Monday, January 26, 2009

Flyer for Peak Oil awareness - comments welcomed!

Here's the rough draft of my text for an introductory flyer to peak oil and Transition Town OKC (currently in incubation stage ;). The flyer/pamphlet will be formatted by my co-chair on the Steering Committee, who will snazz it up and make it lovely and eye-catching and add some graphics and charts.

MY job is to write text that will persuade people that peak oil is a threat/opportunity and to visit our (upcoming) website. So it needs to be short, clear, to-the-point, and factual, without scaring the pants off people, but still motivating them enough to make the next step - looking at our website.

Keep in mind that we are in Oklahoma City, the original land of oil production, and the home of the F-150 ;). Wording is important, but I also don't want to pussy-foot around any of the issues. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how to improve this....

What is Peak Oil?
And what does it mean for YOU?

What is Peak Oil?

Every oil field has a finite amount of oil. When the oil field is first tapped, oil production increases, then it peaks, and finally it decreases. Some fields fall fast, some fall slow - but none produce forever. When the oil field reaches maximum production - that’s called peak oil.

Oil-producing countries also reach peak oil and then their oil production declines. The United States reached peak oil in 1970. Even though we continued discovering and producing oil, production continued falling. We now have to import over 66% of our oil.

Over two-thirds of the largest oil-producing countries have reached peak oil. Only a few countries can still grow production - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. We're not sure how much oil they have, because they don’t allow independent analysts to look at their data.

When is Peak Oil?

Energy experts agree that the world will reach peak oil at some point, and then oil production will begin to decline. Even though we will no doubt continue finding and exploiting oil resources, there will be less and less oil available every year. Conservative estimates for the timing of peak oil are 2 - 5 years in the future. The most optimistic estimates are for the year 2020.

Before oil is produced, it must be discovered. We know that world oil discovery peaked about 40 years ago and has been falling ever since - even with record high oil prices last year. Since oil must be discovered before it can be produced, this is a good indicator that oil production will peak soon as well.

Why does Peak Oil matter?

Our entire economy and lifestyle is based on easy access to cheap oil.
Our cars, trucks, trains and planes run on oil.
Coal for our power plants is mined and shipped using oil.
Our food is planted, harvested and shipped using oil.
Plastics and roads are made of oil.
10% of US homes are heated by oil.

Sources: International Energy Agency
US Federal Government Hirsch Report
Association for the Study of Peak Oil
Central Intelligence Agency


What is Transition Town OKC?
and why do you care?

Oil: A Blessing, and a Curse?

Although oil has been a blessing in many ways, it has also been a curse. Global warming, pollution, traffic jams, sprawl, strip malls, the destruction of small towns and native ways of life, and globalization are just a few of the problems caused by fossil fuels. With fewer fossil fuels available, Transition Town OKC believes we have an opportunity to move forward into a future based on local economies, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Oil Shocks

We depend on oil for so many things - transportation, agriculture, heating oil, and shipping coal for our electricity, just to name a few. Because oil is so vital to our economy, terrorists frequently target oil pipelines, refineries, and tankers. Oil shocks caused by terrorism, peak oil, labor strikes, international unrest, or even accidents have the potential to cause serious havoc and hardship. Oklahoma City should have a plan to deal with the consequences of a severe oil shock.

Yes, we can - but only with a lot of work

Here in the U.S., we have a fleet of 250 million cars and trucks, and we use over 20 million barrels of oil per day. Oil production after peak oil is predicted to decline 6 - 9% per year. That amount of energy is not going to be replaced by any combination of wind farms, solar panels, and ethanol. The plain fact is that we will have to use less energy - a challenging task, but one which can be accomplished.

Without a plan, peak oil could cause scarcity and hardship. If we work together to create a plan, Oklahoma City can transition to a better, more local, way of life. It won’t be easy, but we can come out of the transition stronger, healthier, happier, and closer to our communities.

The future will have less fossil fuel energy. What will it have more of? More gardens and bikes? More local stores, local food, and neighborhood schools? More insulation and clotheslines? More solar panels and wind farms? Transition Town OKC invites you to help us create a vision of this future.

Join the Momentum

Transition Towns are spreading across the country as citizens begin to realize that we can’t wait for government to save us. We need to act, and we need to act now. Visit the Transition Town OKC website at for further information, events you can attend, and ways that you can help us create a positive vision of the future - AND help turn that future into a reality.


Alison Kerr said...

Hausfrau, I think you've done a great job. Either it's perfect or I'm brain dead and haven't woken up yet. I'll go for the former. It is informative without being alarmist and if I were reading it I'd go and check out your website :-)

Theresa said...

Wow, Hausfrau, you are one skilled wordsmith! This is clear and concise, with enough information to get people's attention and direct them to the website for more. I don't think it will frighten anyone, but it does provide a good wake-up call.

I had a couple questions about the peak oil time frame - I thought conservative estimates already had it peaking? But maybe you don't want to say that in this pamphlet?

At first I thought your emphasis on pipelines being particularly prone to terrorist attacks might be overstated, but then I remembered that even here in Canada we've had four recent bombings of sour gas pipelines that are as yet unsolved.

Transition Town OKC is lucky to have you on board!

thedoomletter said...

One idea about explaining peak oil that has helped me in the past is something like this:

Think of the world as a bank and oil as money in your account. Today based on estimates we have more money in our account than we have ever had before. These are called oil reserves. But the problem is that there are limits on how much we can take out on a daily basis, kind of like the daily limit on your ATM card. This is called the production rate. The problem of peak oil is that even though we have so much in the bank, more than we ever realized before, we can only withdrawal it so fast. Once we need more that that daily limit is when the problems start popping up.

Maybe that will help, feel free to use it if you think it makes sense.

I love your site btw...


Parma Powerdown said...

Hmmm. Blogger and I are not getting along. Sorry if this is a duplicate.

I think it's really well done and I don't have any suggestions other than to add a catch phrase. Something that will catch their eye and pique their interest--a hook.

What if there were no cars?

When the gas runs out, what will you do with your car?

Those are terrible examples, but you get the idea. You need a tag line.


Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Hey Theresa - I think the "extreme" estimates are the ones for 2005 and 2030, and conservative are 2-5 years and optimistic for 2020. I guess that's my opinion, we won't know till years afterwards. I was acutally thinking of Nigeria when I wrote about the pipelines and thinking of Saudi Arabia for the refineries.

doomletter - thanks for the suggestion, maybe I'll be able to use that sometime.

parma - you're right, I do need a hook! I'll have to think about that.

Theresa said...

Ah, now I see how you are doing it, in a Bell Curve sort of way. :)

Squrrl said...

Excellent format...overall, I'd say you're golden. I could pick a few nits, though, since you did ask. First, try switching up "peak oil" with "peak in oil production" or some such wording at least once or twice...just to keep things from being a touch repetitive. Two, you kinda repeat yourself with the "must be discovered before it can be produced" line, maybe you can shuffle that somehow?

Also, and this is totally just a pet peeve of mine, so please, please feel free to ignore me, but with the headers, when you say "What is Peak Oil? And what does it mean for YOU?" (and later a different one), I know people do that all the time, but of course it's not correct usage, and personally I think that just cutting out the "and" makes it more grammatical and maybe a touch punchier, too.

Again, though, wow...I think you've done a great job. You shame me for not getting out and doing more myself.

Jane Talkington said...

Hausfrau, It is an honor to be your instructor. Are you planning on attending the OSN conference in March in Edmond?

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Hi Jane! Although I would LOVE to take your course, I don't believe I am signed up to do so.... I've been out of college awhile ;). I found your site through the OSN listserv and thought you had interesting things to say, so I signed up to follow your blog. Is that only for students, or is it OK for others too? I hope I can attend the OSN conference, sometimes it's all a matter of finding a babysitter. I would love if our OKC Transition Town initiative could link up with your class in some way. Let me know if you'd be interested...