Monday, May 14, 2012

Peak Oil and the art of self reliance


Peak oil is one of the biggest threats we face today as a society. It is one of those risks that we see coming panic and try to avoid but we can not. The reason I say we can not avoid peak oil is because we are all consumers and rely so much on buy our foods, services, and a lot of other items that we no longer make for ourselves. As a prepper myself I am very worried about this. We as a society have become more dependent and less independent. How ever there will be a time where will have to learn to be independent again. The time I am referring to is post peak oil.  A quick side note on peak oil and what it is for those who are not aware of this scenario. Imagine that one day you get home after a long's day work, your kids just got home as the school bus drops them off right as your wife walks in with some take out food for everyone.  She just got McDonald for everyone, as soon as she puts it down and hands it out to everyone you begin eating, while eating you turn on the TV to watch the evening news.  The news reporter comes on and say  " We have reached the last drop of oil today, all refineries will be shutting down the government will be using any oil in its reserve to operate emergency vehicles only."  Chances are you and many other people just panicked. How will you get to work? How will you pay your bills? Where will you get your food from? You have now just entered peak oil, the oil has just run out and society as we know will forever change. Now many people argue that will be more post peak oil however, post peak oil will be years down the road it is more of the after math after everyone finds out there is not one drop of oil left in the world.  How will you and your family survive such a disaster?  The key to all of this is being prepared. Like any other situation being prepared and knowledgeably will help get you through the rough times to come. We have put together a list of what we think you will need to survive a post peak oil situation. 

1) Staying put. At first the best thing to do is to stay put for a while to let things settle down and to let riots die down. Having enough food and water for you and your family to stay put for at least 6 months to a year is a must for this step. Also don't forget about man's best friend as he will require food and water as well. Also let nothing go to waste what you don't eat the family pet will. 

2) Being able to survive off the gird. If you are in a place where you can live, we reccomend  that you stay put or get to a place you can sustain yourself and your family. 

3.) Bio Flue. A lot of diesel  cars can run on bio fuel made from old oil. Learn how to make some bio fuel before the crises so you can be well prepared for when it comes. 

4.) Learn to hunt and prepare game meat. Learning this will make your more self sufficient and ready to survive for the long term. 

5.) Be healthy and fit. If possible be healthy and fit. Know what plants you can use to substitute your prescription medication. 

6.) Finally make sure your house can stay off the gird and can survive for long periods of time. Make your home self sufficient by putting up water collectors and planting a garden having some animals around ect. Get creative and have fun with it. But make it to where you can live off of your own land. After all when peak oil strikes you will not have Wal Mart to run to for your everyday needs.  

A little bit about peak oil from some experts: 

For the first time, the well-respected Energy Information Administration appears to be joining with those experts who have long argued that the era of cheap and plentiful oil is drawing to a close. ...
For years now, assorted petroleum geologists and other energy types have been warning that world oil output is approaching a maximum sustainable daily level -- a peak -- and will subsequently go into decline, possibly producing global economic chaos. Whatever the timing of the arrival of peak oil's actual peak, there is growing agreement that we have, at last, made it into peak-oil territory, if not yet to the moment of irreversible decline.
This is groundbreaking coming from the U.S. government, although don't expect President Barack Obama to mention peak oil in any upcoming speeches.
Determining the peak is not so cut and dried, McKibben points out. In addition, tiny market changes, like a period of economic decline where less oil is consumed can mask depleting supplies. But for those who are convinced of the data, they aren't waiting around for the federal government to jump into crisis mode.
What Will a Post-Peak-Oil World Look Like?
It's an intellectual exercise to even imagine what our lives would look like if oil was no longer cheap and plentiful. Sure, there will always be some in the ground, but when it becomes too expensive to get it out, there will be big changes afoot.
We depend on oil to get us to the store and to get our food and goods there as well. It's a huge component of the industrial agriculture model that feeds most of our country. And petroleum is in just about everything we buy -- from bubble gum to tires to eyeglasses.
And when you consider how oil powers our economy, things look bleak.
"The global-energy equation is changing rapidly, and with it is likely to come great power competition, economic peril, rising starvation, growing unrest, environmental disaster and shrinking energy supplies, no matter what steps are taken," Klare wrote.
Peak-oil prophet James Howard Kunstler, who has written extensively on the subject, echoes his sentiments. In his book The Long Emergency, he cautions: "What is generally not comprehended about this predicament is that the developed world will begin to suffer long before the oil and gas actually run out. The American way of life -- which is now virtually synonymous with suburbia -- can run only on reliable supplies of dependably cheap oil and gas."
And it gets worse in his eyes. "Oil led the human race to a threshold of nearly godlike power to transform the world. It was right there in the ground, easy to get. We used it as if there was no tomorrow. Now there may not be one."
Life After the Peak
But Angelantoni doesn't quite see it that way. There will be life after cheap oil, at least for many of us, but it will be vastly different from what most Americans are accustomed to.
We may crash and burn, or we can aim for something Angelantoni calls "creative descent." This involves teaching people about the coming crisis, retraining them in skills that will be useful and helping communities to be more localized.
"The first thing, really is to figure out where you want to live," said Angelantoni. Some areas, like the Southwest, may prove to be fairly unlivable as climate change kicks in as well. And disaster-prone areas, like geological-fault-riddled California may be dicey, he says.

But it's not all bad.
"There will be a lot of opportunity to start new businesses," he said. "We have to localize."
The relocalization movement has been around for decades but has gotten a second wind as the stumbling economy and mounting environmental pressures have shocked many into action. The basic premise is for communities to become more self-sufficient, and hence more resilient. This often means more local-food networks, more local energy and water systems and robust community businesses.
This idea has recently spun into transition towns, which has spread around the U.S. and in 14 countries. They provide a structure for communities to relocalize. Towns form working groups on issues like energy, food, transportation and local economics.
"It's not a political movement, it doesn't have a political bias," said Transition USExecutive Director Carolyn Stayton. "Different types of people can be interested in it -- it is an us, not a them, it is about how we all can together create a future that works for us."
Each town has its own priorities and issues it is working on. For instance, in Santa Cruz, Calif., they are holding a reskilling expo where people can learn about composting, beekeeping, water catchment and nonviolent communication, in addition to workshops about peak oil and local economics.
Folks in Berea, Ky., just held a 100-mile potluck to help promote local food and farmers and to grow community awareness about their transition initiatives. 
It's easy, she says, to become paralyzed by fear -- global warming, economic turmoil and the loss of cheap energy can be a lot to take in. Transition towns examine those issues, but then "imagines what can be on the other side," Stayton said.
"What would our future look like? People imagine it looking like a healthy, wholesome place where people don't have to commute, where neighbors know each other, where business is local and vibrant and people have skills that they are sharing. The vision becomes so enticing that the problems shrink in their power, and people get propelled to create a future that solves the problems."
For Angelantoni, this kind of community resilience is the opposite of many survivalists, who head to the hills to see if they can live independently. His version of surviving a post-peak-oil world is dependent on communities coming together and adapting to new ways of supporting each other -- leaving their big cars and their big houses and their many toys behind.
"We are going to have to get much more practical," he said. "Are you going to be the butcher, baker, or candlestick maker in your local community? What are the skills you need? What are the skills you have?"
And the time to start answering those questions is now. "Some people think we have until the end of the century to get off oil. I'm not one of those people," he said. "I think we goofed. I think we are going to see, with the economy cratering, that we may have as little as 10 to 20 years."
Angelantoni echoes what folks like Kunstler have been saying for years -- new technology won't bail us out of this one, and we've started too late on renewable energy and alternative fuels to have them quickly replace fossil fuels in our energy diet.

So what's a city to do? Here's what the task force says:
  • Encourage the installation of local, renewable, distributed electric-generating facilities
  • Pursue the conversion of the electric system to a smart grid
  • Convert vacant and underutilized public and private properties to food gardens
  • Vastly expand urban agriculture programs and services
  • Expand passenger capacity of all mass transit
  • Avoid infrastructure investments that are predicated on increased auto use
  • Convert city equipment, buses and trucks to 100 percent biodiesel from reclaimed lipids, as feasible
  • Discourage private auto use by disincentivizing car travel and ensuring that alternatives (walking, bicycling, public transportation) are competitive with driving
  • Expand the potential for rail and water transport, for both passengers and freight
  • Encourage local manufacturing that utilizes recycled material as feedstock
  • Retrofit the building stock for energy conservation, efficiency and on-site generation
  • Begin an education plan, to inform San Francisco residents about peak oil and gas and its implications
One of the main things the task force stresses is beginning to take action ... now.
We will only know when we've hit peak oil after it is has already happened, and that means we may be nearing too late.
"The recent spread of peak-oil resolutions and projects by cities and towns across America is thus a very hopeful sign," John Michael Greer wrote in the task force report; he has authored essays about "catabolic collapse." 
"It's going to take drastic changes and a great deal of economic rebuilding before these communities can get by on the more-limited resources of a deindustrial future, but the crucial first steps toward sustainability are at least on the table now. If our future is to be anything but a desperate attempt to keep our balance as we skid down the slope of collapse and decline, these projects may well point the way."
And what can the average person do?
"If you own a house, think about putting solar on it, making it more energy efficient or moving to some place smaller," said Jeanne Rosenmeier, a member of San Francisco's task force. "You should be thinking about how to get around without a car and if you have a place to grow a bit of food. There are people out there saying 'hoard gold, buy guns,' but I'm not advising that."
Angelantoni believes courses like his are a good place to start.
"When people go down the tunnel of thinking about what it will look like, they get stopped at 'I lost my job, how do I make money, what do I do for food,' " he said. "We aim to show them a glimpse of what it could be like on the other side -- people are now thinking about how to become business people -- and less about who's going to hire them.
"People need to get in action now and think of how they can be a resilient citizen, a contributor. We've labeled ourselves as consumers for so long, we don't see ourselves as citizens."



Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression (2010-2030): A Survival Guide for Investors and Savers After Peak Oil

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