Alexandra Cousteau's Mission to Save the World's Water
AC: I look at the work my grandfather did 70 years ago, and back then the oceans were largely a surface. We hadn't really explored them at all, and people imagined what was in the ocean and they thought of monsters. What my grandfather did was really create the innovations needed to be able to pull back that curtain and start to see what was there. And he recorded that through his films and shared it and really opened everybody's eyes to all the amazing things we have in our oceans.
My father started thinking about the larger crises and started doing films that went beyond talking about what was there, but really talking about what human development and progress meant for the natural environment.
Today, when I look at what's happening, I realize that we need to take the environmental movement to a whole different level. We need to get people to not only know what's there, but take action to help protect it. What's really hopeful, and what makes the world a different place today, is that we know it's there and the threats are exponentially greater, but the awareness of what we stand to lose is also exponentially greater.
Not only in my own work, but sitting on the board of Mother Nature Network—which is growing exponentially, recently—I realized people are hungry for this kind of information in a way they weren't before. And they're making it not just a political issue or economic issue or red-versus-blue issue, but it's really becoming an issue of lifestyle and health and opportunity for innovation and growth. I think that's where there is a lot of excitement, for getting people to be involved in the solutions. You know, we have climate change today that we didn't have back then. We have ocean acidification, the oceans are getting fished out, rivers are leading to dead zones, we're running out of water in a lot of places for agriculture. A billion people don't even have access to water; a half-billion don't have access to sanitation. All these are really, really serious issues.
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