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Heartbreaking Homeless Polar Bear (and Radiohead) Remind You to Save the Arctic

In a new Greenpeace ad supported by Radiohead and Jude Law, a polar bear wanders the streets of London.

Heartbreaking Homeless Polar Bear (and Radiohead) Remind You to Save the Arctic
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A dreary London backdrop can look downright post-apocalyptic when set to the opening strains of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place,” as it is in the latest Greenpeace ad. For the poor polar bear left to wander through graffiti-ridden tunnels in the ad, however, it is truly a post-apocalyptic moment, the result, perhaps, of oil companies using melting sea ice as an impetus to drill for more oil in this bear’s arctic home.

The new ad is a collaboration between Greenpeace, Radiohead, and actor Jude Law, who narrates. Both celebrity parties discuss their interest in the cause on Greenpeace’s website, and their desire for oil companies to abandon the Arctic. In the ad, the exiled polar bear rummages through London’s street trash for food and, most poignantly, sniffs at a ceramic fish that a ceramic fisherman is holding up in front of a gas station. It’s a surreal comment on a future that, if Greenpeace has anything to say about it, can be avoided.

The ad’s star recalls the polar bear in the Nissan Leaf ad from last year, only this is the polar opposite (sorry). That polar bear was thanking the driver of one of its zero-emission electric cars for saving it, while the one in the new ad has nobody to thank. At least not yet, anyway.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.