It all started with an idea nearly 50 years ago. One that believed the world was headed in the wrong direction. Pollution filled the air. Our lands were becoming more and more poisoned. And all these things were negatively affecting our children.
They called it Earth Day, that April 22nd back in 1970. Millions took to the streets in protest of everything bad happening in the environment. Over time, things did begin to change. Laws emerged to help protect our environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency was formed.
This year, Saturday’s Earth Day celebrated its 47th incarnation and an estimated 1 billion people in 192 countries took part in cleanup events, educational seminars, tree plantings, as well as countless other civic and political activities.
Yet for all its progress over the years, this Earth Day may the most important ever as it seems like our environment is under attack from all sides from those unable, or unwilling to see its merits.
The off road community, no matter if it’s Jeep enthusiasts, Ford, Toyota, Chevy, or whatever, can play a huge role in helping stave off this attack. Off roaders are avid users and supporters of all types of outdoors activities. It may be a day on the trails, a scenic afternoon drive, or camping out for the weekend. But the way we interact with our environment – the way we leave it when the weekend or trip is over – defines us as individuals as well as off roaders.
At Quadratec, we strive to follow this practice every time we’re on the trail. As such, we partnered with Tread Lightly! several years ago for our Quadratec Cares: Restoration for Recreation Stewardship Program. Those looking for additional funds to help promote cleanup projects for things such as trash bags, gloves, water, food, signage, tools or facility rental, can apply for grant money through Tread Lightly. In 2016, these grants helped improve 7,261 miles of trail, removed 3,080 pounds of trash, and involved 338 volunteers with a corresponding $42,785 worth of volunteer hours.
Tread Lightly!, a not-for-profit national organization dedicated to protecting the great outdoors, provides a great example to follow for anyone who is interested in taking their vehicle off road. The company's philosophy includes:
- Travel Responsibly on land by staying on designated roads, trails and area. Go over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trails. Cross streams only at designated fords. when possible, avoid wet, muddy trails. On water, stay on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.
- Respect the Rights of Others including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed. Leave gates as you found them. Yield right of way to those passing you or going uphill. On water, respect anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and those on or near shore.
- Educate Yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies. Plan for your trip, take recreation skills classes and know how to operate your equipment safely.
- Avoid Sensitive Areas on land such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes. This protects wildlife habitats and sensitive soils from damage. Don’t disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites. On water, avoid operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.
- Do Your Part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and repairing degraded areas.
In addition to the Quadratec Cares grants, starting this year, the company is also offering an ‘Energize the Environment’ grant to individuals or groups who are putting together more intensive environmental programs. These $3,500 grants will be offered twice a year and those interested can find more information here.
Besides grant programs designed to involve individuals or groups, Quadratec also has joined with Tread Lightly! and participated in several trail cleanup events out in Moab, UT - with the more recent ones helping revitalize Hells Revenge and Hey Joe Canyon trails. The company has also sponsored a local cleanup at Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, and has plans for several other upcoming maintenance events.
Even if you are not currently involved with trail assistance programs or environmental action, there are several things you can still do to help keep Earth Day relevant all year, while assisting the environment at the same time. Things like growing your own food, striving to go paperless, planting a tree, carpooling – even drinking less bottled water to cut down on plastic waste – are all great ways to keep the spirit of Earth Day going throughout the year.