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Explorer Fabien Cousteau: “Entrepreneurs Can Impact Island Life For Generations To Come”
Coupling environment and economy, Ocean Ecopark Curaçao is the latest project of the Dutch company Bluerise. The ecopark's concept is to create a sustainable, commercially attractive 'technology park' on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. A park that will use the islands natural resources to benefit the local community and perhaps the rest of the Caribbean.
Positioned just outside the Curacao International Airport (Hato), the ecopark's tenants will use its strategic location to harvest the nearby cold deep seawater and other abundant resources to use for synergies. Entrepreneur and filmmaker Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau and ambassador to the project, told us more about the exciting plans during a visit to the Southern Caribbean island.
When asked why he wanted to be a part of the project, Cousteau touched on both its conservationist and economic appeal.
"Over the years, it's been very apparent that environment and economy are integrally connected. The Ocean Ecopark is a very interesting example of innovation where community innovators and business people all come together. Using a sustainably renewable, green resource that has minimal impact and provides the tools that we need. Energy, cooling (in the case of Curaçao because of the high tropical temperatures) and fresh water."
Fabien Cousteau: "Sustainability should have been important fifty years ago! Now we're at a consciousness level and an urgency level that makes it of paramount importance."
Besides that, it will provide increased agricultural, research and development opportunities to the island's inhabitants. Cousteau concludes, "So there are the three pinnacles basically – energy, food, and water – which can be generated in a very cost-effective way to provide those things that create independence for an island nation."
After this brief introduction to the concept, it's easy to understand why farmers, environmentalists and even politicians could have their interests piqued. But what's in it for entrepreneurs?
"Well, it creates innovation because if you are at all a person who's into technology, for example, it creates the ability to use innovation in new technologies. Young entrepreneurs create businesses that are looking into the future, rather than relying on tradition," Cousteau explains. Plus, many of the modern entrepreneurs' projects have a nod to the environment. While their focus is mainly on economic viability, their ideas also "allow for taking pressure off of things like pollution runoff, black fuels, long-term unsustainable practices in terms of fishing," describes Cousteau. "When I say 'long-term unsustainable practices' I also mean 'economically deficient' or at least 'expensive practices' of importing these foods."
By participating in this project, Cousteau believes that entrepreneurs could impact the island for generations to come. The ecopark will empower the community to provide for itself and therefore rely on itself, and one day could even create opportunities for export.
"And that kind of innovation is what's showing up more and more in different parts of the world as the future of viability, sustainability, and well being" he adds.
But why now? And why Curaçao?
"Sustainability should have been important fifty years ago!" insists Cousteau. "Now we're at a consciousness level and an urgency level that makes it of paramount importance. You know the island nations in general, whether it's the Maldives, the Bahamas or Curaçao, are maybe twenty to thirty years ahead of nations that are landlocked. On many levels Curaçao and other island nations are at the forefront of possibilities, of need, and hopefully of desire to integrate these things for the future."