Maria Telkes and Dr. Ben Yellen are bettering their communities.

| January/February 1978

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    Jacques Cousteau proposed a global-pollution-monitoring system of the oceans "involving specially designed satellites, permanently assigned aircraft, and instrumented regular commercial [airline-type] airplanes."
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    Dr. Ben Yellen has been fighting against agribiz growers in California's Imperial Valley for more than 20 years.

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Brief: Jacques Cousteau

"Among the strongest motivations of human beings," Jacques-Yves Cousteau explains, "are dream, convenience, and survival. Dream has triggered the conquest of the moon and is — together with curiosity — the prime mover in fundamental science. Convenience, which involves economics, has mobilized the use of remote sensing from satellites to help chase and catch the last fish or to find the last oil to be burned away. The instinct of survival, that turns an endangered man into a furious fighter, may soon discharge some adrenalin into mankind's blood and help organize a global remote sensing rescue operation."

Cousteau has recently invested a great deal of his time in promoting the "global remote sensing rescue operation" that he mentions. Speaking before the Remote Sensing Symposium of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1975, Cousteau said he would like to see implemented a worldwide, permanent, and sophisticated pollution-monitoring program "involving specially designed satellites, permanently assigned aircraft, and instrumented regular commercial [airline-type] airplanes." According to Cousteau, "Satellites would collect data from thousands of instrumented buoys, either drifting or anchored in deep waters, all over the oceans of the world. A preliminary blueprint of such needs includes about 100 very sophisticated buoys anchored in deep water, 500 less sophisticated anchored buoys, and 10,000 drifting buoys ... preferably parachuted year round and replaced — as they drift ashore or stop working — at the estimated rate of 5,000 per year."

The cost of Jacques-Yves Cousteau's proposed global monitoring system would be high — between $100,000,000 and $120,000,000 a year — but according to the famed oceanographer/ explorer, "This is the only way for us to sense the 'pulse of the oceans' ... and we know that the pulse of the oceans is the only symptom we have to help us diagnose the degree of health of the pyramid of life that we have the privilege to hold at our mercy."

Cousteau remarks: "What has yet to be fully realized by people at large is that life was born in water, that water is indispensable to life in general, and consequently that efficient protection of the water systems of the whole world is indispensable for our very survival."

Brief: Dr. Maria Telkes

In 1951, Dr. Maria Telkes predicted in a national publication that the year 1975 would mark the start of a rapidly growing interest in solar energy. Her statement didn't stir a whole lot of interest, she recalls.

"Everyone said, 'Oh, poor Maria, she's just sunstruck.' "


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