Jean-Michel Cousteau's Letter to the Prime Minister of Fiji

August 9, 2017

© Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Frank Bainimarama,

It is a great privilege to meet and discuss the future of the Pacific, and the planet, in the face of global climate change. As founder and President of Ocean Futures Society and a citizen of this planet, I applaud your leadership in protecting your nation and citizens from the increasing impacts of climate change, and I stand with you in your Presidency of the 23rd session of the Global Climate Summit (COP23) in Bonn, Germany this November.

I am honored to have the opportunity to fully support you and your initiatives for sustainable solutions to climate change. Since the Paris Conference in 2015, I have been advocating for action – for every country in the world to commit to meaningful solutions on climate change and transition towards a resilient, clean energy future. I believe now more than ever, global leaders must stand together with united voices to support ambitious and urgent actions that will move our world towards a more sustainable future.

COP23 will build on the momentum that was achieved in the Paris Climate conference, as well as the many international conservation conferences that have occurred this past year. I will be attending COP23 to share my message of hope, optimism and urgency for the future. The oceans, the lifeblood of our planet, must be further included in international agreements. I will share my life’s story and love for the sea, the critical need for ocean conservation, and the many ways climate change greatly threatens the health and vitality of our planet.

Fiji has a special place in my heart. Since the 1980s, I have been involved in working in Fiji, from providing my environmental education program, ‘Project Ocean Search’ at a resort then called Na Koro (My Village), to leading expeditions and filming the beautiful soft coral reefs of the Savusavu region with my team. To me, Fiji is a place of rich culture, warm-hearted people, and a deep sense of connection to the natural world.

I know that Fiji and other Pacific Island nations are at the front lines of climate change, with sea level rise, intensified cyclones, weather patterns and ocean acidification. I feel a deep sense of urgency to better communicate to the world our global connection to all those who are extremely vulnerable from the impacts of climate change. I have been working to further a campaign, “One Voice of the Pacific” that aims to gather the world’s attention through uniting the many voices of the Pacific – the people who are its caregivers, together protecting the largest amount of ocean on Earth – and highlighting the truth that we have one ocean home we all depend upon for survival. My hope is to unite the many voices, the many leaders, and the many solutions so that together, we can do everything in our power to ensure our children may have the same opportunities we have had the privilege to know.

I stand by you, fully, in your initiatives to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the effects of climate change, and adapt to the continuing changes on our planet. As a nation who has contributed so little to the global emissions, I once again applaud your leadership in stepping up to committing to renewable energy, further sustainability policies, and protecting coastal and ocean resources for the future. At Ocean Futures Society, I will continue to work hard to promote the voices of the Pacific and share the message of hope: we can solve this global problem by coming together, taking strong action, reconnecting to our ocean planet to protect ourselves now and for generations to come.

I extend my full support and assistance. Please let me know what I can do to assist in your efforts during COP23 and beyond.

You have my complete confidence and my deep sense of gratitude.

Vinaka Vaka Levu.

With my sincere regards,

Jean-Michel Cousteau
President Ocean Futures Society

“Protect the Ocean and You Protect Yourself”