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News ::
SUV Action Day--Lynn, Mass. 6/2/01
03 Jun 2001
Modified: 06 Jun 2001
Boston activists gathered in Lynn on June 2nd to protest "Seriously Unnecessary Vehicles" (SUVs).
Environmental and religious activists marched through the pouring rain Saturday morning in front of the Lynn auto mall to protest the buying and selling of sports utility vehicles. Carrying signs reading "SUVs=Global Warming" and "Seriously Unnecessary Vehicles," the group set out to send a message to local car dealers and customers that SUVs are causing serious damage to the environment.

The action was conceived by Bill McKibben, author of THE END OF NATURE, fellow at Harvard University, and recent ROLLING STONE contributor. "The time has come to take the abstract issue of global warming and make it a real part of our lives," he said. "We're asking our neighbors not to buy sport utility vehicles when they purchase their next cars and we want to let the dealers know that customers need cleaner choices."

"SUV Action Day" began at the Central Square Commuter Rail station, where the group of 65 rallied with songs and chants like "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, SUV's have got to go." McKibben spoke at the rally along with Ross Gelbspan, author of THE HEAT IS ON; Cindy Luppi of Cleanwater Action; Bob Massey of CERES (Coalition for Environmental Responsible Economies); and Unitarian Minister Rev. Fred Small, Co-Chair of Religious Witness for the Earth.

"Stop labeling gas-guzzling behemoths with dishonest names like "Yukon," "Forester" and "Sequoia," said Smalls. "Stop the TV commercials showing them climbing mountains and fording streams. These commercials are obscene."

After the rally, the group headed to the nearby Pride Dealerships and Atlantic Toyota to march in front of the car lots and wave their signs at SUVs driving by on the busy Route 1A. The group marched on through the morning despite heavy rain and getting splashed by cars. They also rounded up several fuel-efficient hybrid cars-Toyota Prius's and Honda Insights- to parade them in front of the dealerships, covered in streamers and signs reading their gas mileage. Following these cars was a black Ford Explorer covered in mock "Just Married" decoration--an oil barrel tied to the roof, red gasoline containers dragging from behind, and a soaped rear window reading "Just married to the pump."

Debra Hall, spokesperson for the SUV Action Day Coalition, said the Lynnway was the most convenient place in the area to stage a protest against low-efficiency vehicles. "We decided on Lynn because it was a place with multiple dealers and multiple brandnames," she said. "We're not picking on that particular dealer as being any worse than others."

The action coincides with a recent mock traffic ticket campaign in Boston that used fake parking violations made out to "SUV Driver" and cited drivers for low fuel-efficiency and "failure to pay attention to your own behavior."

The SUV Action Day Coalition said Saturday's event was the first of its kind in the nation, but hopes to build upon a growing national grassroots campaign against SUVs.
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Corrections
08 Jun 2001
1. "Bob Massey" is actually Robert Massie of CERES.

2. A GREEN SUV was just married to the pump, not black.