Ashlan Cousteau –
“Adventure is where you lead a full life” – this was a favourite quote of Philippe’s father, Philippe Cousteau Sr, and nothing could ring truer for us.
Philippe and I work hard to live a life as full of adventure as possible. Philippe comes from three generations of explorers and environmental advocates. Jacques Cousteau, Philippe’s grandfather, was the first to ever film and share the wonders of the sea with the world. His books, films, and television shows captivated people everywhere. In many ways, he was considered the father of the environmental movement, and through our subsequent work in media, education, and conservation, we always strive to honour that legacy.
In January, I was lucky enough to be invited to Antarctica to give a speech at the first TEDx conference to ever take place on the white continent. The event was organised to celebrate the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s Scott Base and its pioneering work of exploration and science on the ice. As I was preparing my remarks I was inspired by the Cousteau legacy and my background as an entertainment journalist. I have always believed that entertainment can save the world. Indeed, Jacques Cousteau leveraged the power of entertainment to captivate millions of people and spawn a global movement to protect our oceans. Like him, I believe that if you can capture a person’s imagination, their mind will follow.
In that spirit, Philippe and I strive to tell engaging stories that inspire both awe and action. When Jacques was filming his documentaries, there were three channels on television and a captive audience. The challenge for all of us in the conservation community – in the fragmented media landscape we have today – is to create different types of stories that will appeal to different audiences. And that is exactly what we’re working to do. From syndicated shows about natural history, like Philippe’s Emmy-nominated Awesome Planet, to our shark week special Nuclear Sharks, to children’s books, educational programs, and even a new Virtual Reality series, we are constantly looking for good stories and ways to reach different audiences.
Our most recent adventure has taken Philippe and I to the Caribbean. At the crossroads of the new and old world, from the 16th to 18th centuries, the Caribbean is full of natural beauty, rich culture and of course, pirate lore. The series takes us across the land and under the sea to uncover forgotten history, explore new legends and unearth lost treasures. Airing soon on Travel Channel, the series, Caribbean Pirate Treasure will bring you along on our epic mission to explore the Caribbean waters.