On The Spot Parkour describe their movement as “common sense activism” (Photo: Reuters)

A group of environmentally conscious people using parkour to reduce energy waste in Paris has been hailed as a shining example of environmental activism.

Footage shows On The Spot Parkour activists show off incredible athletic feats by pushing switch levers up to 20ft above the ground above shop windows to switch off their light displays at night.

The group’s leaders say their activism is driven by “common sense,” distancing themselves from “militant” eco-warriors.

Groups such as Just Stop Oil have sparked widespread outrage in the UK for increasingly public stunts that some fellow activists have described as “counterproductive” and “disgusting”.

Among them are two students who threw tomato soup at the cherished food Van Gogh painting Art LondonThe National Gallery, as well as a couple of climbers who criticized a fatal delay of ambulance which happened after they closed Dartford Bridge.

One of the students insisted that they chose the artwork on purpose, which they did protected by glasswhile police do not suspect climbers of being responsible for the deaths of two women who died in accidents on the highway that crosses the bridge.

But, nevertheless, their tactics are “backfiring in terms of gaining support”, according to the head of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey.

In contrast, Parisians and social media users have met with a very lukewarm reaction to Parkour on the spot after being spotted around the city deftly climbing over balconies, shop frames and scaffolding to hit their targets.

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A simple “run along the wall” is often enough to turn off the lights in a shop window (Photo: Reuters)

They are part of Lights Off, an unorganized movement founded by “militant environmentalists” using poles and ladders during the Covid pandemic, when businesses were widely condemned for leaving lights on during adjustments.

“Those of us with parkour skills have realized that it can be useful to democratize the sport and place it in a context beyond pure performance,” says one of the group’s leaders, Kevin Ha, in a video posted on social media.

“I think keeping the lights on all night is an abomination because in a world with limited resources, the best way to stop waste is to stop consumption.”

“We are not political: the DNA of our group is still sport. Therefore, we act not as militants, but as citizens guided by common sense.”

Kevin Ha, leader of On The Spot, says dozens of storefronts are trying to be shut down every night (Photo: Reuters)

Unlike the civil disobedience supported by British groups, Lights Off claims to be operating within the law – and even enforcing it.

Local authorities in Paris issued an order more than 10 years ago requiring shops to turn off electric signs and displays between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., but the ban has been widely ignored.

Parkour participants say that they are supported by the city council and that all the policemen they come across allow them to get along as long as they don’t cause any harm.

The group’s ability to avoid criminal damage is greatly aided by the fact that many switches on the high streets of Paris can be reached by a rudimentary “wall run” technique, starting from the sidewalk.

Some of the more dangerous routes involve climbing over balconies to reach switches above (Image: Reuters)

It includes a set of speed during the run that turns into a “leap” of 12 feet or more, bouncing off concrete walls with one foot.

Kevin continued: “We make sure we follow the rules. We don’t do this if it damages the glass, if it needs to be replaced with public lighting, or if it involves things that serve the public like pharmacies or police stations.

“We’re making sure it’s friendly and that our message is well received.”

A medical student named Vincent said, “Maybe they’ll turn it back on tomorrow, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll tell themselves there’s no point.” Let’s see!’

Laeti, a physiotherapy student, added: “First and foremost it’s a group of friends who love sports, whether it’s parkour or rock climbing, and we’re just here. Also, it’s Paris by night, it’s gorgeous. So it’s good for us.”

Modern parkour is believed to have originated in France, and many of its techniques were created and popularized by stunt actor David Bell in the 1990s, before it went global in the 2000s.

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