Cannes Film Festival is a unique event in many respects as indeed it is a place where movie-making royalty gather to showcase and celebrate cinema, while the powerful meet to illuminate and make a call to action on the very real life issues and stories that are changing our world. This year, I was delighted to meet Helga Piaget, former wife of Yves Piaget, CEO and President of luxury Swiss jewellery and watch company Piaget. Helga is a remarkable woman of integrity, using her voice for positive social impact. She is passionate about Ocean conservation and education of the next generation and I was delighted she took the time out to speak with me about her Passion Sea organization .

Helga Piaget
Helga Piaget

1. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Passion Sea, how did it all begin? 

Living on the coast of the Mediterranean makes you be connected with the element of water on a daily basis; you can’t help but notice how alarming the pollution of the waters has become. It made me react in founding Passion Sea, an environmental, educational and artistic project. Water is not only what we need, it’s what we are. The cycle of life, of our body is the same as the water cycle on our planet. We need clean water to survive! It is evident that we need to react!

2. Many companies are reforming their business models to reflect changing consumer patterns of demand and values. The millennial generation are more environmentally aware and proactive than the previous ones. Is this why Passion Sea focuses on educating the next generation? Do you believe that a culture change towards more sustainable behavior has to begin in the classroom?

The young generation is in charge of the world of tomorrow and will help shape its future. For this reason, Passion Sea focuses on young people through art contests, books, films, music and sports, so they become aware in their formative years, of the importance of protecting the seas, the waters into the future. Giving the children this ecological education is the only way to change behaviors on our planet and to have a chance to survive! Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans don’t need us; we need them and have to start respecting them again, like our ancestors did when they honored the waters with gods for their  purity! The population on our planet is growing and the amount of clean water is regressing! The plastic pollution of the last 50 years is slowly but surely killing the waters, and the living marine species! Without education, we will have more plastic in the oceans and in 20 years, all fishes will die!

Youth education project from Passion Sea
Youth education project from Passion Sea

3. Tell us about some of the work Passion Sea has been involved with so far? You will have an event at Toronto Film Festival?

Since 2 years Passion Sea has been spreading awareness around the Globe through it’s art contest, workshops, gala dinners, golf tournaments, books, films and a fantastic music to come! We are using all social media to bring the awareness to the maximum audience possible! Schools in many countries follow our artistic and educational program in the classrooms. By motivating the children through their own creations of a marine environment on paper, they will remember these lessons for a long time! Palm Beach, Monaco, Venice, Milan, St Moritz, Cape Town and many more locations already have a Passion Sea event ! Now we are preparing some amazing days in Toronto, Canada, on September 9/10, starting with a kid’s day, followed by a VIP Golf tournament and an evening in the beautiful Ripley’s aquarium. This event will take place during the Toronto film festival. It will be a meeting with international VIP’s from Film, TV, Sport, Business and Politics who will be listening to important speeches from Marine biologists, researchers, nutritionists and water experts in a lounge style evening around the entire aquarium, and it will be broadcast around the Planet! We are looking forward to a great party, supported by the mayor of Toronto and a number of major local and international companies!

4. One of Horyou’s key values is solidarity. Do you believe in the power of collective action to make progress? Has Passion Sea partnered with any person or organization so far? 

We very much believe in collaboration! We are linked with numerous associations allover the world, in respect with pollution, over-fishing, climate change etc. Scientists and researchers, alongside the foundation of HSH Prince Albert II are supporting our project! Together we can change behaviors! Let’s join forces and unite like drops of water to become a powerful, passion filled sea of change. Passion Sea.

5. Horyou supports people acting on their dreams. What is the ultimate goal of Helga Piaget with Passion Sea? 

Our mission with Passion Sea is to instill awareness and change habits of the global population, to restore, respect and protect the waters of our life! Every school should teach the importance of water! Let’s change the world and make it a better and more respectful place! Our own lives will depend on these changes. It is true that our own lives will depend on these changes. I think the world has woken up to the fact that conservation of our natural world is not something that should be treated with a long term view. Our people and planet are being impacted now and so the time to act is now. People like Helga and platforms like Horyou can help mobilize and raise awareness, but it is within every single persons remit to make an individual effort to be the change you want to see in the world.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

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