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Polar Bears International Launches Online Green Action Community

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/08/12 -- Polar Bears International® (PBI) has launched a multifaceted web community, My Planet, My Part (www.myplanetmypart.com), that offers visitors inspiration and information about how they can help save polar bears and improve the health of the planet by reducing their carbon footprint.

Visitors to the site will be inspired by a robust line-up of live HD videos featuring polar bears and conservation experts, made possible in partnership with explore.org, a philanthropic media organization and its Pearls of the Planet initiative, a portfolio of live HD video feeds installed around the world to help people everywhere fall in love with the world again.

explore.org live HD videos include:

-- Wild polar bear migration in Churchill, Canada

-- Siku, the polar bear cub of Scandinavian Wildlife Park, Denmark

-- Twin cubs of Ouwehand Zoo, Netherlands

In addition, Polar Bears International will continue its groundbreaking educational series, Tundra Connections®. The live webcasts let viewers ask questions of world-leading experts about polar bears, the Arctic and climate change, including guests from the Discovery Education Network and National Wildlife Federation.

The online community also includes tools to:

-- Commit to one new action each day to help save polar bears

-- Participate in My Planet, My Part contests and group activities to reduce carbon emissions

-- Connect in a forum with individuals and organizations around the world to share green ideas

"Polar Bears International is a leader in creating programs that foster stewardship and education about how to save polar bears and their Arctic habitat. Now with My Planet, My Part, we have the opportunity to bring these champions together to inspire others, not only to help polar bears, but to help improve the health of the whole planet by reducing their carbon footprint," said Krista Wright, PBI vice president.

"The launch of My Planet, My Part is very timely," explained Dr. Steven Amstrup, PBI senior scientist. "Every autumn, polar bears living on Hudson Bay near Churchill, Canada, which are featured on My Planet, My Part, are having to wait longer for sea ice to return to critical hunting areas. The sea is essential to the polar bears' survival because it is only from that frozen platform they can catch their primary prey, seals.

"In Hudson Bay, the sea ice is breaking up earlier in the spring, and forming later in the fall due to global warming. Forced on land, polar bears are food deprived and must live on stored energy reserves. In 2011, the polar bears near Churchill had to wait until early December to return to the sea ice- three weeks later than just 30 years ago," said Amstrup. "There is only so long they can wait, and this population is gravely threatened. As a result of reduced feeding opportunity, we are seeing thinner bears and poorer survival of cubs. When scientists say survival rates are poorer, it means more bears are starving to death. Ultimately, all polar bears will disappear if the world continues to warm.

"But the most important thing to remember is that hope remains," he said. "By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can arrest the rise in temperatures and save polar bears from extinction."

To encourage visitors to reduce their carbon footprint and share their green lifestyles, PBI has released a short video of inspiring footage illustrating why polar bears rely on sea ice, and asking participants to do their part to help save polar bears and their habitat by becoming a 'Polar Bear Ambassador'.

The Polar Bear Ambassador Contest is looking for stories, photos and video of how you're cutting carbon emissions in your home, school and/or community. There are two grand prizes (ages 14-18 years and 19 years - older) sponsored by explore.org. Each prize includes round trip airfare and a three-day, two-night trip for two to Churchill, Canada where the winners will view wild polar bears with Frontiers North Tundra Buggy® Adventures. Second and third prizes include limited edition PBI parkas from Canada Goose and 'adopt-a-polar bear' packages.

A panel of judges will select the winning entries based on the impact of the actions to reduce carbon emissions, creativity, positive attitude and potential to be 'an ambassador' and quality of text, grammar and/or visuals. Contest submissions can be uploaded at www.myplanetmypart.com until November 30, 2012.

"explore.org's mission is to champion the selfless acts of others, inspire lifelong learning and help people fall in love with the world again. We are happy to support PBI and My Planet, My Part because it extends all three of those aims," said Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, founder of explore.org and vice president of the Annenberg Foundation.

Polar Bears International is the world's leading polar bear conservation group-dedicated to saving polar bears by saving their habitat. PBI focuses its efforts on research, education, and action. Many of PBI's educational programs take place in Churchill, Canada. The Scandinavian Wildlife Park and the Ouwenhands Zoo are part of PBI's network of Arctic Ambassador Centers, which includes nearly 50 aquariums, zoos, and museums around the world. These centers help educate the public about the need to take action on climate change and play a leadership role in carbon reduction efforts in their communities. Learn more at www.polarbearsinternational.org.

explore.org is a philanthropic media organization and a multi-media division of the Annenberg Foundation. Created by filmmaker and philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten to champion the selfless acts of others, inspire lifelong learning and help people fall in love with the world again, explore.org is home to more than 300 original films and a massive library of world-class photography from all over the globe. In addition, explore.org recently launched Pearls of the Planet, a growing collection of live HD cameras that provide people with an unprecedented view into the lives of amazing animals and beautiful places around the world. As an advertising-free philanthropic media organization, explore.org prides itself on purity and regularly provides grants to organizations focused on improving the human condition and the planet.

To view the PBI Polar Bear Ambassador Contest video, visit the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTqahs7dn40

To view a photo of two polar bears playing in the snow, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121108-pbi1108.jpg

To view a photo of a polar bear and her cub crossing sea ice, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121108-A%20pbi1108b.jpg

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