Preparing for peak oil is just common sense.
- By Sami Grover Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Whether peak oil means, as many people argue, the end of civilization as we know it, or simply a painful and challenging reordering of the status quo, remains a matter of debate. But either way, it makes sense to prepare yourself. Even if peak oil remains decades away, many of the things you should do to prepare for peak oil and other calamities are also simply prudent common sense, not to mention a great way of cutting your carbon emissions. So here's a list of 5 ideas to get you started preparing for peak oil—apocalypse or not.
Back when gas was expensive, and food prices were rising alarmingly, it seemed like everyone was talking about Peak Oil. But fast-forward to today and folks have conveniently forgotten how reliant our entire way of life is on the sticky black stuff (and how quickly it can all unravel if supplies start to dwindle). But recent murmurings from anonymous whistle blowers at the International Energy Agency suggest that global oil reserves may be lower than reported. Much lower.
5 Steps to Start Preparing for Peak Oil
1. Start a Garden: From learning about permaculture to planting fruit and nut trees to starting a no-dig garden, learning to grow your own food, and making sure the infrastructure is in place to do so, can be a great way to insularte yourself from future shocks—be they environmental or economic. If you are seriously worried about coming instability, it makes sense to concentrate on fruit trees and perennials first—,once you've dug an asparagus bed or planted a pear tree, you'll be enjoying harvests for years to come.
2. Green Your Home: From insulating your roof to installing low energy light bulbs, everything you do to green your home will also put you in better stead if and when energy prices rise dramatically. And if you're a believer in more profound shocks from peak oil, why not look at generating some of your own power by installing solar panels?
3. Live Within Your Means: Learning to limit your spending is not always thought of as a green activity, but it is definitely wise if you want to become more resilient to economic or social disturbance. And buying less stuff means producing less pollution too, so it's a win-win for the planet and your finances, whether peak oil is around the corner or not.You may also want to look at cutting debt, or paying off that mortgage—recent events show just how fragile our economic system can be. You could even try living mortgage-free!
4. De-oil Your Transport: Along with food and housing, transportation is one of the most energy intensive activities in the average person's life, and unlike energy used in our homes, transportation energy is almost completely reliant on oil. So look at ways you can cut back on oil use— and try to think beyond the obvious. From biking to work to carpooling to taking mass transit, cutting your transportation footprint often saves you money too. And if you want to get really serious, you can work from home. Even driving more carefully will save you money on gas.
5. Campaign for Action: Cutting your personal oil consumption is commendable, but peak oil is a societal problem. So do what you can to educate your friends, to mobilize your community, and to call for action on a political level. Whether you are calling for stricter fuel economy standards or starting a community garden, collective action makes us all more resilient to coming challenges. Take a look at our guide on How to Green Your Community for more ideas.