A left-wing environmental activist group proposed deflating the tires of sports utility vehicles as a radical act of protest against climate change.
Adbusters, an activist group that describes itself as a “collective of artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, punks, philosophers and wild hearts has been smashing ads, fighting corruption and speaking truth to power,” and has been tied to the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, called for activists to deflate SUV tires in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.
“Time to do something about SUVs,” the group wrote. “They’re the 2nd-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010, more than aviation. This is a gentle escalation of methods to drive the urgency of this climate crisis home and engender a systemic aversion to SUVs.”
Time to do something about SUVs.
They're the 2nd-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010, more than aviation.
This is a gentle escalation of methods to drive the urgency of this climate crisis home and engender a systemic aversion to SUVs. pic.twitter.com/aoxLfZpjUt
— Adbusters (@Adbusters) April 6, 2022
“So here’s what we do: Wedge gravel in the tire valves, leaflet the SUV to let them know the tires are flat and why it was done, and walk away,” the organization wrote. “It’s that simple. If we organize, we can hit enough SUVs in particular neighborhoods to spark reporting and spread the metameme. We do this neighbourhood-at-a-time to make the biggest splash. Organize a crew (off of any traceable apps) and make leaflets that lay out the case for climate action. The mission is not to win individual converts at this point, but to engender a systemic aversion to SUVs. Climate change is the biggest crisis we’ve faced as a species, and we are failing the test at every step. It is time for us to carefully escalate our methods in a non-violent manner and convey the seriousness of this crisis in tangible ways.”
“A flat tire is non-violent,” Adbusters continued. “There is no property damage. But it is a huge pain in the a**. We’ve seen this method succeed in Sweden, and have initial success in the UK with [Tyre Extinguishers] (articles warning off SUV purchases at risk of being targeted). Time to go global. Targeting SUVs is good way to hit the automotive industry where it hurts. SUV sales are playing a massive role in the expansion of the auto industry, both as a percentage of global market share and in total numbers. And that increase is setting the climate back massively.”
The group recommended targeting wealthy areas, to begin with, saying that its goal “isn’t to disrupt workers,” and to avoid targeting vehicles that have disabled stickers or handicap hangers.
Adbusters also posted a sample leaflet for activists to place on the windshields of vehicles they target.
“Your tires are flat,” the leaflet reads. “It isn’t personal. SUVs are disproportionately fueling the climate crisis. They’re the 2nd-largest contributor to increasing CO2 emissions since 2010. And they’re totally unnecessary. The climate crisis is spiraling out of control, making drastic action necessary. So we deflated your tires. Walk, bike, take public transit if you have to. But it’s time to end our reliance on these gas-guzzling behemoths.”
Here's a leaflet you can put on SUV windshields when you deflate their tires to convey the message. pic.twitter.com/gn6sO9KYoG
— Adbusters (@Adbusters) April 7, 2022
Critics on Twitter blasted the group, noting that the idea is ineffective, criminal, and possibly dangerous.
“[I’m] sure ruining someone’s day is a great way to make them agree with you,” one user wrote.
“Most people don’t carry a tire pump. They’re going to call a tow truck to either tow them because they don’t know the tire is still good or to reinflate the tire. The tow truck is way less efficient, burning fuel and unnecessary. They’re now p***** off and way less sympathetic,” wrote another.
“Malicious vandalism comes with occupational hazards,” a user tweeted.
“Three days in and Twitter is like yeah, encouraging property damage is totes fine,” another critic wrote.
“@TwitterSafety, pretty sure this is illegal,” said another.