The project marks the launch of the newly established Will Steger Foundation's Global Warming 101 education initiative and will follow a dog team expedition across 1,200 miles of the island.
Steger, Viesturs and the Bransons will visit five remote villages and live among the Inuit natives, tracking weather patterns and filming the profound changes created by global warming.
The expedition will end in May in the town of Iglulik with a finale featuring 'unplugged' performances by major musical artists to be announced. Diane Isaacs is producing and Lloyd Philips and Monica Ord will serve as executive producers.
Students will be able to follow the expedition as part of their K-12 curriculum via the internet at www.globalwarming101.com . Two educators and Steger will upload their daily findings to inspire young people to take the lead in arresting global warming.
'This film will be bold in its message - that climate change is real and causing irreparable harm to people and wildlife,' Steger said. 'We want viewers to discover the truth for themselves about the effects of global warming and to involve them in the needed solutions.'
'My son Sam and I are very much looking forward to the project and will both learn a lot as well as having a fantastic adventure at the same time,' Branson said. 'Through our interest in the environment and space we have seen the frightening satellite images from NASA of the rapid decline in the arctic ice cover over the last decade and hope that the journey will contribute something to raising awareness of the uncertainties, risks and effects of climate change before it is too late to save something of our frozen heritage at the poles.
'On a personal level I have always dreamed of trekking across the frozen wastes of the ice sheet since sifting through the diaries of my ancestor Scott of the Antarctic, who tragically died during his team's famous exploration of the South Polar region in 1912.'
The expedition is sponsored in part by Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) as well as Fagen, Shaklee and Gander.