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)
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I swear I'll stop talking about food soon and focus on other aspects of the project, but I've come into contact with so many amazing resources (mostly reading about raw foods) while researching the affect processed foods (enabled by oil) have on the human body. Hands down the most interesting book I've read about this is Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. Raw foods books are an excellent resource for anyone interested in what kinds of nutrients are found in raw, whole foods, whether you are going to cook with them or not. While raw food may become integrated into my diet more as I learn about how much energy is required to cook food, for now, it is just interesting to read how far we have detached ourselves from eating REAL foods in a typical American diet. The more I have become aware of just how much stuff we put in our bodies that just isn't food (preservatives, synthetic colors and flavors...) the more shocked I am at how unhealthy my 'old' diet appears to me. Its no wonder that even as medicine has advanced that people continue to get sicker and more 'uncurable' diseases become prevalent, a huge part of this is that we are simply not fueling our bodies with real nutrients.
Victoria's Boutenko is a woman from Russia whose entire family (4 people) was diagnosed with a variety of long-term 'uncurable' diseases in the span of one year. Doctors told each of them to take a variety of pills for the rest of their lives, and the chances of a recovery were slim to none. They didn't want to accept this as their only option and decided as a family to look really critically at their diets and try to find a way to improve their health through eating differently. Victoria began to research the diets of chimpanzees. By studying the diets of our closest relatives she could see how people are naturally meant to be eating, and use them as an example for their own diets. What she found was this: