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Climate activists deflate tires of dozens of SUVs in Greater Victoria

'You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally'

By Ryan Hook
July 29, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Climate activists deflate tires of dozens of SUVs in Greater Victoria

'You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally'

By Ryan Hook
Jul 29, 2022
A note left on an SUV with deflated tires. Photo: Olivia Wein (Submitted)
A note left on an SUV with deflated tires. Photo: Olivia Wein (Submitted)
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Climate activists deflate tires of dozens of SUVs in Greater Victoria

'You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally'

By Ryan Hook
July 29, 2022
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Climate activists deflate tires of dozens of SUVs in Greater Victoria
A note left on an SUV with deflated tires. Photo: Olivia Wein (Submitted)

A group called the Tyre Extinguishers claimed responsibility for “disarming” 34 SUVs in Victoria and Oak Bay on Thursday night by deflating vehicle tires by placing lentils in the valve. “This is just the beginning,” read a statement from the group.  “We’re taking action into our own hands because our governments and politicians will not.”

Notes were left on the windshields of the SUVs. “Your gas guzzler kills,” the notes read, citing escalating climate change disasters as reasons for the action.

“You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s your car.” 

A representative of the group, in an email to Capital Daily, said the action was about empowerment for people who otherwise feel powerless.

"For any youth wrestling with climate grief, climate anger, climate anxiety, or climate depression, it's empowering to know that meaningful action is as simple as a lentil in your hand and the cool evening breeze in your hair as you locate the next death-mobile to disarm. No violence, no property damage—just direct and joyful action, and the radical power of inconvenience."

The notes included a link to the group’s website, which includes downloadable pamphlets, which were the same seen on the SUVs windshields, as well as instructions on how to deflate tires. 

People immediately took to social media to air their grievances over the stunt. Robyn O’Connell said without the help of her neighbours, she would have missed her flight to Tofino. “What a ridiculous thing to add to our lives,” she told Capital Daily over Facebook. “They did nothing to support their ‘cause.’”

Oak Bay police confirmed it was looking into the incidents. “[The charge is] mischief to property, and members will canvass to see if residents have any video surveillance.” Deputy Chief Julie Chanin told Capital Daily. “So far, there is no reported damage, just the air loss.”

The Tyre Extinguishers are what’s being described as a “pop-up group,” designed to draw “short-term media attention to specific issues, rather than develop broad-based, long-lasting campaigns,” according to the Conversation. 

Tyre Extinguishers has been ramping up in the UK and elsewhere in Canada in recent weeks. This is the first time the group has carried out its actions in Victoria, though it’s not the first time groups on Vancouver Island have protested a lack of climate action by targeting vehicles—the more common tactic being blocking highways

Howard Breen, a member of Extinction Rebellion, told Capital Daily he is “arm-in-arm” with the Tyre Extinguishers. “The fact we have to resort to this tactic in order to be heard by our government breaks my heart,” he said. “At this point, we have no other option.” 

The informal group has pledged to continue the actions in Victoria.

“There should be a few more coming up from within the UVic community, so keep an ear out,” they wrote in an email.

Did you participate in this protest, or did you have your tires deflated? Get in touch!

Update on Jul. 30 at 12pm: This story has been updated with comment from the group.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Ryan Hook
Food, Arts & Culture Reporter
tips@capitaldaily.ca

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