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Alexandra Cousteau

Alexandra builds upon the more than 60 years of global name recognition to engage people who expect to hear credible environmental information from the third generation of this pioneering family of explorers. 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. While many of those memories are now out of reach, the experience of those expeditions with her father’s crew has shaped her sense of purpose, her connection to the ocean, and her love of adventure. She could swim before she could walk and was one of the few who learned to dive with SCUBA from Captain Cousteau himself at the tender age of seven. Her childhood friends were the sea creatures that inhabit the rocky shorelines of the south of France. The ocean has been her guide ever since.

While Alexandra continues to find inspiration in her family legacy, she has since become a globally recognized advocate on ocean issues in her own right. She las led countless expeditions to better understand the issues facing our oceans and explore our connection to freshwater resources that are so critical to the health and prosperity of human communities. In the search for a deeper understanding of the issues that face us today (and perhaps a bit of excitement), she continues to push the boundaries of discovery, adventure, and global problem solving. In the process, she has walked for water with women in Africa, rescued Humpback whales from entanglements, climbed mountains and explored glaciers, guarded Leatherback turtles laying their eggs from poachers and even been rescued from a 15-foot Tiger shark by a pod of dolphins. 

Over the decades she has spent working for the protection of our water planet, Alexandra 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. She has met with heads of state, industry leaders, fisher communities, and NGOs around the world to find solutions to pressing ocean issues. She pioneered the idea of telling real time stories from her expeditions on social media when Facebook and Twitter were still in their infancy. In 2010, her 5-month expedition around North America was National Geographic’s first ever “interactive expedition”. By coupling traditional media tours and film with social media platforms, she has helped ocean conservation programs engage record audiences for action. She has been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and has also received an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University, her alma mater.

Deeply saddened by the state of the oceans and the increasingly dire predictions for what would be left for her children to explore in 2050, Alexandra started developing the OCEANS 2050 initiative in October 2018. This initiative is a global program of ocean afforestation - restoring lost coastal habitats by designing, seeding and managing marine forests that provide habitat for marine life, reverse acidification and hypoxia, enhance coastal climate resilience and sequester CO2. This restoration mission in turn supports tourism and fishing jobs, helps mitigate climate change, creates wealth and meaningful jobs and provides food security for the planet’s growing population. 

Alexandra also works closely with OCEANA as a Senior Advisor and has been deeply involved in Oceana's campaigns to curb overfishing in the countries that control about one third of the world’s wild fish catch in order to win policy victories that can increase biodiversity in our oceans and deliver more seafood to the future.   Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation.Their offices around the world work together to win strategic, directed campaigns that achieve measurable outcomes that will help make our oceans more bio diverse and abundant. 

Ultimately, Alexandra’s motivation is to help bring about a future for her children that is as abundant as the one she once knew. Her children, also ocean lovers, support her efforts 100%. 

 

Awards and recognitions

2010 

  • Human Security Award, University of California Irvine

  • Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum

2009

  • Legacy Award, South Carolina Aquarium

  • Peace Building and Environmental Stewardship Award, Friends of the Arava Institute

2008

  • Emerging Explorer Class of 2008, National Geographic Society

2018

  • Honorary Doctorate of Science, Clarkson University

2016

  • Honorary Doctorate Humane Letters, Georgetown University

  • International Eco Hero Award, Planet in Focus Film Festival

2015

  • Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence, Stroud Water Research Center

2012

  • Care2 Impact Award, Women in Green Forum