Friday 1 July 2011

Outreach Programme Proposition

It seems that as soon as someone truly understands Peak Oil and the challenges that it presents, wanting to do something about it inevitably follows. I was at a presentation by Richard Heinberg at Ecobuild conference and the question that came up at the end was not “Where can I find more information?” or “Who’s fault is it?” but “What can I do about it?”. Naturally, joining your local transition initiative was one of the answers.

The most interesting thing about this presentation for me, however, was not the facts being presented – I had heard many of them before – but the fact that so many of those in attendance hadn’t! Where have they been? How have they avoided such a huge and important issue?

I can’t be sure, but I think I know the answer – they have been reading conventional media, and watching conventional telly, where the ongoing battle against Climate Change and Peak Oil isn’t quite as dramatic as, say, Eastenders, and is thus not really talked about. Just think about how you first found out about Transition. Was it from the national media? Probably not.

260,000 people live in the Norwich urban area. These are people that you come into contact with every day. Most of them haven’t heard of Transition Norwich. Many of them haven’t heard of Peak Oil. So what are you waiting for?

OK, I know there are many, many answers to that question too, from “I don’t know enough about it myself” through “I’m afraid that I’ll be seen as a weirdo” to “it just never comes up in conversation.”

So how can we who already do know about Transition make it easier for the initiative to spread and raise awareness to those who don’t know? What resources do we need?

Transition Norwich Outreach

What I am proposing is a way of making it easier for people to spread awareness through all the channels that are available to us. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Set up an online hub (probably a wiki) with information to support awareness-raisers. As well as links to books, videos, articles and factsheets it would have information on venues for meetings, people who may be able to help you and media outlets that you may be able to use.
  • Set up a physical hub, where resources are available, especially to non-internet-users.
  • Organise a programme of events that help to raise-awareness, especially reaching out to those who haven’t heard of Transition by combining with other events or advertising in different ways.
  • Staging events in public places and having stalls at festivals (as we already do!).
  • Promote the education of economics, ecology and environmentalism in schools and children’s groups by providing them with resources.

Please join the Outreach Googlegroup to get involved. It would be best if at least one person from each of our current projects could be involved, as well as anyone who can help or has ideas about how outreach can be done. Once you've joined, send the group an introductory email so that we know who's who!

Contact me at simeon [at] simeonjackson [.] co [.] uk for more information.

Image: Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute delivers his talk on 'Peak everything - the end of non-renewable resources' at Ecobuild 2011. Image Source and Transcript.

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