What's the Best Way of Generating Awareness?

Put your suggestions in the comments below. What are you doing to spread awareness. Let's have a discussion on what "success" would look like for achieving awareness of peak oil at a national/local level.
Some ideas: * Letter Writing to Public Officials * Local Education Meetings / End of Suburbia Screenings * Informed Media Coverage * Scientific Papers * Protest Marches / Picketing * Network with Allied Orgs (Environmental, Mass Transit, Biking, etc) * Person to Person Networking (face to face or email)
How about commercial's on CNBC like J walter's is doing on the reopen 911 campaign- I've been told that Cnbc commercials run about 80 bucks per 30 second spot.

A real catchy commercial like a strobe light - flashing-- PEAK OIL_PEAKOIL PEAK OIL for all 30 sevonds for about a month- and some catchy music like real time w,Maher- edgy anarchist type stuff-

Organized Christianity is a tremendous force for shaping opinion and conviction in society.  If the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Protestant leadership were to make Peak Oil an issue the way Roscoe Bartlett has, millions would listen.  On a global level, the Pope has a world-wide bully-pulpit of perhaps unparalleled world-wide influence, owing to the prestige of Pope Benedict's predecessor.

Sadly, I think that the leadership, intelligentsia, and masses within organized Christianity will probably be the last people on the planet to catch onto what is really happening.  When Pope Benedict was elected this past April, I dubbed him the "Peak Oil Pope," because world peak will most likely occur during his pontificate.  And yet, I think there is a decent chance that he has not even heard of the notion.  The degree of oblivion among Christians of all persuasions is, unfortunately, of that sort of magnitude.

Personally I think religion will be a source of community in the coming crisis - a place where people can cooperate more instead of isolating themselves ever more. We have had End of Suburbia screenings at churches. I am doing one in December at a Unitarian Church on Staten Island.
And seeing as we're looking for a "prosperous way down" would one really want organized religion (which hasn't always been noted for its ethical and rational approach to the long view) to take action on something like this? I would prefer to see a groundswell of people from more liberal organizations take the reins, but then again, the church (catholic) is likely a better choice than the neo-cons. It seems like there's a lot of getting in bed with our enemy's enemy. While it may be necessary to raise awareness and prepare for a softer landing, I think skepticsm about ulterior/less-than-altruistic motives should be kept alive--I know I am sometimes afflicted with greed, malice and other base desires, how different can the papacy be?
You are touching on the deeper reason underlying the unsuitability of organized christianity to spread the word about Peak Oil.  Most of them (including the leaders and intellectuals) do not behave as Christians ought to.  In particular, they do not make a serious effort to find the truth and live according to it (Peak Oil being merely one example where this applies), and they do not seriously heed the Bible's stern warnings against the spiritual hazards of wealth and power.  These historically endemic realities go a long way towards explaining organized Christianity's failure with regard to Peak Oil.
As it happens, the article that just appeared today at the following link gives a very apt illustration of WHY wealth and power are so spiritually dangerous:


That Christians would be the allegedly last people to figure out Peak Oil is not a failure of Christianity.  Most Christians spend more time, unfortunately, dealing with the secular world than with the world of faith.  They are thus necessarily affected by the milieu within with they live and operate.

Why do I argue that it is not the failure of Christianity? Well, take a look at the papal encyclicals of the last 150 years since the start of the industrial revolution.  The 'social doctrine' of the Catholic Church, as promulgated since the time of Leo XIII, has been about stewardship of creation, of not exploiting workers, of not pursuing wealth as an end in itself.  Now, it is the fault of the doctor when the patients fail to take their medicine properly?  Is it not, rather, greed operating to maximise oil output, profits, and to have the pursuit of never-ending growth, as encapsulated in our current economic theories?

The prima facie accusation of Catholicism being too worldly is ironic in that there are plenty of social theorists out there who argue that it is in fact too other-worldly, when they are trying to find an excuse for the relatively poorer economic performance of Catholic countries in Europe versus those of Protestant countries.

In any case, taking the lessons of history, the role of the Catholic Church would likely be the preservation of learning and knowledge once the industrial society that we live in now collapses.  Think of the role of the Catholic monks in writing the Bible and other books after the collapse of the complex civilisation of the Roman Empire.

Hi all,

I posted this comment @ The Oil Drum on Sunday: "In Philadelphia, we just had a "Beyond Oil" conference bringing together environmentalists, local politicians & social justice activists, & peak oil experts like Jan Lundberg: http://phillybeyondoil.org"

On Sunday, I went to a follow-up meeting in Philly with some of the organizers of the conference. One of the things we discussed was our disappointment that leaders (and members) from local religious communities, for the most part, did not attend & seemed unwilling to seriously consider our ideas. Especially because many of our organizers come from explicitly faith-based backgrounds (ie, the conference was initiated by The Shalom Center, a progressive Jewish group, and was held in a Quaker building), this was a big failure for us. We tried to analyze the reasons for this -- the essence seems to be that institutions like churches, synagogues, etc are too bureaucratically invested in the status quo to be leaders on an issue that poses such fundamental challenges to our entire way of life, probably unless & until its reality becomes unavoidable. That doesn't mean we'll give up on reaching out to organized religion, but we've lost some hope that they'll be active participants in our coalition...

We also discussed some national campaigns that we could join as a local partner. Without going into what campaigns those are, I'll say that none of them seem really effective or interesting to me. They're all missing that critical 'zing-factor' which is needed to catapult Peak Oil awareness into the cultural mainstream. I have some ideas about language & 'framing' that could do the trick, but instead of revealing those now I'll pose some thoughts & questions about underlying strategy:

1) At TOD a little while back, there was discussion about uniting on a "Draft Roscoe Bartlett for President" campaign in 2008. While I love Roscoe's honesty & leadership on PO, it's a bad idea for 2 reasons: We can't wait until 2008, & it sets us up for the trap of believing in the illusion that a single inspirational leader (almost like the illusion of a technological quick-fix 'silver bullet') can save us.

Instead, we might consider intervention in the 2006 mid-term elections, not to elect any particular candidate, but to inject PO into public dialogue in a way that all of them must speak to. What if citizens 'bird-dogged' candidates at public events? When Republicans attended John Kerry events wearing 'Flip-Flop' costumes, that was news AND it made an indelible impression on public consciousness. What if PO activists bird-dogged BOTH candidates in any given race? What symbols, stunts, etc could we use to make our point?

2) What if, following such a media & public awareness campaign (which conceivably could occur at once in numerous states or localities), we held a number of simultaneous local "Energy Leadership Summits" in cities across the country? Has the PO movement matured enough to be a real source of leadership? Can we work together across ideological & geographical boundaries? If, say during the weekend prior to Thanksgiving in 2006, there were 20 conferences spanning the continent, that would be hard for folks to ignore & could generate political momentum...

Finally, in any public outreach/media campaign, it's crucial to articulate a message that doesn't turn off or paralyze people, but rather draws them in to learn more & be active. What is our "core message"? How do we speak to people in a way that moves them beyond "Civilization is collapsing" panic & selfish survivalism to "We can live sustainably if we mobilize together" hope & action?

Looking forward to yr responses ;-)
Peace ~ Ethan from Philly

Thanks for your comments Ethan. We need a lot more local organizing. We need to start learning from each other on how best to inform the masses. In general, my philosophy is to just go for the low hanging fruit and don't waste too much time on the rest. But planting the seed now will hopefully grow when things start getting more obvious. Is there any place online that folks in Philly are discussing Peak Oil? We are looking for new local voices on The Oil Drum: http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/9/5/195633/4776
Nope, in fact, there's no place online where Philly folks are discussing Peak Oil. Having that would tighten our group, I think, and help us have a more democratic discussion about the all-important question after our conference, "What next?" I've emailed the main Philly Beyond Oil organizer, Charles, about collaborating on a local TOD site, will let you know if we decide to do it. Thanks for the offer & for keepin' it real with the eco-activist edge!
I know the Post Carbon Institute is developing local chapters some are the same as the Meet-Ups occuring - perhaps those same people would like to start-up local TOD sites to stimulate discussion in their own communities. We can all learn from each other.
Yeah, many of those local PCI affiliates are in the Northwest. It would be interesting to take a poll someday of where TOD readers are located. As for Philly, I can report that we're officially interested in running a local TOD site. Since TOD offers a great format & gets high traffic anyway, I expect other communities will come on board eventually. Best perhaps to let it grow organically & screen potentials to keep out nuts & trolls. If we can set a trend where local TODs are relatively oriented towards eco/sustainable solutions, I think that would be a great contribution to the PO network as a whole...
My suggestion is to start a blog on blogspot. It is really easy to do. We can get a taste of your writings, and then like we did with my old site we can merge you guys in. I will definitely make sure we send all the philly, southern Jersey, eastern PA people your way!
Just a few thoughts.  The Amish have it right.  They are so close to Philly and the rest of the modern world, yet they are already living the life without oil.  They are a religious society, so it is certainly a model to look at when speaking to other religious leaders.

Obviously, this is an extreme example.  We cannot all de-urbanize and go back to farming as a way of life.  However, there are lessons to be learned and working ideas that can be expanded throughout the global society.

More mounted police units (whether horse or bicycle mounted) should be considered in town and city governments both as a way to save money and teach the public.

Other blog posts have suggested car-free zones in towns.  More bicycle paths and in general making it less dangerous to get around using other methods of travel (horses and/or bicycles) will promote their use. (Build it and they will come.)

Better rights-of-way and laws or tax breaks to protect and promote horse-drawn taxis in urban centers might encourage more entrepreneurship in that field.