Climate change. Global warming. Never has the environment been so important or so topically charged. It’s a discussion La Mer have been having for over a decade, pledging to support the protection of ocean habitats through charitable donations, awareness-raising initiatives and supporting ocean conservation projects. For La Mer, the sea is their eternal muse; a source of endless inspiration and the very foundation of which its legendary Crème was built upon, so each June, to coincide with World Oceans Day, the brand gives back to its beautiful muse. This year, its collectable, covetable jar returns with new packaging, a new pledge and a brand new partnership.
Evolving last year’s ‘See What I Sea’ campaign, La Mer’s 2019 campaign gathers inspiration from the next generation of youth. Through the eyes of children, we are able to understand the beauty of the sea in new and powerful ways. A place of wonder and mystery for all, this youthful perspective underpins this year’s pledge to its Blue Heart Oceans Fund.
And as always, a celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8. A time to recognise the importance of the sea as a vital ecosystem and to take action to preserve its delicate habitats and wildlife, each year La Mer creates a beautifully artful, limited-edition jar of their famed Crème de la Mer. An annual artistic homage, this year’s Blue Heart Limited-Edition Crème de la Mer depicts delicate sea fans and varied shapes of coral in shimmering sea water. The ultimate expression of our love for the beauty of the sea, you can shop the limited-edition cream below.
La Mer Blue Heart Limited-Edition Crème de la Mer 100ml, $665. shop now
A conversation with Philippe Cousteau
In addition, La Mer has partnered with celebrated environmental warrior Philippe Cousteau, who helms the organisation EarthEco International. As part of La Mer’s International Blue Heart Dive, Philippe will travel to Fiji where he’ll lead and educate guests during their dive experience. La Mer will also make a donation to EarthEco International, whose mission is to inspire the youth worldwide to act now for a sustainable future. Here, GRAZIA chats exclusively to Cousteau about preservation, protection and what we can do to help our oceans.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got started?
I am an explorer, filmmaker and the founder of EarthEcho International. My job is to both explore the wonder of the ocean as well as work to help people protect it. The ocean is the life support system of this planet and yet we often take it for granted. The ocean provides 65% of the oxygen we breath, food for billions of people, regulates our climate and contributes trillions of dollars to the global economy each year. Despite its critical role in our survival, humans continue to wreak havoc on the ocean. For example, 40% of the world’s coral reefs have disappeared in the last 50 years, fisheries are collapsing, the ocean is more acidic (due to carbon emissions) than it has been for millions of years and it is warming and altering our climate in catastrophic ways. One of the best parts of my work is that I am joined by my wife Ashlan, a journalist, and we work together to produce and host many of the projects we engage in. Our job is to inspire people through books, films, television, and education programs in schools. In many ways this is a family business started by my grandfather Jacques Cousteau, and continued by my father Philippe Sr., and now our generation as well.
Who inspired you initially? And who / what continues to inspire you?
Growing up I was inspired by the work of my grandfather and father. My grandfather Jacques was an incredible visionary and filmmaker who, 75 years ago, co-invented the Aqualung, or what we call SCUBA diving today. He went on to film dozens of documentaries about the ocean. He opened the world’s eyes to the wonders beneath the waves and the need to protect and restore the health of our oceans. My father Philippe Sr. joined him and was a world-renowned filmmaker and explorer in his own right. However, my father died in an airplane accident 6 months before I was born. While I never knew him, he left behind books and documentaries and I grew up with stories about his adventures from my mother and my grandfather (who lived until I was 17). Those stories are what got me to start thinking about what role I could play and that my inspiration was due to good education if nothing else. So, when I graduated from University and started my career, I was determined to focus on education. That determination has manifested through my non-profit EarthEcho International and it continues to be my inspiration…seeing young people who are passionate about changing the world and optimistic about it’s future gives me the fuel to keep fighting every day for a better world.
You have an incredible body of work in the field of social and environmental sustainability. What has been your career highlight to date? And what are your plans for the future?
I am most excited about my work through EarthEcho, we have become the leading environmental education organisation in the US and now have programs all over the world including Australia, in fact, last fall we based our latest expedition exploring microplastics in the ocean out of Melbourne. Working with young people is a continuing highlight of my career but if I had to pick one thing, it would be my work with my wife Ashlan. Since we’ve been married, we have embarked on adventures co-hosting and producing documentaries together as a team.
What do you believe is the biggest threat to our oceans?
The single biggest threat to our ocean is complacency…the false belief that someone else will fix it. We are on a dangerous course that threatens the future of humanity. It may sound alarmist, but it is the truth. Life on earth depends on a stable, thriving ocean but we are radically destabilising it and, in many cases, destroying the ocean eco-systems that sustain us all. Yet, people still seem to be willing to ignore the truth and focus on the things that divide us, listening to politicians that prey on our fears instead of inspiring our ability to unite and find common cause with each other to work together to build a better world for ourselves and our children.
What kind of things can the public do to help protect and preserve the Earth’s seas?
Voting is a big one, we must disabuse ourselves of the lie that somehow, protecting the environment is a luxury we cannot afford. We must realise that every choice we make makes a difference, the question we have to ask ourselves is “what kind of a difference do we want to make?” Through our choices about what we buy, where we go on vacation, and embracing the power we have to influence those around us, each and every one of us has the power to change the world every single day.
What is your involvement with La Mer’s Blue Heart Campaign this year?
As ambassadors for the Blue Heart Campaign this year, Ashlan and I are helping to connect La Mer with terrific ocean causes as well as help to spread the word about the commitment that La Mer has made to conservation. It is critical, now more than ever, that the private sector gets engaged in solving these problems. Working with companies that authentically care about this issue and are working to solve it, both through charity and through changes to how they do business is exciting and a critical part of the solution.
Why is La Mer’s Blue Heart Campaign so important to conservation and environmental issues?
In order to build healthy thriving oceans, we need the private sector to engage. Healthy oceans are vital to La Mer since the special ingredient, sea kelp, in their product comes from the ocean. La Mer’s Blue Heart Campaign is especially exciting because it recognises that young people are key to solving this problem and their philosophy of hope and optimism aligns with ours. While there are very serious problems we face, both Ashlan and I believe that there is hope, we share La Mer’s commitment to embracing solutions and the belief that protecting and restoring the oceans is an exciting opportunity that can bring us all together.
Finally, what do you see when you see the sea?
Both Ashlan and I see a place that is full of wonder, hope and opportunity. As my grandfather once said…”the sea, once it casts its spell, holds you in its net of wonder, forever.”