September 8, 2011
Clara Thompson Hall
Growing up on the salt-stained decks of his famous grandfather’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone, Fabien Cousteau was destined to follow in the family footsteps of exploring and tirelessly working to protect our planet’s immense and endangered marine habitats.
Diving since age four, Cousteau was irrevocably imprinted with an unwavering appreciation for the wonder, beauty, and importance of our aquatic ecosystems to sustaining life on this big blue planet of ours.
From his vast experience in the field, coupled with a degree in environmental economics from Boston University, he has refined a public policy platform grounded by his strong belief that environmental discipline can be the basis for innovative solutions that strike a balance between regional and global environmental problems and the realities of market economies.
A perfect example of this juxtaposition of “restrained enthusiasm” can be found in much of the so-called eco-tourism industry. Great White sharks in South Africa are now revered and appreciated largely due to the fact that the indigenous population has found greater economic interest in preserving these magnificent fish rather than slaughtering them for diminishing returns.
Not until more (if not all) of humanity becomes enlightened to the undeniable fact that our health and well-being as a species is directly linked to our stewardship of the marine ecosystems that cover 73% of our planet, we will continue to over consume, pollute, and destroy the natural systems we depend upon for sustainable life.
It is with this thought that Cousteau set out to show what could be done in the business world. He successfully spearheaded new product development and business models for environmental sustainability. Having proven his skills in business, he returned to the deep-rooted family passion for exploration. He joined his father, Jean-Michel, and Deep Ocean Odyssey, as the third generation to carry on the tradition of adventure and exploration in the deep ocean; originally pioneered by his grandfather more than half a century ago.
Recently he co-launched Natural Entertainment, which is working on numerous projects related to exploration and environmental awareness through television and other media.
In 2006, Cousteau once again partnered with his father, Jean Michel Cousteau, and sister Celine to complete a three year multi hour series for PBS called Ocean Adventures. Topics explored ranged from the Grey whale migration of the west coast of the Americas to the magical coral spawning of the Caribbean to diving with squadrons of goliath groupers to the ghost ships of the Great Lakes. Additional hours cover exotic places such as the Amazon, Samoa, Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea, the Arctic and many other wonders of nature. The most recent expeditions covering the topics of Belugas, Orcas and man started airing on PBS in April of 2009.
Cousteau keeps his personal life similarly involved in projects like his new initiative to actively involve the public in undersea restoration initiatives coupled with government protection of the restored areas. Deeply concerned about the well-being of future generations, he is on the board of the New York Harbor School where he volunteers his time to empower youth about the water world. Being part of the Water Innovation Alliance, Cousteau brings attention about water issues to business executives in order for them to make better, more informed decisions. He also partners with outside initiatives such as Save Bimini in an effort to impassion people into changing the tide of current events that threaten to blindly destroy the environmental wealth of our future generations. His most recent, and perhaps most ambitious, endeavor is creating a new foundation committed to educating the public on the alarming need to restore our marine habitats. The Plant-a-Fish Initiative will spearhead public education programs as well as guiding large environmentally sensitive corporations with a genuine commitment to making the world a healthier place for mankind.
An active writer, he is currently working on a children’s book trilogy. Cousteau has been seen on network television, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and as a regular guest/contributor to NBC’s Today Show.
Additionally, he is a sought after speaker at a variety of foreign and domestic environmental and water conferences.
Cousteau shares his time between France and the United States (New York City) and when not conducting fieldwork he is riding the planet on a wind surfer, mountain bike or piloting a plane. His passion for vintage motorcycles sometimes takes him to the quiet of his garage where his cell phone does not work and he can dive into the zen of breathing life into these “basket cases.”