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Mission Blue and Dr. Sylvia Earle’s dear friend Jean-Michel Cousteau, the President of the Ocean Futures Society and son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, was recently awarded the Légion d’Honneur by President Francoise Hollande of France on May 11th. The Order of Légion d’Honneur is the highest decoration in France and impressively Cousteau received the highest of 5 possible degrees of this award, the Chevalier (Knight).

Photo via Mission Blue

Photo via Mission Blue

In accepting the award, Cousteau shared sentiments that Dr. Sylvia Earle often highlights. He said, “If we are to protect our ocean home and create a better future for us now, and for generations to come, we must continue to raise our voices together. This immense honor is for all of us. When you protect the ocean, you protect yourself.”

Cousteau was extremely humble and underscored how this honor was accepted on behalf of all who have dedicated their talents in helping him communicate to the world the importance of protecting our “water planet”. In a note to his supporters he wrote, “I could not do this work I am so passionate about without all of your wonderful work and dedication to protect the oceans. Thank you dear friends for contributing your hard work and cooperation over the years. If we are to protect our ocean home and create a better future for us now, and for generations to come, we must continue to raise our voices together. This immense honor is for all of us.”

Photo via Mission Blue

Photo via Mission Blue

A lucky father, Cousteau was joined by his family and friends as the President pinned him with a prestigious medal of honor. In attendance were his ocean-passionate children Fabien and Céline Cousteau, pictured below. What a beautiful family.

We salute Jean-Michel Cousteau for his tireless advocacy for ocean conservation! Félicitations à vous!

This article originally appeared on Mission Blue.

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