A polar bear? In London? No, you're not seeing things...
OK, it hasn't really made a detour all the way from the North Pole, but this polar bear was certainly making waves in London yesterday as part of the new Greenpeace Save the Arctic campaign.
Sir Paul McCartney, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, One Direction, Alexandra Burke, Jarvis Cocker and Sir Richard Branson are among dozens of famous names who are asking for a global sanctuary in the Arctic. They have joined forces with Greenpeace to demand that oil drilling and unsustainable fishing are banned in Arctic waters.
Others demanding that the uninhabited area around the North Pole is legally protected and made off-limits to polluters include Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson, Jude Law, John Hurt, Rita Ora, Thom Yorke, Tim Roth, Thandie Newton, Bruce Parry, Lawrence Dallaglio and Cilla Black.
They are among the first one hundred names to be written on an Arctic Scroll, which was launched by Greenpeace yesterday at the Rio Earth Summit. When a million others add their own names Greenpeace will embark on an expedition to plant it on the seabed at the North Pole, four kilometres beneath the ice. The spot will be marked by a Flag for the Future designed by the youth of the world.
Anybody in the world can add their name to the Arctic Scroll and have their name planted beneath the pole by visiting SaveTheArctic.org
Sir Paul McCartney said: "The Arctic is one of the most beautiful and last untouched regions on our planet, but now it's under threat. Some countries and companies want to open it up to oil drilling and industrial fishing and do to the Arctic what they've done to the rest of our fragile planet. It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels to give our children a future. At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic."
As part of the launch, polar bears have been appearing in cities across the world. In London, it made its way past Big Ben, stopped to say hello to a policeman, wandered past the Household Calvary, and stopped for a break at our iconic red phone boxes.
Shell is due to begin exploratory drilling at two offshore sites in the Alaskan Arctic in the coming weeks. If Shell is successful this summer, an Arctic oil rush will be sparked and the push to carve up the region will accelerate. Russian oil giant Gazprom is also pushing into the offshore Arctic this year.
Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: "The Arctic is coming under assault and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it. A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region and the four million people who live there. And a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the pole would in a stroke stop the polluters colonising the top of the world without infringing on the rights of Indigenous communities."
Discover more of the world's beautiful animals that are under threat here:
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