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Discovery Channel: Frozen Planet

Earth's Polar Regions are places where the scale and beauty of the scenery and sheer power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet. However, these majestic places are at risk of disappearing due to threats like climate change.

The Nature Conservancy's climate change team provides worldwide leadership by forging high-impact partnerships, developing policy strategies and leading research, science and innovation about climate change and conservation. Discovery Channel's Frozen Planet series took a fresh look at Antarctica as well as the Arctic in seven gorgeous episodes that premiered last March 2012. The premiere episode featured The Conservancy public service announcement - "I'm Yours."

Ambitious and epic in scale, Frozen Planet revealed an astonishing world filled with more creatures, variety, color and spectacle than ever imagined – including the birth of an iceberg bigger than the largest building on earth, a caterpillar with antifreeze in its veins, the greatest concentration of sea birds on the planet and tiny baby polar bears, who at birth are 25% smaller than human babies. Never-before-filmed sequences included the growth of a saltwater icicle (brinicle) that freezes everything it touches and orca whales working as a team to create killer waves that wash seals off ice floes.

The Nature Conservancy has developed a conservation action plan to address threats of climate change in the Arctic region. The Alaskan marine Arctic is one of the most remote and intact marine ecosystems on earth, and its natural resources provide the foundation for the livelihoods of many Alaskans. Globally unique species, such as the Pacific Walrus, polar bear, bowhead whale, and several species of ice seals, characterize the region and are critical to the cultural and subsistence activities of the Inupiaq people of the Alaskan coast.

However, Alaska’s polar seas are facing intensifying threats to ecosystem health and resilience on several fronts. Climate change is more pronounced in the polar regions than anywhere else on earth. Rapid warming in the Arctic is leading to drastic loss of habitat for wildlife such as seals, polar bears, and walruses. These ecological changes may alter the availability of wildlife for subsistence and cultural uses in Northern communities that have relied on these resources for millennia. Ecological changes are likely to have implications for Alaska’s economy as well.

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