As the ice sheets melt from climate change, Shell is poised to begin a new drilling campaign in the Arctic. That is, if they can make their way past a polar bear the size of a double-decker bus. Greenpeace has commissioned Christopher Kelly to create a massive puppet that symbolizes the plight of the poles. Dubbed “Aurora”, the bear will lumber past some of London’s most iconic landmarks on its way to the Shell headquarters on the South Bank.
The polar bear stands as a symbol of Arctic destruction. Due to melting ice, the animals are forced to swim longer distances to find a stable place to hunt. Many have been found emaciated, drowned, or diseased as a result of global warming. Aurora will become an avenger for all of the life forms that exist within the failing ecosystem. The 41-foot long by 16-foot tall bear will be fully mobile, operated by a series of pulleys and a team of 15 puppeteers.
The fabric around her body is flexible, and wind blowing through the structure will give the appearance of breathing. The jaws, head, and neck are designed to be fully articulated, and her fur will carry the names of over 3 million people who have expressed their outrage for oil exploration in the Arctic. The entire marionnete will be constructed from reclaimed ship parts and recycled materials. A built-in sound system will play recordings of ice cracking as it makes its way along the parade route.
“What happens to the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. If we allow our addiction to dirty fossil fuel to destroy this region, we’re all going to pay the price for it. We need to get this message to oil companies like Shell before it’s too late, and show them that the world is watching,” says event participant, Sara Ayech.
The parade will take place beginning at noon from the Victoria Tower Gardens on September, 15. The event is scheduled to occur around the same time when Arctic ice is at its lowest level. The bear will meander past the southern end of the Houses of Parliament and Parliament Square, Westminster Bridge, and Jubilee Garden before reaching the Shell headquarters. Greenpeace is offering two contestants the opportunity to ride in the chairs resting on Aurora’s shoulders. To enter, visit the Greenpeace website for further details.