Save the whales. Save the rainforest. Integrate out schools. Ban Abortion. Stop AIDs in
Like it or not, social movements or "causes" are an important part of our political landscape. And perhaps it is wise to recognize that the creation and promotion of a cause is one of the most effective ways to initiate grass-roots action.
The meme of the "cause" is pervasive as is the justification "it's for a good cause." While a cause can never exist in the abstract, there are some simple paterns which mask the fact that the problems behind the cause are usually very complex. Some have gone as far to say, "I will fight for the cause" or "die for the cause."
If I donate time or money to one of these groups, how do I know that my contribution will "further the cause?" Why else are thousands of people devoting their lives to the elimination of ATM surcharges, Animal Testing, and email SPAM, but only a handful of people have taken up the peak oil cause? What do these problems have that is lacking from peak oil?
The concepts of Die-Off and Crash are powerful psychological factors hindering the emergence of a peak oil cause. These are concepts any future peak oil social movements would be wise to downplay, whitewash, and then give to the anti-cause.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. From abolition to suffrage, social movements have had their share of success, so the immediate reaction of many people is that peak oil needs a social movement. However, such successful social movements may have only resulted in changed laws. Changes in attitude and behavior take more time.
In fact, I would wager that there are many people watching this issue from the sidelines, waiting for the right cause to come along. We'll want a simple cause with some guilt-free catechism. We'll need the Yellow Lance Armstrong Bracelet of peak oil, something that says "I know" and "I'm doing my part." It’s for a good cause after all.