Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Top actions to promote now

What can we do to help our neighbors and neighborhoods - with our current knowledge of the peak oil situation? How do we prioritize what to publicize?

We are already starting to see some of the early effects of peak oil: more expensive gas, electricity, and food. People are starting to feel the pain. So, how can we help people deal with this? What are the changes they can make that will have the biggest impact for them?

Really, I'm asking YOU. I have my own ideas, but I'm open to new ones. To some people, these ideas are simply common sense, to others they are extremely radical. Either way, the following actions are cheap and can be fast to implement and see results, but not necessarily easy. I don't know if they would have the biggest impact - what are your thoughts?

1. Carpool, bike, or bus.
2. Clothesline.
3. Cook and bake from scratch.
4. Shut off or reduce use of the A/C.
5. Make your own solar oven, and use it.
6. Stop using hot water for clothes washing, and take 3-minute showers.
7. Entertain and vacation at home.
8. Grow some food.

So how can we (as individuals, community organizations, businesses and governments) facilitate and support these 8 action items?

1. Carpool, bike, or bus.

  • Make Park n' Rides (for carpooling or busing) available at convenient areas.
  • Encourage your church or community centers to provide Park n' Rides.
  • Start a carpool at your work.
  • Promote existing carpool services.
  • Designate or create bike lanes.
  • Expand bus services.
  • Install bike racks at your place of business.

2. Clothesline.

  • Make HOA or city regulations against clotheslines illegal.
  • Provide cheap or free clotheslines or clothesline installations.
  • Promote clotheslines as patriotic.

3. Cook and bake from scratch

  • Offer cooking / baking classes
  • Promote cooking /baking contests
  • Cook and bake for your friends and co-workers

4. Shut off the A/C

  • All govt. offices and schools set at 80 degrees, or just shut it off entirely and open windows up !
  • Shade govt. offices and schools with vines or trees.
  • Promote shading with handouts at nurseries in the fall and spring.
  • Offer assistance with planting correctly sited trees.
5. Solar ovens

  • Offer solar cooking classes
  • Make home-made solar ovens (cheap) and deploy them
  • Feature solar cooking books/displays at libraries
  • Encourage businesses to sell solar ovens
  • Feature solar ovens cooking at highly visible spots
  • Make solar cooked food for friends and family or group functions

6. Stop using hot water for clothes washing, and take 3-minute showers

  • Hey, how much effort could this take? Get an egg timer!

7. Entertain and vacation at home

  • Start a potluck with your friends
  • Promote local OKC attractions like the museums, festivals, galleries, etc.
  • Have a STAYcation - vacation at or near home

8. Grow some food

  • This one CAN be cheap, but definitely not that easy!
  • Start highly visible community gardens
  • Master Gardeners - start offering classes
  • Start with either easy vegetables or high-value vegetables
  • Start programs at schools and institutions - make it part of the curriculum
  • Grow your own garden - on the lawn
  • Encourage edible landscaping
  • Plant edible landscaping at schools, govt offices, prisons, any place that is publicly owned (many plants such as pecans, sage, rosemary, grapes, are easy to grow in our climate and don't require much maintenance)


Lewru said...

My top priority right now - as in today, this week - is to figure out how to convince the average joesephina that high gas prices are here to stay, and not only that, they're related to all of the other things you mentioned on your list. I don't think that point has been made clear to the mainstream - the vast ramifications of peak oil and high energy costs. But at least now transit ridership is way up and cities have to think about that!

anajz said...

I agree with lewru, in that I think most people believe that high gas prices will diminish with less demand. Speaking with someone yesterday, I was informed that the only reason the fuel prices are as high as they are is because of demand.
We all know that during peak travel times, fuel prices rise, but this(in my opinion) is not a rise, but a huge which we will all soon realize is here to stay.
Hausfrau-the suggestions you make are right on target.
We keep our winter thermostat set at 60 degrees and only air condition the rooms that we are occupying. We just installed the air conditioners last night...however they are off and the windows open.
I expect that we might soon see some government regulation, as once before, in terms of governmental offices and thermostats. In our area, schools that are not air-conditioned have guidelines set in place for high temps and school closures. When I was teaching full time, one year I had two seperate students-- on two seperate occasions-- pass out from the heat in the classroom. Our tinted windows all faced west and the side of the building heated up quickly from direct sunlight and being reflected off of the blacktop playground/parking lot. Solar gain was at its max!
I once watched my own young daughter turn gray and pass out from the heat during a classroom program. To this day, that same school has made no changes to create a "cooler" atmosphere, but has created that school heat policy.
This is a great post, one which I would like to link to from my blog if you would not mind.

Hausfrau said...

Good points, sometimes I am so immersed in peak oil stuff that it all seems obvious and related to me.

Anajz - we have a school near us in the same situation - HUGE windows on the South side of the school with NO shading. I feel sorry for the students baking inside. I mean, come on, at least grow some vines or something!

Of course you can link to it - link away!