Earth Day is April 22nd | Philippe Cousteau Continues His Crusade with EarthEcho International

Philippe Cousteau, Jan Cousteau, Michael Kobold, and Scott Stephens
Philippe Cousteau, Jan Cousteau, Michael Kobold, and Scott Stephens - Kobold created a diving watch for Philippe - this was at the launch event in May of 2007

I first met Philippe Cousteau when he moved to the Washington, D.C. area to run his young up and coming foundation, EarthEcho International, via Brian Williams, the co-founder and CEO of web design/strategy firm Viget Labs.  I believe it was around 2006.  Philippe was attending an event that my former employer was producing and Brian wanted to make sure I was there to introduce the new kid in town around.  I stood outside of the luncheon ballroom waiting impatiently for this grandson of the famous ocean explorer to enter.  He finally strode in, confidently.  Philippe was at best, to be described as really really really young looking and really skinny.  He wore a slim fitting suit with fat pin stripes, a blue shirt which was opened a bit much for Washington (well, it was Northern Virgina in Tysons Corner to be exact) which displayed a shark’s tooth necklace between the collar.  I hadn’t seen the likes of something like this in person in NoVA or DC, well, ever.  He was boyish, yet self-assured yet wide eyed and curious.  I sighed. He’s a kid.  What am I going to do with him?  And now I have a tag along, but I’ll do this as a favor for Brian.

Little did I know that 6 years later after our first meeting, we’d be able to look back at hours and hours and hours of fun, laughter, tears, friendship, support, both professionally and personally (he was there to comfort me as I cried when my guinea pig Queen Elizabeth died in his own mother’s arms-Jan is a beautiful person), tequila shots, food (he’s made me dinner and we’ve enjoyed Supper Clubs and many a night out in D.C. and in L.A.), bar crawls along Arlington’s Wilson Boulevard, video games, movies, and so much more.  He’s become my third brother.

The new kid in town transformed before our very eyes into a MAN; gone is his wide-eyed baby face, but the curiosity has never dissipated.  His drive and fierce fight in the cause of saving the oceans is executed by way of personal appearances, hands on experiences with kids, service learning programs, creation of television shows, writing of books, participation in global conferences, educational initiatives, and innovative social media outlets (I was the one who FINALLY got him on Twitter and within a day he blew my followers away) and any other way he can do his part in making a difference, getting a message out there, but offering a solution that anyone can take on.

Jason Kampf, me, Philippe Cousteau & Cindy Jones by Vithaya Phongsavan
Jason Kampf, me, Philippe Cousteau & Cindy Jones by Vithaya Phongsavan - in fall 2011

He was the one who made me stop eating shrimp. He got me to turn off the water when I brushed my teeth.  He got me to look at the world in a different way.  I believe in legacies and he is the epitome of taking his grandfather’s and his father’s and turning it into his own, but one fit for the modern world that in turn can continue on for his own children and their children to carry on.

the new logo drawn by the late Philippe Cousteau Sr.
the new logo inspired by a doodle drawn by the late Philippe Cousteau Sr.

The other night a small group gathered in the Georgetown home of EarthEcho International Board Member Susan DiMarco to hear him talk of the progress that EarthEcho International has done over the past few years and the bright future it has.  We also saw a video of some of his dad’s work in Africa during the presentation and were shown the new logo, a doodle his father had drawn years ago.  If you recall, Philippe Sr. died in a tragic plane accident when Philippe was still in the womb. He never met his father.

Philippe is relentless; his heart, his passion, his determination will find ways to change this world and he said it starts with kids, who talk to their parents and get them to alter their behavior, their eating habits, their attitude toward the ocean, our bodies of water, the way we will leave this planet for the next generation.  We are beginning to turn our echo into the earth, outward.

I pulled this excerpt from interview with Carol Joynt at the Q&A Cafe during March 8th, 2008.  He’s never stopped since and we celebrate the hard work but know it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

He also told us that many people consider the Atlantic Ocean (remember, he is taping “Oceans” which will have the 5 oceans and 3 seas – 8 full episodes) the “unappreciated stepchild of the oceans”.  People just seem to take this ocean for granted because it is flown over so often (you may have heard the term “across the pond”).  In actuality, this youngest ocean is very important partially because of the large amount of commerce that is transported daily and also because of the Gulf Stream.  The Gulf Stream plays an enormous part in our climate and weather.  In fact, did you know that the Bahamas themselves exist because of the Gulf Stream and vice versa? 

What about global warming and climate changing?  Is Al Gore nuts? Well, first and foremost, Philippe stated the principle of the “precautionary principle” is so key.  Not facing the consequences of what is happening to our world will not allow us to live the way we should.  Pollutants are creating a world where so many more children are asthmatic (as well as adults) than before and why would we not look for renewable fuel – do we want to beholden to oil forever?  Living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle will only bring good to our lives. “There is no downside.”

EarthEcho International offers constant information about how we can become more educated about the oceans, the environment, our natural resources and how when each person modifies his or her behavior, there really can be an impact.  Today, through new media, interactivity, podcasts, cell phones and blogs, this content is delivered quickly and thoroughly.  However, nothing beats new media like the good old fashioned in person interview.

Learn more about EarthEcho International HERE.

One Reply to “Earth Day is April 22nd | Philippe Cousteau Continues His Crusade with EarthEcho International”

  1. Pamela.

    Thank you for your beautiful article about “our” Philippe told with such warmth, affection and pride.

    Philippe will arrive at his goal because he is relentless in his search to find a way to help heal this planet, to give our young people the tools that will help them to continue the work that needs to be done for their future. I hope your many, many followers will go to to see what Philippe and EarthEcho together are doing to make such a difference.

    Best to you, dear one, JAN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.