It's half-true to say that change only comes when a majority of people want it to happen. The entire truth is that just about any positive change was a minority opinion at some point, and only became the desire of the majority after enough effort (and time) had been expended in spreading the word.
Most change comes about because a dedicated group devotes enough effort and time to raising awareness of the issue they care so deeply about and showing others the practical benefits. Most importantly, change agents never, ever give up, knowing full well that being ahead of your time isn't good enough, you also have to be there when the tipping point happens.
While all that is certainly no guarantee of success - one could say the Confederacy worked within the same parameters, for example - invariably that is the formula.
A great example is the dedicated group of people locally who are calling attention to various environmental causes. Partially out of necessity and partially because that's just who they are, these folks tend not to be single-issue advocates but instead have a lot of irons in the fire and a larger vision of positive change reaching critical mass.
Jessica Leigh Lebos details their efforts to keep an oil-finding technique called "seismic airgun testing" off the Georgia coast. The method - read her story for the details - apparently causes great damage to marine mammals such as the Right Whales which visit our coastal waters each year.
It is completely incorrect to say that such advocates are insensitive to the need of America to have enough fuel to run on, that they want to destroy jobs, that they're socialists who don't understand business, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
If you read Claudia Collier's letter in this issue, in addition to Jessica's piece, you'll see that the opposite is in fact the case. Rather than simply being anti-development or anti-business, local green advocates are specifically recommending well-reseached, feasible alternative policies which are not only morally sound, but fiscally sound as well.
As we have seen with the gay marriage debate, change happens slowly but almost always happens eventually.
The key is to never, ever give up.