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You are here: Home » News » Cousteau: co-ops must focus on young

Philippe Cousteau urges co-operative movement to inspire young people

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Environmentalist, journalist and filmmaker Philippe Cousteau urged the co-operative movement to “focus on young people”, saying: “Young people have the power to change consumer behaviour.”

Speaking at the International Co-operative Alliance’s General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico, Cousteau told delegates from the international co-operative movement: “You need to do everything you can to channel the passion of young people.”

Cousteau is the grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, and he continues to educate the public about environmental and conservation issues. He co-founded EarthEcho International, which aims to “empower youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet".

Cousteau expressed his support for the co-operative movement because it is rooted in local communities: “Co-operatives are not just run by some distant executive committee worried about profit margins. By their very nature co-operatives care about communities. The very values of sustainability that you need to even be considered a co-operative are the values that the world needs to embrace if we are going to have a sustainable future. These are the values that you stand for and have always stood for. The world just needs to hear about them.”

He continued: “I am with you. I am so excited about the potential of the co-operative movement. A movement which has been around for a long time, but a movement that has the potential to blossom and reignite passion in the world.”

Cousteau also highlighted co-operatives’ fight for equality, including giving women around the world a vote who have never had a voice, and urged co-operatives to continue to empower women.

Cousteau warned that the economic status quo is not working, but said co-operatives offer hope for the future and hold the answer to many of the big challenges facing the world. They must be ready to take the opportunities offered by 2012 International Year of Co-operatives and be poised to lead by example. He said: “The world is setting itself up for failure. The status quo will chance. It is up to us to change it on our terms.”

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