National Geographic Emerging Explorer Alexandra Cousteau is part of one of the world’s most famous environmental dynasties. She is grand-daughter of legend Jacques-Yves Cousteau who first started teaching her to dive at the age of seven. She left on her first expedition with her father Philippe and mother Jan to Easter Island, Chile when she was just 4 months old.
Today, she takes that rich legacy of environmental advocacy, exploration and storytelling and moves it forward with Blue Legacy, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit that she founded in 2008 to leverage new and emerging technologies to connect mainstream audiences with their local watersheds and their water planet.
As the visionary behind Blue Legacy’s projects, she advocates the critical importance of managing our water resources sustainably 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 the purity of freshwater resources.
As the third-generation of Cousteaus to explore with the National Geographic Society, Alexandra believes that some of the most important exploring we can undertake in the 21st century will take place in our imaginations as we innovate and re-imagine solutions to the pressing environmental issues that confront and define our species today.
Alexandra Cousteau: A trusted voice for water and environmental issues
Earlier this year, Alexandra served as the Global 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 a worldwide event on water.
In early 2009, Alexandra joined the Discovery Channel line-up, co-hosting “Blue August” with her brother Philippe, Jr. and serving 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 eleven visionary young trailblazers from around the world who push the boundaries of discovery, adventure, and global problem solving. She has been honored as an “Earth Trustee” by the UN and regularly delivers testimony on critical policy issues before the U.S. Congress. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Water Challenge, Mother Nature Network, and EarthEcho; and the steering committee of The Shark Alliance.
Alexandraʼs work regularly earns global recognition and her 2009 Expedition: Blue Planet project was named a finalist in two categories at the prestigious Jackson Hole Environmental Film Festival. She is regularly featured in publications ranging from Cosmopolitan and Elle to National Geographic and Scientific American. Alexandra and her brother Philippe Cousteau Jr, received the South Carolina Aquarium “Environmental Stewardship Award” in 2009 and Alexandra was most recently honored with the “Peace Building and Environmental Stewardship Award” from the Friends of the Arava Institute in December 2009 for her commitment to using her voice to advocate for the importance of protecting the environment and show that water is a vehicle to for peace.
As conversations on environmental issues move into the “mainstream,” global audiences look beyond sensationalism and celebrity for credible voices on the issues or our time. As a Cousteau, Alexandra 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 protection of our natural world. When 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, Alexandraʼs father Philippe and Captain Cousteau 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.
Born into the family business, Alexandra 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 dive with SCUBA from Captain Cousteau himself at the tender age of seven.
It is against this backdrop that Alexandra weaves the romance of adventure and discovery into a modern call for action. Fluent in English, French and Spanish, Alexandra is rapidly building a significant global audience of her own. By coupling traditional media tours and film with social media platforms, Alexandra has helped NGO, governmental, and corporate-led water programs engage record audiences for action. She lends leadership on both corporate and non-profit boards around the world including Global Water Challenge and her own Blue Legacy International. She will release her first book, This Blue Planet, in 2011 through the Penguin Group.
Where to find Alexandra: