The eight-foot-long Norwegian electric car Buddy may not be most people’s idea of a perfectly sized car, but it is the perfect size for blocking train tracks, as the activist group Neptune Network recently proved, when it managed to block shipments from a mine that was polluting a nearby salmon-fjord. According to Sami Grover at Treehugger:
Whether not the blockade was successful remains a little unclear at this stage—my rudimentary understanding of Norwegian tells me that the blockade of Sydvaranger Mines has been called off, and that discussions are ongoing both with the mine owners and the Climate and Pollution Control Directorate (KLIF) to ensure that the company follows the necessary permits.
It’s certainly an innovative method of protest, and one that manages to both draw attention to the specific problem at hand, and also points a finger to one part of the solution to the myriad of environmental crises we face. I’m not sure the tactic would work everywhere—it wouldn’t take many police officers, or mine workers, to move a car that size (read more about the Norwegian-produced Buddy here). But it looks like in this part of Norway at least they manage to handle such matters with civility and restraint from all sides.
While I agree with Grover’s analysis, a highly visible and metaphorical stunt such as this would still be effective (on a PR/awareness-raising level) even if it didn’t block shipments for very long. Unfortuantely, we won’t be able to see this action replicated in America, as the Buddy car is only available in Norway.
Public relations poses distinct threats to environmental movements, but activists are becoming more savvy and developing new forms of resistance.
Bigger than the Jan. 6 insurrection, the 1971 antiwar mobilization known as Operation Dewey Canyon III altered the course of the war and uplifted the nation.
As Martin Luther King Jr. preached, we must reject peace that prioritizes calm over justice — and work toward building a positive peace instead.