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New Movie Shows an Unseen Underwater World

Jean-Michel Cousteau has spent a lifetime exploring the seas, like his famous father, the ocean explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Now, Jean-Michel Cousteau has produced a 40 minute long documentary from 100 hours of underwater videos. He and his crew used special equipment, including an IMAX camera, to take pictures of the smallest life in the sea. The camera produces high-resolution images that are sharp and like those seen in movies.

The technology enabled the crew to record microscopic underwater animals in slow motion in a 3D, or three-dimensional film. Mr. Cousteau documented 30 new species in the movie, called “Secret Ocean 3D.” Many of these creatures are much too small to be seen with human eyes.

“When you’re filming it, you bring it back to the boat where we are, and we have a 3D screen and we can see, with glasses on, something we have never seen before. And sometimes we say, ‘we need to go back!’"

The results are extraordinary. The new film presents us with a beautiful but often deadly world. It shows how even tiny creatures are part of a complex food chain that sustains human life.

Here, natural resources are never wasted. But as Mr. Cousteau warns, pollutants from human activity such as chemicals, heavy metals and plastic, threaten to destroy this life.

“All the way up to the fish we catch and put in our plates. We’re bringing back on land a lot of that pollution.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau is a supporter of de-salting ocean water to create clean water for humans to drink and to water crops. But he says that a major desalination effort can only happen if we stop the pollution from entering the oceans.

"Today between four and five thousand children under the age of five are dying every day, every day, every day, because they have no access to clean water or enough water. That can change. We can decide to make this happen."

Mr. Cousteau says a great part of the ocean remains unexplored. He says there are thousands, maybe millions of species we have not yet identified. So, he says, we also have no way of knowing how pollution is affecting them.

“My dad used to say, people protect what they love, and I would say ‘if you don’t understand, how can you protect it?”

Jean-Michel Cousteau launched the Ocean Futures Society in 1999. The nonprofit organization aims to educate people about the importance of ocean life and the dangers it faces. Mr. Cousteau says films like Secret Ocean 3D also help do that.

He says he wants his films to be fun and beautiful to see. And he wants them to teach people that there is only one water system on the planet. He says every plant and animal, including humans, depend on the quality of that water for life.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Penelope Poulou reported this story. Caty Weaver wrote it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

documentaryn. a movie or television program that tells the facts about actual people and events

microscopicadj. able to be seen only through a microscope : extremely small

3D adj. made in a way that causes an image to appear to be three-dimensional (with length, width and depth)

tiny – adj. very small

sustain v. to provide what is needed for (something or someone) to exist, continue, etc.

desalination – n. to remove salt from (something, such as water)

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