a black 4x4 has the words "climate criminal" spray painted on the side.

Vehicles spray painted in escalation of anti-SUV actions

Activists have spray painted climate messaging on large, polluting cars in Clifton. 

Stencilled messages reading “Climate Criminal” and “This Machine Kills Kids” were sprayed onto the sides of large 4x4s and SUVs (sports utility vehicles), vehicles which are widely criticised for their high emissions and the threat they pose to other road users and pedestrians. 

The action, conducted in the early morning of April 2, has divided opinion online. 

A thread on Nextdoor shows roughly half of people in support of the action, with many noting the negative social impact of SUVs as well as the inherent inequality they represent. 

Meanwhile, on Reddit, user 3between20characters said: ‘It would make me feel guilty I think, knowing there are people specifically targeting what I’m doing. It would give me pause for thought, if nothing else I wouldn’t want to be a target again.’

And user air_sunshine_trees said: ‘4x4s are much more likely to kill pedestrians and cyclists due to the high bumper and less energy absorption in the frame design. Anything that makes 4x4s embarrassing or shameful to drive in the city is ok in my book.’

Speaking about SUV ownership in Clifton, they said: ‘These people do not need a 4×4. They are just suckers who’ve fallen for emission dodging marketing. I get very pissed off with activism that disrupts public transport or emergency vehicles, but this is nicely targeted.’

SUVs have previously been the target of the clandestine group Tyre Extinguishers, who use lentils to deflate the tyres of large vehicles. There is no indication that this spray painting action is connected to the Tyre Extinguishers, however. 

Feature image: Jonathan Bird.

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