- Issue: Fall 2021
WWF National Council member Ashlan Gorse Cousteau is a conservationist, explorer, journalist, and author. Her first book, Oceans for Dummies, was published earlier this year. Along with husband Philippe Cousteau, she leads EarthEcho International, an environmental education organization dedicated to building a global youth movement to restore and protect the ocean. Here, Cousteau offers four ways to think about the ocean and conservation.
1 OCEAN LITERACY
As an ocean advocate, something that always frustrates me is the lack of general information available about how the ocean works. When I was trying to learn more about the ocean, it seemed like all that was out there were books for little kids or college courses. There wasn’t much in between. I hope my book helps fill that gap.
2 CLIMATE CHAMP
While the ocean suffers the effects of climate change—increasing water temperatures, coral die-offs, and more—we must realize it is not just a victim. It is also our greatest ally in fighting the climate crisis. The ocean absorbs an estimated quarter of human-produced carbon. A healthy, thriving ocean could absorb so much more!
3 FAMILY CONSERVATION
The easiest way to get your kids interested in conservation is to make sure they love nature. Every day we take our two-year-old outside to look for birds or bugs, or to look at leaves. If you can’t get outside, do something simple like plant herbs on your windowsill. Every little thing you can do to expose your kids to nature will pay huge dividends down the road.
4 TALKING SCIENCE
Scientists who are good communicators are still too rare. My late grandfather-in-law, Jacques Cousteau, talked about the importance of the ocean in a way that made the information accessible and captivating. That is what I strive to do in all my work. If people don’t understand what’s happening, they won’t know how to help. You have to draw them in to motivate them to care and take action.