I have been reading with interest about the activities of a group of activists going under the name of Tyre Extinguishers. Although they have been around since the middle of last year there has been a marked increase in their activity in this last month. They do what they say on the tin by giving instructions on how to deflate the tires of SUVs.
The activists, usually when it’s dark, have used lentils to deflate tyres by placing one inside the tyre valve, holding it open and slowly bleeding air until the tyre is flat. Apparently they have deflated at least a thousand tires.
According to the Guardian, ‘SUVs were the second largest contributor to the increase in global carbon emissions from 2010 to 2018. Each year, SUVs belch out 700 megatonnes of CO2, about the entire output of the UK and Netherlands combined. If all SUV drivers banded together to form their own country, it would rank as the seventh largest emitter in the world.’
The response from the public has been much more welcoming than they expected.
The Daily Mail, unsurprisingly took a different stance leading with ‘We will make it impossible to own an SUV in the world’s urban areas’: Eco-nuts used lentils to let down the tyres of Chelsea tractors because ‘air pollution is RACIST’.
I’m not condoning the actions of Tyre Extinguishers though I empathise with their concerns and do recognise that a lot of change takes place through direct action. I am also not against SUV drivers though the rise of their popularity shows that, when it comes to fighting climate change, capitalism has failed and will continue to do so.
We have seen significant improvements in engine efficiency over the last decades but rather than banking these as environmental savings we have bought cars that are much bigger and much heavier. This shows that personal choice is not going to get us out of the mess. Only concerted and international action by governments will ever give us a chance of reversing the human influence on climate change.
Of course this will be unpopular and so I am not holding my breath.