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)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


30 October 2010

Bike commuting is an event.  Unlike getting on only a few roads (or a freeway), biking to campus every day is about a 18 step process, full of exciting and varied experiences, not all of them good, not all of them bad, I'd like to describe some of the first 45 minutes of my day with these annotated maps....

AM MAP (click to enlarge):

am route

My morning bike ride starts in the dark these days.  Leaving at 7:30 am I have to turn bike lights on and (later in the ride) am battling the early-morning sun in my eyes.  I am able to take bike paths most of the way with only a few obstacles.  The hardest part is the climb up to the St. Paul campus.  Two big hills stand in my way (Cleveland Ave and a short hill on the St. Paul campus) see map.  After the Greenway I can take surface streets to connect to a transit way between the campuses.  This road only allows bike and buses. Although lots of people agree this is a good combination, I consistently totally freak out anytime a giant accordion bus passes me on this road.  Yeah, they see me, but lets face it, if they didn't -just once- there are no second chances.  After 8 miles, my ride in the morning ends at a water tower.  Top of the world, no easy task getting there.


pm route

On the way home I get to reap the  benefits of climbing hills and can coast a good 1/4 mile at the beginning of the ride.  Riding home is always easier because I have biking buddies.  My friend Amber has a tradition of singing me a new song every ride and I always have people to ride back to Uptown with at the end of the day.  The colder it gets, the more people band together to find a common time to bike home together, for some reason this makes a cold, dark ride home SOOO much easier.  With darkness comes choices as well.  The greenway bike path isn't a very safe option for riding after dark, known for hassling and crime and not very well lit.  We usually choose to ride down Franklin avenue, a busy, but well lit street.  Definitely not a great option during rush hours because the roads are full of potholes and you need room to maneuver. 

Its getting cold enough that I don't even break a sweat after biking for 8 miles to school anymore.  Rumor has it it might snow next weekend, time will tell but finger's crossed for another 2 weeks without ice.  Pray for me.