This era in history may be remembered as the "Peak Age", a brief time when nearly all materials used to power and create our society reach the maximum extraction and production potential. Past this point, all of these resources become increasingly difficult to extract until they are no longer economically viable resources to be using. There are hundreds of examples of resources, currently embedded in our industrial society, which have reached their peak in the 50 years surrounding 2010, but the one which will most impact our society is petroleum.

The goal of living for 100 days without oil is to understand the extent of our dependance on oil in American society today. Specifically, how it will affect my life, as a 25 year-oil living in Minneapolis, MN. By using myself as a metric I can take a close and conscious look at where oil dependance occurs in all aspects of our daily lives : How we transport ourselves from one place to another, what we eat, how much waste we create, how water is cleaned and transported, where oil is used as; an energy resource, in conventional medicine and for hygiene and how oil affects how we entertain ourselves and communicate with others. By demonstrating how someone would be forced to live without using any oil resources, outlining both what the sacrifices will be as well as the benefits, we can can identify the many systems which will have to be re-designed in a world without cheap oil, and explore a new way of living in which we live in an energy balance.

(At the bottom of this page is a link to my version of a flow diagram of 'Where Petroleum Exists in Our Daily Lives' (using information from the Energy Information Administration-Annual Energy Review 2008 fig 5.0 Petroleum flow) click and zoom to enlarge)

Monday, October 4, 2010


2 October 2010

My brother Brian and sister-in-law Sarah are professional food dehydrators.  They lead trekking and camping trips and dehydrate food to cut down on costs and provide healthy, pre-prepped food to their campers. Thankfully, they were up vacationing from oil for the weekend and could offer their skills. 

There are different kinds of dehydrators; convection-only ones, convection with fan ones and solar powered machines.  My roommate's dehydrator is convection-only, so it has heat coils and the air is pulled through the trays as it cools to dry the food.  This cuts down on energy and is totally silent, but takes a LONG time. 

Brian and Sarah scared me into realizing that many of the foods I eat consistently now are going to be gone in a matter of weeks.  I have already frozen some pears and hot peppers, but space in our freezer is limited, and as soon as the heat kicks on, I am going to need to minimize my energy budget as much as possible.  Its hard to tell exactly when things will start to disappear, but to be on the safe side, I am starting to dehydrate now and will continue eating fresh until its gone.  Today we did:

_variety of Bell Peppers
_variety of Hot Peppers
_Herbs: parsley and cilantro

The funnest part was checking out with an ENTIRE basket of peppers (and then trying to fit it all in my bag).

Dehydrating takes a LOT of energy.  0.1 kWh per hour, if it is on for a day (about how long it takes for one load) that is 2.4 kWh, so definetly going to eat into my energy budget.  For comparison, the fridge uses .068 kWh/hour, but needs to be on all the time.  In this way, dehydrating may be one of the most energy effeicient ways of preserving food because once it is dehydrated, it doesn't need any energy until it is cooked.

foods in my bag

ready to chop

thanks guys :)


1 comment:

  1. How did they dehydrate or preserve food in olden days? There was a lot of salting, right? and smoking? What the local native Americans eat in Minnesota?