Polar Bears to the Rescue!

An ad-hoc party spilled out, placard-wielding polar bears scooted across the terminal on luggage trolleys, the softhearted action, which the bears said was 'testing the waters', had a clear message - 'no new runways', not in Heathrow, and not anywhere.

Meet the Polar Posse, defenders of the arctic and undisputed champions of all animals and human rights. Decades of climate change has done little to diminish their fire, in fact in recent weeks they've gone public with their wrath of resistance.

No doubt UKIP ministers despairingly scoffed at images of the fluffy arctic refugees storming Heathrow Airport, stressing that a third runway will be making them homeless. Where apathy infects, the polar bears show us the cure; now is the time to act up, speak up, shut it down and be counted.

At 11am on Saturday a couple weeks back 30 Polar bears took to the concourse of Terminal 2 in Heathrow Airport to deliver an urgent message, as one painted placard described, the situation has become "unBEARable". When 97% of the research says we are on a collective suicidal path, their placards tread the line between despairingly true and tragically hilarious.

Whilst the far removed spokespersons for airport expansion bicker over Gatwick Vs. Heathrow, the local citizens, poisoned by respiratory diseases from air pollution, and global citizens, suffering from climate induced disaster, are taking their resistance to this profit driven madness up a notch.

In the sleepy village of Sipson, minutes from Heathrow Airport, local residents met to discuss how they could combat the ill thought out narrative of Heathrow expansion. From flag making sessions to media subversion, a season of resistance was plotted out, including calling in the infamous Polar Posse, whose planning we saw in action on Saturday.

Daisy, one of the local residents pointed out that, "Heathrow is on a propaganda mission, spending millions on selling a lie that the expansion will be good for people. When you tell lies long enough people will believe it - the arts project is a good way to fight back with truth and keep energy up in the community!"

A banner drop from the café on the far side of the terminal signaled the polar bears to break out, which commenced with a surprise scuffle between a pilot and several bears, all pre-planned, preposterous and powerfully poignant.

An ad-hoc party spilled out, placard-wielding polar bears scooted across the terminal on luggage trolleys, the softhearted action, which the bears said was 'testing the waters', had a clear message - 'no new runways', not in Heathrow, and not anywhere.

The Polar Bloc also took their resistance to the People's Climate March, which shut down swathes of London on the route from Covent Garden to Westminster. The bears carried a 'Capitalism Is Crisis' banner; blocking police vans that contained arrested bears and other protestors. The bears were not just an additional aesthetic; they were a fierce addition to the resistance against police violence, in true bear fashion.

"Heathrow might provide jobs but a lot of them are zero-hour contracts in unfulfilling sectors and at unsociable hours, I feel like the investment going into the airport should be used to build sustainable communities, with meaningful jobs".

The polar bears are not just focused on local targets either. Early this week over a dozen bears, working alongside Real Media, and some Mexican Polar Bears who are trying to shut down the Atenco Airport project, took to Foster and Partners (architects of the project) London office to highlight how airport expansion in Mexico is a sister struggle to expansion in the UK.

A secret meeting with the bears, in their west London enclave, revealed that as grizzly defenders of all that is good they would soon be taking their battle for justice into the truly spiky - runways and offices beware. The bears are acutely aware of how climate change hits black and brown bodies first and foremost, especially in the global south, it was clear they sensed the urgency to act swiftly and fiercely, not as saviours but as allies.

The urgency to keep the oil in the soil and coal in the hole is at its most dire. If we continue with business as usual for another decade we would've permanently sealed our fate and that of most of life's diversity. Tipping point edges closer and a truly runaway tour-de-force of climate disaster looms, today everybody needs to be nothing short of a superhero.

Out of grassroots community resistance, we see the best in British culture, an unwillingness to sit down and bite the corrupted bullet. We have a historical culture of defending our civil liberties and rights; we have a culture of blockading, shutting infrastructure down and marching until feet get blistered.

Now is not the time for apathy, as a rigged election races forward we must take our destiny into our own hands, we must act with the spirit and awareness of community defending Polar Bears!

See the bears in action here: https://vimeo.com/hyperoculus/timetoact

Photography: Isaac Whittingham, Joshua Virasami and Felix Goncalez

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