MIAMI – Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of legendary oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, is on a mission to protect the planet.
“I remember my grandfather always talked about the fact that we have to focus on education before we can actually focus on the environment,” Cousteau said.
Inspired by his legendary grandfather and as a way to honor his legacy, Philippe and his sister, Alexandra Cousteau, started the NGO, EarthEcho International, 15 years ago, recognizing that young people are making a difference in the health of our planet.
Now he and his wife, Ashlan, travel the globe teaching and encouraging students all over the world about the importance of conservation.
“Looking into the eyes of these children, it’s all about hope and it gives us hope at the end of the day,” Ashlan Cousteau said.
It is the youth that will lead the environmental movement going forward, which is why on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Cousteau and his wife are encouraging students, parents and teachers to find ways to honor the planet and connect with nature, especially now during these times of distance learning and isolation.
“It's so amazing to see when somebody has that true connection with nature, how it just completely changes your mood. It makes you smile, it makes you excited,” Ashlan said.
The Cousteaus are joining the chorus of environmentalists all over the globe noticing the amazing changes happening to our planet, even here in South Florida.
With humans quarantined at home, Mother Nature is bouncing back.
“How beautiful the beaches and the water is in Miami right now -- it's incredible to see and just reminds us again that nature is incredibly resilient if we just give her the chance,” Ashlan Cousteau said.
Philippe is encouraged by what the world is witnessing.
“These are little windows into what can be in the future,” Cousteau said. “When we start to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, get cleaner air, more sustainable transportation.”
And by focusing on innovation and developing new greener jobs, we can also grow our economy.
“I think it’s really important for people not to assume that the economy has to go down in order for nature to go up. That’s not the case,” he said. “This is just a sense of what happens if we live more sustainably.”