Critical water issues in North America to be explored by U.S. expedition

June 24, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2010 -- Alexandra Cousteau and Royal Bank of Canada announced today the official launch of Expedition Blue Planet: North America, a five-month interactive exploration of critical water issues...

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2010 -- Alexandra Cousteau and Royal Bank of Canada announced today the official launch of Expedition Blue Planet: North America, a five-month interactive exploration of critical water issues across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The expedition will tour more than 14,500 miles in a biodiesel tour bus converted to serve as a "rolling Calypso" for daily production and web broadcasting of films, photos and findings. In addition to filming a range of critical water issues on the Colorado River, the Gulf Coast, the Tennessee Valley, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, Cousteau and her Expedition Team will stop in 20 communities along the route to host watershed action days. Daily content from the project will be published online through the National Geographic Society's Freshwater Portal.

Oscar and Grammy winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, a long-time advocate of environmental conservation, will join forces with the Expedition with concerts on select dates. "My life has certainly been a series of awakenings and considering everything happening in the Gulf, now more than ever, we need to pay closer attention to the vital role water plays in the balance of things. Water is more than just a connection to our ecosystem; it's how we connect to our children and future generations. I want to encourage friends, concert-goers and fans to join us on the path to preserve our water systems."

The expedition kicks off June 30th in Washington, DC and will return back to the city 138 days later on November 12, 2010. Global water advocate and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Alexandra Cousteau announced the expedition as a tribute to her grandfather's 100th birthday. "As a child, my grandfather would always tell me, 'you have to go and see' when I'd ask him thousands of questions about the places he and my father had filmed. When it comes to water issues especially, I think we have to help people really experience the stories and places we stand to lose. This expedition is about challenging people from all walks of life to explore these issues with us on a daily basis and connect with opportunities in their own community to make a very real and lasting difference in the watershed in which they live."

Cousteau continues the work of her grandfather, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and father Philippe Cousteau, Sr. through her Washington, DC-based non-profit Blue Legacy International. She is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water resources in order to preserve a healthy planet.

"RBC is proud to join Alexandra Cousteau and her Blue Legacy organization in launching Expedition Blue Planet: North America," said Jim Little, Chief Brand and Communications Officer, RBC. "In exploring critical water issues across the US, Canada and Mexico, the Expedition will highlight a belief shared by the RBC Blue Water Project and our more than 77,000 employees worldwide--that watersheds are critical to the health and productivity of our communities. We look forward to following and participating in the project as it travels across North America." will serve as the primary media partner for the expedition as part of its recently launched Freshwater Initiative. Through National Geographic's Freshwater Portal, the online audience will be able to take the water pledge, use a "water footprint" calculator, register for updates and monitor the entire expedition through photos, blogs and video. National Geographic's Freshwater Initiative aims to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and the diversity of life it sustains by reducing their water footprint and preserving freshwater species and their habitats.

Other partners of the Expedition include: The Ocean Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, The Henry Foundation, Xerox, Revo, and Eddie Bauer.

About Royal Bank of Canada
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, providing personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. RBC employs approximately 77,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 18 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 52 other countries. Supporting a broad range of community initiatives, RBC contributed more than $105 million to community causes worldwide in 2009, through donations of more than $52.6 million, and an additional $52.5 million in sponsorship of community events and national organizations. Royal Bank of Canada trades under the symbol RY on TSX and NYSE. For more information, visit

About Blue Legacy International
Blue Legacy International was founded in 2008 by Alexandra Cousteau to "tell the story of our Water Planet and shape society's dialogue to include water as one of the defining issues of the 21st-century by illustrating the interconnectedness of water issues." The organization is a not-for-profit project of The Ocean Foundation and develops and distributes traditional and new media projects that educates and inspires mainstream audiences to take action on critical water issues in meaningful ways.