A giant robotic teddy bear is taking to London’s streets to raise awareness about air pollution. Meet Toxic Toby, the Paddington Bear of this hellacious timeline we’re in.
London sees some vehicle-related deaths every year, but far more Londoners die from sickness tied to the city’s horrific air quality — nearly 9,500 every year. That’s why advertising agency McCann London is taking Toxic Toby on a tour of the metropolis’ most toxic streets.
The 3D-printed bear is fed real-time air quality data from a company called BreezoMeter. When pollution hits dangerous levels, Toby lifts his little paw and coughs. The bear’s movements alert passersby to the fact that there is an animatronic bear in their midst, and, if a moving teddy bear isn’t arresting enough, Toby is also surrounded by bouquets of flowers that are meant to mimic a memorial.
But raising awareness isn’t Toby’s only talent. Every time he coughs, he sends tweets to local politicians with a message about air pollution.
What’s next for Toxic Toby? The bear and his trainers are taking their pollution awareness efforts national. The team is planning a tour through the U.K. — and they might even expand to other countries. Looks like Toby is trying to fix air pollution with his bear hands.
This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Can a sick teddy bear make politicians fix London’s air quality? on Oct 3, 2018.