By Milan Perera, Deputy Editor
The eco-activist group, Reclaim Our Community (ROC), has claimed responsibility for deflating over 100 SUVs and 4x4 vehicles during the night of Thursday, October 19 in Clifton area of Bristol.
The group is not to be confused with another group, The Tyre Extinguishers who previously carried out similar activities in the area. ROC identifies itself as ‘a group of young people angered and fearful of the world we are inheriting.’
Regarding the reasons behind this fresh wave of attacks on SUVs, the group claimed: ‘We are left with no other option. If the institutions of power will not affect the necessary change, we must do so ourselves.’
On the prevalent assumption of the negligible effect of SUVs on global emissions, the group says: ‘The contribution of SUVs to global emissions may be thought to be inconsequential. But this is completely false, SUVs were the second largest cause of the global rise in CO2 emissions in the past decade. If the SUV industry was a country it would be the sixth biggest CO2 emitter.’
Concerning the efficacy of its mode of action, the group remains optimistic: ‘Temporarily disarming vehicles is an effective way to reduce the consumption of SUVs: after a wave of tyre extinguishing in Sweden in 2007, sales dropped by 27 per cent.’
On the urgency to reverse the climate change triggered by global CO2 emissions, the group explained: ‘The UN estimates 1 billion climate refugees by 2050, how did Europe cope with a mere 1 million Syrian refugees in 2015? Irreversible feedback loops may have already been triggered, or will soon be set off: through the destruction and retreat of the Amazon rainforest, the melting of permafrost in the Arctic circle and the bleaching of coral reefs. This could lead to spiralling ecological collapse.’
Regarding the drastic and often disruptive methods they use, the group expressed their frustration at the democratic avenues to attain far-reaching changes: ‘After pursuing many democratic avenues in an attempt to affect change: writing to MPs, attending dozens of peaceful protests, working with the Green Party. No real change has occurred. In fact we see the opposite: we see the government support 100 new licenses for oil and gas, which led the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to say that ‘the Government has no coordinated plan towards achieving the net zero emissions by 2050 target.’’
On the affected area and the extreme resentment caused by the action, the group said: ‘We made sure to target SUVs in an affluent area with easy access to public transport, we also left a note explaining why we did it. Though it will undoubtedly cause extreme frustration and resentment, we do this act of rebellion out of love. We will not be complicit in the ecological collapse of our world which could see billions suffer.’
Among their demands for the Government included the implementation of an SUV tax in Bristol for individuals who do not require a large vehicle, insulating homes and providing free public transport.
The group vowed to increase the magnitude of similar disruptions unless ‘any genuine attempt is made to achieve these demands.’
The activities of groups such as The Tyre Extinguishers and now Reclaim Our Communities proved to be hugely controversial in Bristol, as they have been targeting affluent areas such as Clifton, Redland, Henleaze and Stoke Bishop. So far there have been no convictions in Bristol.
Last September, after a similar tyre-slashing event, The Tyre Extinguishers claimed to have ‘disarmed’ over 9,000 SUVs globally in the preceding six months.
Featured image: 'Reclaim Our Community'
Do you agree with the actions of groups such as Reclaim Our Community and The Tyre Extinguishers to combat the climate crisis?