People and the Natural World: An Exploration of Connections
Monday, April 4 at 8 p.m.
Celine Cousteau, Granddaughter of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, ambassador of the environment and native cultures
World explorer and environmentalist Céline Cousteau, closes the popular Fairfield University lecture series Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) on Monday, April 4 at 8 p.m. when she speaks at the Quick Center for the Arts. Tickets are $45. This OVF event is an Arts & Minds presentation.
The name Cousteau is familiar to legions and is synonymous with underwater exploration. The OVF speaker is Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s daughter. She has pursued the family passion and made it her own and for OVF, she will speak on “People and the Natural World: An Exploration of Connections.”
President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. will welcome the audience to this final event of the season. Moderator and OVF founder Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D. will be joined onstage by faculty members Brian Walker, Ph.D. and associate professor of biology and Dina Franceschi, Ph.D. and associate professor of economics for post-talk conversation with Cousteau. Dana August ‘11, co-director of projects for Leaders of Environmental Action at Fairfield (LEAF) will introduce Cousteau. A biology major with a marine science concentration August is also a resident assistant at Fairfield’s environmental residential college.
Cousteau seeks to inspire and educate through adventure and exploration and most importantly, she is a storyteller. When asked to make the introductory remarks, August’s excitement was palpable, “I cannot wait to hear Ms. Cousteau speak. I am very interested in conservation, biology and politics, as well as a huge fan of Ms. Cousteau’s grandfather. I believe her work with connecting people to the environment and enveloping respect and understanding of the natural world is imperative and inspiring.”
Walker, a member of an older generation, was also inspired by the elder Cousteau, “I have vivid memories from my childhood, sitting in my basement in North Dakota, miles from any ocean, watching Jacques Cousteau’s ‘Undersea World.’ Without question, his work was influential in me choosing a pathway in biology. It is exciting that Céline Cousteau, like her parents and grandparents before her, continues in the tradition of activism and education, hopefully inspiring another generation of environmentally responsible citizens.”
Fluent in three languages, Cousteau has collaborated with her father’s Ocean Futures Society promoting the educational program and she has worked with other existing organizations on projects that work in synergy with her explorations. In her travels, she has met and spoken with thousands of native people from all corners of the world. With a multitude of personal interactions, her stories are enriched and her strong intention to reconnect people with the natural world is enhanced.
Cousteau has been a part of many expeditions and one of the earliest was a 1980s trip to the Amazon when she was nine years old. She spent time with her grandparents and the crew of the Calypso floating down the Amazon River in what would be a pivotal time in her life. Some twenty-five years later, Cousteau returned to spend fifteen weeks over the course of three trips in ten months spanning the wet and dry seasons in the Amazon of Brazil and Peru. She and the crew travelled the same area by every mode of transportation imaginable and she was able to get an overall and eye-opening image of what has happened to the Amazon since her first trip as a child.
She has played hide and seek with the elusive and magical beluga whale while filming in the wild and she has followed the grey whale’s migration, the longest journey of any mammal on earth from Baja (California) to Barrow (Alaska). She has explored America’s National Marine Sanctuaries from the Florida Keys to the fragile Fagatele Bay in American Samoa, and she has always remained keenly aware of her environment and the impact humans have on it, something she has in common with Fairfield students.
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