HONOLULU (KHON2) — Malama i ke kai or care for the ocean. It’s something we all need to take part in.

One of the world’s best-known ocean advocates said it’s even more important for Hawaii, now more than ever.

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For many of us, our lifelong passions are forged by our childhood experiences.

For Jean Michel Cousteau, he grew up with an icon for a dad and mentor — oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

“I’ve been diving since I was a little kid, thanks to my father and his colleagues who created all the equipment,” said Cousteau. “And I’m going to celebrate 77 years of scuba diving, I never stopped diving. And being in Hawaii and several other locations of the planet is a privilege for me.”

His Ocean Futures Society advocates around the globe to document and protect the ocean and its vital connection to survival for all life on earth, something echoed in KHON’s special Empowered forum – Malama i ke Kai, care for the ocean.

Cousteau stated:

I’ve had the privilege in going in other parts of the world, and meeting decision-makers, in industries in governments. And I never tried to make them feel bad. I want to help them make better decisions. They have children, they have grandchildren, they care, their obligations are now now now. Well, what about the future?

He certainly made an impact on former President George Bush which helped lead to the creation of the largest marine protected area on the planet.

“When the Hawaiian Island National Monument was created — to me, that was the most exciting time in my life,” said Cousteau.

Another highlight, is his involvement in supporting the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“Nainoa (Thompson) is a treasure because not only are we learning about what he and his team have done, but we are learning how connected we are to the ocean,” said Cousteau.” How connected we are to exploring the planet, and being able to go places where we’ve never been.”

He’s heading back to Hawaii soon to get to work on his next project focusing on whales.

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“So for me today to be able to share all the information makes the majority of the human species want to protect what we are connected to and depend upon,” said Cousteau.