The mounting pressure

Yesterday’s editorial in the Guardian about how, in contrast to lobbying against the tobacco industry, …

… the long grind does not work for environmental activists. Put simply, the greens believe – and most scientific evidence backs them up – that inaction now will cost lives later. That time limit, and the enormous possible consequences of failure, applies to few other causes; it is surely right to police the climate campers more seriously and sympathetically, rather than simply as a mob out to create havoc. This may make for noisier politics, a cacophonous democracy, but that would not necessarily be a bad thing. The UK is at least better in this regard than the US, where eco-terrorism is judged by the FBI to be the biggest single domestic terrorist threat, along with animal-rights campaigns. Last month, when a Hummer in Washington was vandalised and scrawled with the words “for the environ”, not only did local police turn up; so did the FBI, who declared that the criminals were terrorists, facing 20 years in jail.

[…] Some veteran greens have reminisced over the past week about Swampy-style activism, but that is to ignore the big political shift that has happened since 1996. Then, the Tories talked of “the great car economy”, now nearly all politicians will at least pay lip service to green issues. The challenge is to push them further. […]

As one commentator aptly put it in response:

So the FBI threatens a custodial sentence of 20 years for those who vandalize gas-guzzling vehicles. That’s almost exactly twice the average custodial sentence for those convicted of rape in the U.S. We must conclude that, for Americans, their motor vehicles are twice as valuable as their women.

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