Maud Fontenoy is vice-president of the French coastal-protection agency, Conservatoire national du littoral, and spokeswoman of the oceans for UNESCO and World Ocean Network. She has now decided to...
Maud Fontenoy is vice-president of the French coastal-protection agency, Conservatoire national du littoral, and spokeswoman of the oceans for UNESCO and World Ocean Network. She has now decided to fight for ocean and coastline conservation, and more generally to raise awareness among the general population about protecting the planet. Her constant mission is to spread the word about the visible effects of pollution and climate change on the oceans she knows so well. The solutions are there – we can all take action. Through the media and books, in her regular lectures at companies or on her visits to schools, Maud makes ecology accessible to everyone by passing on her ‘user’s manual’ of everyday actions that make a big difference.
Maud Fontenoy’s love of the sea goes back to her earliest childhood. Maud was born on 7 September 1977. She was barely seven days old when she went on board the family schooner. She was to spend the first 15 years of her life on the open sea, learning all about sailing, nature and the sea.
Back in France, Maud ran a real-estate agency in Paris for a few years, but sailing remained part of her life and was never far from her thoughts. When she turned 25, she decided to make her dreams come true: once again, she took off for the sea. This was the beginning of four years of both maritime and human adventures. In 2003, she rowed across the North Atlantic, alone, with no assistance. She was the first woman to do so and she completed her crossing in 117 days. In 2005, she took up the same crazy challenge in the Pacific between Peru and Tahiti – and succeeded. Finally, in 2006, Maud set off from the island of Réunion to sail around the world against prevailing currents. She completed her tour 150 days later, having successfully cleared three capes and survived a terrifying, nearly fatal dismasting.
Maud’s accomplishments are based on two constants: handing down values to the younger generations and fighting for the protection of the planet. Scores of classrooms in France and in its overseas territories and departments have tuned into her exploits and completed an educational project. Together, schoolchildren have acquired a taste for effort, perseverance and willpower, as well as the knowledge that everyone can become a better citizen of the planet.