Each year the Society awards two Royal Medals, which it describes as “amongst the highest honours in the world for the development and promotion of geography.” The Founder’s Medal went to Professor David Livingstone, “in recognition of his outstanding encouragement, development and promotion of historical geography.” Dr. Earle received the Patron’s Medal, an honor shared in the past by Sir Edmund Hillary, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and other highly esteemed explorers. (Visit the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. now through August 21, 2011 for “Race to the End of the Earth” an exhibit celebrating the expeditions of Scott and Amundsen one hundred years ago.)
While the award is given in recognition of her nearly 60 years of contribution to oceanographic research, Dr. Earle characteristically used the opportunity of receiving the honor to look boldly to the future.
The Royal Geographic Society reports that she told the audience, “Since my first breath of air under the sea in 1953, I have had the joy of spending thousands of hours diving, living underwater, using submersibles, witnessing and sometimes participating in the greatest era of exploration in the history of humankind – so far.”
Be a part of the future of ocean exploration by getting inspired and taking action yourself. See photos, watch videos, and read about the incredible work being done by Sylvia Earle and others to explore and protect the ocean and its bizarre and beautiful creatures.