Jeff Vaughan IMG_6896 - Copy.JPG

Jeff Vaughan is a geologist in Bakersfield.

If you are a former local newspaper editor, current energy writer or other Green proponent, we’ve read your articles, we feel your passion for your cause and believe it’s time you do more than simply write about what you think others must sacrifice. As you are proponents for stopping all California oil and gas production to save the planet, now is the time to act. How about on Jan. 1, 2022 for only one month putting your money where your mouth is? Don’t be intimidated, there are three levels of this challenge depending upon your fortitude and determination.

Beginner Level Challenge: On paper, California currently produces a nation-leading 33 percent of its electricity from “Renewable” sources. Don’t mind that we are already among the worst in reliability and highest electricity rates in the country in addition to having the most expensive gasoline of any state. It’s time to put your foot down! Immediately on Jan. 1, 2022 you pledge to slash your electricity usage by 66 percent — no if ands or buts. Remember, this is only the beginner level. Furthermore, you pledge to not use any petroleum means of transportation — don’t be a hypocrite rookie. You can use electric transportation even though it’s fueled by 66 percent conventional electricity. You can still use all other products made from petroleum at this level. Certainly this easy pledge will draw thousands of takers.

Intermediate Level Challenge: Here is where it gets down to those who really want to embrace the change you proclaim is coming. Not only will you not use any petroleum transportation, you will not use the vast majority of products made from petroleum. Here is a minuscule list of things that you are briefly giving up: roads made of asphalt, water transported through PVC or other plastic pipe, currently configured electric cars as they are made from more than 50 percent petroleum products (tires, hoses, interior, fenders, dashboard, air bags, wire coatings, seat belts and all other plastics, etc…). But wait, there’s more — toothbrushes, cosmetics, candles — unless made from beeswax, batteries, plastic wrap or bags, solar panels (they take an amazing amount of energy to mine, process, manufacture, transport and install, and are mainly from China where coal is the predominant energy source).

OK whiner, you can use solar panels, but only if you’re not connected to the evil grid — remember, you can’t subsidize PG&E who still relies on petroleum. You will not eat food that was grown using commercial fertilizers (made from natural gas) or that has used petroleum-based equipment to plant, process, transport or package. Your recreational pursuits must take a back seat for this challenge: No tennis shoes, racquets, surfboards, wetsuits, football pads, baseball helmets, all synthetic clothing, back packs, kayaks or paddles, snow or water skis, inner-tubes, rubber rafts, parachutes, most balls, archery or climbing equipment, rain gear, tents — you get the picture. You still can live in your house at this level, you just can’t use the majority of your amenities. It could get a little chilly, so wear your hand-knitted wool sweater, but it can’t utilize any colors sourced from petroleum based dyes.

Advanced Level Challenge: Consult your doctor prior to pursuing this one: In addition to all of the above, you will really show the non-believers who is boss. You will not live in any shelter made from or built using any petroleum product including electricity. This leaves several options: 1. Cave. 2. Hut built from clay, dung, snow or wood, but can’t use any tool made from any form of electricity. If you are clever you can use rocks to make tools or build your own foundry, but check for burn days as it takes a serious amount of wood to melt ore to process into metal. I strongly advise against avoiding this, but the vast majority of pharmaceuticals including the current COVID vaccines utilize petroleum products within the vaccine. If you have taken these vaccines, you have injected a petroleum product into your body. Proceed with extreme caution when gambling yours and others' lives for your beliefs.

There it is — your Bakersfield Green Challenge. Please write to the paper after Jan. 31, 2022 and let us know how you easily fared on your 31-day petroleum-free quest. Beginner Level can correspond with the internet. Intermediate Level can use paper or preferably home-made papyrus and natural sourced ink. Advanced Level must submit using hand carved stone tablets.

Jeff Vaughan is a geologist in Bakersfield.