Cousteau didn’t elaborate, but he didn’t need to.
The comment disturbed Rutherford enough to cause him to change his perspective, habits, and actions to those that were more environmentally sensible. He began driving an electric car, offsetting his travel, and adhering to a strict plant-based diet. He even built one of the country’s first LEED-certified homes – aptly outfitted with rainwater toilets and wallpaper stitched from old newspapers.
His conversation with Cousteau, coupled with decades of acquired knowledge, led him to the realization that the most important organisms – phytoplankton – were being overlooked by the scientific community and the mainstream media.
These tiny, marine bacteria are an ecological powerhouse and are inextricably linked with the welfare of our planet.
They regulate climate, form the base of the marine food web, and serve as a massive carbon sink. In fact, we’re unlikely to see a better carbon capture and storage technology than that of which phytoplankton and land plants provide.
With that rationale in mind, Rutherford set out to find an organization that was singularly focused on protecting this vital species. When he couldn’t find one, he started one himself.