Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Belgian anti-4x4 group makes the headlines

Here is a short update from Jeroen and Joeri from the Belgian actiongroup 4x4info.

"Well, we've got some busy times behind us. After getting our website online beginning of December, we released our first press release, together with about 15 other organisations. This first press-release was quite general, focusing on both environmental- and safety concerns about SUV's. Also from the beginning, we have chosen to talk about the problem with SUV's in a broader context where the car-industry keeps on moving towards bigger, heavier and more powerful cars. From the beginning, we have got the support from some people in the academic world, they helped us a lot getting our facts straight.

In December, we also started to distribute our stickers (with our logo and the website). We distributed them through fair-trade stores, ecological centers, and via friends. We hang them everywhere, but not in the least on SUV's off course. This also has gotten the attention of some 4x4-lovers, on 4x4forum.be . A heavy discussion is going on there, but their arguments are more rude than reasonable. The administration of this 4x4-club asked us to have a meeting with them though in the coming weeks, to discuss our point of view with them, and we will do so.

Yesterday then: the very first ACTION of 4x4info. Together with 15 motivated volunteers, we went to protest at the European Motor Show in Brussels. This went very, very good. The reactions of the visitors were mostly very positive. Their was quite some press, and our message was picked up by national tv and on almost all online newspapers yesterday evening. So a good chance we will have some articles in the newspapers tomorrow ...

In our press release we don't only focus on SUV's, but on the broader trend towards bigger, heavier and more powerful cars. More specific, our main message was that the car-industry can't use the promotion of biofuels as an alibi to hold them from getting the average fuel consumption down. As long as this is rising (and the offer of SUV's is one of the reasons), the ecological profit of new fuels and new technologies will be lost. Off course the media focussed on our anti-4x4 message, but online our broader message was picked up as well.

Besides that, 4x4info appeared in a debating program on french-speaking Brussels TV last Friday, and their dutch-speaking collegues were there yesterday to make a 6 minutes documentary on the subject of SUV's, congestion charge, ...

You can find an online-article here.