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What you can do PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 April 2005
If you are reading this you are probably aware of the ‘peak oil’ problem and the likely consequences.  Furthermore you are probably thinking that it is significant enough to ‘do something about it’ in terms of for yourself and for those around you (and you probably think that by working to help those around you, it also helps yourself).  You may also see that this is a matter of urgency and we have little time to waste as the longer we leave it the harder it will be to create a ‘soft landing’. If so, you’re on the right page.

 
PowerSwitch is heavily focused on a grass roots approach for reasons that will be made clear below.  We do focus on trying to get people such as MPs interested but getting MPs interested is almost pointless if the population at large is not picking up on this and not prepared to vote on it.

 

What you can do to raise awareness

 

PREPARE YOURSELF

Prepare you own knowledge.  This is a topic that is very large and can get very complex.  Read about the background, the current situation and potential futures.  Also have in mind some kind of ‘transition strategies’ as solutions implies that business will be able to carry on as normal.  Barring a miracle, it won’t.  At the very least there will be an ever-widening oil gap in the near future between what we need and what we can get.

 
Getting all the news you need:


 
A crash study in Peak Oil:


 
Books such as Powerdown and Party’s Over by Richard Heinberg are good starting points to read as well.

 
 

PREPARE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Tell your friends and family.  It is very possible they do not go on the Internet or are not subjected to the sources we are so it is important to tell them.  You have a great advantage with you friends and family – they trust you (or they should) and will be more likely to listen to you.  Bringing up the subject can be easier than you’d think.  But it will also probably require repeated attempts.  Peak Oil is not a subject people pick up readily.  Also the landscape has changed.  Peak oil used to be seen as a conspiracy theory but now reports from investment banks, government advisors and many other official sources support the claim.  It is often seen as a battle between optimistic and pessimistic estimations.  We can afford for the optimists to be wrong – can we afford for the pessimists to be wrong?  Can we afford to not believe them when the evidence is so compelling?

Speaking about Peaking:

Note:  It is always useful to have graphs etc. to show people as it helps with the visualisation.  Try this document.
You may also want to try sending them a simple flashmedia presentation:

 
Also showings of End of Suburbia helps make it clear.

Regular newsletters to your friends and family also help.  We have some examples here.

So you’ve done well but you need people to take action on it and spread the word further.  They’re not interested.  You can change that.  Deal with their excuses for inaction and follow up a little bit later.
 
Dealing with excuses for inaction:


If you have any problems with telling people about it, contact us – the evidence is strongly in the favour of the peak oil argument.


MEET UP WITH OTHERS

Form your own local ‘PowerSwitch’ group.  Find other people near you who you can meet up with and talk about the situation with, and maybe other awareness raising schemes.  If you do not know of anyone near you post a message in our Regional Forums or contact or visit the regional contacts page at: http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/portal/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=93
 
It is incredibly refreshing & helpful talking to others about 'Peak Oil'.  Your group can then take your own plan of action on how to raise awareness.  A very effective method is setting up End of Suburbia showings or handing out leaflets or conducting your own presentations.

Leaflets & Posters (if you make your own send them to us and we’ll put them up for others to share):



CONTACT OTHER LOCAL ACTION GROUPS

There will be other local action groups in your area to whom the peak oil message is important, especially environmental, anti-war and student groups.  Contact them, speak to them, try to get them to spread the word too.
 

GET PEOPLE TO SIGN THE PETITION

The petition sets the problem and possible solutions out clearly.  Either print it out or send it to people.

 

CONTACT YOUR MP 

Your MP must have no excuse.  They must at least be made aware of the issue.  They will probably reply with something relating to global warming.  Pursue them until they get the message. 
 
Help with faxing your MP:


WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL PAPER, SPEAK ON PHONE-IN SHOWS 

Oil prices will go up.  People will complain about higher petrol prices.  Higher energy bills etc.  You know the underlying causes.  You can explain them.  And should.  Whether it is national or regional, it does not matter!  There are other issues such as housing, transport, pensions, agriculture, employment, war and many more that need to be addressed with an understanding of oil depletion and the effect it will have.  You can always bring oil depletion into the discussion.

 

HELP POWERSWITCH

We’re always looking for help & donation.  Whatever your experience and skills we can probably find a way to use it to raise awareness!
 

What you can do to look after yourself

 
But will all this awareness raising you must also look after yourself.  It does not harm to begin preparing now by limiting the impact the oil decline can have on your life.  The key things recommended are

(1)    Clear your debts.

(2)    Make sure you are multi-skilled to have a chance of employment when the economy starts to buckle. 

(3)    Have emergency rations on hand in case of a sudden oil shock disrupting oil supplies (remember the fuel protests of 2000?) and also in case of things like Bird Flu – you do not know what could happen.

(4)    Begin living as ‘green’ a life as you can as that is basically the low-carbon society we’ll be moving towards.  Change your electricity supplier to ecotricity, juice or another green electricity provider.  Remember the 3 'Rs' - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  In that order.

(5)    If necessary begin to change your expectations – we cannot expect a lifestyle as affluent in 2025 as in 2005.

(6)    If you are in your 20s or maybe your 30s it might be worth considering cancelling your pension plan.

(7)    Begin forming strong social bonds with friends and family.  Oil has allowed us to become a very atomised society – reliance on friends and family will be increasingly important in the years ahead.

(8)    If you can, hook your house up with electricity micro-generation, insulate your house and learn gardening!

(9)    If you have not had children you will need to weigh up the gamble on whether it will be a benefit or a burden to you.

(10) ENJOY YOURSELF!  The party is almost over but it isn’t yet.  We live in one of the most exciting times in human history, I suggest you enjoy it!
 
Peak Oil & You:

 
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Energy Bulletin
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Rob Hopkins's blog
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ASPO International | The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas
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