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Alexandra  Cousteau

Alexandra Cousteau

Environmental Advocate & Water Policy Expert

Biography

A National Geographic "emerging explorer," filmmaker, and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau Sr. She has mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her and has the unique ability to inspire audiences on the weighty issues of policy, politics, and action. Cousteau is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and the sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources. Read More >

Born into the family business, Cousteau joined her parents in Easter Island on her first expedition at just four months old. By the age of three, she had toured Africa, exploring Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda, and Kenya in the arms of her father. And like her father, she is one of the few who learned to scuba dive with Captain Cousteau himself at the tender age of seven. It is against this backdrop that Cousteau weaves the romance of adventure and discovery into a modern call for action. Fluent in English, French, and Spanish, Cousteau is rapidly building a significant global audience of her own. By coupling traditional media tours and film with social media platforms, Alexandra Cousteau has helped NGOs as well as government- and corporate-led water programs engage record audiences for action.

Cousteau builds upon the more than 60 years of global name recognition to engage consumers who expect to hear credible environmental information from the third generation of this pioneering family of explorers. For millions around the globe, “Cousteau” is synonymous with discovery and the protection of our natural world. When Jacques-Yves Cousteau earned the first of his three Oscars for Le Monde du Silence in 1957, he paved the way for leveraging film and media to teach environmental stewardship. In the television series The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau, Alexandra Cousteau’s father and her grandfather produced the most popular documentary series in broadcast history, setting a record at the time for Emmys and eventually showing in more than 100 nations, from the Soviet Union to Brazil and Japan. In addition to being widely credited for turning National Geographic into a global brand, the family still holds the publications record for cover stories.

Before hitting the road in 2010 for Expedition Blue Planet: North America, Cousteau served as the water advisor and spokesperson for the global Live Earth 2010 Run for Water—a project that teams her public advocacy on environmental issues with actress Jessica Biel, musician Pete Wentz, and many more. In early 2009, Cousteau joined the Discovery Channel line-up, co-hosting Blue August with her brother Philippe Jr., and served as a chief correspondent on water issues for Discovery’s Planet Green. In 2008, she was honored as a National Geographic “emerging explorer”—an elite group of 11 visionary young trailblazers from around the world who push the boundaries of discovery, adventure, and global problem solving.

Cousteau has been honored as an “Earth trustee” by the UN, named a “principle voice” by CNN International, and regularly delivers testimony on critical policy issues before governmental agencies. In 2010, she and her brother Philippe were named to Vanity Fair’s coveted “Next” list. She currently serves as a senior advisor for Oceana, on its prestigious Young Global Leaders Council and Global Agenda Council on Oceans for the World Economic Forum; on the board of directors of The Global Water Challenge, Potomac Riverkeeper, Mother Nature Network, and EarthEcho; on the leadership council for the Waterkeeper Alliance; the science advisory council for George Mason University; the international advisory board of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals/QScience.com; and the steering committee of The Shark Alliance. She is also a parent ambassador with Healthy Child Healthy World.

Cousteau’s work regularly earns global recognition, including the University of California -Irvine’s Human Security Award, the South Carolina Aquarium’s Legacy Award, Potomac Riverkeeper’s Protector of the Potomac Award, and the Arava Institute’s Peace Building and Environmental Stewardship Award. She has been featured by the National Press Club, the Royal Ontario Museum, Harvard University, and the Smithsonian Institute. She is also regularly featured in major publications including National Geographic, Town and Country, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Glamour, and Elle, and was named a “Fun Fearless Phenom” along with Tyra Banks by Cosmopolitan magazine. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Connected by Water

Preserving Our Planet

Blue Legacy

Speech Topics

This Blue Planet: Preserving & Sustaining a Healthy Earth

On December 7, 1972, the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft took a photograph of the Earth at a distance of about 45,000 km. This iconic picture—The Blue Marble—captured what can only be truly appreciated from space: the fact that we live on a water planet. Yet while 70 percent of Earth is covered by water, only a tiny percentage (0.001 percent) of that water is fit for human consumption and accessible to aquatic and terrestrial species. Although the amount of water on the planet has remained nearly the same since the Earth was first formed, human impacts have substantially reduced the amount of water that is available for us to drink, fish from, and swim in.

As our blue planet continues its orbit, environmental advocate and speaker Alexandra Cousteau urges us to view global water issues not as a disparate collection of unrelated problems, but rather through a systems-based approach that recognizes the fundamental interconnectivity of these issues and places renewed emphasis on protecting our planet’s most vital resource.

Cousteau advocates an approach that recognizes how crucial it is to preserve natural water systems while taking into account the numerous demands, threats, and developments within a watershed. From managing resources and addressing pollution to planning appropriately for the placement of cities, factories, and farms, we must focus on careful economic planning and ecosystem-based management to preserve and sustain a healthy Earth for generations to come.

How to Be a Lifelong Explorer: Leadership Through the Lens of Exploration & Invention

Alexandra Cousteau is an explorer of our water planet. And when it comes to authentic and impactful storytelling, expeditions are just as important today as they were when Captain Cousteau first sealed cameras in Bell jars to explore the depths. But exploration is not just about discovery: it’s also about leadership and innovation.

Highlighting the revolutionary inventions made by her grandfather and the cutting-edge ways that Blue Legacy reaches a worldwide audience, speaker Alexandra Cousteau encourages everyone to be an explorer—and protector—of our water planet, because as the primary shareholders who enjoy the dividends of healthy water systems, we are all connected, and we are all in this together.

Cousteau brings audiences on a journey from her earliest memories with her grandfather teaching her to scuba dive to her many adventures today. Along the way, she provides a unique perspective on how important it is to be not only an endlessly curious observer of the world but also an active participant in its preservation. Cousteau is leading communities to “take back” their water and make an investment in their future guaranteed to pay dividends.

Explorer, Filmmaker, Advocate &... Mom: Being a 21st-Century Woman & Digital Pioneer

While she has traveled across the globe to the most remote and exotic locations imaginable, speaker Alexandra Cousteau’s greatest discovery was giving birth to her baby daughter. This transformative experience has reinforced her conviction in the importance of protecting our water planet and has given her the chance to reach out to mothers and women everywhere to provide them with a message of inspiration to lead a pioneering life—and to never give up on their dreams.

As women increasingly compete for the highest-level positions in politics and the workforce of the 21st century, they face new challenges balancing the demands of their career and family life. Yet the new century presents many exciting new opportunities. Highly educated, empowered with technology, and driven by the notion that nothing less than complete equality on all fronts will suffice, women are not only impacting the agenda—they are writing it.

Cousteau tells a story about going against the grain—taking chances in life and following her own vision—in order to demonstrate why innovation in filmmaking and online distribution are so critical for engaging modern audiences and motivating people to take action in shaping the future that we—and our precious children—will inhabit.

Telling the Story of Our Water Planet: Innovation in Filmmaking & Social Media to Effect Environmental Change

Building on the Cousteau legacy of exploration and “experiential storytelling,” speaker Alexandra Cousteau’s expeditions generate excitement and understanding about water issues and deliver “conversation-shaping” short films, blogs, images, and interactive elements that allow traditional and online media outlets to more effectively engage their audiences and drive productive discussions around the interconnectivity of water issues through the lens of watershed-first thinking. Read More >

Through award-winning multimedia, Cousteau shines a spotlight on critical water resources and combines traditional filmmaking with “live” social media campaigns designed to give mainstream audiences the opportunity to learn through credible exploration and be inspired by the thrill of adventure-based conservation. By blending timely coverage of key water issues with new media trends and technologies, Cousteau delivers a presentation that: Read Less ^

  • Challenges individuals to identify and connect with their personal water footprint and local watershed
  • Explores the global interconnectivity of water through a better practical understanding of the hydrosphere and water cycle
  • Inspires a broader and better-informed conversation on critical water issues by exploring timely and sometimes unexpected stories related to our connections to water
Connect with Alexandra Cousteau