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Radical environmentalists launch campaign to deflate SUV tires

Henrik5000 via Getty Images

A radical self-described "activist hub" is calling for people to go around and deflate the tires on American SUVs to raise awareness about climate change.

Calling SUVs "the 2nd-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010," the group, Adbusters, gave instructions on how climate activists can deflate SUV tires as a means of "non-violent" protest to "convey the seriousness of this crisis in tangible ways."

"This is a gentle escalation of methods to drive the urgency of this climate crisis home and engender a systemic aversion to SUVs," the group tweeted last week.

"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.

"It's that simple. If we organize, we can hit enough SUVs in particular neighborhoods to spark reporting and spread the metameme," Adbusters said.

The group called on activists to organize on non-traceable apps and go neighborhood-by-neighborhood, deflating tires and attaching leaflets to each SUV that explain why the car was vandalized.

A copy of the suggested leaflet reads in part: "SUVs are disproportionately fueling the climate crisis ... and they're totally [unnecessary.] The climate crisis is spiraling out of control, making drastic action necessary. So we deflated your tires."

"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," the group said.

If an SUV owner is unaware their vehicle was targeted, it could be dangerous. Driving on a flat tire reduces the vehicle's handling and can cause structural damage to the wheel, brakes, alignment, and potentially other car components including the suspension and steering system, according to auto care company Firestone.

Activists were advised to target "wealthy areas" so that SUVs belonging to working people would be spared. Vehicles with disabled stickers or hangers were also not to be targeted.

Adbusters hopes this campaign will attract media attention for its cause. The group claimed that similar campaigns in Sweden and the U.K. achieved success, citing the illegal activities of another climate alarmist group called the Tyre Extinguishers.

The BBC reported Monday that dozens of SUV vehicles parked in an upmarket area of Edinburgh, Scotland had their tires deflated by vandals. Leaflets left on some of the vehicles branded them "polluting death machines" and were signed by "The Tyre Extinguishers."

The Tyre Extinguishers website declares that the group's goal is "to make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4x4 in the world’s urban areas." To justify their actions, the activists claim self-defense against "climate change, air pollution and unsafe drivers."

Authorities said more than 100 vehicles were targeted, according to BBC.

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