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


9 November 2010

The time has come, snow is here.  What was predicted to be a few inches that melts on the ground turned into about 3 of snow that definitely isn't going anywhere, complete with a Snow Emergency Day.  While it is nice not to be driving around in the craziness of the first snow (there was something like 1000 accidents), I'm not sure biking is a whole lot safer (although definitely faster) in these conditions. 

snow bike!

more bikes in the snow

The City of Minneapolis has a page on their website specifically dedicated to winter biking  What may surprise summer bikers is that 50 of the 60 miles of bike trails throughout the city get plowed just like city streets.  According to some friends that are hardcore winter bikers, the bike trails are usually the first to get plowed.  As it should be :)

The last two winter's I've lived in this ice-box of a city before this project I would bike until the end of October, and have never felt the need to tempt fate on a bicycle when it's icy and freezing outside.  However, the more I meet people who bike almost all year round, the more it seems like a possibility even in Minnesota (if you have the right equipment and clothes). Census data shows 4,800 residents of Minneapolis regularly commute to work on a bicycle. The number for the entire metro is 9,700 bikers. A local group called Transit for Livable Communities estimates one-third of those biking enthusiasts continue commuting to work during the winter.

A couple of bullet points from Shaun Murphy of the Minneapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs: -- Minneapolis has 4,800 residents (2.5% of all workers) who regularly commute to work by bicycle, while the entire metro has 9,700 bike commuters (0.8% of all workers). So 50% of the regular bike commuters live in Minneapolis. [Source: Census data] -- Don Pflaum (City Bicycle Coordinator) estimates that about 15,000 bicyclers are seen each day during the warmer months in Minneapolis. [Source: Minneapolis Public Works estimate]

Here is a funny video of winter bikers: represents bikers all over the country who bike through the winter.  Who are these people? In their own words:

"Most of us are just ordinary folks, who get this addiction to bicycles that simply will not live within the bounds of a summer.  Others just don't want to spend the cash for a car and all the costs that come with motor vehicles.  Some of us have serious personal commitments to being car-free, others have temporary problems of liquidity, and others of us just like cycling way more than any rational person should."

Cheers winter bikers, I'll join you for at least the next week.

I"ll leave you with this warm SF critical mass vid:

*Minneapolis bikers:
Use 311. If you see a bicycle-related problem which involves plowing, shoveling, signing, or another traffic concern, call 311. The City relies on the public to flag problems. If you live outside of Minneapolis, call 612-673-3000   A Minneapolis bikeway maintenance responsibility list is available for more direct call routing.

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