100 Things you can do for Peak Oil - Part 1

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Found this interesting link on the last newsbytes from the Organic Consumers Association.
A lot of energy saving practical info here, although I admit in some ways the tone reminds me of the Y2K doomsday sceanrios. Still, it's a good read:

http://groovygreen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=347&Itemid=57

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

G-M... I'm doing everything I can to free myself of high energy costs, gasoline costs, toxic foods, etc. It is really amazingly simple ONCE you can change your mindset, but that's not an easy task!

I'm still far, far, far away from what I can do. I still waste, but every week it gets easier to cut back, with no hardship.

My sister (who owns this house and will move here sooner or later) would croak at NO dishwasher, NO clothes dryer... and even NO garbage disposal. But y'a know, I have managed perfectly okay and healthy for 8 months without them. And, for 98¢ worth of butternut squash seeds and 15 x 3 feet of garden space, I have had fresh winter squash all winter long with some still in the cellar.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

We have no dishwasher and no garbage disposal. Get along just fine w/out them. We would love to be able to use a line for drying clothes but we live on a gravel road and have lots of trees so we do have to use the dryer but we have an energy saver button on there and we use it alot to cut back on drying time.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

I have a dishwasher (it came w/the place) but it hasn't worked for nearly 20 years. I can't imagine owning or investing in a garbage disposal...just don't understand the need for it. (All our kitchen scraps go directly to the chickens.)

We have an electric clothes dryer but also have a clothesline (my preference! Yay!)

I'm sure I still "waste" things, too...but I'm happy that I waste less than the norm or what we once did.

And now...off to read the link Mermaid posted! Thanks!

Shoe

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I used to own chickes but they all finally died and we got our yard back. lol. We do miss feeding them scraps but we now just throw it over the fence to feed all the dogs and cats around here.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

O m' goodness...can you throw the scraps into a compost bin? Then you can put the end result in your garden.

Shoe

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

We have a compost thing but it doesn't work. I do throw it out in different gardens I have here too. i do both and either way it helps our lousy soil. lol. Lousy soil is getting better every year.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

Many of those 50 items sound rather far out to most people. Still it would likely take so little to put this country into a panic in this day and age of both terrorists and dependance on high tech.....One refinery sneezes and gasoline seems to go up 50 a gallon.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

pepper's composting --- via the animals' stomachs!

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Indy, you aren't kidding. Have you heard that gas will be up to $3 a gal by summer?

Yep, composting via animals. That works too. lol.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Gas is already OVER $3 a gallon here! I justed filled up today and it was $3.06 per gallon for regular. I'm keeping my 10 yr old car going because it's fuel efficient. Hoping to get a passenger diesel for the next car so I can run on biodiesel. We have three B100 pumps in this area but the state air quality board is launching another attack on diesel engines. Hopefully they'll come to their senses soon. The newer diesels have particulate filters and are tuned high enough that there is little NOX from biodiesel.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I bought a little worm box for my kitchen and my veggie and fruit scraps go in there when it is too cold to walk out to the compost pile behind the garage. I try to plant only things that will provide food for someone - if not me, then the wildlife.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Gas was $2.39 here today. It is going up fast. Supposed to be over $3 by summer. I daresay it will be that high before then. I am not looking forwards to it.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I wish fuel was that cheap here, ours was up to 1 a litre not long ago, that's around $9 a gallon. It's at 0.859 a litre for unleaded now but going up again. I only shop once a fortnight, and rarely go anywhere else unless neccessary, so don't use a lot.


Garbage disposals are nearly unheard of here, dishwashers are more popular now with many but I don't have one, many electrical items here were late coming to the market in general. Years behind what we had in Australia even. My parents had a dishwasher from around 1960 when on the farm, electric frypans we had too but it was a long time before they appeared here and I don't think they caught on the same.

I've never had a clothes dryer, in winter I hang them out, then finish drying on the radiators, or dry altogether on radiators if the weather isn't suitable. I used to dry them in front of a fire on a clothes horse when I had kids around. Once into spring I don't have fires either so I just have to wait until they dry outside, that's no problem really.

Coal is very expensive here now, nearly 10 ($20) a cwt bag at the cheapest, this winter has been mild so I have burned less with lighting fires later, letting it go out overnight, and I put extra clothing on to keep off the chills. That is a fleece jacket on top of a long sleeved cotton turtle neck and wool jumper, 2 pairs of socks with the outer ones thermal.

Electricity is hugely expensive here, it must have gone up by about 75% in the space of a year. I have economy 7 which water can be heated on overnight, even that has nearly doubled. I use a timer for the washing machine to finish before the cheap rate ends. We went from paying a standing charge for meter reading of 12, it went to 14, the day rate was under 0.07 per unit kWh, night well under 0.03. We pay a value added tax of 5% on the total.

Now, there is no reading charge, but the first 227 units are charged at 0.1837 per unit. The remainder day units at 0.0993, night units 0.0426. All of that plus 5% VAT. Nearly double that for $'s. Fortunately my electricity usage isn't that high, it is still higher than I'd like it to be, but we like to use our computers so much now for DG!

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Bless you Wallaby1, and we think we have it tough here!
Josephine.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

frostweed, thanks for the bless you's! When I think we have it tough here, I think of those who really have it tough. Self help and frugal living is a great thing, but there are many in the world who don't have a vehicle, don't have a roof over their heads, or a very poor one, and no electricity. It's a challenge for many to feed themselves and their children. Makes you think doesn't it.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes it does, we need to be more thankful, more responsible, and share more with those less fortunate.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I've spent a lot of time in France, wallaby, and just love the way people appreciate what they have. It seems as if Europeans are much more likely to have time for really taking time for their lives, whereas in America we overbook ourselves with soccer practice, shopping & jobs. Then in the evening we read self-help books about getting our lives back on track.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Whew!! I had forgotten how high everything was over there and I think most people here in the U.S. have too. I used to hear people say they were grateful we had it a little better over here price wise but no more. Til now. lol

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I think the British are more work orientated than the French, Italian or Spanish. They start late, have a 2 hour siesta for lunch, finish late and party in the cool of the night. Here it's all productivity.

If you saw the variety of 'rubbish' foods on the supermarket shelves here, and compare it with those in France or Italy, they have more basic 'good' foods with the odd delicacy. There is a growing trend of speciality foods, but the rubbish abounds.

There are shops galore here, it's a national passtime to go shopping to relieve boredom, or unhappiness, or stress. In Europe it's difficult to find the shops, and when you do they only sell quality goods. We have everything under the sun pushed at us, people are brainwashed into 'wanting'.

Now every with-it person has to go to the gym, nearly every 10 year old has a mobile phone, the latest pocket size one with a camera. I have not yet bought a mobile phone, my daughter gave me an old one which she would call a brick, it has a little credit on the card and I have never used it, I just take it with me in case the car breaks down. The adults of tomorrow won't know how to cope on little money, they will need to work every hour there is to fund their habits. Then they will become ill and wonder why! Someone forgot to tell them we are not machines.

Just think of all the discarded mobile phones there will be from these kids, and adults, who have to replace the ones they lost or broke. What a rubbish ridden, wasteful world this is turning into.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Wallaby, your tale makes me very grateful even as I hold an electric bill (mostly heating) for the past month that I cannot begin to pay. BUT, I have a roof out of the rain, and food in the cupboard!

Gasoline prices jumped over 25% in the last 2 weeks but has abated a bit this week.

Today however, brings good tidings. I finally got the used airtight woodstove I bought several years ago installed and have a fire tonight for the first time in this house. That should cut my heating bill by over 50% even after I factor in firewood cost. There is some firewood on our acerage, part of which runs behind a neighbor's house. He wants to cut some trees to give his garden more sun. Today I said Yes, as long as he brings the cut trees to me for firewood. Mostly oak and some water ash, plus a little poplar.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Wallaby, we cross-posted. I read somewhere 2-3 years ago that in the US alone we put 3 BILLION lead-acid batteries in our landfills annually. Are we stealing our children's futures?

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

darius, you are in such a cold place, it must be horrendous to pay electricity bills for heating! We have a lot of cold weather, but nothing like yours. They say be thankful for small things, but a roof over your head and food in the cupboard are huge things.

I too burn wood if I can get it, but in a small coal fireplace it's really only useful for the milder beginnnig and end of cold weather, then you have to have the wood! I hope you can manage to get plenty more wood for free. Keep warm, eat and be happy!

darius, yes I think we are not only stealing our kids futures, we are leading them into a poor future. I tried to teach my children that it was not important to have what others had, but now their children have to have it all, the parents now don't seem to have any control. The marketing they are subjected to from the media is brainwashing, all in the name of profit.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Wallaby. I think along the same lines, just don't post most thoughts so there's no discussion the Admin Police can fault.

I really am hoping this new forum can open minds as well as doors to what is possible, no matter how small the effort.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I agree. We like to recycle here to help with keeping stuff out of the landfill but where we live there is only paper and aluminum recycling. Very frustrating. And in the city they have most of it but we can't afford to drive there very often. Oh well. It's getting closer, little by little.

Ida, MI

This is my second winter heating my house entirely with a small airtight woodstove and I love it! I have now more than paid for the substantial investment in the stove as I bought a fairly fancy one and paid to have it installed professionally so I would not have to worry about fire hazards. I don't know how it works but when it is burning there is absolutely smoke that comes from the chimney, something about reburning the exhaust as it doesnt have a catalytic converter. I didn't want one with a catalytic converter as these have to be replaced periodicaly.
I get my wood for free by cutting at the local city yard where they bring street trees that have been cut down. The wood that isn't cut by homeowners is trucked away and burned in giant incinerator so I am heating my house with absolutely no impact to the environment and for free. Around here there is wood everywhere, on roadsides, ditches, fencelines and I occasionally cut dead trees in my neighbors woods. I also have a landscaping business and do some small tree pruning and everything that is too big for my small chipper to turn into mulch or compost is used for firewood, nothing is wasted. That little stove is the best investment I ever made next to my house. Cutting wood keeps me active outdoors in the winter, I heat my house for free, and I help use wood that would otherwise be wasted. If you live in an area where there are lots of trees, even in the city you would be suprised at the amount of wood to be had and the technology of modern woodburning stoves makes them environmentally friendly. Even if I had to buy wood I would still be coming out ahead as the prices for natural gas and propane are skyrocketing right along with gasoline and fuel oil. Four out of six of my closest neighbors have also switched to wood heat. Two of them have the outdoor boiler type and my nearest neighbor and myself have wood stoves.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Can you give us more info? I had to give up wood heat this year after my rafters caught fire around the crappy stove I inherited with this house. Since I'm remodeling the entire hut anyway, I have the opportunity to do things right, from scratch.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Yeah Spot... what brand of airtight stove did you get? I've had a Morso and a Jotul, now just today installed a Vermont Castings Vigilant stove.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

wallaby, the fuel efficient diesel engine passenger wagon (to run on plant based biodiesel) that I want is readily available in the UK and Europe, but not allowed here. My cousins in Germany get far better gas mileage than we do.

Here's the car I want. It seats 7 people and gets 50 mpg. Just not available in the US. *sigh*
http://www.ciao.co.uk/Toyota_Avensis_Verso__Review_5437936

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

spot, it's great that you can get free wood, I don't think there is anything here similar to get it. When the dual carriageway was built nearby quite a few trees were cut down, there was wood everywhere, but they had huge shredders which I imagine went into the compost which the councils now recycle from our recycle bins. We have 3 bins, 2 collected by different vehicles every fortnight, the other the alternate fortnight. One for garden waste etc, one for paper, plastics and glass, the other for anything else, which is usually very low on content now.

This is a recent article on the rubbish here, the highest in Europe, which reflects what I said about the rubbish avaiable to buy. Everything is packaged for convenience, once fruit and veg were bought from a greengrocer, now they are packaged in supermarkets although I see much of it now is loose. Even easily made things like custard is now ready to use in a tin, they must sell these things as they stock them! What people once considered a treat to have, is now considered a normal part of the diet and much of it is not healthy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6238357.stm

Think of all the disposable nappies which go into landfill, they were around when my kids were babies, but I used the material ones and washed them. Cost is one consideration but also comfort, they don't go into landfill, and resources are not used to manufacture them on a throwaway basis. Many mothers work now though, and convenience is one thing everyone wants, even if it gives us more time for doing things we want to do.

garden_mermaid, I haven't kept up with what's available in vehicles, but have heard about these, I don't think the fuel is widely available though. The knock-on effects of plant based fuels may have it's own set of problems too!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_oil

This is interesting too, using vegetable oils and animal fats for power supplies, things are happening but not enough.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2007/03/05/daily2.html?from_rss=1

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I checked my electric bill last month and during "prime time' I'm paying almost 24 cents a kilowatt hour. Highest rates in the US here in Connecticut. Anyone using a bicycle to generate electricity?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Cat... 24¢/KWH?? WOW! I'd consider a bicycle to generate enough power for my computer but nothing else, LOL. I AM looking for other ways to either generate electricity, cut back, or do without.

Actually I'm looking for a Country Grain Mill with a large wheel that can be bicycle-powered.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Does anyone watch HGTV? There is a show called Living with Ed. He trys everything he can think of to save energy in his house. He evens rides a bike to heat the toaster. It is a good show. And very funny.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

wallaby, biodiesel is widely available in my area, but ironically the diesel cars are restricted! Our Air Quality Resource board is a couple of decades behind the times. The banned new diesel cars in California in 2003. So rather than encourage folks to switch to the newer diesel engines that include particulate matter filters and are tuned to burn at a higher temperature to minimize the NOX, they allow the old diesel engines only. Washington state and Oregon allow diesel motors, but have fewer biodiesel pumps available.
Nuts! We'll keep after them. Sooner or later they'll have to budge as consumers and environemental energy groups keep pounding on their door. I've heard that the engine knock that developed with the first tests was resolved when the burn temperature was adjusted.

http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/distributors/showstate.asp?st=CA#

We have a few "grease cars" on the road too. These are modified diesels with two tanks, one for straight vegetable oil (SVO) or waste vegetable oil (WVO) and one for regular diesel or biodiesel. You have to start and stop the car on the diesel tank and then switch to the SVO/WVO tank once it's warmed up. The problem with both these types is that they install the SVO/WVO tank in the trunk of the car, rather than replace the regular fuel tank with a dual compartment one. With the vegie oil tank in the trunk or behind the back seat, it aspirates a micro fine layer of oil into the passenger compartment.
http://www.plantdrive.com/
http://www.greasecar.com/

We saw a vegetable oil engine in Germany that didn't require monkeying around between tanks, but that engine is not available here and not allowed to be imported.

It does seem like a good idea to hook startionary bicycles, treadmills, NordicTraks, elliptical machines etc to electric generators. Think of the power that could be created by all the gyms around the nation. Add in a few home devices that allow folks to pedal or run for their electricity and the nations health would improve greatly!
Sitting at the computer all day? Go jog for x number of minutes/hours to put the power back in the system. LOL!

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Ed tried the bike thing. It's not as easy as it sounds and u don't generate as much electricity as you would think. But it's a great start on an idea and great exercise too!!

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Does anybody have info at their fingertips on how you would hook up a bike?

One of my bad habits is the need to have lights blazing. I just can't stand a dark house at any time of the day or night! I've switched out the incandescents for fluorescents but mostly my lighting is halogen. I'd feel a little less guilty, though, if I produced a little energy myself.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Ouch! Halogen is also an energy hog... from what I remember. I'd love to be corrected!

All you need to generate electricity is some copper (wire) windings inside a magnet. In the first link below, you could easily substitute a bicycle for the hand crank.

http://www.wvic.com/how-gen-works.htm
http://amasci.com/amateur/coilgen.html

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Yeah, in my work room & bedroom, which are all halogen, I don't usually need any other heat source! But nothing else works for me when reading or playing with my art projects, which involve a lot of close-up cutting & sewing. Especially in winter, when I'm prone to dismal moods.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I believe that this magazine had information on converting a bicycle to electrical generation http://www.homepower.com/ . If I remember right - it takes an hour for a rider in excellent shape to generate 200 watts. Does that sound right? And then you have to store the power in a battery and use an alternator to convert it from DC to AC - or use it to power something that runs on DC. I wonder if you could hook a little generator up to a hamster wheel?

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

I wonder if you could hook a hamster to a hamster wheel?

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