Earth Day Q&A: Céline Cousteau teams up with Contiki
The international tour operator, which caters to 18- to 35-year-olds, is one of the founders of TreadRight, a not-for-profit group that oversees various sustainable tourism projects and fosters the preservation of popular tourist sites such as the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and the Grand Canyon. You may recognize Cousteau's last name -- she's the granddaughter of legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau -- but she's also an accomplished environmental activist in her own right, having founded, among other projects, CauseCentric Productions, a non-profit that aims to help other organizations communicate their messages through film.
"With the experiences I have," Cousteau, 39, explains -- visiting remote tribes in the Amazon rainforest (pictured above), diving with manatees and humpback whales, the list goes on -- "I play a role in helping Contiki tell the story they want to tell. They have the means" -- thousands of young, energetic, eco-minded customers, as well as access to funding -- "and I have the content."
I had a chance to chat with Cousteau about sustainable tourism leading up to her speaking engagement at last weekend's Green Living Show in Toronto: