April 25, 2022
It’s so obvious it barely needs stating. Gas-guzzling cars are death machines driving us to the brink of extinction.
And it’s overwhelmingly rich people who drive them. Since 2010, luxury SUVs (think Escalades and Yukons) have proved the second-biggest contributors to increasing CO2 emissions worldwide.
In the words of climate activist Andreas Malm, these emissions are “preposterously unnecessary.” There is no conscionable reason they shouldn't — or couldn’t — be cut back immediately to help avoid total ecological collapse. As the IPCC recently said, it’s “now or never” for this kind of urgent action.
It’s a tactical escalation, albeit a mild one. The “damage,” if it can be called that, is completely reversible. And by warning drivers of targeted vehicles with leaflets, it avoids the potential for bodily harm.
The strange thing is, it hasn’t gained any noticeable traction yet in North America.
Have we lost the will to fight? Are we going to let our comrades across the Atlantic do all the heavy lifting?
Sure, this type of action doesn’t go after the deep-down baddies, like oil companies and crisis-fueling governments. But it’s a start, and it has already proved effective. After Malm and a cohort of activists practiced it in Sweden, in 2007, demand for big cars plummeted and investment in public transit saw a massive boost.
The same is happening right now in Merry England. And if we can get our shit together, it could happen here — it could happen everywhere.
For now, though, reality in North America reads like some Mad Max–meets–Waterworld crossover script. “Hell-bent on burning rubber, the 1% watch from tinted windows as the 99% drown under rising seas …”
This reality is intolerable. Yet the path forward is undeniable. As a first step toward a sane sustainable future, we’ve got to #DeflateTheRich.