Real Leaders

Will the Next Big City be Built Underwater?

PODCAST PEOPLE: A Summary from the Real Leaders Podcast

“The flora and fauna of the planet are a natural resource bank account, and that bank account is going bankrupt. So we need to not only protect what’s left, but reinvest in that capital, so that we can live off the interest that it bears, rather than eating away what’s left of the capital, because at the end of the day, we can’t afford to go bankrupt. Because no one’s going to bail us out. So really, it’s all about us. It’s about our future and our survival as a species.”

Fabien Cousteau is a third generation ocean explorer, aquanaut, and environmentalist who is at the forefront of today’s ocean exploration. His latest project, Project Proteus, entails an underwater research center for the betterment of the ocean, the earth, and humanity.

The following is a summary of Episode 116 of the Real Leaders Podcast, a conversation with ocean explorer and aquanaut Fabien Cousteau. Watch, read, or listen to the full conversation below.


PROTEUS is a project out of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (FCOLC). It will be the world’s most advanced underwater station, a revolutionary research site and habitat located at a depth of 60 feet (3 atmospheres) below the ocean’s surface. It will be the site of research that will address the planet’s most pressing problems.

Fabien Cousteau’s PROTEUS™. Concept designs by Yves Béhar and fuseproject.

The research station will be accessible to hosting academics, private companies, scientists, and NGOs involved in ocean exploration, research and development.

“PROTEUS is the next step in ocean exploration. Imagine building the International Space Station underwater, and being able to have that platform as a common good, and as an Advanced Research Station for bettering humanity, for being able to address things like COVID, to find those next cures for cancer and pain mitigation and of course, pandemics.”

Listen to Episode 116 on Spotify, Anchor, Crowdcast, and Apple Podcasts

Redefining Sustainability

Cousteau proposes three ways to change our language when discussing what sustainability really means:

  1. There’s no such thing as “away”
  2. We need to stop calling it “seafood” and start calling it “sea life”
  3. We the individuals are responsible for making a positive impact with our daily decisions

Considering the Ocean

As a wild frontier, the ocean’s resources aren’t regulated by conservation as easily or effectively as wildlife on land. Ocean life has more often than not been taken for granted.

“We’re on the cusp of a major extinction, of the Sixth Extinction, as it’s called, for the first time ever by one species ourselves. But we’re smart enough to know this, are we wise enough to make the proper decisions?”

The ocean makes up 99% of the world’s living space, but we’ve changed Earth’s landscape such that 95% of the planet’s biomass is now represented by human beings and domesticated animals.

“At the end of the day, ocean is life, no ocean, no life, no healthy ocean, no healthy future. And we are all beholden to the ocean, whether we like the ocean or not, whether we think of the ocean as a vacation spot, or as the essence of every other breath that we take and every glass of water that we drink.”



Learn more about Fabien Cousteau’s ocean initiatives here:

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