A polar bear mom rests while her two cubs play

© Meril Darees & Manon Moulis/Polar Bears International

10/30/2020 7:28:20 PM

Polar Bear Week Raises Awareness

Amidst elections and COVID-19, Polar Bears International is helping people get involved with the Arctic and climate change from afar; live cameras, scientist chats, educational programming, and more.

CHURCHILL, CANADA (October 30, 2020)  The eighth annual Polar Bear Week is almost here, happening November 1-7, 2020. Every year, Polar Bears International (PBI), the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears and Arctic sea ice, hosts the event to celebrate polar bears and draw attention to the threats they face from a warming climate.

Polar Bear Week coincides with the annual gathering of hundreds of polar bears on the shores of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Canada, a town known as the polar bear capital of the world. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide elections, this year’s Polar Bear Week will be unlike any other. Polar Bears International is offering more ways for people to get involved from home, aiming to relieve stress while also shining a light on climate change, an issue which is on the ballot for many. Anyone will be able to tune into the Polar Bear Live Cams, participate in community challenges and educational programs, download curriculums and activities, and participate in live-streamed “Tundra Connections,” featuring scientists and experts around the globe. Access the broadcast schedule and activities here.

“Due to climate change, it's increasingly important to connect dots between polar bears, their habitat, and people around the world,” says Krista Wright, Executive Director of PBI, adding, “The ice-free season in the Churchill area is nearly a month longer than it was during the 1980s. As a result, the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population has dropped by 30 percent. Polar bears are iconic animals that act as a signal to the impact of global warming, and we hope Polar Bear Week encourages people to pause, appreciate, and listen to this species. If we act swiftly and collectively to make a bold transition to renewable energy, and away from fossil fuels, we can preserve polar bears for future generations.” 

Here’s how people can get involved:

  • Watch Polar Bear Live Cams: powered by explore.org, the largest live nature network in the world, and Frontiers North Adventures, a leader in sustainable tourism, along with Parks Canada and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, these cams offer an unprecedented view into wild polar bears in their natural setting. In 2019, the live cams received 1.5 million viewers. The live cams have seen a surge in viewership during the global pandemic. Watch them here, this year’s programming will include:
    • Daily updates on the polar bear migration from Buggy One, PBI’s research vehicle
    • Live chats with scientists and experts
    • A special Zen out with Polar Bears session on November 3rd, US Election Day
  • Tune into Tundra Connections: webcasts with scientists, and other experts, streamed live so viewers can learn about polar bears and how they can help. 200,000 classrooms participate in Tundra Connections, and PBI’s Spring 2020 Tundra Connections, launched to help families staying at home during COVID-19, reached over 100,000 viewers. Check out the full fall schedule here, highlights include:
  • Participate in Polar Bear Curriculum: use this free schedule and activities to bring the Arctic to your home or school, including projects, presentations, arts and more. And new this year: PBI is excited to offer educational resources on Flipgrid.
  • Take a pledge to VOTE: with the climate in mind at all levels of government, seeking leaders who prioritize renewable energy.
  • Speak up: Let your leaders know that you want efficiency standards and renewable energy sources. Call them, email them, or send them these postcards.
  • Sign this petition in support of carbon pricing plans, which economists say are the swiftest, most efficient paths to a renewable energy future.
  • Share your commitment: Download our Vote for Polar Bears poster or stickers.
  • Donate and Symbolically Adopt a Polar Bear: Choose the "in honor of" option and receive an e-certificate, instantly, in your name or a loved one's honor.

2020 is particularly significant: scientists recently reported that, if greenhouse gas emissions continue as-is, most polar bears are likely to disappear by 2100, due to lack of sea ice. Polar bears rely on Arctic sea ice for hunting their seal prey, and this year scientists released a study finding that Arctic summer sea ice could disappear as early as 2035.

This year’s sea ice minimum tied for the second-lowest extent on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA

Last year’s Polar Bear Week included participation from Travel Manitoba, Explore Canada, Bear Trust, Oceana, Canadian Geographic, Conservation International, Sierra Club, National Geographic Wild, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, David Suzuki Foundation, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), ABQ Biopark, Akron Zoo, Alaska Zoo, Albuquerque BioPark, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Aquarium Du Quebec, Zoo Berlin, Zoo Brno, Buffalo Zoo, Buttonwood Park Zoo, Canadian Polar Bear Habitat, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Como Park Zoo, Edmonton Valley Zoo, Erlebnis Zoo Hannover, Henry Vilas Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Kansas City Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Louisville Zoo, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Memphis Zoo, Milwaukee County Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, Marineland, Munich Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Rostock Zoo, San Diego Zoo , San Francisco Zoo, Seneca Park Zoo, Toledo Zoo, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Zoo Sauvage, Zoo Vienna Schonbrunn, and more organizations. 

Outside of Polar Bear Week, PBI focuses on conservation efforts year-round and relies on global support to make the most impact.

About Polar Bears International

Polar Bears International’s mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate. PBI is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears and Arctic sea ice, and our staff includes scientists who study wild polar bears. The organization is a recognized leader in polar bear conservation. For more information, visit www.polarbearsinternational.org.

About explore.org

Founded in 2004 by Charles Annenberg Weingarten, Director and Vice President of the Annenberg Foundation, explore.org is a philanthropic multimedia organization with a mission to champion the selfless acts of others and create a portal into the natural world. With over 100 live streaming cameras, explore.org is the largest live nature network in the world.

Media Contacts

Annie Edwards, for Polar Bears International
annie@fabricmedia.net

Melissa Hourigan, for Polar Bears International
melissa@fabricmedia.net
720-608-1919 

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