Climate Activists Deflate 900 SUV Tires — Including on a PEOPLE Editor's Car: 'There Has to Be a Better Way'
Climate change activists in eight countries claim they deflated tires on more than 900 SUVs in what they call their "largest-ever night of action against SUVs."
Vehicles in 19 cities across the globe were apparently targeted late Monday night and early Tuesday morning by members of The Tyre Extinguishers, an international group of protesters known for deflating tires on SUVs in an effort to keep the vehicles off the streets.
The group says 52 cars were hit in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City, as were hundreds of others across the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Netherlands, according to a post on its website.
The group says their goal is to "make it impossible to own" large cars like SUVs and 4x4s "in the world's urban areas."
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"We're taking this action because governments and politicians have failed to protect us from these huge vehicles," the group says on its website, where they add, "Politely asking and protesting for these things has failed."
Tyre Extinguishers claim to have deflated over 10,000 SUVs in various cities worldwide since March in their effort to rid urban areas of the vehicles.
PEOPLE Food Editor Ana Calderone's car was among those hit in N.Y.C. Calderone says she noticed the front left tire on her Jeep Cherokee had been deflated after spotting a flyer on her windshield on Tuesday morning.
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The flyer, which was left on other cars targeted by Tyre Extinguishers, says, "It's not you, it's your car."
"ATTENTION - your gas guzzler kills," reads the flyer. "We have deflated one or more of your tires. You'll be angry, but don't take it personally."
The flyer goes on to suggest that driving SUVs in urban areas "has huge consequences for others," and that both SUVs and 4x4s "are a disaster for our climate."
"That's why we have taken this action," they add. "You will have no difficulty getting around without your gas guzzler, with walking, cycling or public transit."
Calderone, who is able to refill the deflated tire, says she's lucky that the Tyre Extinguishers' action had "little impact" on her day. But others may not be as fortunate — something Calderone understands as a cancer survivor.
"Had this happened last year during active treatment, it would have made getting to chemotherapy and radiation really difficult," she says. "When you're going through something hard like cancer, this is the last thing you should be worrying about."
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On their website, the Tire Extinguishers say they avoid cars "clearly used for people with disabilities." But as Calderone notes, "You never know what someone is going through and how this can impact their life."
Calderone filed a police report on Tuesday but doesn't plan to pursue any further action.
She says police informed her of four calls from the same neighborhood regarding similar incidents involving their vehicles.
"There has to be a better way to combat climate change than vandalizing people's cars," she says.