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You can’t make this crap up. Honestly. I don’t often find myself defending Tesla, but here we go.

Tesla is trying to expand its German factory with a freight depot, warehouse, and company kindergarten. Its proposed plan is to clear 247 acres of nearby forest. While local authorities deliberate, local groups have expressed concerns over effects to the area’s water supply. Residents even rejected the plan in a non-binding vote. But that’s not all. Dozens of activists are camping out in said forest, even putting up tree houses, to protest the expansion.

And I get it. I’m a big fan of forests and hate to see them chopped down unnecessarily. I’m also 100% for the locals’ right to protest. I know Europe has less remaining wilderness spaces than the U.S, so I can understand Germany being a bit touchy about its forests.

German forest filled with treehouses built by protestors of Tesla's factory expansion
Tesla factory expansion protestors ‘saving’ the planet | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

All that said, one faction has gone way too far. The “Volcano Group” lit a nearby power-line pylon on fire to sabotage local infrastructure and cut electricity to the plant. The saboteurs had a lot to say. In a 2,500-word letter they argued Tesla, “eats up earth, resources, people, labor and spits out 6,000 SUVs, killing machines and monster trucks per week.”

Oh boy. Never mind that they also cut power to tens of thousands of civilians including hospitals and nursing homes. Destroying an EV factory to save 247 acres of trees may be the dumbest form of environmentalism I’ve ever heard about.

I’ve never claimed the EV industry was without sin. Tesla is indeed exploitive. I’ve reported on Elon Musk’s union-busting efforts. I coined the phrase lithium hoarding to describe big, luxury EVs using up excessive resources, the mining of which negatively impacts the environment and human rights.

Lithium miners shoveling in salt flats.
Bolivian lithium miners working overtime for your Hummer EV | Marcelo Perez del Carpio/Bloomberg via Getty Images

That said, no automaker has done more than Tesla to mainstream EVs and reduce emissions. Before Tesla, EVs were cumbersome, rare, and dorky. Tesla’s engineers made EVs cool with performance models that could go toe-to-toe with modern muscle cars and technology so advanced it started an arms race. The company also pioneered a global fast-charger network so comprehensive, other automakers are setting EVs up to take advantage of it. But Elon Musk’s most important contribution may prove to be the ways he’s revolutionized manufacturing to drive down the price of EVs–despite the high cost of lithium batteries.

Scientists tell us we must reduce emissions to reverse global warming. The Tesla Model Y is not the world’s best-selling EV–it’s the world’s best selling vehicle of any kind. That includes in many countries in Europe. Any adult who truly wants to protect the planet’s environment knows one forest is a fair sacrifice for a fleet of zero-emissions vehicles.

I’m tempted to make a “can’t see the forest for the trees” pun and laugh off these protestors as fools. But there’s something much worse going on here. And even though the peaceful tree-dwelling protestors are not connected to the eco terrorists using arson, I will say they all are guilty of the same short-sightedness.

Row of white Tesla Model Y EV crossovers on a dock next to a transport ship.
Tesla Model Y shipment | Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images

Many of us in the developed world want to protect the planet, but we don’t want to make any sacrifices to do so. We don’t want to sacrifice the range or size of our vehicles. We don’t want to pay more for them. And we certainly don’t want to stare at factories in our backyard.

This “not in my backyard” environmentalism is selfish entitlement. It threatens to make global warming worse, by dragging out the adoption of planet-saving technologies. And it needs to go.

So Germans protestors, I’m sorry about your forest. I truly am. But are you ready to tell your grandkids that the reason we no longer have an ozone is because you slowed the most important technological revolution of our generation? And by building tree forts to protect a few acres of forest? Grow up.

Next read how lithium-free EVs may be better for the environment and human rights, or you can learn more about the sabotage at the Tesla plant in the video below: