Ideas for approaching Members of Parliament
Greetings from Australia, where awareness of Peak Oil and Peak Other Things is also spreading.
I want to start bringing the Crash Course (at least) to the attention of members of our various state and federal parliaments. While I am sure that others here have also done so, it is numbers that count in the political game. Does anybody have any experience in approaching elected officials; do you have any tips or suggestions? Any successful attention-grabbing introductions or follow-ups?
My Federal MP is retiring at the next election and intends to enlarge upon his current work in helping reduce global poverty. I wrote him a letter in which I wished him well, especially as the next 20 years will not resemble the last 20. I’m hoping this will pique his interest.
Also, does anybody have a compendium of FAQs and FROs (frequently-raised objections) which I may use to help answer questions?
It is great that on his UK trip Chris is addressing a House of Commons committee. This will definitely be noticed in Australian political circles.
By way of comment, it doesn’t help that Australia has huge coal and mineral deposits. In one deposit we have enough bauxite to supply the entire world for some centuries, and we have more than one deposit like it. We’re busily helping inflate the Chinese bubble, and so far have outrun the global economic crisis. This success of course translates into scepticism that we have any need to plan now for shortages ahead of anything. Science and technology will save us, or new reserves will be found, or we MUST allow the free market to work everything out because anything else is communism.
Here’s a factoid. Yesterday my wife attended a private premiere of a new documentary movie, The End of the Line, which plausibly tells us that all the world’s commercial fisheries will be exhausted by 2045. ALL. Fish-farming is no solution, as it requires 10kg of anchovies to raise 1kg of salmon.
I’d suggest you’d be wasting your time with the vast majority of our politicians contacting them as an individual. I’ve tried to correspond with several Federal and State (Territory in my case) politicians, and only recieved templated replies in each case. The only way to make politicians aware that something is an issue is to make sure hundreds or thousands of their constituents contact them about it. They won’t take notice of a couple of individuals, particularly if you have some non-mainstream ideas…
I am a little cynical too, and don’t believe members of the two big parties want to change the status quo – and in fact they will most likely fight tooth and nail to ensure the status quo continues. It’s only when their political lives are threatened that they will perhaps take notice, and again, the best way to get them to take notice is to have the voters contact them en masse.
I’d suggest the most effective way of doing that is to spread the word in your local community – make it easy for people to contact their local member if they agree with you by providing templates, contact details and addressed envelopes if you have the resources. You might also want to take a look at the Stable Population Party. They’re trying to get numbers to register as a political party, and while I’m not familiar with all of their policies, I tend to think ideas from this website will resonate with them too.
In New Zealand, a friend of mine has “got” the CC, ( he got it eventually….. initially he knew I had gone nuts ! )
He used to be closely and actively involved with one of the smaller parties.
I thought that since he had worked with them he would have a better chance….. no dice.
Two of my old university professors, one the Head of Chemical and Process Engineering, were peak oil aware when I was at uni, 84-87.
They are still active in trying to make changes, but have to walk VERY quietly so as to not be seen to be the tinfoil hat brigade.
One way I thought of, was if you had a high school aged kid in the same school as the kid of an MP, get your kid to sway the MP’s kid.
Nothing like one of your kids harping on about something!!!!!! especially if they have numbers to back it up.
In short, unless you have a very close direct connection with an MP, forget it.
Mass unmbers may get it across eventually, but TIME………
Work on your friends and family. ( exponential growth…. !!!! )
BUT do it carefully. I am banned from talking about certain subjects in some houses !!!!
If you can’t convince your friends, how are you going to convince a politician?
Here in Scotland ( UK ) I would agree writing the either a senior MP or local is a waste of time. Having tried both, and yes, got back a standard reply. The local MP did spend time on a reply but could not help trying to make some political hits. That was even after some time spent on the exponential growth analogy from Dr. A. Bartlett from Arithmetic, energy and population. I have though, taken notes from the reply to help push the argument forward at a later stage. Like yourself I never shut up about this topic to anyone who will listen. Most people have no idea what so ever, yet when I wangle the topic into conversation it is nice to see the penny drop as someone else suddenly understands the consequences.
Jason Bradford says in “Blind Spot” once you see it, you will be constantly looking at your culture and saying oh my gosh its crazy, but the culture will look back at you and say your crazy. This is so true.
I have also found on some large forums over here there are what I call professional liars and deniers. It does not matter what facts you have to hand, they just shout rubbish to everything until the thread has been killed off. Getting back to the main point though. I still think it is important to keep up the pressure and pass on the message for as long as possible. A point will come wen we just have to say, they do not want to be saved. A point Michael Ruppert brings up, with his Titanic analogy of only helping those who want to be saved.