Special to ModernJeeper by Jim Bramham, Past President Calif. 4WD Assoc., Board Member, American Sand Association, and 2018 Inductee to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame who we heard first use this phrase, random use of fossil fuels.
Random Use of Fossil Fuels
When the anti-access folks want to shut us down, they find all kinds of reasons and strategies. Typically, they challenge our image or point out the bad behavior of a few.
We’ve seen them hiding in the bushes along trails like the Rubicon to spot folks who might throw out some trash – or leave trash in a campsite.
Dust and noise are on top of their list as well – especially in places like Oceano Dunes. Plants like milk vetch grab national attention (and cause major closures in places like the Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis).
Blooming milk vetch in the Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis).
Let’s not forget endangered (rare or threatened) species that seem to show up anywhere we like to have motorized fun.
And what about carbon and our footprint? There is a billboard in southern California that advocates Date Night – with no carbon footprint or fossil fuel emission. You can go produce picking, have plant-based dining, walk through a vineyard or do anything but use a car (or 4×4)!
Bad science and some real science are connecting climate change to your carbon footprint. There it is – climate change. Another reason to shut us down of course.
Now there is a new sheriff in town – it’s the random use of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels or mineral fuels are hydrocarbon found in the top layers of the earth that include coal, liquid petroleum (oil) and methane gas. Everything that makes motors work comes from carbon-based fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels come from the widely accepted theory that they were formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants and animals.
Anti-access folks are now saying that the random use of fossil fuels is unnecessary and environmentally unsustainable. This is any use of fossil fuel beyond the shortest line from start to destination. Think of ATVs in the sand, snowmobile and motorcycle hill climbs and rides, boat fishing and water sports, even general aviation. All will become targets.
Organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council start their webpage on fossil fuels calling them “the dirty facts” pointing out that mining, drilling and burning dirty energy are harming the environment and our health.
This new “sheriff” is something we must pay attention to and have counter points ready to make!
Certainly, it’s not fair that we must defend our freedoms we fought so hard for and keep our access to trails and public lands. But it’s a fact — and well, you know, who said life was fair?
To combat this new strategy, we must:
1. Use good science and have it ready at public meetings and in public comments.
2. Beef up our professional land use staff and organizations at every turn so they can be our voice of reason when these matters surface.
3. Keep our rigs and toys in top notch condition so we’re not an obvious eye sore or environmental issue on the trail.
4. Be cognizant of our posts and pics on social networks so that we portray our concern for the environment.
5. Join organized recreation groups and associations and learn as much as we can about fossil fuels and the hobbies we love.
Just when we think “they” have run out of ways to shut us down or close us out more, something like this surfaces. Realize we cannot let our guard down! Let’s not go the way of the dinosaurs and just be old fossils talking of the past…Get involved; do your part; whatever that may be; and let’s keep motorized recreation alive!
Learn more from ModernJeeper about getting involved in keeping our Jeeping alive and our trails open here.