By Jason Bittel
Twenty years ago, polar bears made people think of Coca-Cola. Ten years ago, the bruins became the face of climate change because their melting Arctic ice habitat perfectly captured the dangers of a warming world. More recently, as a direct result of the bears' environmental poster child status, science deniers have begun using them in attempts to turn the argument for climate science on its head. But now, there's no way to talk about polar bears without talking about one particular viral video.
The live cameras are being hosted with nonprofit Polar Bears International, which is dedicated to conserving polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Frontiers North Adventures, a long time ecotourism partner will provide views from its Tundra Buggy Lodge.
The polar bear cams will utilize a live network to document the polar bear migration to Churchill, Manitoba (the polar bear capital of the world), undisturbed, in their natural habitat.
Explore.org's cameras are both solar and wind powered with energy being stored in fuel cells. The wind swept frozen tundra landscapes makes the polar bear live event a technical marvel.
Explore.org and Polar Bears International will host live chats with educators and experts live from the banks of the Hudson. Explore.org's new snapshot feature allows fans to become citizen scientists by taking pictures of bears and recording live video moments to share with researchers.
The groups created Polar Bear Week five years ago as a way to rally educators and people everywhere to learn about the plight of the bears.
"The Arctic is one of the most magical, pristine and vital environments in the world. Observing a polar bear up close and personal is indescribable," Explore.org's founder Charlie Annenberg said. "If you watch them and participate in our live talks and snapshot features, I promise you will develop an emotional connection with them that will change your life forever. Being an environmental steward begins with falling in love with the world again. Take the first step and join us this season."
Watch these live polar bear cams:
Polar Bear Cam: Tundra Buggy