The Wall Street Journal recently published an editorial on the protest at Wimbledon by activist group ‘Just Stop Oil.’ The group threw orange confetti glitter and jigsaw pieces—environmentally-friendly materials of course—onto the courts in order to halt play. The same group tossed tomato soup on a Vincent Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery in London in October of last year. These protests continue to fall short in achieving their so-called goal.
The hypocrisy of Just Stop Oil is noticeable. Whether they like it or not, oil is a part of the goods they use daily, the transportation they take and even in the very fabric of the clothes they wear. A letter to the editor in response to the Wall Street Journal editorial highlighted that the group wore PVC rain jackets at a recent protest, but little do they realize that these very jackets that keep them dry have 6,000 byproducts of oil.
Oil has provided us the ability to flourish as a society, lifting billions out of poverty globally over the last century. Alongside its uses in everyday goods, the oil industry employs 8 million people with jobs globally, and is the largest work force out of all energy sectors. Oil is also integral in the generation of other energy sources, namely renewable technology, that helps us reduce emissions and work towards achieving our climate goals. Without fossil fuels, the mining of critical minerals vital to produce electric vehicles—to name just one example—would be impossible. Expanding traditional fuel infrastructure will be essential for advancing our world towards meeting those goals.
‘Just Stop Oil’ is simply another group that fails to understand the necessity of fossil fuels in our world. Their protests lack that understanding, as illustrated by past demonstrations. The group also does not approach the issue pragmatically, providing a coherent solution to the issue they take up. At the end of the day, there is one question to ask: Did you accomplish your goal by throwing that tomato soup?