Transition Town OKC (henceforth TTOKC) is really rolling now. We have published our website, found a few ways to raise awareness about peak oil and we are working on a PowerPoint presentation that can be customized to whatever venue.
We are scheduled to speak at an End of Suburbia showing, table at a Methodist Earth Day event, present a slide show to the Unitarians, and speak at a Book Club meeting (they are discussing the Transition Town Handbook). Just today we got permission from the Paseo Arts Association to set up a table at their local art walk, "First Fridays".
TTOKC did, however, run into some resistance when we contacted the library system. Apparently their "research" determined that peak oil is a philosophical belief and that we are therefore a political group, which is so far from the truth... If we were going to have an event sponsored by the library, we would have to have someone present "both sides of the story". I'm curious, what IS the other side of the story? Oil supplies are infinite and there are no pollution problems or climate change? There should be a lot of data to back that up.
It seems that the term peak oil is often associated with doomers, conspiracy theorists, and shotgun toting survivalists (not that I have anything against surviving). People's brains tend to shut down when they hear the phrase. I think I should have expected this problem, but somehow it took me a little bit by surprise.
We've decided to reframe peak oil as "the Energy Challenge", at least temporarily, at least when speaking to gatekeepers. You know how Americans like a challenge. It sounds like something competitive. So now TTOKC will be reworking our website and our pamphlets to focus more on the energy challenge than on peak oil - although we won't be taking the phrase "peak oil" out of everything.
It's not global warming, it's climate change! It's not the estate tax, it's the death tax! Frankly, I like the phrase peak oil. I feel it's a very succinct term that explains the problem. Our group can talk about "going local" and "sustainability" all we want, but I feel that unless we have a good, convincing description of the PROBLEM, we aren't going to motivate very many people to change.
As we start interacting more directly with the public, we will need to find a method that makes it easy for people to communicate face-to-face. Catchphrases to use, nifty graphs, easy examples, interesting pictures. There's some great pictures and articles in the most recent edition of the National Geographic.
Actually, I would like to make communicating the peak oil problem as fun as possible (short of handing out free margaritas). This morning I am meeting with some of the my fellow Steering Committee members to come up with some ideas. I am definitely going to have to re-train my brain to avoid the term peak oil. It's going to take time...
Has anyone else run into this issue? Does anyone have a good catchphrase we can use aside from peak oil or the energy challenge?