Cousteau Activity News
One Man's Mission: Pierre Chastan
||Pierre Chastan crossed the Atlantic single-handedly, on an idealistic and courageous mission inspired by Captain Cousteau. Traveling in a 34-foot boat, built of trees from his family's woodland, he carried aboard a barrel of petitions for the Bill of Rights for Future Generations, symbolic of the Cousteau campaign to have the United Nations incorporate the document in its charter. A long-time volunteer in the Paris office of the Society, Pierre undertook this quest as a personal commitment to Captain Cousteau's vision. Over the course of a month, he sailed from France to the Canary Islands to Guadeloupe to Florida; continuing up the east coast of the US, he docked in Virginia, where The Cousteau Society's staff and volunteers welcomed Pierre warmly and visited his ship Message to wish him Godspeed. In June, he departed on his final leg to New York and the United Nations headquarters
|Pierre arrived in Manhattan, anchored his ship in the heart of the city, and doggedly tackled the huge institution of the United Nations, determined to speak personally with Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The City of New York provided dock space, the Secretary General's staff accepted his request for an audience, and everywhere Pierre and his petition were enthusiastically received. When Francine Cousteau arrived, to address the Ships to Save the Waters conference, she invited Pierre to attend and paid tribute to his extraordinary commitment.
What One Person Can Do - Francine Cousteau
Fighting for a Bill of Rights of Future Generations has been one of the big issues of The Cousteau Society. Captain Cousteau spent his last 15 years on this subject. He collected 9 million signatures and shook the consciousness of as many heads of government as he could reach. The Bill of Rights was finally accepted by UNESCO in 1998, which is a big victory, but the goal is to add it to the charter of the United Nations. And now I am going to tell you what a single man can do. I am going to tell you what a volunteer can do, what the will of one fragile human being can accomplish.
His name is Pierre Chastan. He is a former printer and a 15-year volunteer for Captain Cousteaus work. When he was traveling in a plane, Pierre Chastan would manage, by the end of the flight, to collect the signatures of all the passengers on the petition for the rights of future generations. He did the same thing in his village, whenever he met people. One day, he sold his business, saw his family made secure, started to choose and cut trees on his property and built a 34-foot boat. All by himself. Then, he traveled along the canals of France down to the south, distributing the petition to everyone going by. He decided to cross the ocean and bring the petition to Kofi Annan at the United Nations. He wrote to presidents. He gathered the help of scientists, teachers, all kinds of people and, one day, he left and crossed the Atlantic.
He is not a sailor, he is not a diver, he is simply one person, with great beauty inside and such a strong will. Now, he is in New York. The mayor has allowed him free harbor space and office facilities in the town hall. He went to the United Nations and managed to transmit the will of Captain Cousteau so well that he will see Secretary-General Kofi Annan in October.
By the way, his boat is called The Message and the man who built it, the man who crossed the Atlantic all by himself to be the voice for future generations, Pierre Chastan, is right here in front of you. He is a symbol of what a single fragile person can accomplish. Here is Pierre Chastan.
A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
"Why should we preserve a livable planet if not for our children and grandchildren?" -Jacques-Yves Cousteau
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
MINDFUL of the determination proclaimed by the peoples of the world in the Charter of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
ACKNOWLEDGING that it is among the purposes of the United Nations to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends,
RECOGNIZING that for the first time in history the rights of future generations to exercise options with respect to the nurture and continuity of life and the enrichment and diversity of their mental and physical environment are seriously threatened,
BELIEVING that the preservation and promotion of these rights has a claim on the conscience of all peoples and all nations,
CONVINCED that each generation has the inherent right to determine its own destiny and the corresponding responsibility to accord a similar right to future generations as an extension of the right of the living,
SOLEMNLY PROCLAIMS the necessity of securing the universal recognition of this right and this responsibility; and to this end
Article 1. Future generations have a right to an uncontaminated and undamaged Earth and to its enjoyment as the ground of human history, of culture, and of the social bonds that make each generation and individual a member of one human family.
Article 2. Each generation, sharing in the estate and heritage of the Earth, has a duty as trustee for future generations to prevent irreversible and irreparable harm to life on Earth and to human freedom and dignity.
Article 3. It is, therefore, the paramount responsibility of each generation to maintain a constantly vigilant and prudential assessment of technological disturbances and modifications adversely affecting life on Earth, the balance of nature, and the evolution of mankind in order to protect the rights of future generations.
Article 4. All appropriate measures, including education, research, and legislation, shall be taken to guarantee these rights and to ensure that they not be sacrificed for present expediencies and conveniences.
Article 5. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and the individuals are urged, therefore, imaginatively to implement these principles, as if in the very presence of those future generations whose rights we seek to establish and perpetuate.
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