The Prize Winners

The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2010

Jean Lemire

Jean Lemire
Biologist, Explorer, Filmmaker


Biodiversity is the cornerstone of life. In Asia, Europe, Africa or the Americas, we all depend on biodiversity to survive. Yet now, more than ever, our modern lifestyles pose a genuine threat by causing irreversible damage to our planet’s future. Animal and plant species are dying and disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Recognizing this, we must come together and transform our development rules to guarantee sustainability for the many forms of life we share our environments with. Today, we must ask ourselves this vital question: what sort of legacy do we wish to leave future generations?

More than ever, we must educate, raise awareness and showcase the beauty of this fragile world that is our one and only home. Through testimonies, discoveries and images, it is our duty to expose the dire state of our many-splendored planet, to touch souls and initiate critical change. To the leaders of the world, we must report unchecked exploitations and demand new values consistent with sustainable development. To the young people of all cultures, we must show the precariousness of ecosystems and motivate them to take part in this amazing adventure of protection and respect for all life.

The future is in our hands. Who better than our young people, the leaders of tomorrow, to stir the winds of fundamental change, to promote equitable sharing between all living species and respect for life in all its forms?

Upon my appointment as honorary ambassador of the Green Wave, a global awareness-raising campaign that educates young people about biodiversity, I committed to this cause. Today, the prestigious MIDORI Prize is breathing new hope into our mission, filling our sails, helping our great schooner on its long journey towards a better world.

On behalf of all young people, from the bottom of my heart, 大変ありがとうございます (thank you very much).


Mr. Jean Lemire (b. 1962) has been contributing to raising awareness and supporting child and youth education in recognizing the importance of biodiversity and becoming involved in action to preserve life on Earth by taking advantage of his unique background as both a biologist and filmmaker.

Mr. Lemire has been appealing environmental issues to the world through documentary films. For example, in 2006 he completed a 15-month voyage to the Antarctic on the Sedna IV, a schooner equipped with the latest communication technology. The voyage was documented in the feature documentary film "The Last Continent" and in the scientific TV series "Antarctic Mission." Students in hundreds of schools followed the expedition through satellite and internet links to learn about the vulnerability of marine and polar ecosystems in the face of climate change.

In May 2010, Mr. Lemire was appointed as Honorary Ambassador for The Green Wave, a biodiversity campaign for children and youth coordinated by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The campaign aims at raising awareness of biodiversity-related issues, increased engagement of children and youth in biodiversity-related activities, and better knowledge of the general public regarding biodiversity related concepts such as the sustainable use of biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. His next multi-year voyage on Sedna IV, planned for departure in the spring of 2011, will focus on biodiversity and involve schools and communities taking part in The Green Wave. That is, the goal of the expedition is also in line with "the First Target of Strategic Goal A of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 of the CBD (draft) " to be adopted in October 2010 at the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP10) in Nagoya, Japan. By combining his mission as Green Wave Ambassador and his roles as filmmaker and chief of the Sedna expedition, Mr. Lemire is expected to reach out efficiently to a large number of children and youths.

In summary, Mr. Lemire has actively contributed to raising awareness of environmental issues. On top of this, Mr. Lemire is expected to increase public awareness of biodiversity-related issues and engagement of children and young people in the future. His achievements are valued highly and in line with the concept of the MIDORI Prize, that is an individual who has made outstanding contributions and has had an impact on future activities for biodiversity conservation.

* This profile was prepared in 2010.

Biographical Summary

BSc in biology, University of Sherbrooke
Founded Les Productions Ciné-bio (a scientific consulting and script-development firm for documentary film productions)
Film "Marine Mammals Mission"
Film "Encounters with the Whales of the St. Lawrence"
Film "The Last Frontier"
Founded Glacialis (a production company specializing in natural science, oceanography, the arts and culture)
Film "Memories of Earth"
Launched the Arctic Mission with Sedna IV (5months)
Launched the Whale Mission with Sedna IV
Film "The White Planet" (co-producer and co-director)
Launched the Antarctic Mission with Sedna IV (15months)
Film "The Last Continent"
Appointed as Honorary Ambassador for the Green Wave by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Record of Honors and Awards

Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of Canada
Canadian Environment Award, citation of lifetime achievement
Officer of the Order of Canada, Doctor Honoris causa (Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada), Great Ambassador (Sherbrooke University, Canada)

Articles and Publications

"Mission Antarctique," Éditions La Presse
"Le Dernier Continent," Éditions La Presse