Cousteau champions environment

Celine Cousteau speaks to students and faculty about making a difference in the world through volunteering April 27 in Morgan Auditorium. Cousteau is a photographer and host for documentaries on the Discovery Channel and PBS. She is also the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization CauseCentric Productions. / photo by Candice Salazar

Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

Celine Cousteau, the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau and daughter of ocean explorer and filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau, presented “Substanability in the Age of Globalization,” a talk on campus last week in Morgan Auditorium.

“How can our planet provide… if we’re already depriving of it,” Cousteau asked the audience of roughly 200 from the University of La Verne community.

Her talk marked the fourth annual Benazir Bhutto and Ahmed Ispahani International speaking event.

“If the environment suffers, people suffer,” Cousteau said.

Cousteau she said that about 80 percent of the people she encountered throughout her travels had hepatitis.

Cousteau also showed two pictures that showed how dirty some parts of the world have become due to the amount of trash thrown on the ground.

One picture showed her sitting in a desert-like place that was covered by trash.

Jacques Cousteau began filming underwater in the 1950’s and co-invented the SCUBA tank. Celine Cousteau said that her family is dedicated to preserving the natural world, as well as documenting it.

When Celine Cousteau was 9, she went to the Amazon with her grandfather for two weeks.

“It … had a profound impact in my life,” Cousteau said. “I’ve been back eight or nine times.”

Cousteau is also the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Cause­Centric Productions, which collaborates with other non-profits by making documentaries.

She started the organization to give a voice to smaller non-profit organizations that use documentaries as a way to tackle environmental and social challenges.

“(We should) do our part in keeping this fragile environment in healthy condition,” Ispahani said.

Celine Cousteau said she is a storyteller, and because of her background, the organizations she represents receive exposure throughout the world.

Cousteau said that the Discovery Channel asked her to make a documentary about tiger sharks for Shark Week. She turned down the offer because she believes that the sharks are portrayed as a “Jaws” when they should be portrayed as intelligent creatures.

Cousteau showed a short film on humpback whales, which was titled “Humpback Ballet,” she said, because they were swimming peacefully and gracefully.

Cousteau said that whenever she watches the film, it makes her want to go back.

Cousteau ended her talk by saying that even if people do not have money to donate, it doesn’t matter.

She said people can volunteer time and make connections.

“Just getting people aware is something that everyone needs to hear about,” said Candace Toogood, sophomore environmental biology major and president of the ULV environmental club.

Toogood said it was interesting to hear about what we can do to create change.

Cousteau’s current project deals with the Brazilian rain forest.

The lecture series was started by Paul Moseley, a ULV alumnus and former student of Ispahani.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at

Candice Salazar

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