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OUT OF OFFICE PODCAST
Episode 2
Convince Me ... How I can make travel matter

CELINE COUSTEAU







[00:00:05]
Hey guys. And welcome to the first of the features where Colleen convinced me. This is where we speak to a special guest who loves to travel and who has a special passion. They think the whole world needs to be convinced about today. It's all about sustainability. The word on everyone's lips right now if we're not talking about it we're thinking about it. But are we actually willing to make the changes to the way we live. If it helps the planet do we even think about it when we're traveling. Our guest is legendary explorer environmental activist and documentary filmmaker Celine Cousteau. Celine worked for the Treadway Foundation and Quantico cares to protect the communities we all love to visit the wildlife and the planet. She's here to convince us that we should all make travel matters.
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Celine Cousteau

[00:00:54] Welcome to the podcast Celine. Thank you David. How are you today. I'm doing really well. Thank you. Where are you calling from. I'm in New York upstate. Okay. Awesome.

[00:01:03] Well I mean I literally had to take a breath in between all your job titles please let's not compare resumes. Let's just not.

[00:01:11] I sometimes have a hard time defining what I do because I do a bit of everything but it's all focused on one message reconnecting people to themselves and to the environment.

[00:01:20] I mean it sounds a lot to me one hundred percent came to me just a little bit more about what makes you a sustainability Ambassador.

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[00:01:27]
Well first of all I think the word sustainability should be seen in a more holistic way and perhaps a lot of people think about it sustainability isn't just about balance and environment. It's also balance and self and our relationship with that environment. So sustainability Ambassador basically help advise the trend right foundation on which projects to support as part of their work as the foundation for the troubled Corporation.

[00:01:52] And then I'm also their spokesperson. So when we want to share the message with a greater audience talk to their travelers or even internal messaging. A lot of it goes through me.

[00:02:01] All right. So I consider myself eco conscious. I try I do care about sustainability and everyday life. I definitely is reusable grocery bags. I avoid like single plastics as much as much as I can you know especially like single use water bottles I use to be a very very big center when it came to that. So I definitely try to keep stay conscious about it. But when I know when it comes to traveling or being on vacation I have to admit I'm not the most mindful there like a little we just kind of escapes me. Why do you think it's so important that we keep our sustainability ethics when we travel.

[00:02:30] Well sustainability ethics isn't just local it's about a mindset. It's about consciousness and so you have to take those ethics with you. It's about taking something as simple as a water bottle and filter depending on what country you go to. You can take a bamboo fork knife spoon and straw if you really wanted to be kind of a straw chopsticks are always great and a coffee mug. I think the idea of being sustainable the idea of being environmentally minded is about a way of thinking of yourself in the world and how you behave like to lessen your carbon footprint. So how can you lessen that carbon footprint and yet not deny that when you have experiences in the world it forever changes your perspective on your own place in the world.

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[00:03:12] So what can we do to make travel matter as a general as I question is what can we do.

[00:03:20] First of all be thoughtful when you're traveling in terms of your impact. Don't leave your good habits behind and if you don't have this could happen.

[00:03:28] Research makes some good habit make good choices.

[00:03:31] All the information's out there you know I think now we have no more excuse for saying I didn't know it's true. Take your bits with you.

[00:03:39] What about all your your cutlery your coffee mug whatever you need to do.

[00:03:44] And if you're worried about the water. I was in India. I bowl as the water and then I took a yogi filter and that's what I drank the entire time I was there. I highly advocate being safe above everything right. Yeah. But I would say take your habits what you would be one to really choose who you travel with. There are companies that are doing it better and I really feel like right now we should be supporting those companies. If you have the opportunity and the time if if those travel companies don't actually support local initiatives or don't already bring you to an initiative then look for what it is that you can do as an addition to your existing itinerary.

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[00:04:17]
I don't necessarily think everybody is going to want to volunteer their time but what about making a donation to a local organization. Or what about looking at what's happening in that country and donating to an organization that supports the project.

[00:04:29] I think there's just so many ways to do it and above and beyond to all be respectful be respectful of the people of the land of the animals. Everything you encounter has a life when before you got there and afterwards and I think we need to enter softly.

[00:04:45] There we go. I mean like literally those are things that everyone can start applying like today like you said. It's so much information is out there.

[00:04:53] Everyone should be well read to know that I feel like I feel like knowledge is power.

[00:04:58] The situation for sure. You've also worked on some amazing projects highlighting how travel and tourism can have a negative effect especially on wildlife. Now you recently worked on one in India correct.

[00:05:09] Yes. Yeah it was an absolute amazing we we went to wildlife S.O.S. Which is one of the organizations that we support.

[00:05:16] And we did a short film with some social media influencers. I mean first of all to be there firsthand and see how the elephants are being rehabilitated to help pay for them and feed them to watch how the vet is taking care of their wounds and then to see the human beings that are there taking care of them who previously had been essentially their trainers and had been using bulwarks and hooks are now the ones feeding them and making sure they're safe. And so it's rehabilitation not just of animals but of people.

[00:05:45] Yeah that's one of the public things that tourists don't like to do when they visit places like India. I mean I will 100 percent admit and I feel very bad about it when I went to Thailand. I was one of those people that wrote an elephant. I will never do it again especially after finding out about the trauma that I was actually inflicted on the elephants. Can you describe what those elephants go through from being taken from the wild and forced to learn to carry people on their backs.

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[00:05:45]
Yeah that's one of the public things that tourists don't like to do when they visit places like India. I mean I will 100 percent admit and I feel very bad about it when I went to Thailand. I was one of those people that wrote an elephant. I will never do it again especially after finding out about the trauma that I was actually inflicted on the elephants. Can you describe what those elephants go through from being taken from the wild and forced to learn to carry people on their backs.

[00:06:11] Sure. Well first of all I want to commend you for just admitting that publicly I think more people should because we are flawed as human beings and I think part of shifting is just education and understanding. I get it.

[00:06:23] It's tempting to ride an elephant. It looks really fun. It's just not their natural behavior or habitat. They call it breaking the spirit and essentially they take a wild elephant preferably young so that it's more easily trainable and they just beat the spirit out of it. I don't know how else to describe it. You know they they chain the elephant up. They discourage social interactions. So elephants who are very social beings you'll see them you know sort of using their truck and rubbing on each other and having conversations for lack of a better word they discourage all of that so that these animals then become very isolated and very contra nature so that they are more easily trained. You know it's tough to see at the same time. I want to encourage people who have had interactions like you have to use that to the benefit of change and tell those stories and how it made you feel to then understand what that was all about. And you know what that creates in yourself now.

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[00:07:19] Well you've also worked on a project in Jordan you visited direct emir or woman's cooperative correct.

[00:07:24] Yeah. And that was actually I mean it's beautiful it's just you have these communities of women who have either not been married or whose husbands have died and they find themselves in a society that doesn't value them. And this was an opportunity for them to create something that brings them energy it brings them income it brings them self-worth and value and they are seen by the society now as contributing members and they're happy and they're beautiful and they're so appreciative of being able to be useful and having something that they are be able to do to contribute to society essentially and then to have visitors come and actually appreciate it. There's a lot of pride there.

[00:08:05] Now you mentioned that there's not I mean like job opportunities in the area. Is that because of the pressures from their own family or is it just they're just not readily available or are they just not able to like it's not legal there's no legal for them to work.

[00:08:19] No it's not illegal for them to work it's just much more traditional and part of the culture that the man is the income there and the women without husbands or without brothers or fathers perhaps have less opportunities.

[00:08:36] Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us.

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[00:08:39]
I am wrapping up a very long project called tribes on the edge. It's a film an impact campaign which started at the request of the indigenous tribes of the Jeff already territory in the present Amazon. Oh wow. You tell the world their story. They want the world to know that they exist and they want to live. The film will start screening at festivals and private screenings in April. The impact campaign includes education communication and action. All that's on the website and that's just one project.

[00:09:10] I have quite a few more but all too many to list too many to list.

[00:09:17] It definitely sounds like you are hitting the ground running. You have a lot of things in your pot which is really really good. What made you want to work with Twitter right.

[00:09:24] I think they're doing an awesome job. First of all I really believe in what they do. They wanted to create an authentic landscape on which they could speak about what they were doing before they actually talked about it.

[00:09:35] So where can people find more information about you and see what you're up to.

[00:09:38] They can go to my Web site slaine Cousteau dot com. It will lead them to many avenues of my work including cause centric dot org tribes on the edge dot com. And then my socials. I have to admit that I spent more time doing the work than talking about the work. So not everything's fully updated but it's relevant.

[00:09:58] Awesome. Thank you very much. It was great talking to Celine. Thank you so much. And like I say your YouTube videos an amazing amazing work you've inspired.

[00:10:06] Thank you David. While this was a pleasure and I certainly hope people will take some inspiration from this and feel empowered to do something.

[00:10:16] Well that's definitely convinced me. Thanks to Celine and her work as a tread right. And Kentucky Care's ambassador. If you've enjoyed this podcast please do rate share and subscribe so that you don't miss an episode. That's all for me. David Calderon. I'll see you next time.