12.31 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan: Hated what Nicole Foss had to say but he fears it’s true. Says Nicole only spends 10% time explaining peak oil, 90% responding to it.
ASPO should have a message, “You’ll fare better if you prepare for the peak.”
Must be short, tight, focused.
Another guy likes:
Truth in Energy.
Mueller: Know what you’re saying about yourself, and what you’re saying about the opposition. We need a policy plan because people ask what ASPOs plan is. Our government plan is don’t do anything, but do be truthful
12.31 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: James Howard Kunstler said at a book signing at Third Place Books in Seattle, responding to an audience of women who were unhappy with the way he treated women characters in his book. He said tough luck, in the future if technology and energy are gone, people might not like the roles they have to settle for.
Astyk: Jim and I have had a lot of back and forth about this. I agree with him partially. So much of our economy has been about moving women into the workplace and out of the informal economy and domestic sphere. Why is it in most societies women do most of the childcare rather than the farming or mining? Women have to be close to children so they can only do work that’s easily interruptible so you can attend to baby. And not dangerous of course.
But in his novels women who were raised in today’s society go very quickly into an old timey gender division of labor. That could be done in a variety of ways, it’s not inevitable. We could go back to a society where women lose legal freedoms and education, because there were good reasons to do that in the past, but not necessarily.
Greer: Kunstler makes a mistake in thinking that the gender roles of middle class Americans in the 1950s was genetically encoded, that June and Ward Cleaver define the eternal nature of gender relations. Don’t forget, men are disposable — in a tribe with 50 women but only one man can still have 50 babies the next year. Tribal societies do a good job of putting young men in dangerous situations. This is Darwinian selection, so the fittest survive and reproduce. But how this plays out will differ drastically from one society to another. In my online novel, Stars Reach, all the scholars are women. And men — OK, most men — don’t lactate. There’s an immense amount of flexibility we see in human societies.
Orlov: There can be very different arrangements, for example, Russia is a matriarchy where women rule from the kitchen. As the situation becomes harder and harsher, the typical pattern will be followed, as men form the defensive perimeter and women are in the center with the kids. And yes, men are disposable. After WWII in Finland, women had trouble finding husbands, and they came up with interesting arrangements, but their society easily survived.
12.26 Lindsay Curren
David Gard: Went to an interfaith energy & light event. Has about 100 peak oil slides, which one to use? Which one for this group?
Intead of him giving a presentation of his own, he put up words and let people riff off of the themes. Audience engagement as a group process, helps people engage, start to see things through their own eyes, and this opens a process of inclusion and an important process together.
12.23 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: YOu can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet. And yet the earth is abundant. How to knit together these vision?
12.19 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: Solar panels?
Greer: Great, it’s buying energy now to use later. Even if it’s just energy neutral. But it won’t power industrial civilization.
Astyk: To accept the premise of the renewable panel from yesterday, you have to really want to keep things the way they are. But the reality is that it’s not necessarily how things work. And I think you have more fun if you’re more flexible to see the world as it’s probably going to be you have more fun. If you can’t be happy without controverting the laws of physics and chemistry, there’s a problem.
Orlov: I make all my power by PV and wind. But I don’t like the idea of putting panels all over the Sahara, is that you’ll need whole villages of guys with squeegies and water bottles. But you know, energy on demand is a luxury. Use the sun to heat things and use kinetic energy (wind) to move things. Don’t convert and suffer the conversion loss. The idea of generating electricity for alternative means doesn’t make sense except for limited uses, such as communications. And that’s a very small power requirement.
Greer: Our fetish in the modern world is having energy available on demand. We’ve built our life around that. But the rest of the world has dealt with a world where you use energy only when it’s there. When do you make hay? When the sun shines. You can do marvelous things with solar heat to domestic or light industrial temperatures if you don’t mind it not being around 24/7. So we need to change ourselves. Getting to the future is going to suck at this point. It didn’t have to, if we had kept going the way we were in the seventies. We need to know: the alternative to industrial society is not living in caves, but instead, is returning to a normal human existence, which none of us have experienced.
Astyk: We have made our past uninhabitable to us. We can’t go home again. Though some things are better today, the past wasn’t really an unmitigated hell. It’s not hard to do a few things to have a little bit of power, heat and clean water. So we should put up PV today but not on our houses — on the hospital. We should have public not private infrastructure. We should have town water instead of our own personal stash.
12.15 Lindsay Curren
YOung person: Says that a boook called Ishmael about 20 years old, says it is good storytelling for this kind of thing.
Question: What do you tell people for the short term? Especially young people? Should I go straight to the garden.
12.13 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Logic doesn’t sell stories. It’s logic combined w/ emotional driver.
12.12 Lindsay Curren
Guy Dauncey: References Naomi Davis’s storytelling yesterday, talking from the future back to today and how inspiring she was. A clear, positive message.
He says there are too many negative visions, and that there is a great need for positive visions in environmental movement and energy community.
12.09 Lindsay Curren
Audience member; Get message across. From idea to action.
Active listening. He found when he rephrased what they said that he understood things better.
He used the Transition Trainig method where you look at a slide, read about it, and then put it in your own words to share it with someone else.
12.04 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman: Three of us sold our houses (and our stocks) and bought a single larger one for all of us to share. We have no mortgage to pay and we’ve bought a solar hot water heater. It’s fun and lots of women come to check it out. In Mass, there’s no a community farm where the community can invest in eighth acre plots and then hire people to grow food for local use. We can invest locally like this.
Greer: Solar water heating? What’s the payback time — you have a hot bath after the oil runs out. Even now, you save 10 percent on your home energy bill, forever. Repudiate your identity, as you’ve done!
12.04 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Talks about electoral politics and setting the stage for relocalization platforms, local office, state office. This guy did it and got more support from Teddy Roosevelet Republicans. They got the narrative.
Frank Lutz good at framing story and putting things into soiund bytes that people can understand.
What are the commonalities between people? Build on those toward a common future “worth inheriting.”
12.01 Lindsay Curren
Audience member, a young fella named John.
What is the story of peak oil? Do we sound like a ufo cult? We’re prophesizing on a new world to come, and one that’s unhappy. Transition story might do a better job by offering a positive vision.
What is your objective? Can you create a compromise between traditional values and nudge them toward a different way of life or understanding, then you might get some traction there.
He says peak oil peaked, now it’s Transition, but it isn’t viral enough.
11.59 Erik Curren
Comments from the panel.
Greer: Dmitry and I famously disagree on timeline for collapse. I think there will be a stair-step decline, with little collapses and then a partial recovery afterwards. My long-term view is that we’re heading toward a dark age, but none of us will live to see that, maybe 300 years in the future. But that old standby the backyard garden will be useful no matter what you think about when collapse will come. A backyard garden will save you money now and provide valuable training. Or, my wife makes soap. She mixes fat and red devil lye with scenting agents. Wasn’t there a shortage of soap in the former USSR? Even today, you can make soap as gifts and it’s better quality soap.
Astyk: I’m not getting into the question of timeframe since I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I do think you should stockpile things that are shelf-stable. For example, drugs. Your local high school chemistry teacher can probably make many useful drugs. You just need to have the ingredients in place before collapse.
Greer: Make sure your plan works even if the collapse doesn’t come next week. For example, eco-villages. They’re expensive. Also you have to pay taxes. Have your plan B in place so that it’s survivable for the time being before eco-topia comes.
Orlov: heating will be a problem in the future. How about concentrating solar that will provide heat to a group of houses? It’s a big structure, and will only be competitive once heating fuel is too expensive. So hold the raw materials in place for now. Also, farming is a turnkey operation. In the future, people will probably want to work for food, and human-powered agriculture can be scaled up in one season.
11.58 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Also reach local radio stations, especially ones with a broader reach.
11.57 Lindsay Curren
Tom Quin, editor. Try local strategies. You don’t have to say peak oil (but you can) but there is a great angle w/ emergency planning sessions. Reporters will come to this, and you can ask about pwer grid, transportation, give out one page hand out.
11.54 Lindsay Curren
Kurt Cobb: Responding to mob rule. People don’t really understand peak oil quickly, and so it isn’t likey to cause mob rule.
Responding to Nancy, the Soc. teacher, who mentioned FOX news. Don’t exclude conservatives, conservative Christians, etc. These people are concerned, too.
11.52 Lindsay Curren
Greg Smith: Empower EPA to turn down environemntal plans for transportation plans. If they don’t meet the standard, don’t pass it. They need info, and support.
11.50 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Buy peak oil books and give them to your public library. Late adopters are often older,m conservative and use library.
Occupy movement is unconventional leadership training program. Their decision making process is consensus building and they have lending libraries. Give books to them.
Baldauf: Maybe more citizen suits should be filedunder Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Citizens must file!
11.49 Erik Curren
In the interim, before the economy collapses, some things are counterproductive:
- Accumulate financial assets
- Make debt payments
- Look for a job — employment will be a thing of the past
- Protest, lobby, vote — government will soon be gone
- Pretend that “everything is going to be allright”‘; nothing will be fine
Productive activities: Plan, recruit, train, educate, stockpile, provide support, rest!
Deciding when to pull the rip cord is pretty tricky. Don’t count on the govt to show you when it’s collapsed. Local measures are probably better — how many people are showing up at local soup kitchens? If it’s half the town, you have a problem. And you don’t want a hungry winter — one of those can wipe out many people.
Post-collapse investing: Don’t be a zombie investor, who, no matter what time it is, says “it’s time to buy stops and bonds.” But a well stored inventory of durable supplies will not depreciate in value. Ten thousand feet of wire rope will be cheaper today than in the future. And it’s a low risk investment overall, the investment retains value either pre- or post-collapse.
11.48 Lindsay Curren
Catton: Next spirng in baseball season, write to sports page editors w/ question of how to have teams meet in wake of peak oil.
11.47 Lindsay Curren
Professor Catton: He attended Chicago World’s fair in ’33, about Century of Progress. He says we need a world’s fair again, and what would be the theme?
11.45 Lindsay Curren
He says coming here, meeting those w/ shared perspective, has been great for his own journey, will affect him in teaching to other EPAers, but suggests ASPO name change to Peak Oil Anonymous.
11.44 Lindsay Curren
Rob Gillman from EPA, says EPA feels no pain right now in terms of adjusting to peak oil story.
Messaging and story are the main thing. Greeks Rhetorical Triangle, Ethos, Pathos, Logos.
Logos: Info is solid, and that’s great.
Pathos is there, the emotion.
Ethos: But what’s the moral?
11.42 Erik Curren
Orlov now gives a PowerPoint presentation. He’s been collaborating with Prof Ugo Bardi, who has done mathematical experiments.
Hubbert Curve is not lopsided enough, the trailing edge is too long and smooth. Gradual decline is accurate for countries that can start importing oil from the rest of the world, not the case with the USSR, which collapsed three years after reaching its own oil peak. If the US was alone on the planet, it would’ve collapsed in 1974 or so. So we should expect the planet earth, which can’t import oil, to have its economy collapse just a few years after the global peak.
I’ve got a very simple model, not like climate models which are too complex. Mine is a “mind-sized model,” simple enough to get. Chart of the rise and fall of the economy based on oil supplies. We bleed off about a third of the economy into fixed costs like pollution, war, regulation, etc needed to provide oil, what Bardi’s Seneca Cliff model just calls “pollution.” These things get more complex over time and you can’t de-complexify them easily. Take the US Tax Code for example, it’s 140,000 pages. It would be easy to double it, just give pens to legislators. But to cut it down would be nearly impossible. So, complex systems don’t de-complexify — they collapse.
Solutions? Post collapse solutions are not needed or competitive today, eg, having Dmitry take your package up the coast to Boston in his boat rather than shipping it on Fed Ex. What should we do? Start setting aside resources and plans and have your post-collapse solutions in reserve so they can start working a short time thereafer because everything has been put into place. This assumes that shortly after peak oil occurs, people start planing, setting aside supplies, recruiting and training.
Then, society will need to re-boot, like changing a computer from Windows to Linux.
The economy can recover partially, hopefully enough to supply everyone’s basic needs.
11.41 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan: Peak oil will have casualties so let’s understand that and be prepared for people being panicked.
Charlie Hall: A session this afternoon on education. Tune in, we’ll live blog it if we can.
11.37 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan with his missionary analogy again. Brimstone and hellfire used to work. It doesn’t work today. Don’t want to say, “be afraid, be very afraid.”
Kids are a key constituents. Know the teaching moments, and sometimes there are not teaching moments.
Today is the wisdom of crowds, other side is mob rule. Probably wont have mob rule in this room, but out there, let’s contribute to not having mob rule as this story gets out.
11.34 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: I think this is best session because story, narrative, communications most important element right now.
Finding a realistic, positive vision to hold on to, and people will be drawn to, and build upon it.
Narrative of Americans as candoists can be built on.
What about Christian message: Eternal bliss or eternal damnation…can be built on in a broader sense.
11.32 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: smallness will be a big advantage in the future. Occupy the countryside — the skills aren’t all there anymore, but some still are. Also, no one can afford the land alone.
Astyk: My model is not an intentional community but a family farm and we even invited my former housemate to live there and he did until we lost him to love The seven of us are not sufficient to occupy our house, so the answer is to put more butts in there to share the work. Everyone in this room probably has underutilized space to share and while I’d like more formalized organizational models, I’ve got space and you’ve got energy could be good enough.
Greer: I’m basically a city boy. I haven’t pursued it, we have a small but pleasant urban house. I recommend a book from the seventies: The Integral Urban House. Get an old copy or hope that New Society will reprint it.
Orlov: The last time I saw a place like that was in Estonia, big wooden houses on a hill with a barn designed for several families. It was almost a hilltop town in miniature.
11.31 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Grant underwriting is helpful, but can sometimes undermine efforts because including peak oil aspect may not be under the grant mandate.
11.29 Lindsay Curren
Problem with telling the peak oil story because the global warming prioritized folks don’t like peak oil for many reasons. Need a narrative to bridge that gap.
11.28 Lindsay Curren
Audience Member: Says Goolge Gimley Glider, perfect metaphor for society coming down from oil.
11.27 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: I lived through WWII in Germany and our food stash was broken into three times during 1945-48 by the neighbors. By nature I’m a Robinson Crusoe. But one of my fascinations with Transition is that I need to learn to do the community thing. Unless my neighbors have a stash of their own, then my stash is gone.
Astyk: Good points. Refugees are a wave of the future. Often the people who are most troubling to us are those who compete with us for food and shelter. We’ve seen how quickly in other places how your neighbors can become no longer neighborly. Do we have good community building tools to try to resist this? It’s an issue for me since I’m a leftist Jew living in a rural Christian community. Not sure I have a good answer on that one.
Greer: No one easy answer, every community or human settlement pattern is different. To some extent, choose your community and neighbors well, because you’ll have to live with them. Ideologies and styles differ considerably from town to town. I’m pretty comfortable with my neighbors, I get the occasional piece of venison from them. But if you’re seen as the outsider, you will be blamed when things get bad.
Orlov: A lot depends on how you behave where you are. On my boat, I have a summer and a winter marina. When you come together for the season, the marina congeals into a village where people interact in self-organizing ways. For example, people soon realize that it’s easier to cook for more people less frequently rather than more frequently for fewer people. So there’s always a barbecue going on. Nobody plans the menu or guest list. But you need to get over the mentality that what’s mine is mine and you have to plan everything out. If they have this attitude they should stop.
Astyk: I agree with all that, but every genocide I’ve ever heard about people say “they were my neighbors.” Sometimes when there is community, things fall apart. What we need is a zero-tolerance policy for the “othering” of other people. Even for us tolerant liberal, you need to avoid blaming conservatives or whomever.
Greer: And if you don’t do it someone else may. There are no guarantees. Every one of us could be dead in a ditch at some point. We need to get over this idea that we’ll always have a pseudo-utopian existence because this is America.
Orlov: People on the water have a legal responsibility to come to each other’s aid on the water, so that carries over to what people do on the dock.
11.23 Lindsay Curren
Greg Smith gave a shout out to Transition Voice, sayng we’re great! Woo hoo! He also promised a donation (yeah, thanks).
Talks about organizing people to their self interest. Relays that someone told him not to frame things outside the factual box, and to not be moral, exact opposite of what has been shared among people here. Clear that bureaucrats are threatened by a moral message.
11.19 Lindsay Curren
Sociology Prof: We’re in a new place after 10 years of telling the ASPO story. Since 2008 fear and hurt have settled in, people are struggling to understand it.
NOW IS THE MOMENT to size the opportunity on the peak oil story. All is coming together through econpmic crisis. We need to find ways through multiple fronts to have that discussion.
People are interested in seeing how they fit into society, and why the things that are happening are happening (poverty, sexism, racism.)
It’s a ripe time to take our explanation and help people understand the moment we’re in.
11.17 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman: Coastal areas are dangerous because of sea level rise from global warming. There will be environmental change everywhere and will make it tough to find places that are viable. Low lying areas will send refugees to higher ground. Will they camp in our backyards?
Greer: Most Rust Belt cities have half the population they had in the seventies. So in Cumberland we could take a few of those refugees in.
Astyk: We have bad land on top of a hill — it was a sod farm, so literally, they sold the top soil. Land below us in the river bottom was flooded out recently and you had FEMA come in. These kinds of practice disasters are useful. They should you what your community is like. But also it shows that places that were not attractive or viable in the past could be better in the future. I used to be jealous that river bottom land, but no more.
11.16 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: I don’t know if I feel confident in my ability to flip someone’s belief system.
She’s concerned about narratives that are out there told again and again. So we should focus on getting out story out in a consistent way, message discipline and relentless repetition of same three points again and again. That must be in a coordinated fashion. To have lofty goals, like getting on Charlie Rose, is a sophisticated campaign with some groundwork already laid down through broad, similar stories.
Mueller: A message campaign for this may differ from a message campaign for an electoral campaign.
11.13 Erik Curren
Orlov: Back in Russia, they used to shut down the universities and bus students out to the countryside to pick potatoes. It might have some didactic value. Maybe some community colleges might consider adding that to their program.
11.12 Lindsay Curren
Audience member in Comm discussion: We too often focus on the enemy, go past them, and press what you have to offer.
11.12 Lindsay Curren
Audience Member: I’m a union organizer, so yeah we have to met people where they are. We all operate by beliefs, they underlie our mental structure. You have to understand their beliefs and reason from their point of view.
Not just info, but an ask. What are they going to do to confirm, demonstrate, internalize that knowledge.
And I added that women are a key constituency and we have to be more represented in the speaker’s bank, and in outreach.
11.11 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: In South Bronx, he was involved in a program that took city kids on field trips to upstate farms. Program is called Plenty USA.
Greer: Today, that’s a fine program. But in the future it won’t work. We need to look at things like the Erie Canal, which is still usable. Too bad others have gotten silted up and there will be good jobs in the future digging those out. One reason I moved out to a town in Maryland, is that the urban-rural connection thing is easier to handle when you don’t have to go through miles of suburbs.
Orlov: Once the transportation options become very expensive, it would be make sense to have land on a waterway, such as the intercoastal that goes all along the Carolinas. You can have a farm right there. Water transport is much more energy efficient.
Astyk: It’s a common model in many societies, you have a strong rural-urban connection. You start by building strong ties in rural areas. In England, people used to take their vacations to pick hops all day. What kind of infrastructure can you create now, when most people don’t expect to pick peas on the farm. The program with children is good to give people exposure to agriculture.
11.06 Erik Curren
Do you need your own homestead or is just living in a place that has a commons enough?
Good question, but he phrased it as a statement more than a question so no answer. Bummer.
11.03 Erik Curren
I’ve moved to the session on community solutions, chaired by ASPO board member Megan Quinn Bachman, with speakers Sharon Astyk, John Michael Greer and Dmitry Orlov.
10.36 Erik Curren
Audience member, man, ex-military: If the religion of industrial society is growth, then that makes us missionaries. It can also get us burned at the stake…We’ve got a pretty big task and don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting a quick response. If you’ve ever changed your religion or had a conversion experience, you know that you won’t win many converts if you tell people they’re assholes and that their god is dead. Let them come to conclude that themselves.
Kurt Cobb: In the West, we tend to be monotheistic. In the East, not so much. The Chinese are Buddhists, Confucianists or Taoists on different days. Maybe people don’t need to abandon their faith all on one day. We don’t have to displace somebody’s belief with new information or stories.
Somehow, I find this discussion dissatisfying. I’m hearing a lot of conjectures and opinions without much support, either stories or even (gasp!) some data on what works.
What about drawing on people who are experienced in successfully reaching a larger public, such as green advocacy groups? I’d like to hear what Bill McKibben has to say. Most of the people in this room don’t seem to have that kind of experience.
10.34 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: We tend to be monotheistic in the West. Not so much in the East.
People don’t need to abandon their faith in economic growth all at once, or altogether, they can have a polytheistic view and hold different ideas at once.
We don’t have to displace a belief, but rather to moderate a belief, and tell new stories.
10.32 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: If growth is our religion, then we are missionaries trying to convert 7 billion to a view against their religion.
This is a hard task. Do not be discouraged. You are not converted by telling others that their God is dead. They need a conversion to something other than growth and they have to conclude their God is dead on their own.
10.28 Lindsay Curren
Audience member. Longest journey is from an intellectual thought to a heartfelt belief.
Important to draw on credible sources, like the JOE 10, and such, but don’t dwell on them. Reach people through stories.
10.27 Erik Curren
Audience member, man, eco-psychologist and systems theorist: State religion of America is “mammonism,” or greed. The invisible hand is mysticism, it’s not science. The problem is more complex than peak oil — it’s peak soil, peak water, etc — peak everything. How can we create a new story that is just as systemic as the mainstream story we want to correct and that also meets people halfway, that invites people into this story?
10.24 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Must be honest about the system keeping us from getting where we want to be on peak oil issue.
Underlying thing is deification of greed. It’s religion of growth. It’s the “invisible hand.”
Must add to the story that we are a part of the natural world. This has an economic factor. Labor of natural resource and human labor. Closing the loop on humanity within nature not outside of it.
10.18 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Must have a strategy to address crisis when it happens.
Audience Member: She’s a sociology prof. Says sometimes history must happen to make change. Average person gets that we’re in decline. But they don’t know what’s up.
10.17 Erik Curren
Kurt Cobb: why do defense and transportation officials get it? People will overcome their innate resistance to an idea when the physical circumstances of their situation cause change (?). So, these two areas are impacted strongly by energy. Implications? We’ll have to wait for more and more groups to feel this same pressure. That can help speed progress along the S curve of adoption of this idea.
10.15 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: Transportation people can be key allies.
10.10 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman with investment bank: The Defense establishment obviously gets peak oil. Shouldn’t we leverage the military to make our point? Bill Catton: we should go after the Interior Dept too. We should shame the present secretary of interior to follow the example of Stuart Udall who held the office in the past and accepts peak oil.
But I think ASPO or any other advocate won’t have much credibility with White House officials without much public support. And that’s where peak oil is today — especially compared to green issues, no constituency. And look how hard it is to get green issues addressed on the federal level.
Big polluters have much more pull on the Hill than the Sierra Club.
10.08 Lindsay Curren
Baldauf: Have we failed or succeeded in getting the peak oil message out there?
Have we failed or succeeded in getting ASPO out there?
We’ve had a lot of success. W/in 10 years we’ve acknowledged peak oil more broadly, as well as peak everything, and ASPO USA has had a lot to do w/ achieving that.
We want to get the peak oil message out there, and ASPO needs to get credit.
To that I say, then you need to begin adapting.
Audience member asks: Are you after national policy, or state policy too. At state level there are some energy strategy docs coming out, Georgia, Arizona…
10.05 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Shame those who are not carrying forth the agenda of predesessors (sp?).
10.04 Lindsay Curren
Audience members: Communication has to be directed to moderators. Conservatives have more resistance to change.
She says Dept. of Defense agrees w/ us, but not openly. She suggests using a medium they already respect, what’s happening in the military? Also the Interior Dept. Communicate w/ several departments, not just energy.
10.02 Lindsay Curren
Audeince member: References a Biblical story from Geesis about cows coming out of the river which was an oimen for storing grain….he says there’s a history of preparing in times of abundance for times of scarcity.
So can we tell a story of preparing for scarctiy? And can we get the pharohs to dream a dream?
How can we connect pharohs to connectors?
10.01 Erik Curren
I asked Kurt Cobb about the issue I mentioned earlier, that the 99 percent of ordinary people can get peak oil easily but that the top 1 percent of the rich are pumping out propaganda to confuse the issue.
He disagrees and says that there’s considerable disagreement in the ruling elites about how to deal with peak oil. But Kurt didn’t give any examples, so I’m not sure who those rich disagreers would be. I don’t remember having heard from any of them?
09.57 Lindsay Curren
Data important, but irrelevant. YOu have to tell stories!
09.57 Erik Curren
Martenson likes George Lakoff and has worked with his firm on “framing” messages. When people ask what he’s doing, he doesn’t say “I’m trying to get people to save energy,” which is just a tactic. Then, people will pull out their machine guns and start attacking it. Instead, he says “I’m trying to create a world worth living in.”
Then, his own life becomes a meaningful story, he quit his corporate job to start prepping for peak oil.
Then, repeat your message. Overall, we’re after the tipping point of awareness, not 51 percent, but the right 6 or 8 percent of “mavens,” “communicators” and “connectors,” and then your “salespeople.” So he tries to identify those people. He wants to double his traffic on his website.
09.56 Lindsay Curren
Martenson: Story is important because you have to have a narrative. My own life becomes a model. Use yourself as an example.
People have to see them selves in that story so at the national level, you have to tell the story in a way that people can see themselves in it, and there are challenges to that w/ peak oil story.
We’re after a the tipping point.
You have Mavens (data collectors)
Communicators (they cross brorders)
Salespeople they can sell anything
09.54 Lindsay Curren
Chris Martenson: I’ve made a career out of telling complicated stories. I talk about really hard stuff.
I’ve learned a number of things.
The Crash Course is laid out in 20 chapters that go from easy beliefs among people (new information). To the highest chapter where there is strong resistance and attachment to beliefs.
Also, wording is important. Framing is important. Things should be framed morally, not tactically.
09.53 Erik Curren
Chris Martenson, author of the Crash Course. By the way, he’s lost lots of weight. I heard that he says it’s because he’s now found his life’s purpose and is doing what he believes in.
Living in truth is apparently good for your health. Who knew, but it makes sense.
09.51 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: Values drive decisions, and there are different audiences. Story tellign does this better.
09.50 Erik Curren
Kurt Cobb, author of peak oil novel “Prelude.” Old idea that humans evolved only to see immediate threats and can’t plan for the future. This accounts for basic conservatism of culture and denial of obvious truth.
I see this issue for climate change but not for peak oil. In my experience, ordinary people get that the world will run out of oil sometime, maybe soon (I know, I know oil experts, we’ll never “run out” of oil entirely, but for regular people that’s a distinction without a difference).
It’s not that hard to talk about peak oil with the 99 percent. I think the problem is that that top 1 percent don’t want us to get it, because business as usual keeps them rich. So they spread all sorts of disinformation.
09.48 Lindsay Curren
Kurt Cobb wants to talk about the difficulties in getting your message across.
Humans are designed to think about the present because they adapt to their environment, not for the future. It’s difficult to countermand that all our cells are pitched on the present. We do plan, but not a lot.
This accounts for the conservatism of culture, and resisitance, as in the peak oil story.
We see this story as logical, but all others are focused on RIGHT NOW!
09.46 Erik Curren
Guy from Sweden — why don’t they have name cards as on the other panels earlier — makes a good point about how we need to tell more stories. For example, the story of how the butcher and the baker feed us only from their self-interest and how this works for society (“the invisible hand”) must’ve converted more people to the free market than any number of facts…
09.45 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Pitch the transition to renewables as a market opportunity.
09.45 Lindsay Curren
Speakers for this policy and communications session are:
Jan Mueller, ASPO Exec Director Moderating
Kurt Cobb, author
Chris Martenson, Crash Course
Tom Whipple, Key ASPO volunteer with his Peak Oil
Jim Baldauf, ASPO Board Chair
Kristofer Jacobsson (I think an economist form Sweeden)
09.43 Erik Curren
Lots of discussion about media relations and policy communications. I’ve been in PR for years, so I’ve got some opinions there
ASPO does need to do more user-friendly communications I think. Even at this conference, which was pretty good overall, there were too many charts and graphs.
I told Jan Mueller that ASPO should’ve done a quick bullet point factsheet on why Daniel Yergin is wrong. But he replied that “there’s some disagreement about how to engage with Yergin.” As if ASPO weighing in is going to give more credibility to Yergin? He gets plenty of attention without this earnest but obscure little group’s help. The press is all over Yergin. They need to respond.
09.40 Lindsay Curren
Audience members here seeing obvious signs that there’s a recognition publicly that contemporary economics (it’s thinking and practices) aren’t working.
At the same time, you have to talk with the media with a simple story, also have to deliver it to policy makers in bite sized chews, patiently, and then you have to build the grassroots out.
09.36 Lindsay Curren
Audience member from a environmental group says media operates as 1. who’s the victim, 2. who’s the villian? 3. Who’s the hero?
He’s convinced that people get that we’re on the wrong track and we’re not far from being able to link groups’ interests and find common ground in telling a story.
09.36 Erik Curren
Earlier, Tom Whipple said that we have so much problem communicating the peak oil story because growth is America’s religion. So we’re apostates or heretics and when we contradict the core belief of the society, we can’t get through.
09.34 Lindsay Curren
Audience member says peak oil communications have to be ground up. At the same time government has to acknowledge things because they are the ones making resource decisions.
09.34 Erik Curren
Q. What are you trying to accomplish by getting politicians on board if you don’t have the rest of the country behind the issue of peak oil?
Jan Mueller: You’re right. We want to work with grassroots ground up groups to recruit local politicians. Though we’d like to have two more Roscoe Bartletts to give speeches on the floor of Congress.
09.33 Lindsay Curren
Changing 300 million American minds isn’t esasy.
Audience member relays a story about a politician who said he’d fight for something but then decided not to push for it because too many Americans wouldn’t be convinced. He didn’t want to waste political capital on it.
She thinks populace has to understand it first, before the Congress or politicians.
09.32 Erik Curren
We’re in the same session together, just sitting separately, because the room’s full…
09.32 Erik Curren
Good morning from ASPO-USA. Today’s sessions are just Q&A. I’m in the one on communications and policy. We started out with Tom Whipple talking about how Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), chair of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, managed to get a meeting with George W. Bush while he was in office. He had to promise a vote in exchange. In the meeting, Bush acknowledged the problem, but decided he’d need to kick the can down the road because, though “important,” peak oil wasn’t “urgent.”
09.29 Lindsay Curren
It’s day three and we’re live blogging from the ASPO conference again. Today I’m in a session on peak oil communications, as well as policy. Let’s see what people are saying about A) How to communicate it? and B) What kinds of policy initiatives can prod change.
I saw a sign in the subway last night. It said “Change takes heart.” I see that as both openness, and courage. I wonder if that will be part of this dialogue.