Notorious Magazine was given the GREAT honor to do an exclusive interview with Céline Cousteau, environmental activist and granddaughter to Jacques. Selma and I were excited beyond belief as we both have children and worry about their futures and the world they will live in. My son who is 12 is reaching the age where he’s learning about global warming and energy conservation. His generation is becoming environmentally aware and it’s made me realize that it shouldn’t just be the youth working to improve the planet. It should be a worldwide project….all fighting together to save Mother Earth.
Currently Celine has joined forces with La Prairie cosmetics to promote a skin care line called Advanced Marine biology which helps bring awareness to Marine preservation.
1. So much of our future depends on the education of our youth. When I was younger I watched your grandfather’s show, and David Attenborough. Both are legends worldwide. Who do you think are the current pioneers in environmental education?
The power of one person to influence many was brought to us in an obvious way in the time of my grandfather when we were really discovering new places and new information about our environment- being a true pioneer was possible then. There are so many inspirational people doing amazing environmental work these days, but we might not know of them because the amount of information we are exposed to continues to increase exponentially as more and more is published on the net. This means we now have access to so much more potential knowledge than before, yet on the other hand, we have to weed through so much more data to get at the ‘real’ facts and information. Today’s pioneers of environmental education are everyday individuals all around the world: Peter Luswatateaching his community better and sustainable agriculture in Uganda, the people on board “Kalabia”- a floating classroom bringing environmental education to children in the Raja Ampat archipelago, and every teacher that chooses to include the environment in their curriculum.
2. In the last few months my son who is in 5th grade has been studying global warming and renewable energy. It’s so amazing to see his passion for our planet growing. I was very passionate when I was younger and unfortunately as an adult I somehow forgot about the planet. It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle, WA that I became aware again… mostly because everyone in Seattle seems to be an environmental activist. How do we get the rest of the world to join the fight to save the planet?
In order for people to fight for something, they need to understand why it is important to them and to see what is at stake for themselves and those they love. Until we can all see that our own well-being and health depends on that of the environment, it will be tough to get a planetary movement to help save the global environment. If we want to eat healthy food, breathe clean air, drink potable water, and see our children and grandchildren doing the same- then we have to fight to see a healthier environment. In the end, this fight is about our own human survival. This is how we get more people on board- offer concrete information about our human-environment connection and perhaps then, more people will join the fight.
3. I think there is also such a disconnect between ourselves and our planet. We no longer know where our food comes from. We are not aware of how we are getting rid of toxic waste or regular waste. Education once again is SO important.What is your opinion about a course taught worldwide in elementary school that teaches children to garden, takes them to farms to visit the cows and chickens, explains the process of conserving and preserving.
Having children play outdoors is a great way to get them connected to the natural world (as long as they are safe of course). Teaching them how to garden brings them closer to our food sources which in turn create a consciousness about nutrition, health, and our relationship to the environment. And truthfully, food tastes better when you can snip it off a vine, pull it from the ground, or pick it from a tree. With visits to farms and other places that raises animals for human consumption will enable children to understand where their food comes from and then they can make more conscious decisions as adults as well about what they want to eat. The same should happen for all the marine ingredients we use- from fish, to algae, and everything in between.
4. If only there had been more pioneers like your grandfather around acting vigilantly to defend our planet… we might be in a better place. In your opinion, what is our starting point? What part of our environment needs the most attention?
I do not believe there is a universal starting point per se since everybody’s ability to take part is dependent on their own reality as well- we cannot ask someone who does not have enough food for their children to only eat organic (which is more expensive). But those of us who do have a choice should make a decision to take action and stick with it- we cannot stay at good intentions. As individuals, one good place to start would be to eat only sustainable seafood; guides are available though many organizations (Monterey Bay Aquarium, Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation and Blue Ocean Institute) for example. Another easy step is to cut down the use of energy and water; turning off lights, driving less, fixing leaky faucets, turning down the AC, etc. And support organizations that are doing the fieldwork to protect the environment. On a larger scale, I would suggest supporting the creation of marine protected areas by not only supporting the organizations fighting to create these protected areas, but electing official whose agendas include such initiatives. There are so many possible places to begin, it’s tough to chose!
5. Sometimes all it takes is just for one family at a time to make small changes, and in turn those small changes make a difference. What can you recommend as one small change that could end up making a huge difference in the long run?
Changing what we eat is a god place for a family to start- as mentioned above, eating only sustainable seafood is great, choosing local and organic if you have the option is another great initiative, and supporting farming communities who are trying to continue the tradition of small farms with low pesticide use. The next step is to influence those around you because if it stops with the individual or the family, then it won’t go far enough. Educating friends and co-workers can have a powerful impact as the domino effect spreads the message. The important part is to begin and take action!
6. What made you decide to partner with La Prairie on this collection?
My partnership with La Prairie’s Advanced Marine Biology Collection came about for several reasons. One is their commitment to quality and diminishing environmental impact. This line is a symbol of what a luxury company can do to not only offer their clientele an expected high quality product, but also do so while thinking about reducing their environmental impact, including creative use of marine elements. Because the ocean-related ingredients in the Advanced Marine Biology Collection are grown in laboratories rather than taken from the ocean directly, the product not only benefits in terms of quality but the very inspiration for the ingredients, our ocean ecosystem, is not harmed.
Through this partnership, I have been able to speak to a wide variety of audiences around the world and spread the message of my work connecting humans to our natural world.
Thanks Mlle Cousteau for your time!