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, November 22, 2010


14 November 2010

I'm finally getting flowers on my bell peppers and jalapeno plants!  Being that my plants are growing inside, however, means that there are no insects to pollinate the flowers into fruit-bearing plants.  This is a problem that greenhouses run into because of the lack of insects, as well as some small city gardens where the insect population isn't in full swing. 

There are two kinds of pollinating plants; " those that produce male and female blossoms, and those that only produce one type of flower. The former include plants such as zucchini and squash, cucumber, and watermelon. In the latter category are eggplant and bean. These are called "perfect", "bisexual" or "complete" flowers because everything is contained within each bloom. Hand-pollinating is not difficult for either type of plant, but the approach is different"

The good news is pollination is fairly simple to simulate.  One of the easiest ways is to introduce ventilation fans which allow the pollen to circulate from flower to flower.  In the same way, shaking the plants which flower buds gently will allow pollen to fall.  If this doesn't work, however, you can pollinate by hand using a small paintbrush or q-tip. 

With plants that produce male and female blossoms, the females can be identified by a tiny vegetable bud growing at the base of the flower.  To pollinate this type of plant, snip a few of the male blossoms off of the stem, remove the petals, and shake pollen into the female flowers.  For plants whose buds have both male and female parts, I used a Q tip to transfer pollen from the male 'stigmas' onto the single female 'anther' in the center. 

My understanding is that the blossoms will close up when pollinated and begin to grow the fruit.  If the flowers are not closed up after a day or so, try pollinating them again. 

Good luck little peppers!

bell pepper flower

green bean flower

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