Getting people onboard

Amazing how so many people involved in campaigning never get round to any evidential research on what campaigning methods work. My experience is that "lecturing" others rarely achieves anything. Much more powerful is asking people what they think, and by cunning use of questions, guiding their thought towards more enlightened directions. They may even teach yourself something instead. Also this method implicitly trains the audience by example in the concept of critical, questioning, thinking.

Here is a sequence of questions I've put together myself. It's only a rough first draft, and I've not had time to actually try it out. (Ok, I just happen to be very shy too.) I invite readers to try out such a sequence of questions on suitable "victims" and report back here what results they get. The idea is to conclude the discourse with the victim enthusiastically taking a copy of the leaflet I put on the website.[not there yet actually]

Excuse me - May I ask, are you envisaging to be alive in five years time? [Yes]
Then do you have a vision of how the world will have changed in the next five years? [……..]

Perhaps it’s a question you haven’t wondered about much?

So if you are envisaging to be alive in five years time, would you agree that it might be a good idea to join up with some people who have a clue what’s going on in the world?

Would you say that politicians tend to decide things for the long-term, at the expense of the short-term, putting their re-election chances at risk?

Or do you think they tend to decide things for best in the short term, to win the next election and so on, at the expense of the long-term?

If politicians go on choosing the short-term options for years and years and years, and ignoring the long-term needs for years and years and years, would you agree that then the long-term problems will someday build up rather disastrously?

Would you reckon that politicians tell you honestly what is going on?

Or might they just tell you what is most convenient for winning their elections?

Would you say that media journalists tell you honestly what is going on?

Or might they just tell you the things that sell more tv and papers and so on?

Update!: see factual proof at:

So where are you currently getting your information about what is going on?

How do you know how true it is?

Would you agree that it would be best to find some people who actually know what is going on and are willing to tell you?

Do you like to live recklessly? For instance would you go around dodgy areas at night, or gamble most of your money on one bet, or would you leave your house unlocked, do you have insurance?

If politicians knew some really bad news, do you think they would tell you about it honestly?

If media journalists found out some really bad news, do you think they would tell you?

Well, can you imagine that in a few years time you might think back to this moment and remember how I started asking you these questions, and imagine yourself thinking “if only I had listened to what he said”. Or perhaps instead you will be thinking back and remembering this day and thinking “thank god I had such a great stroke of luck there”.

PS: Also I have got an A5 presentation thingy with 20 leafs, in which to put oil-supply graphs and other documents relevant to one's presentation. This makes one's spiel seem less of a personal expertise bragging operation and more like an authoritative competent 'professional' operation. (And also it's easier!)


  1. Hi there! Great write-up and indeed a though provoking method. I'd like to make use of your 20 leaves presentation. Are you going to license the content under CC with attribution. If yes, I'd love to make use of it.

    We can together also build up / fork off targeted presentations - young men about to go find jobs, enterpreneurs with the $$ / energy who might just make a dent to BAU chores... perhaps, government bureacrats, maybe even farmers and the like. I've some valuable collection of books from which I can supplement data (Limits to Growth - the 30 year update; Eating Fossil Fuels by Dave Allen Pfeiffer; Hubbert's Peak: The impending world oil shortage by the legendary Kenneth Deffeyes whose prediction seems to be holding true till date (and the further the economic recovery gets delays, the lesser seems the chances of beating the 2005's peak record!). I've also written a small game to demonstrate the concept of 'peaking' of an oil field (as of today, the game runs only on GNU/Linux and other such unix variants - even finding enthusiastic volunteers to port the game would be a plus IMO).

    I believe in what the legendary George Carlin said: When people laugh, their mind is very relaxed and their 'resistance' is the least. They can think critically and easily. I believe peak oil and the coming catastrophes can be slowly introduced to bring about a collective adaptation.

    How can we partner up? :)

  2. Sunson, my 20 leaves of presentation consists mostly of things printed out from websites such as charts on and slides from Matt Simmons and the articles by Jeremy Clarkson (linked above); I'll detail more fully later. Must rush now but will be back later to read the rest of your comment.

  3. Sunson (again...), The presentation folder naturally can vary according to one's own style of approach and the audience. One might be reckoning on just catching those one encounters en passant (like in the street or on a train journey) or might select some location (such as a university chemistry dept?). Contents of the folder naturally relate to one's overall presentation plan. My presentation begins with just those questions, then at the question of who will tell you what's really going on my first "slide" comes up, namely the Jeremy Clarkson articles. Then I've a sequence of Matt Simmons' slides about the precariousness of the oil infrastructure. Then four dramatic charts from TOD showing the peaking and the change of a country from exporter to importer. Then for the close I have some things to hand out, namely copies of a leaflet plus a cd with Chris Martenson's Crash Course on it.

    How we can partner up is if you contact me via email or phone at top right of this page! I look forward to hearing from you (and any others).