After The Peak: some Peak Oil Solutions

Solutions: Local and otherwise.

Despite the enormity of the problem of Peak Oil, there are some things we can all do. This is hardly a complete list and there are many resources on the web, but here's some things to think about as we come to grips with this serious limitation in the future.

  • Support local food.
    An incredible amount of energy is consumed in the transportation of our food. Every piece of local food you consume builds up the local economy, contributes to saving energy, and is probably fresher than the stuff in most grocery stores, even if it hasn't been groomed to look just right.

  • What are you driving?
    It's a simple fact and not everyone can react to it, but the mileage you get in your vehicle is important. Some people simply have to move a lot of people or stuff on a regular basis - so you will need a van or an SUV. Some of us just love the feeling of a big truck or SUV but we rarely carry more than 4 people or an occasional bag of mulch. For most of us, now is a good time to begin to re-think what we need so that our next vehicle consumes fewer resources.

  • Where are you driving?
    Many of us commute many miles. We do this for lots of different reasons: we like living out in the country but our vocation is urban, we own a house in this town, but the critical mass of work in our field is now in the next town. America has been built with the assumption that you can always drive somewhere. How many stores can you walk to or bike to? For many of us, the answer is zero. Something to think about next time you move.

  • Mass transit?
    We are going to need better mass transit: busses, subways, trolleys, trains. We are going to miss Amtrak in a decade or two, despite how bad we have let passenger train service get. You can drive five hours to your sister's in Washington from Raleigh, even though there is a train because it's not very convenient - so we don't take it. We've allowed mass transit to get worse and worse and more and more scarce in most places. Yet mass transit is a very fuel-efficient way to move goods and people.

  • Energy in your home.
    This is not news, of course. Even Wal-Mart is selling those energy-saving fluorescent lights that fit in a regular bulb socket. Lower the thermostat in the winter, raise it in the summer. Better insulation, better windows. Passive solar design. It feels like a "nice to have" today. This is going to change and even today, it's money in your pocket.

  • Public policy.
    Ultimately, the scale of the peak oil problem requires action at the level of more than individuals or even local governments. You have to be willing to support some difficult decisions in the future. It would be good to start on the solution to this problem before it is a crisis. But politicians are finding that leading on difficult issues isn't appreciated by most of us. We need to stop voting out anyone who tells us that things might not go on forever.

some of the fun