Activists Speak Out Against SUVs in Paris

SAN FRANCISCO – International clean car activists staged an intervention at the Paris Motor Show today, an action triggered by the defiant launch of several new SUV/4×4 models by French automakers despite lagging SUV sales and rising fuel prices.

Activists from the international 4×4 campaigns network wore green helmets and took up positions between the public and 4x4s on the display stands of the French carmakers. The “green helmets” see themselves as the environmental equivalent of the “blue helmets,” the international peacekeeping forces which seek to prevent the escalation of armed conflicts. According to the activists, 4x4s/SUVs conflict with the environment, the climate and other road users.

According to the Green Helmets, Renault and other latecomers to the SUV market are futilely trying to ride the receding wave of popularity of the “urban 4×4,” thus contributing to the worldwide epidemic of poor fuel efficiency and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The Green Helmets consist of leaders and supporters of French activist groups Agir pour l’Environnement and Réseau Action Climat France, along with representatives of international anti-4×4 movements, many of whom met in Brussels on October 4 to coordinate their actions at an international level.

The Brussels meeting resulted in the formation of the international 4x4Network, whose mission is to unite groups of concerned citizens across the world against the growing presence of 4×4 vehicles in urban areas. The 4x4Network seeks to educate people about the environment and social damage caused by the increasing numbers of urban 4x4s and to promote sustainable forms of transportation. The newly-formed coalition is campaigning internationally for more fuel-efficient, socially-friendly automobiles.

Members of the 4x4Network include: Belgium’s 4x4Info campaign; Finland’s JunttiAuto campaign; France’s Anti4x4 campaign; Switzerland’s Stop Offroader campaign; the United Kingdom’s Alliance Against Urban 4x4s campaign; and the United States’ Jumpstart Ford campaign.

For more information, visit the coalition’s Web site: www.4x4network.org