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)
Sunday, October 31, 2010
With the temperature dropping, taking 1 gallon bucket showers just results in me freezing to death. Somethings gotta give. Its a constant trade-off between being clean+freezing, or warm+kinda smelly :). If I wasn't biking around 12-18 miles a day this wouldn't be so much of an issue....
I've been trying a few different showering approaches, yesterday morning I soaped up with 1/2 gallon water then turned the shower on for another minute (2 gallons) using a total of 2.5 gallons instead of 1. This way I could at least warm up.
However, I'm realizing that my daily and weekly water-use is going to have to be modified with the seasons. Maybe May-Oct I use water in one way and from Nov-April I switch this around to allow for more showering water. Now that I have canned and stored most produce I won't need as much water for washing vegetables. Saving this half gallon a day results in 3.5 gallons a week more than I had before, giving me 14 gallons/ week for showering. The chart below shows the different water plans (click to enlarge):
With 1 gallon bucket showers 6 days a week and a 5 gallon bucket shower at the end of the week I was using a total of 11 gallons/week. My new plan is to shower twice a week using the shower head (2 gallons/minute. This is two 7 gallon showers. With my current shower head I can take 3.5 minutes showers. I got a shower flow control valve that will allow me to turn the water off momentarily to soap up without having to readjust water temperature (and waste water in the process). Putting a timer in the bathroom lets me keep track of how much water I'm using.
I am also looking at low flow shower heads, however, 2 gallons per minute is already considered 'low flow' because the typical shower head uses about 3-4 gallons per minute. There are some that allow for 1.5 gallons per minute allowing my showers to go to 4:40 minutes! So exciting.