Awareness, Understanding, Action

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kemosavvy's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 254
Awareness, Understanding, Action

I am now taking the initiative to start putting together a 15-20 minute seminar on the topics that are discussed in the crash course. my intent is to increase awareness on the subject matter by giving presentations at local rotary clubs, knights of columbus meetings, political party gatherings, etc. i live in the 19th congressional district of southern illinois and as elementary as these engagements may sound they are the lifeblood of politics in this region of the world.

my concern is that i cannot present to much information at once, it would appear overwhleming and difficult to comprehend... but choosing the right topics is crucial. my initial thought is this.

1. intro, purpose of this speech is awareness on the economy

2. profound statement, "the us economy is insolvent"

3. back up profound statement with facts, numbers, graphs, literature, quotes, etc.

3a. living above our means for so long by every measure, must now live below

4. the methods of default, standard default, inflationary, deflationary

5. the meaning of default, maybe switch this with 4

6. the consequences of default

7. what we can do about it the situation, show names of senators, congressman we have voted in

8. hand out crash course dvd

i will spend my christmas holiday putting this together, and with your help i hope to make this a truly effective presentation




kemosavvy's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 254
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

what i'm looking for is input as to the best subject matter, best profound statement, best way to deliver material in a concise and effective way, thanks

switters's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

Great questions.  I have given a couple of presentations similar to what you are describing.  Unfortunately, I'm away from home for the holidays and don't have my materials with me.  But from memory I think I can give you a rough outline.

I. Western civilization is entirely dependent upon oil

II. Oil is peaking or has already peaked

III. No combination of renewables can come anywhere near making up for the energy and industrial uses of oil

IV. In order to avoid a global energy shortage, mitigation efforts would have had to begin a minimum of two decades prior to peak.

V. If peak is reached without any mitigation efforts, an energy shortage lasting decades cannot be avoided.

VI. Economic growth requires a growth in energy supply.  As energy supply declines, the economy will contract at a roughly 1:1 ratio (for example, if energy supply declines by 3%, the economy will shrink by 3%).

VII. The current financial crisis is severely curtailing our ability to expand oil production and invest in renewables to meet rising global demand for energy.

I concluded by exploring four different scenarios for the post-peak decline: "catastrophic collapse", "long descent", "green revolution", "burn-out".  Which scenario we end up with depends on how we respond to the challenges at hand.

NLP's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 5 2008
Posts: 51
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action


I too am planning to approach the same groups in my area (so. california) and I keep debating to follow one of two approaches:

  1. Your outline I call the "David Walker" approach as he has spoken many times on insolvency and its consequences
  2.  This option I call the "Albert Bartlett" approach because it looks at the exponential growth model and its consequences

I have delineated the Crash Course in these two approaches for my area, for the word "growth" is such a hot button. I have to be very careful when and where I can bring up growth otherwise I could cause a massive clearing of the room or have it turn ugly.

Based on your "Walker" outline, I like what you have.  Don't forget to try and order free copies of the Fed's Money Creation comic book.  I cannot locate the the link but it is easily found. In early discussions with my inner circle I have found Money Creation to be key--- no one actually understands this AT ALL.  As we look at local issues and lack of funding the CREATION of MONEY will be the component that will sell the Crash Course idea to civic groups that represent the local economy (small business owners, bankers, local elected).

My "Bartlett" outline discusses hockey stick charts (population, debt, et al) and uses the "The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years".  I plan to mirror these charts with local information to show consistency.  I tackle the subject of growth and its effect in my area and open the concept of --is there such a thing as smart growth?  I will return to the concept of rapid change with concrete examples of massive change in my area for the last twenty years.  Fortunately I have many profound examples of changes that never came, changes that ruined environmental areas, and changes that wasted millions of dollars.  Then conclude with the water dropper/ballpark information. I believe this outline will work for civic groups such as the Kiwanis as they are mostly made up of educators in my area and faith-based groups.

When planning for a 20 presentation it is a "dance" requiring enough provocative information to keep your group engaged and yet not enough time to teach anyone how to "dance".  And if your groups meet early in the A.M. as ours do here, I am concerned that too many graphs and charts will not keep the engagement. 

I hope this feedback helps.  I will post after my first couple of presentations and let the forum know successes and flops.  Good luck Steve!


joe2baba's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 17 2008
Posts: 807
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

hi kemmo

my experience in presenting the crash course was that people fell into two camps.

those who knew what was going on and those who didnt. for the ones who didnt i found it important to stress that this may appear to be scary overwhelming and hopeless but i ma not here to scare anyone. i am here to seek local solutions and develop strategies. for the second group they were not interested in the material they felt they knew what was going on and went straight to "ok what do we do?"

i think it is important to take the "temperature" of the people you are talking to. are they warm to the ideas or are they cold? are they republican, democrat, libertarian ?

are there more women than men? what is the economic situation in the area? mosat people do not know where money comes from so i always ask the provocative questions. first and the best to get attention "do you know what would happen if 

every loan was paid off"? you get some interesting answers but it is great to listen and start the dialog from there. every one has  or has had a oan at one time it is  a real issue that many understand. from there i think you can make the profound statement that we are insolvent. but again the  question  i got was " so what " it is like the crash course when chris says we have been livingat the top of the exponential curve for so long that it looks like flat to us. at this point it is good to use the fenway park example. it. the consequences really need ot be carefully outlined. one thing i would use is who we will be in default to .............china and what china has had to say about that possibility. 

when you are asking questions another good one is to ask " can anyone explain the federal reserve. i asked my neighbors that and got a blank stare. they area retired couple and when i told them we the people borrow our money from a private corporation they could not believe it. when i said they have never been audited they said " that's not right"

you will hone your presentation  over time but i found it more effective to get everyone engaged by asking questions and inviting dialog.i think it is good to give a little personal info and why you are doing this what is happening affecting you.

i subscribe to the KISS theory 

I  hope this was helpful good luck keep us posted

barrt's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2008
Posts: 171
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

Great stuff guys

Perhaps this is the nest stage for Chris, produce some material, guides and slides etc. for the people who are interested in doing this, a franchise of if you like?

oh no! but thats growth right? doh! Undecided

Futuo's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2008
Posts: 155
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

haha touche, barrt.

Going off of your last comment, that's something that a few of us in the volunteer brigade want to do (producing guides, materials, FAQs, "presentation kits", etc...for the Crash Course). I would encourage anyone interested to e-mail [email protected] to get involved. There's much work to be done, and providing resources to the community is a big part of that. 

Linda K's picture
Linda K
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2008
Posts: 56
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

Great -

Here's a piece of an email I sent to Chris after giving a 20-30 minute presentation to my business group introducing them to the Crash Course. It seemed picking one chapter would work better than covering too much information in such a short time so I focused on the Growth vrs. Prosperity section. This also seemed a way to get people interested without doing the "scare" thing. The group was all women, no professed economic experts, and many involved in the dual dance of business and family care. After explaining Chris's idea (with handout) the most common question raised was how did I apply this in my own life. The personal was what seemed to really engage people. The most common misconception intitially seemed to be wanting to assign a "good" or "bad" value to Growth. A common human trait I think (judging by some of the other forums  comments). 


I expanded your idea a bit and applied the growth / prosperity /
surplus graphic like a triangulated equation and used Michael Pollan's
book "Omnivore's Dilemma" and his discussion of Polyface farms
sustainable grass farming practices as a way to show how the balance of
all these elements can work. Chickens in this case in the Growth area,
Health of Ployface animals, soil and humans in the Prosperity
area, and grass as surplus. If you're interested in checking out this
example - try page 213 where Joel (the farms owner) says, "...I could
sell a whole lot more chickens and eggs than I do. They're my most
profitable items, and the market is telling me to produce more of them.
Operating under the industrial paradigm, I could boost production
however much I wanted ... but in a biological system you can never do
just one thing, and I couldn't add many more chickens without messing
up something else." I think you get the idea.

Everyone seemed
really intrigued and we ended the meeting with many people sharing how
this applied to themselves and their own businesses.


Lessions I would apply from this experience when/if doing this in the future.

Know and speak to your audience.

Let them talk back, listen, and carry on the dialogue from there. For me - the engagement at the end of the discussion was really the best part. 


kemosavvy's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 254
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action

great stuff i'm reading here, i will track down the comic book on how the fed creates money. my concern with asking questions is that i think i will get the same blank looks when i'm talking to people one-on-one on the subject matter. they simply don't have a full enough of an understanding to come forward and explain what the fed is, for the meantime, while my presentation is in the beta version, i'll avoid those 'i'm smarter than you' loaded questions.

based on what i know best i'll probably move forward with the 'david walker' approach and for a second visit i can elaborate on peak-oil, for the meantime and since finance is making headlines nowadays i think i'll stick with what is the most gripping.

i plan on posting my original draft and hope that you can critique it for me. talk to you later,



lucasaltic's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Admin (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 142
Re: Awareness, Understanding, Action


I think these are all excellent ideas.  I have posted a call to action (link) on the main folder urging anyone who has developed or is interested in developing Crash Course presentation material to step forward and join a team to help develop an official Crash Course Presentation package. 

Lucas Altic

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