These activists are pulling SUVs off the road, one flat tire at a time
How far would you go to save the planet?
Well, there’s a movement by activists to make it impossible to own a huge, polluting 4×4 SUV in urban areas around the world. So they take out the SUVs and their owners, flattening one tire at a time.
I spoke to a representative via email, on condition of anonymity due to “security risks”.
Meet the tire extinguishers
Their method is simple: they deflate a car tire. They hope it will “turn the minor inconvenience of a flat tire into a giant obstacle to driving massive killer vehicles through our streets.”
Each time they do, the owner receives a brochure titled “ATTENTION – your gas guzzler kills”.
And, there are hundreds of people involved across the UK, Europe and the WE.
Why are SUVs bad?
SUVs are a loose category of large vehicles such as the Range Rover, Chevrolet Suburban, and Cadillac Esplanade. I never understood their appeal to those who don’t need them in transport.
First, they are terrible for the environment in their energy-guzzling form. Research in 2019 found that SUVs were the second cause of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade – eclipsing even behemoths like aviation and trucks.
Even electric SUVs can be difficult to maneuver, lacking the agility of a small car and the practicality of a minivan. They also occupy a ridiculous place, both on the road and when parking:
What was the impact of the campaign?
I questioned the role of tire extinguishers in Germany, given that I rarely see SUVs – at least in East Berlin – and got the suggestion: “if people wanted to modify the flyer to hit the luxury cars, we would be happy with that too!” ” Controversial.
My contact sees their value as launching a global campaign and spreading the idea of their activism as a deterrent to SUV ownership.
A article in the British newspaper The Telegraph in April suggested motorists opt for smaller cars to avoid being the target of tire extinguishers.
That’s really the end goal of the group, to stop people buying fossil-fueled SUVs in the first place. The goal is fine, but I’m not sure of the method.
The privilege of activism
I agree that cars are a necessary evil for some people and some scenarios. I raised the issue of the impact of the group’s activism for people with hidden disabilities. Or for those who might need their car to go to the hospital, a job interview or something urgent?
My contact suggested that interviews with people with disabilities found them insulted that “they need an SUV to get around”. They also claimed that they only target cities with “lots of other ways to get around”.
The right of these people to drive around a huge reservoir in the city should not trump the right of others to breathe clean air or live in a climate-safe world.
Is extreme activism the only way to stimulate real change?
No one fails to know that gas-powered SUVs are bad. But this is not enough to completely stop buying them.
Is guerrilla warfare the way to stop people from making such a purchase?
I would love to hear your thoughts.