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 15, 2010


7 November 2010

Daylight Saving Time means a lot more to me this year than it has before.  Before DST, the sun was barely up when I was hoping on my bike in the morning, and I would spend at least the first 15-20 min riding in the dark.  Although the sun set 'later' before, I am usually coming home late at night anyway.  Starting today, I get daylight in the morning and can ride at least half of my commute in the light! 

The reason behind Daylight Saving Time is all about energy;

"In general, energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up.  Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year. In the average home, 25 percent of all electricity we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs VCRs and stereos.  A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home.  By moving the clock ahead one hour, we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day.

Studies done in the 1970's by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country's electricity usage by about one percent EACH DAY with Daylight Savings Time " (

The time for DST has gone through many changes over the years.   When President Reagan changed DST from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April in 1986 it is estimated to save nationwide about 300,000 barrels of oil each year. 

The time was changed again to start on the second Sunday in March and was extended to end on the first Sunday in November starting in 2007, which it is still at today.

Although the days will continue to have less daylight until the darkest day (Dec 21), my mornings are a little easier, and I use less light in the am.  Biking around in the daylight feels a lot safer, whether or not it actually is.  In general, I feel much more connected to the seasonal changes and when it gets dark now.  Although lights are a small part of my energy budget (especially now that the heat is on), it makes a big difference for biking around, and brings the morning temperature up above freezing :)

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