Alexandra Cousteau: "The choices we make impact our oceans"

Manila Bulletin

Alexandra Cousteau was introduced to the ocean at an early age. She was only three months old when she was brought to her first expedition. She was seven, when her grandfather taught her to dive.

More than being a Cousteau, Alexandra’s whole being is connected to the ocean as she had navigated its wonders, witnessed its diversity, and its abundance throughout her life.

The ocean has always been her way of life. Alexandra said she’d never seen her expeditions as a profession. “I never felt pressured to do this. It was just as much a way of life as a career choice,” she said, “I never really thought of it as a resumé, I just grew up with this.”

Unfortunately, the world does not share the same love the Cousteaus have for the ocean.

“I’ve had the opportunity now to see changes in our oceans, first hand.” Cousteau said on August 30,”And [these were] dramatic changes, not just little changes.”

“I’ve seen places I knew as a child disappear,” she shared.

Alexandra compared the abundance of life her grandfather enjoyed during his time to what she has during hers, and she worries that if the world fails to save the ocean, the future generations may no longer be able to see its beauty.

“I realize that I am standing at this point, where there was amazing abundance that my grandfather knew at my age,” Alexandra shared, ”when my five-year-old daughter was my age, there could be little left for her generation.”

With this, she called for immediate action, ”this is the time for us to act, it’s now, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not the next day, it’s today because the window of opportunity… to bring back a diverse and abundant ocean is closing.”

For four years now, Alexandra serves as an Oceana senior advisor and shares the same vision of saving the world through the oceans.

Being a filmmaker, she used documentaries to show the people how the world can be saved. In this way, not only does she raise awareness, she also educates.

“It is extraordinarily important for us to explore before we exploit because we are losing places before we even know what was there,” she pointed.

“We are very young in our understanding of the oceans, in our ability to protect our oceans. We don’t have that consciousness yet,” she said.

Alexandra expressed her grandfather would’ve been “terribly” alarmed for failing “to stop the momentum of loss, in spite of all [his] efforts.” She recalled when Antarctica was threatened by exploitation, her grandfather, Jacques, lead an initiative to sign a petition.

He gathered “petitions on paper because it wasn’t the Internet age yet,” Alexandra shared, which brought her to point out that today, the world is more capable of saving the ocean.

“Today, we have things we didn’t have before. We have technologies. We have remote-operated vehicles. We have organizations like Oceana. We have the Internet, [which] allows us to communicate with each other and create virtual communities, advocate for a cause,” she said.

In the end, Alexandra reminded: “The ocean starts in our backyard. They start at our the dinner table. They start in our supermarkets. They start in our gutters – that’s where the oceans begin. The choices we make… in all these different ways impact our oceans.”