Two months after activists climbed the Shard to protest against drilling in the Arctic, Greenpeace have enlisted one of the icy continent’s most powerful creatures to take their campaign even fur-ther. Aurora the giant mechanical polar bear will make her way through the streets of London on Sunday September 15 to deliver a message from more than three million supporters to the headquarters of Shell. This is one big bear – as large as a double decker bus and steered by a genuine ship’s wheel, her white coat is made from recycled white objects and fabrics, inscribed with the names of those who have already signed the petition to Save the Arctic.
This is part of Greenpeace International’s day of action to protect the floating sea ice, which has shrunk by around 75 percent in the last 30 years – seriously scary stuff. The widespread use of fossil fuels as well as oil and gas drilling in the region spells disaster for all the non-mechanical polar bears, walruses and other creatures who call the Arctic their home. It isn’t great news for the rest of us, either – if the ice continues to melt, scenes like this could become a reality.
The bear was designed by Christopher Kelly in collaboration with props designer Simon Costin. It needs 15 puppeteers to operate and will be followed by thousands of people on foot and bike. The memory of the magnificent mechanical Sultan’s Elephant which visited London from Nantes in 2006 will be enough to get anyone excited about the capital’s new visitor on a mission – and two lucky people will be able to realise their Northern Lights-inspired childhood dreams by entering this Greenpeace competition to ride on Aurora’s shoulders during the parade. Katie Forster
The giant polar bear will set off from Victoria Tower Gardens (next to the Southern end of the Houses of Parliament) at 12pm on Sunday September 15. The parade will walk over Westminster Bridge and left towards Jubilee Garden, reaching Shell’s HQ at 3.30pm at the latest. Find more information, see greenpeace.org.uk/aurora.