UCLA, the Artists & Athletes Alliance, and the Environmental Media Association hosted a private briefing on “Global Environmental Issues” with environmentalist Philippe Cousteau on April 12, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Director Glen MacDonald served as the moderator.
Cousteau, grandson of ecologist and explorer Jacques Cousteau, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit organization EarthEcho International and a CNN Special Correspondent.
Prior to the briefing and reception, Cousteau held a special roundtable with IoES Environmental Science undergraduate students and Leaders in Sustainability graduate students. EarthEcho International’s mission is to “empower youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet.” The nonprofit’s focus is to combine conservation, restoration, and education. Cousteau requested the dialogue with IoES students—a population at the forefront of promoting and implementing environmental sustainability.
The program was divided into three parts. Cousteau began by discussing his recent expedition to the Arctic Circle to study global warming. He and Dr. MacDonald related their experiences conducting research in a region of the globe few have visited. Both expressed concern that further study is necessary to understand the impending effects of climate change. Next, Cousteau talked about nuclear power and energy dependence—subjects prompted by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Finally, Cousteau provided insights and updates on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico almost a year ago, in late April 2010. Cousteau also reflected on the power of communication and information sharing to encourage environmental responsibility. Cousteau outlined steps and provided recommendations for government officials, scientists, educators, the media, and general public to protect our planet and ensure a healthy, thriving world for future generations.