Research has powerfully illustrated that a lack of knowledge in domains such as energy and the environment can lead to bad decisions and erroneous beliefs that hinder a society’s ability to create change in domains that require it




Rather self-evident, isn’t it? Certainly that observation is not limited to energy and environment, but the more complex the challenge, coupled with the greater potential impact, the more critical it becomes to understand the issues—all of them—and the range of consequences should there be a failure to respond appropriately.

There are reasons and explanations as to why the general population—and those leaning Right in particular—choose to deny, avoid, or ignore matters of great import and impact. That the justifications, rationales, and innate strategies used might be understandable should not be the end of the discussion. Self-awareness and introspection carry their own set of benefits.

This new Friday series, extending well into the latter part of 2016, will examine the concept of System Justification * and the role in plays in generating continued opposition and denial of the facts and implications of both a peak in the rate of oil production, and climate change. Facts won’t go away, and denial is not a shield, but there are well-defined patterns and behaviors which provide a foundation for the tactics employed to sow doubt and preserve the comforts of the known and familiar.

While the benefits are clear and gratifying today, the ongoing failure to move beyond the emotional and psychological comforts afforded by system justifications is not without its costs and consequences. A greater appreciation for not just the facts of peak oil and climate change, but an understanding as well of how we respond to them, why, and what happens if we fail examine other approaches is arguably of more enduring benefit.




It’s understood there are emotional triggers we all prefer avoiding because of the range of effects they have on our sense of well-being. Human nature is difficult for humans to combat! But as the vintage automobile oil filter commercial’s tag line suggested to consumers who wouldn’t make a small investment in purchasing a new one: “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” The implication is that “later” was not the wiser choice.

“Later” is a much worse choice when dealing with issues of peak oil and climate change … much, much worse. Is the risk worth doing nothing now? Facts suggest that doing nothing is the worst choice. Psychological and emotional needs—for some—suggest just the opposite. We need to move to a better place about these issues, and “later” shouldn’t be an option.


*  [Courtesy of psychwiki: “System Justification Theory (SJT) is a theory of social psychology that postulates that people are motivated, often unconsciously, to bolster, defend, and justify the status quo–-that is, the prevailing social, economic, and political systems. The term ‘system’ is, intentionally, loosely defined to include a wide array of such arrangements and institutions from relationship dyads to family systems, to corporations and organizations, to economic systems and governments, thus the effort is to identify the general social psychological processes that play out in variety of social establishments. The system justification goal may manifest itself in different forms, such as stereotyping, attribution, and ideology, and is proposed to serve the three more basic existential, epistemic, and relational needs


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Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings at richardturcotte.com, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:

The Tretiak Agenda

They began [here] on June 15, and will continue weekly throughout the summer


~ My Photo: Boston’s Inner Harbor, looking out at Rowes Wharf – 06.23.16


We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by.  Former USDOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari

Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows


Peak Oil Matters offers observations and insights about the realities of declining fossil fuel production, and its impact on our future well-being