Gaming Editor Louis Wright explores the interesting tactics of the activist organisation ‘Just Stop Oil,’ concluding that despite their unusual approach, their actions are definitely justified.
Within the last month, activists from the organisation ‘Just Stop Oil’ have staged a series of protests involving the splattering of famous art pieces with various food items. Such incidents involved throwing tomato soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or smearing the waxwork of King Charles III at Madame Tussauds with cake. This has inspired other groups in turn, with the German Environmental group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) throwing mashed potatoes at Monet’s Haystacks.
Protests such as these can be critiqued for their lack of impactful messaging in terms of what they are conveying. It is entirely possible that if it were not for the activist group’s main goal being within their name (Just Stop Oil), people would not have recognised what these protests were in cause of, or that they were even intended to be protests in the first place. More clearly intentioned protests of a similar scale were also enacted by the activist group, such as spray-painting buildings of organisations supporting fossil fuels. By targeting the pillars of the fossil fuel economy, Just Stop Oil makes their intentions clear to the public in their protest.
What cannot be fairly critiqued however is the effectiveness of these protests. Many have said that Just Stop Oil should not be protesting in this way as it is “not a proper way of protesting”. However, the results of these protests are inarguable. Thanks entirely to these protests, Just Stop Oil has received more media attention than they have in their entire organisation’s history. This is clearly evident when looking at the recent Google trends for the key term ‘Just Stop Oil’ which spiked around the time of said protests. This spike is not from the act of being in the media by itself, as previous protests covered by the media in April and July only managed to reach a quarter of the peak of their current relevancy.
As such these forms of harmless protest (as neither the painting nor the waxwork were damaged) by Just Stop Oil are gaining attention and traction like never before. People are talking about the organisation and their goals in a way that has not been managed before, with their reach growing further with every subsequent protest of this type. Because of this, it is very easy to justify Just Stop Oil’s actions. Not only do they have an entirely altruistic belief of reducing global warming and damage to the environment, but the methods of spreading their message (as strange as they may seem on the surface) are working to make people more presently aware of the climate disaster.