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, August 24, 2010
Day 1 - 12 miles biked
Day 2 - 24.1 miles biked
Day 3 - 0 miles biked
Day 4 - 12 miles biked
Day 5 - 18.5 miles biked
Day 6 - 14 miles biked
Day 7 - 46 miles biked
While I already was in the habit of biking the 12 mile-round trip to work and back, biking to run all of my errands was a new task. Without a car (ample space) to put things I had to start getting in the habit of carrying bungee cords with me to strap things on to my bike rack, and thinking all the time about what errands I need to run and where I will be that day to minimize extra biking around.
FOOD EXPENSES FOR WEEK 1 = $48.20
A list of local, organic vegetables found this week:
purple potatoes, yukon gold, fingerling potatoes, red potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, carrots, soybeans
blueberries (last week), cantaloupe, apples
oatmeal, whole grain bread flour, white flour, cornstarch(Whole Flour Milling)
milk (in returnable glass container)
basil, cilantro, garlic
sunflower oil, maple sugar, honey, maple syrup, butter (Hope Creamery in compostable vegetable wax paper)
LOCAL MEALS MADE:
_potatoes and vegetable mix, cooked in sunflower oil
_oatmeal with milk and berries
_whole grain bread
Looking back I'm surprised by the number of times I ate the SAME THING everyday. My advisor Virajita related the experience of trying to eat only local like being a baby learning to feed yourself (and do anything for that matter) for the first time. That's sort of how I felt this week, like I was just stumped by how I could cook a lot of different meals with the available ingredients. It is certainly possible to make a variety of meals. I am hoping next week to explore some more creative/interesting meal options...suggestions?
For the most part, I am finishing off what cleaning products and personal hygiene products I already have before diving into creating my own "oil free" products. I stored away any products which won't be used up within the first month, so at some point within the project I will have to create all of my own products from scratch. On the medical side of the health I've begun reading about non-conventional medicines, for example- how do you treat pain relief without taking a pill (with oil additives). The purpose of this is to outline what form medicines may take without cheap oil. Without making a statement (yet) about how alternative medicines compare to conventional medicines, hopefully this exploration is beginning to prepare myself for any medical situations that may arise during this 100 days.
7_COMMUNICATION + ENTERTAINMENT
I've included this category because considering only our needs for survival in an exploration of what our world will be like without cheap oil would have left out a crucial part of needs as human beings; the need to connect to each other, communicate with people across long distances (especially with more-expensive travel), conduct business and entertain ourselves. This category has less quantitative metrics because it is a measure of quality of life. I haven't quite put my finger on how I can best document my experience of how these needs were met. Part of the neglect of this category is that finding ways to meet my needs for survival has been occupying most of my time this week :) I think as I get more in the habit of this new lifestyle, I will have more time to explore what role communication and entertainment will take in a time beyond cheap oil.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading so far, creating a summary of each week helps me to organize my thoughts a bit better and find out where in the project I've been able to meet my goals, and where I need to do more research. I can't believe it has only been a week. It is amazing how adaptable we can be, like anytime life changes dramatically it is interesting to see how easily we can fall into place.