Presentation on theme: "PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 9A – What We Can Do at the Personal Level By Robert Bériault."— Presentation transcript:
PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 9A – What We Can Do at the Personal Level By Robert Bériault
What can humans do to soften the landing?
A word of caution: Dont take my word as gospel. I cant predict the future any more than anybody else. The following advice was gleaned from many sources, from my own experience, and from analysis of facts that Ive outlined in previous chapters. But I think most of it will make sense to you.
Lets look at the different levels where actions can be taken: 1- Personal level 2- Local neighbourhood level 3- Municipal level 4- Provincial and National level 5- Global level
1- Personal Level I dont think it is possible for individuals to prepare for the worst, that is, a total societal breakdown or global war. But we might prevent those disasters from happening in Canada if our government acts in time to mitigate the effects of the energy downslide. If our government does do what is necessary, my bet is that Canada will only suffer a gradual, worsening recession. And maybe well manage to establish a stable economy, but at a considerably lower standard of living than at present. For such an eventuality, individuals can plan for their personal survival.
1- Personal Level: Individuals who want to protect themselves might want to move closer to downtown or to their workplace, within walking distance to amenities When suburbanites find themselves unable to dump their McMansions, well be glad to have a smaller place close to all conveniences
1- Personal Level: Cultural and sport activities will have to be located closer to home.
1- Personal Level: If possible, build a super- insulated house. Failing that, retrofit an older house with abundant quantities of insulation and seal it as well as possible against air infiltration. Fit a Heat Recovery Ventilator for fresh air. The prices of heating fuels and electricity are bound to increase astronomically when the downturn is under way. More important than the price, will be the availability. Energy shortages will result in occasional long blackouts in winters worst cold. When frequent and long power failures become the norm, our super insulated house will keep the pipes from freezing and us from being miserable.
1- Personal Level: Once the post-peak decline is well established, people will inevitably move in together, as the suburbs are abandoned. So why not build a small apartment in your basement or attic now while materials are available? This would be an added source of revenue to help offset the high energy costs of the future.
1- Personal Level Equip our houses with an airtight woodstove. Keep a minimum two-week supply of wood in a locked area. Do it now while materials are cheap. Remember the 2002 blackout that left 55 million people without power? This will be a common occurrence sometime in the future. The government may not have the funds to look after us.
1- Personal Level: Make all the updates now (flooring, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) Make our homes as maintenance-free as possible: maintenance-free siding, windows and soffits. These are luxuries we may not be able to afford in the middle of the oil crash. Or, the materials to do these things might simply not be available.
1- Personal Level: I think everybody would be well advised to learn gardening and to allow at least a small garden on their property. Produce from warm climates may no longer be available. If it is, the average family will likely not be able to afford it. Although we might not be able to live off our city garden, it will provide us with the pleasure of the special little luxuries that bring comfort in hard times. A rooftop garden would discourage theft.
1- Personal Level Learn food preservation techniques: Canning, salting, smoking and Drying And if at all possible, build a cold cellar in our basements. Fresh produce will only be flown into our cold Canadian cities for the rich. For those who are not rich and want to eat well, learning how to preserve the locally grown fruit and vegetables available at local markets would be a blessing.
1- Personal Level Start exploring vegetarian recipes now. Youll economize – and by reducing your red meat consumption you might even improve your health. And at some point in the future the price of meat will make eating high on the food chain expensive. Youll have to pay for the expensive grain that Old MacDonald fattens me up with on the farm
1- Personal Level Equip our kitchens with energy efficient cookware: Perfectly flat bottomed pots and pans, electric frying pan, pressure cooker. Do it now while energy is cheap and everything is available. If we wait until the decline arrives these items might be hard to find.
1- Personal Level: Those whove never learned how to cook might be wise to do it now. Access to pre-prepared foods will be restricted to those who have deep pockets. Furthermore, the choice might be limited if there is any choice.
1- Personal Level: Learn how to knit and sew and buy a sewing machine now while theyre dirt cheap. Since Jean Chrétien and company have put the kibosh in Canadas clothing industry, we will have to learn to repair our own clothes in order to make them last. Well also benefit from being able to make our own. A mechanical machine requires no electricity and is easy to repair.
1- Personal Level: Wed be wise to learn how to repair things. Take a small appliances repair course and a mechanics course. Also, buy all the tools we will need now while they are affordable. When times get tough, we will be amongst the survivors if we can fix things and if we can make things ourselves.
1- Personal Level: Our finances: Rid ourselves of all debt. Pay off our mortgages. Never buy consumer goods on credit (that includes cars) Nobody would want to be burdened with debt if interest rates shoot up to 15%, 30% or 60%.
1- Personal Level: Our finances: When oil goes back up to $140 a barrel, tourist facilities like ski centres, cruise ships and theme parks will start hurting. We must be aware that there likely will never be another sustained bull market in the tourism field again. Those who own shares in anything related to this field, would be wise to keep an eye on those stocks and get ready to phone their broker.
1- Personal Level: Our finances: If you own shares in the airline industry, plan on divesting yourself of them before the oil decline begins This extraordinary aircraft will go down in history as one of mankinds follies
1- Personal Level: Those who need to lose weight might consider doing it now so that theyre in better health when the going gets tough. This should include eating a healthy, balanced diet with less emphasis on meat and more on beans and grains. When the decline starts, our health system, which relies entirely on disposable supplies and energy, will probably collapse. It wont be a good time to be sick. We have to get ourselves into shape.
1- Personal Level: Those who are advanced in age: Would do well do move into a house or apartment that is wheelchair equipped. Those living alone might move in with another person, preferably younger and in better shape than they are. Because of high unemployment and bankruptcies, governments will be unable to collect the taxes required for the increasing demand on health and social services.
Those living in a highrise… might want to ponder these questions: How will I cope when power outages start to occur on a regular basis? Will I be able to climb up to my floor using the stairs with ease? Do the windows open in my apartment? Does my building have its own water pressurizing system (that relies on electricity)? Should I consider selling my condo now while the market is still viable? What kind of backup heating system does it have?
Owners of these fuel guzzlers should be aware that when oil declines, high fuel prices will be a permanent fact of life. They might want to keep an eye on oil prices and before they get too high, put their yacht up for sale and not haggle too much over the selling price. Better do it too soon than too late. And why not learn to sail?
1- Personal Level We must learn as much as we can about the oil situation and spread the knowledge: Richard Heinberg Colin Campbell Jean Laherrère Matthew Simmons By bringing up the subject of overshoot and peak oil with our friends and co- workers By telling everybody we know about this PowerPoint presentation. It can be downloaded, burned onto a CD and distributed to other people.
1- Personal Level If you are in high school and trying to chose a trade or profession that will be in demand during the economic decline, you might consider the following :
How to earn a living in tough times TRADES & PROFESSIONSBUSINESSES WelderUsed clothing store PlumberConvenience store ElectricianBowling alley Appliance repairPool hall Small engine repairPub Auto mechanicBicycle shop Health care workerShoe repair shop Midwife, acupuncturist, osteopath, homeopath, etc. Alarm & video systems Buskers and entertainersBrewery or Distiller PriestHair dressing salon Security expertMarijuana grower Seamstress or tailorPrivate bussing service UndertakerFarming Auctioneer
Heres another list sent to me by a reader: Norm Erickson of Rochester, MN Firewood dealer Chimney sweep Shoemaker Community garden provider Woodworker Bicycle based courier Biodiesel manufacturer (from hazelnuts at 60+% oil... get them planted!) See Remodeler (subdivide McMansions) Scooter/bicycle dealer/service Local Sawmill operator/sawyer Teach basic survival skills: Animal husbandry, butchering, canning, etc. Security system installer Passive solar or seasonal thermal energy home builder with local materials Salvage dealer for buildings/materials Scrap metal dealer Blacksmith Root cellar construction Solar system installer (site built collectors) Energy efficiency evaluator for homes/businesses Fabric manufacturing Machinist Tool and die maker Mediator Painter Grocer Dairy operator Milkman Fisherman/fish farmer Baker Greenhouse operator Locker plant operator (freezer rentals) Ice house operator Boarding house operator
Some of my readers have told me they are moving to a remote region to escape the chaos they are expecting to take place. Here are the criteria I think you might consider if you are thinking the same: A small town hundreds of kilometres from large centres Linked to larger cities by a single road that can be blocked in case of attack That has an airport and a seaport Near forests (wood for heating) Near a large body of water (fish for eating) Where some agriculture is possible A town that can furnish the amenities of a civilized world A town that enjoys sense of community, whose citizens would likely help each other in a situation of crisis
Here are some examples of such communities: On the lower north coast of the St. Lawrence there is the town of Sept Îles that fills all the qualifications Several towns in Newfoundland would be reasonable second choices Some towns in Northern Canada near large bodies of inland water might also be good choices And theres the southern portion of Vancouver Island on Canadas west coast, which doesnt enjoy the above advantages, but where the pipes dont freeze when the power is out USA Canada
Money might lose most of its value So you might want to accumulate things of value that you could trade faucet valves, washers, relay switches, electric motors, car parts, bicycle parts, diodes, ball bearings, razor blades, bar soap, water filtration systems, LED lights, generators, solar battery chargers, solar panels and associated hardware, crank operated flashlights and radios, camp stoves that run on gasoline, guns and ammunition, etc.
But then, if the worst of the decline doesnt happen before a decade or two, you will have stored these things for a needlessly long time!
Are you planning to move, Robert?
You cant protect yourself against all of lifes potential vicissitudes Because I feel that we will experience frequent power shortages within the next ten years, Im seriously entertaining the idea of building myself a furnaceless house in my neighbourhood. If the worst effects of the oil decline dont occur during my lifetime, at least I will save on heating costs and my successors will benefit from my excess of caution. In my view, life is too unpredictable to make extraordinary changes just in case chaos strikes next year.
1- Personal Level: Be aware that the forces of globalization are very insidious, powerful and pervasive. Had you ever heard of NASCO? Watch this video: CLICK (will take a while to download)CLICK
When the energy crunch becomes an ever worsening reality, we will all have to live more locally. And thats what Chapter 9B deals with… Click icon for Chapter choice