U.S. Explorers begin History-Making Trek Across the Arctic Ocean

Paddling across more than three miles of frigid open water in specially designed canoes packed with 350 pounds of supplies, Minnesota explorers, Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen, left a remote region of Siberia to begin the first ever unsupported summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean. The two-man expedition team will travel 1,240 miles of frigid open water and unpredictable sea ice from Cape Arctichesky, Siberia, through the North Pole before ending the expedition in Ellesmere Island, Canada.

The expedition, which has taken more than two years to plan, is part of Greenpeace's Project Thin Ice - a campaign to expose the ramifications of global warming.  Greenpeace released the first images of the expedition today as the explorers began the first stages of this four-month trek.

"The idea for this expedition came when I was circumnavigating Greenland and a map showed two glaciers that should have been there but no longer were. What should have been a solid ice pack had disappeared," said Lonnie Dupre, expedition leader. "I knew then that I wanted to embark on an expedition to show the world the dangers of global warming."

As the explorers cross the ice, Greenpeace will be in Greenland with the ship Arctic Sunrise, hosting scientists and documenting the effects of global warming in the region, before retrieving the explorers at the finish.

"Global warming is happening now, not in some distant future and 2005 will be a critical year for enforcing solutions," said Melanie Duchin,Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, who will be onboard the Arctic Sunrise in Greenland. "We hope that every mile these explorers travel will empower people around the world to take action against global warming."

As the explorers cross the ice, visitors to www.projectthinice.org will be able to follow their journey, see updates and find out ways to take action against global warming. Project Thin Ice will also include Greenpeace's work to bring the United States' first offshore wind power facility online and unprecedented climate litigation.

"I consider myself an average person and I have come to realize that average people can do great things," said Eric Larsen, expedition team member. "Our world is a fragile place, and it needs to be protected for all the average people - explorers, activists and everyone else still to come."

Please note that Greenpeace will try to faciliate interviews from the ice for media. Requests must be made at least one week in advance and due to the nature of the expedition availability will be limited.

Other contacts: Carol Gregory 202-319-2472; 202-413-8531 (cell) Susan Cavanagh +31 621 29 6910

Exp. contact date: 2005-05-11 00:00:00

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