Last week, Pat Callinan posted a video to Facebook (see it here) about plans for the Wombat state forest being turned into a National Park, and the negative impact that would have on 4WD’ers. In itself, that was the same old story right? A few hoons ruining it for the majority. Another thing to shake your head at?
Despite the issue raised being very real, and the rate at which 4WD trails are being closed across the country very worrying, I have to tell you that I was impressed by two things that happened next. As you might expect, Pat’s post got a lot of likes, clicks, and comments. But the first thing to please me was who shared it. The Offroad Adventure Show, a ‘competitor’ of Pat’s had shared the post!
While I’m not aware of animosity between key personalities in the 4WD industry, from the limited glimpses I’ve seen behind the scenes, there is definitely a strong rivalry. So to see a competitor of Pat’s come out and share that post is fantastic. These guys have put aside their business interests for a minute and decided to get behind an industry wide issue, and while that may seem like common sense, I can tell you that in many other industries, it simply doesn’t happen. So thank you to the team at the Offroad Adventure Show – its very pleasing to see you focus on the issue rather than allow politics (or personalities) to get in the way!
The second thing that pleased me, was that there was some respectful discussion that occurred on the post. I didn’t read every comment, but at one point a person identifying themselves as a 4WDer stated that the only way to truly ensure the protection of the park and wildlife was to close it. And while the harsh reality is that is a potential solution, that comment is far from the outcome we want as 4WDers. Instead of a heap of disgusting and angry comments though, there was some respectful discussion about the issue and no-one resorted to abuse, which was also very pleasing – it is too rare that people from opposing viewpoints can have a respectful intellectual discussion in this day and age.
I’m not sure what impact Pat’s video will have in the big scheme of things, but seeing these two things this week gave me a ray of hope that together we can make a difference. If we unite as a collective on these issues and encourage robust discussion, then maybe we’ll get to a point where those that can 4WD respectfully are not punished by the sins of the few.
However, for this to happen, we all need to take some responsibility. I once heard a saying which rings very true here. ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’ It means that if you see something wrong and don’t do something about it, then through inaction or indifference, effectively you are condoning it. It means that we all have the power to take action, and if our words are to be more than rhetoric, we must.
Imagine if all the responsible 4WD’ers out there started sharing content showing them being responsible – for example, picking up Rubbish that others have left behind, or clearing trees down across roads? And if they started with something as simple as using the hashtag #responsible4wder? There’s a lot of us in this country, and it maybe, just maybe it might help turn the perception in our favour.
So instead of 4WD posts feeding the perception that we are all dangerous rubbish dumping hoons, lets start filling feeds with posts showing us being responsible!
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!