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, September 5, 2010


3 September 2010

As I mentioned before, I'm focusing more on growing greens on the grow table instead of as many vegetables.  This is for a couple reasons:

_The green's season in Minnesota is almost over-no greens available once it gets cold
_There isn't any great way to store greens, canning, freezing or drying
_Greens can be grown as "microgreens" which can be harvested in less than 30 days.  These greens are basically harvested when they are 4-5 inches tall and are contain the most nutrients as young plants.
_They take less time because they don't need to be transplanted.  They can grow with a shallow root depth (in seed flats right now) and can grow fairly close together, maximizing the amount of food I can grow under the one grow light I have.

I started my greens about 4 days ago and am already seeing a lot of sprouts!  I planted half of the flat with Collard Greens and half the flat with Romaine Lettuce.  I'm planning on planting a new flat every week for 3 weeks, hopefully this will give me a steady flow of greens for the rest of the project...

Left is a picture of the sprouts, they are actually getting too big now, gotta eat them!

So the question with all this is, how am I going to eat so many greens?  I'm trying out the green smoothie method, here is my first attempt:
_1 nectarine
_1 spice plum
_1/2 bunch of dino kale (about 1 cup chopped and packed
_small bunch of parsley
_1 cup water

Not bad, the texture is weird because you have to chew a little bit after each sip...

I think this will be a good way to get the nutrients I need from vegetables that are out of season. 

Lastly, I wanted to show a picture of my kitchen cupboards.  I've collected a large variety of bulk foods at this point: bread flours, nuts, maple sugar, oats, yeast, baking soda, salt, cornstarch.  The cabinet has my roommate's food on the left half and my food on the right half.  Top shelf I keep all my empty containers for shopping and the other two shelves have all my containers of bulk, local, organic foods and vegetables/garlic....No more boxes!

When I was filling up mason jars full of bulk foods the other today at the co-op a noticed a lady kept looking at me.  Finally she came over and exclaimed excitedly "that's such a good idea! you don't have to use any bags!"  I told her that, yeah it was really nice not to have to collect all the plastic bulk bags (which there isn't much other use for) and that bringing containers was really easy, all you had to do was weigh the container first.  She was really excited about this because apparently she had a lot of containers she didn't know what to do with and told me "I just hate all these bags!"  Talking to her made me realize how much of the bag use is purely out of habit.  I started thinking of all the things I would put in bags until starting this project and I couldn't use them anymore: greens, small vegetables.....Once you get in the habit of bringing containers it starts to seem sort of bizarre that you ever used bags in the first place (especially for individual produce items), but after only 3 weeks of doing this I can hardly remember how I shopped before...weird.