… as opening gambits go, this is not one I had encountered before.
Yet here I was, face-to-face with a man who evidently spends his time fantasising about going toe-to-toe with a bear. People really are strange. This guy is now squaring up to me… oh dear.
Normally when one in ensconced within a polar bear costume, it is the smiling, and sometimes stunned, expressions of adults and children alike which makes the experience bearable (pardon the pun).
A polar bear costume is a great thing to have. People love getting their picture taken with a polar bear. In fact, such is the level of polar bear love around the place, it really does make you think that this Save the Arctic malarkey might actually work.
There were bear lovers aplenty in Whitechapel, queuing to sign up to the Arctic Scroll on Saturday afternoon. They were eager to add their names to those who are sending a clear message to Shell (and anyone else) that they won’t stand for the destruction of this great wilderness.
Shell, and the rest who might follow, probably think that Greenpeace is their only opponent in this cause. Well judging by the depth of feeling in Whitechapel on Saturday, they might just be going up against public opinion in general. And that’s never a good idea.
People love polar bears. People want polar bears to have a future – they want to Save the Arctic. Maybe some of them just want to preserve polar bears just so they can fulfil their lifelong ambition of travelling to the Arctic and punching one of them. Who knows?
I’d love to tell you that my erstwhile opponent turned out to be a Shell executive who also revealed his hatred for all small animals, cute babies, fluffy toys and David Attenborough. Instead he was a slightly-under-the-influence man who was kindly led away by a volunteer.
Another victory for the bears. They are starting to add up.
The Shell protest in Whitechapel was one of 13 large peaceful, legal, regional events organised by Greenpeace groups, networks and individual supporters working together to #TellShell to scrap their arctic drilling plans for good. Here are some of the other stories from the day;
- We told Shell - by Matt from Greenpeace Portsmouth, about the protests in Ringwood (Hampshire) with video.
- Spot the Polar Bear - by Greg from Greenpeace Merseyside, about the protests in Preston.
- Shell garage closes - by Jane from Greenpeace Nottingham, as unusual events unfold at their local protest, with video.
- Recruiting community police to #SaveTheArctic - by Jayne from Greenpeace Leeds, about the protests in York.
- Group hugs with policeman - by Fred from Richmond & Kingston Greenpeace, about the protests in Croydon - this is getting odd.
- The Return of the Banners - by Dave from Greenpeace Southampton, also about the protests in Ringwood (Hampshire) with video.
- If at first you do suceed - by Doug from Berkshire Greenpeace, about the protests in Headington with video.
- University students join Shell protest - by Izzy from Greenpeace York about the local coalition
- Five groups converge on Tunbridge Wells - by Matt from North Kent Greenpeace.
- Three become one - by Pete from Worcester Greenpeace, as protestors are near outnumbered by over the top policing in the West Midlands.
- Two Polar Bears and a Chicken - by Richard from Bristol East Greenpeace, about the protests in Bristol and the mysterious arrival on a giant chicken - it's still unclear as to why?
- Nine groups and an Arctic Fox - by Roisin from Greenpeace Bromley, about the protests in Croydon.
- Time to call off the rigs, for keeps - by Julia from Oxford Greenpeace, about the joint protests in Headington with video.
- Reflections from Newcastle - by Rakesh from Newcastle Greenpeace, in support of the protests.
- Roaming Polar Bears - by Barry from Glasgow Greenpeace, counting honks at the Glasgow protest with video.
For more pictures and Tweets from the day then please check out the Greenpeace UK local groups / networks Twitter feed. To get involved in the #SaveTheArctic and the #TellShell campaign please
- Find your nearest group / network on the Greenpeace/active website – email the local coordinator, turn up to the next meeting and offer to help out.
- Write a letter to your local newspaper (s) about the protests or campaign.
- Organise a screening of the Frozen Planet for your friends and family.
- Claim your own Shell Disloyalty card.
- Print off and display a Stop Shell poster in your window.
- Complete our survey about what you’d like to do next
Whoever you are, whatever you do, there are lots of ways you can help win the campaign to #SaveTheArctic so please take the first step today. We need your help.