Death, condoms, chains: Here are eco activists’ craziest Earth Day stunts

Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

Climate activists staged a variety of demonstrations worldwide on Earth Day in an attempt to increase pressure on lawmakers to implement aggressive environmental policies.

Activists engaged in alleged self-immolation, delayed newspaper deliveries, chained themselves to buildings and gave away free condoms, all in the name of environmentalism.

Wynn Bruce, a 50-year-old climate activist from Boulder, Colorado, died Saturday after lighting himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., The Denver Post reported. Police officers saw Bruce engulfed in flames on the court’s steps shortly after he was seen sitting on a nearby bench Friday.

“This act is not suicide,” Kritee Kanko, a friend of Bruce and climate scientist for green group Environmental Defense Fund, tweeted Sunday. “This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for at least one year.”

Kanko, who is also a Zen Buddhist priest, later explained that people are “being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair” in an interview with the NYT.

Earlier in the day on Friday, an Earth Day protester chained himself to the John A. Wilson District Building, home to the Washington, D.C., government, while unfurling a giant banner that said, “NO NEW FOSSIL FUELS,” according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV. The man appeared to be connected to a larger demonstration staged by the eco group Extinction Rebellion outside the building.

Extinction Rebellion protesters descended upon a facility where the New York Times prints its newspapers, delaying Friday deliveries, according to CBS News. The activists formed a blockade preventing delivery vehicles from transporting papers and leading the New York Police Department to threaten mass arrests.

“Disrupting our business operations and depriving people of critical information is not acceptable,” a NYT spokesperson told CBS.

Earlier in the week, the Center for Biological Diversity announced its volunteers would distribute 15,000 conservation-themed condoms at college campuses nationwide to mark Earth Day. The group said condoms were important to preventing overpopulation and the extinction of wildlife populations.

“Endangered Species Condoms help people make the connection between safe sex and saving wildlife,” Sarah Baillie, an organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“Human population growth and reckless consumption are key drivers of the extinction crisis,” she added.

The themed contraception had phrases such as “Can’t refrain? Remember the whooping crane” and “Before it gets any hotter … remember the sea otter” on their packaging.

But other environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have characterized overpopulation as a myth. The world’s population is projected to decline in roughly three decades, according to the American Council on Science and Health.

In England, environmentalists associated with the group Green New Deal ambushed British Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as he walked to his car on Earth Day, demanding he order a pause on oil and gas development, the Independent reported. Kwarteng later tweeted that the transition to clean energy “can’t happen overnight.”

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