An Evening with the Cousteau Family

Thanks to some good friends giving us the heads-up (thanks Trish and Steve!) we were able to go to an event last night at the Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN presented by the Cousteau family. Jean-Michel (Jacques Cousteau's son), Fabien (Jean-Michel's son), and Celine (Jean-Michel's daughter) were all there and they talked about past and current work, why they do what they do, the importance of the planet's water system, and our interconnectedness with that system and with each other.

It was a wonderful event and it was really interesting to hear from them all - having grown up watching anything that I could from Jacques Cousteau it was pretty interesting learning about the next generations of that family, but a couple of things I personally found very interesting:

  • They all seemed to be just really nice, personable people - I realize that this was probably the least important thing that they wanted to get across during the talk, but it was really important to me - I have this character flaw where I tend to listen to 'nice people' a lot better than people that don't seem nice. Brilliant people with important messages can be assholes and this wouldn't change the importance of what they are saying, but it seems to for me. As I said - character flaw... The Cousteau family could have easily been a bunch of self-righteous assholes, but they weren't. Fabien and Celine both spoke of how being born into this famous family, while a privilege, was also a real responsibility.
  • It was the first positive 'environmental' message that I've heard in a while. Jean-Michel repeatedly talked about how we have created our own problems and are not doing what we need to do to preserve our water system for future generations (let alone our own generation), but he was very positive. He talked about how and where advancements were being made and how things were moving in the right direction. He didn't try to scare anyone - they just talked, anecdotally, about what they have seen and what humans are doing to the world and repeatedly shared stories about progress, about how we were moving forward in the right ways.
  • They didn't bad-mouth or vilify anyone. They didn't go after politicians. They didn't go after 'big business'. They just talked about how both politicians and business were moving in the right direction and how they believed that people will do the right thing when they fully understand what the real situation is. They talked about how sound environmental decisions where easily justifiable (including economically) in the business world if we could just look past this year's profitability and how even highly conservative politicians will do what's best for our water system and our planet if you can explain to them why it all matters in real terms.

Nina and I only had general admission tickets so the only chance we had to chat with them was after the event (they signed books) and they were seriously the nicest people - they took their time and chatted with everyone that came up with a book. They especially took time with the few kids that were there and were charming and kind and encouraging. They also seemed like a real family - giving each other shit and goofing around a bit with each other. I was thoroughly impressed.

Nina even dropped a pun on Fabien (as she will do) and he laughed. Good man there...

Also - if you're in the Twin Cities area you might want to check out the Beth El Synagogue's 'Inspiring Minds Series' of speakers. It's pretty impressive who they manage to invite (they had Neil Degrasse Tyson last year) and it's a lovely synagogue and was a pretty well organized event.

Ocean Futures Society

Mission 31 

CauseCentric Productions

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Alex Crittenden



I'm an Enterprise Account Executive with roughly 2 decades of experience working with growing organizations. My focus and experience is on driving sales, building strategic messaging and market positioning, and helping companies to grow. This is a personal blog and does not represent the opinions or feelings of any company that I currently work for or with.

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