Thursday, October 21, 2021

On Climate Terrorism

"It is strange and striking that climate change activists have not committed any acts of terrorism. After all, terrorism is for the individual by far the modern world’s most effective form of political action, and climate change is an issue about which people feel just as strongly as about, say, animal rights. This is especially noticeable when you bear in mind the ease of things like blowing up petrol stations, or vandalising SUVs. In cities, SUVs are loathed by everyone except the people who drive them; and in a city the size of London, a few dozen people could in a short space of time make the ownership of these cars effectively impossible, just by running keys down the side of them, at a cost to the owner of several thousand pounds a time. Say fifty people vandalising four cars each every night for a month: six thousand trashed SUVs in a month and the Chelsea tractors would soon be disappearing from our streets. So why don’t these things happen? Is it because the people who feel strongly about climate change are simply too nice, too educated, to do anything of the sort? (But terrorists are often highly educated.) Or is it that even the people who feel most strongly about climate change on some level can’t quite bring themselves to believe in it?"

John Lanchester, London Review of Books, Vol 29 No 6 March 2007


Thomas said...

The causes are too diffuse. Scratching a few cars will make no real difference to global emissions, and in any case, the results would be seen in decades, not right away. I suspect the people prone to become terrorists want visible results and reactions immediately. See that they make a difference.

David Appell said...

But in a major city like London, don't you think it would get a lot of global publicity, and probably inspire copycat actions?