A group of climate activists with global ties has claimed responsibility for deflating the tires of 43 cars overnight on Wednesday, April 19, on Beacon Hill.
According to Boston Police, an officer responded on Thursday, April 20, to series of vandalisms reported in the area of Mt. Vernon Street. Multiple victims approached the officer at this time and explained to him that the air had been let out of their tires. A piece of paper was placed on their respective windshields, said witnesses, explaining to the vehicle owners that their tires had been deflated in response to a “climate emergency.” It appears that the group were targeting SUVs specifically, police said. Security cameras were observed in some areas, and area detectives were still investigating the matter at press time.
Tyre Extinguishers, a loosely organized international group that takes direct action against climate change by deflating the tires of SUVs, took credit for the acts of vandalism and left fliers behind on the vehicles urging the drivers to switch other modes of transportation, including public transportation and biking, as well as electric vehicles. (The group also said they didn’t target any electric or hybrid vehicles, nor did they target vehicles with handicap plates, during their campaign of vandalism.)
“The activists took this action in Beacon Hill as it is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Boston to own a house,” the group proclaimed on Twitter while calling this their “first action in Boston.”
Rep. Jay Livingstone rebuked the activists for using vandalism in their tactics, even though he agrees with their motive of combatting climate change.
“These criminal acts of vandalism distract the public about the climate crisis and reduce public support for addressing climate change,” he wrote. “While I agree with the goals of the vandals to address the climate crisis, I strongly disagree with their misguided methods. I hope they stop these illegal practices.”
Likewise, Sharon Durkan, a candidate for District 8 City Councilor and a Beacon Hill resident, wrote in a statement on Twitter: “We are in a climate crisis, and the means in which this group chose to perpetuate the narrative of individual responsibility, a notion that the fossil fuel industry has manufactured, detracts from our community of local climate advocacy and work to bring people together around real solutions to these pressing challenges. This vandalism alienates those in the best position to support neighborhood based climate solutions, harming residents and neighbors, and diverting resources and distracting residents from the larger issues at hand.
“We have many incredible civic environmentalists and volunteers living in Beacon Hill. While we should reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and rely as much as possible on the use of public transportation, individual actions need to be backed up by a culture that works to call fossil fuel companies to account, which is responsible for two-thirds of carbon emissions,” Durkan added.