I first learned about peak oil on the red-eye flight home from my honeymoon. I read the entire book Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight on the plane and almost woke up my sleeping newly-wed husband to force him to discuss it with me. Later, I read the Life After the Oil Crash website and discovered how close we really were, and how serious the problem really was.
That fall, we moved back to Oklahoma City. In some ways, there's no worse place to be than here ;). The sprawl! The droughts! No public transport, no bike paths! We just got organic food in our grocery store in 2009! But in other ways, it excels. We are near both of our families, have cheaper costs of living and a smaller mortgage, and land here is affordable.
There are many different approaches to preparing for peak oil. Some people like homesteads, others focus on preparing financially. Personally, I think there's no ONE single best way - but many ways that will work for people in different circumstances with different strengths and needs. My particular "plan" focuses on three major time periods with three associated strategies. Those are:
1. Short term / Fast crash:
Preparing for emergencies is good to do regardless of peak oil: you may need many of these strategies to deal with ice storms, blizzards, power outages, quarantine, tornado, hurricane, etc. You might want to consider finding a place to go in case the local situation becomes severe. For example, my parents moved to our house when their electricity went off for 10 days.
- Emergency planning
- Backup plans
- Evacuation plans
- Food storage
- Water storage & filtering
- Home defense
2. Medium term / Economic crash:
Many people now see the wisdom of these tactics, but before the recession they would have been seen as ultra-conservative or inefficient. In particular, no one wanted to hear about reducing expenses or debt since this was seen as reducing the ability to have all the latest toys, bells, and whistles.
- Secure good/steady job,
- Reduce expenses,
- Increase savings,
- Reduce debt,
- Reduce exposure to volatile stock market,
- Diversify income,
- Diversify assets
3. Long term / Sustainable future:
In the long term, I think we are all going to have to move in this direction, although there are many different ways to approach a sustainable future. And along the way, there will be many bumps. Unfortunately, just as we realize that we need to take these actions, our capacity to do so may be reduced due to government regulations, economic conditions, competition from still-cheap and subsidized fossil fuels, etc.
- Site selection (finding a good place to live and work),
- Growing food,
- Energy efficiency in home and transportation,
- Alternative energy,
- Grow community,
- Learn new skills (gardening, farming, post-peak career),
- Support local farmers and economy
That's a high level look at one way to approach preparation (as I said, there are many ways). In a later post, I'll summarize what I've done to prepare in the above categories over the last five years.