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)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


3 October 2010

Guess what else doesn't use oil?


Powered by the unforgiving winds of Lake Calhoun, my uncle Jim-the captain of a 21 foot Reynolds catamaran took us out for a 2 hour tour.  Compared to a 2 hour outing on a motor boat, we saved about 30 gallons of gas.  This is 71% of a barrel of oil and equivalent to 1,098 kWh (about 5 months of our electricity bill).  According to this article...

"On average, an in-tune four-stroke gasoline engine will burn about 0.4 to 0.45 pounds of fuel per hour for each unit of horsepower. Likewise, a well-maintained two-stroke outboard burns nearly 0.6 to 0.8 pounds of fuel per hour for each unit of horsepower it produces. These figures apply to carbureted and fuel-injected engines, but not to direct-injected engines such as Mercury's OptiMax and OMC's FICHT models."

This means that a 150 horsepower engine would use about 15 gallons of gas per hour.

In addition, 1 gallon of gas is equal to 19.564 pounds of CO2.  This website has some examples of how you can reduce your gas usage on a boat could just go sailing instead :)

captain jim

first sail ever!