What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on oil?

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on oil?

The whole oil spill mess in the Gulf depresses me. If I were younger I'd be down there cleaning off oil-covered birds and such. As it stands, I am not buying gasoline at BP, and I am using as little energy in the home and on the road as possible. Organic backyard gardening (with no petrochemical fertilizers or bug sprays) and eating food not trucked or flown in from far away (via oil) are one thing I can do to make a difference. I patronize local farmers and businesses. We have a solar fan, a solar hot water heater, try to buy minimal packaging and are in an area that uses hydroelectric power. We actively recycle and we put things on Freecycle instead of into a landfill. We buy well-made used things and carefully maintain what we own. We use all compact fluorescent bulbs and - oh, never mind what else.

What I want to ask is, what are you doing to lessen your dependence on oil? Because I fully expect oil prices to go much higher due to many factors: diminishing ease of extraction, increasing demand, the possibility of increased hostilities in Middle East and flawed government policies (like the idiocy of finger-pointing we have instead of a credible BP spill response) all point to future price shocks and scarcity, as well you all know.

I'm challenging you to become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Please tell me anything, however how small, that you PERSONALLY do to make us less dependent on oil I'm so tired of hearing about problems. I want to hear solutions.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

On the issue of rising to your challenge of being part of the problem, I just went out and bought a  2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to which I will be adding a supercharger and water injection.  It'll burn gas like no tomorrow at full throttle running 4WD and make a great Mad Max vehicle for running over those pesky little Priuses when they get in my way during the rush for the last remaining drops of fuel.  No bio-diesel for this boy.  I figure that for every Prius I destroy, that'll be one less vehicle on the road burning up precious drops of fuel and using up scarce raw materials to make their bio-hazard batteries.  Bullet proofing ought to add several hundred pounds to the gross vehicle weight and drop my gas mileage even further but that'll be a small trade-off since I'll have added capability for taking on even larger, more dangerous, and possibly armed vehicles.  Tally ho!  

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

ao

Your previous comment has to be some sort of humour, inn't it ?

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

ao

Your previous comment has to be some sort of humour, inn't it ?

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Solutions...?  What solutions?

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

This week:

Will drive about 600 miles for work - fueled by waste vegetable oil. 

Growing a garden, chickens, rabbits and apples.  Gathering mushrooms this week after rains.

Shopping for a high mpg gas car.   WVO fuel is a bit fickle for the wife.  

Shopping for work clothes at the second hand store. 

 

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...
Luc wrote:

ao

Your previous comment has to be some sort of humour, inn't it ?

Safewrite wrote:

I'm challenging you to become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

She had "problem" and "solution" inverted. Anyway, I guess we are all part of the problem, whether we admit it or not.

Nonetheless, I quite a job that required me to drive 25k miles per year. Now I drive one fourth that amount and get paid more $. Also, started a small veg garden and will get a compost bin to make our own fertilizer.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Safewrite, sounds like you are on the track of the only ultimate solution - using as little energy as possible.

My general attitude now is when I have a choice of methods use the lowest energy one.  For instance, instead of using my garden tractor and tiller to prep my potato field this year I simply laid my see potatos on the ground and shoveled compost by hand on top, forming three 80' long rows .  The plants are growing like crazy now, I got great excercise, I saved money,  I didn't have to deal with the noise and cost of the tiller, and I'll have the highest quality potatos to enjoy all fall and winter.  In short, less energy use and an improved quality of life.

Of course, there's much more (or less?) I should be doing, but better to get used to living with less now than wait to be forced to without choice.

Tom

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

I sold my car, a nice Subaru Legacy Turbo.

I moved closer to town, now I just walk.

I got a 2-seater scooter for when I need to take my son somewhere that buses don't service.

And we have an electric bike for errands, as our terrain is steep and we are getting older :)

The usual gardening and local food buying as much as possible.

Gave up washing machine, looking at alternatives, may get a reconditioned wringer washer- the simplicity of it means they tend to run forever. In the meantime we have a camping pressure washer.

Cook less (I knew I could turn my laziness into a virtue :). We soak and sprout things and eat lots of raw food. I am exploring how to change my cooking and eating habits so that I am naturally less reliant on energy for food production.

Our other issue is water, we are all on tankwater (rainwater catchment) and need to conserve (oil is involved in transporting water to fill empty water tanks). We made a simple composting toilet and get sawdust from local timber yards. It drastically cut our water usage. The humanure decmposed in a very short time to be unrecognizable. We are trying these things not because we have to, but to be able to troubleshoot now, when we are not in trouble. And we found that it is not so hard and has advantages over flush toilets.

 

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Most of my largest changes were made about 10 years ago, that being driving a lot less, biking/walking more.  Recently I began growing some of my own food, but admittedly, I still have a long way to go.  Avoid imports.  Retooled my plumbing so that one of my toilets flushes only on greywater from my bathtub.  Spent about $5000 on insulation/energy upgrades.  Switched careers (energy advisor/solar panel dealer).  Started attending local rallys and protests against things like Tar Sands development (that is a huge step for me, never thought I'd ever wield a placard). 

That last one, I realize, is not actually "using less oil", but it does encapsulate the hardest step of all.  All my life, I kept my thoughts to myself, did not feel secure enough to vocalize my alignment with conservation and reduction.  Now I do, very vigorously- not in a harping argumentative way, (I hope), but rather just trying to influence others by example, trying to stay informed so that I can shoot down rhetoric/misinformation .

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Well, due to current circumstances, my wife & I are still profligate users of oil/gas.  We own a business that's 60 miles from our house, which means between the two of us, between Mon-Fri we make 5 round-trips a week for a total of 600 miles in the cars.  Granted, they're an Impreza and a Yaris so the highway mileage is 30 and 42+ respectively, but that's still a danged lot of carbon (and still doesn't figure in our 'personal' miles here in our home area).

We are however growing some of our own food, and are members of a CSA that's only a mile away from home.  We also heat our home largely with wood, do not use a clothes dryer (outside line or racks inside) and do not use A/C.

But -- as those of you that read the "Community Building" thread know, we're taking steps to be out of our (too-large-for-our-needs) house and hopefully living in a hand-built house on a homestead with some friends -- and the plan also is to sell our distant business (and keep the one close to home).  So if we have two years and a little luck, our commute will be next-to-nothing, we'll heat entirely with wood, and we will be growing 75%+ of our food (with most of the rest grown locally).

So for now, we're typical profligate Americans.  But in a few years, the plan is to be atypical.  Although our atypicality may be just a few years ahead of the curve.  When the real effects of Peak Cheap Oil are felt, most other Americans will be joining us in a much more petro-frugal lifestyle.  And with that, I'm off to the homestead to help clear trees around the site where the well's getting drilled soon...

Viva -- Sager

nb:  edited to spelling

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

On the issue of rising to your challenge of being part of the problem, I just went out and bought a  2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to which I will be adding a supercharger and water injection.  It'll burn gas like no tomorrow at full throttle running 4WD and make a great Mad Max vehicle for running over those pesky little Priuses when they get in my way during the rush for the last remaining drops of fuel.  No bio-diesel for this boy.  I figure that for every Prius I destroy, that'll be one less vehicle on the road burning up precious drops of fuel and using up scarce raw materials to make their bio-hazard batteries.  Bullet proofing ought to add several hundred pounds to the gross vehicle weight and drop my gas mileage even further but that'll be a small trade-off since I'll have added capability for taking on even larger, more dangerous, and possibly armed vehicles.  Tally ho!

LOL......AO I have 2 turbos on my V8 so good luck Mad Maxing me out......got to catch me first & that supercharger just will not do it.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

We've been moving towards self-sufficiency for 3 years now, but this year we sold our lawnmower and and bought a scythe.  First we put our 2 beef cows on the lawn with portable electric fence, then moved the cows to the pasture.  Since we now have a total of 6 acres of open fields (last year's labor - we cleared 4 acres of woods and converted it to fields) we have more grass than cows so we let the lawn grow to a respectable 8-10", scythe it down, rake it up and compost it.  The neighbors are not pleased: Oh! The horror!  Unmowed lawns!  but oh well.... personally the constant drone of their riding mowers on nice days drives me crazy.

We also built 6 raised-beds(4' x 10' x 10" deep)  where last year's pigs were (close to the house) and filled them with manure, compost and loam so now there is no more rototilling.  We can dig each bed with a broadfork in about 5 minutes. 

We hand-split most of our wood. We only use about 3 cords a year now that we've moved out of our 1830's era cape and retrofitted a 30 x 30 former woodshop that is super-insulated. For the really big firewood we bought a foot-pump hydraulic splitter but haven't had the time to try it.  Ultimately we are looking to build a russian fireplace which we think is the most efficient wood heat.  One thing at a time.

Essentially, peak oil fuels our constant conversation (pun intended) and we're always looking at ways to cope when, not if, there's a disruption in the system.  We're thinking about composting toilet and a hand pump for water, but the next thing on my list is a bicycle-powered chicken plucker. Anybody have any plans for that????

Cheers from Maine!

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Maine Dirt Farmer observed: "...personally the constant drone of their riding mowers on nice days drives me crazy."

Touche! That could be the quote of the year, with the word crazy emphasized any way it can be.

Cheers from North Berwick.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

 Don't go anywhere  and gave up  CHOCOLATE !    That is enough for me for a while .   Trying to wean ourselves of anything  imported ... it is near to impossible !!!

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

I have been cringing lately when I have had to fill up my gas tank. I have such an uneasy feeling right now with everything going on in the gulf and a future of Peak Oil and less oil.

I pedal bike to the train station on nice days.

When I drive on highways, I drive at lower speeds and use cruise control whenever possible to conserve fuel. This definitely works - I get better gas mileage than the sticker on my car indicated when I bought it.

I do not plan on flying anywhere this year - my 1st time in many years that I have not flown, and I won't miss it.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...
mainecooncat wrote:

Maine Dirt Farmer observed: "...personally the constant drone of their riding mowers on nice days drives me crazy."

Touche! That could be the quote of the year, with the word crazy emphasized any way it can be.

Cheers from North Berwick.

Nice to hear from some other Mainers! 

 It's funny that most folks work so hard to grow grass only cows can eat.  Meanwhile I take the leaves and grass clippings from my neighbors for compost and put my sweat into  vegetables for my table.  No need to mow the half of  my lawn now buried under compost or beat down by the chickens.  I need a good hand tool solution to manage the rest of the grass though; I refuse to buy a replacement for my broken power mower.

Tom in York

 

 

 

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

I converted a 94 Geo Metro to electric and have been driving it daily to work since April.  It costs me about $1 to do my 30 mile round-trip commute, and I get my electricity from NSTAR Green, which supports a wind farm in up-state NY.

We also own a Prius and a Civic Hybrid. None of our cars have turbo chargers :)

I have had my house sealed and insulated better. I have gotten rid of inefficeint electric stuff.  Even with my electric car I use less power than I did a couple years ago.

I have joined two local committies on energy and sustainability.

I have a plot in the organic community garden for the first time this year.

I follow Chris Martenson, and others on this site.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...
idoctor wrote:

On the issue of rising to your challenge of being part of the problem, I just went out and bought a  2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to which I will be adding a supercharger and water injection.  It'll burn gas like no tomorrow at full throttle running 4WD and make a great Mad Max vehicle for running over those pesky little Priuses when they get in my way during the rush for the last remaining drops of fuel.  No bio-diesel for this boy.  I figure that for every Prius I destroy, that'll be one less vehicle on the road burning up precious drops of fuel and using up scarce raw materials to make their bio-hazard batteries.  Bullet proofing ought to add several hundred pounds to the gross vehicle weight and drop my gas mileage even further but that'll be a small trade-off since I'll have added capability for taking on even larger, more dangerous, and possibly armed vehicles.  Tally ho!

LOL......AO I have 2 turbos on my V8 so good luck Mad Maxing me out......got to catch me first & that supercharger just will not do it.

Twin turbos on a V8 are pretty hard to beat but I've never seen one outrun a 50 BMG.;-)  What are you running, an Audi RS6?

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

Thanks for all the replies; I learned a lot.  Although we are getting a treadle sewing machine I'd not considered a wringer washer: great idea! FullMoon, your giving up chocolate is amazing; I am merely stockpiling cocoa powder. ;-)

mainedrtfrmr, I'm afraid I am not ready for a bicycle-powered chicken-plucker yet (first, Ithink you need to get the chickens, right?)

Let me add a few things we are doing in the hope that it will make others think along new lines.

As far as insulation is concerned, we now have insulated blinds on all the windows. We live in South Carolina, and we have regular 100-degree heat. Most of your heat or airconditioning lost is through your windows. We also planning for no A/C:  we made the front porch into a comforatble outdoor room, and in the back yard we are adding a small covered patio for outdoor cookingand dining - that just takes four 6" x6" posts and three 8' x 4' metal roof sections (or recycled fiberglass panels), and some hand-mixed concete. We are repairing our screens, making our own winter storm windows (very easy) and getting screen doors, and adding a pet door to the living room window which will double as s gun port, if needed.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

My Wife drives a prius, we have a wood stove but mostly, right now, I am focused on enjoying oil.  I am going to miss it when it is gone.  I have a BMW motorcycle I like getting out on.  I like my chainsaws.  Don't want to think about not having my pick-up truck and I'm sure alot of other things.  So, though I am collecting items for a post oil world and cutting back where I can I am also going enjoying this gift from the Gods.   Nacci.

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

This year, I planted much bigger gardens, and the produce (together with purchasing 1/2 pig from my brother this fall) will supply about 60% of our food if we have a good year.  We also just completed our EcoEnergy retrofit, having insulated our attic and basement and replaced the basement windows.  Last week our old washing machine died suddenly and we replaced it with an energy efficient front-load washer that uses less water and electricity. 

We haven't made as much progress on transportation.  I live about 20km from my place of work, and commute 5 times a week.  I also travel frequently for work; I have lots of admiration for the person that quit their job because of business travel.  We made the decision for my husband to drop out of the paid economy so that we actually have time to prepare / adapt (hard to do with both of us on the 9-5 treadmill).  That meant my taking a promotion, and additional business travel as part of the deal.  I think this was the right decision, but I would like to transfer into a position with less travel if the opportunity presents itself.  

Also on the transportation side, I commute back and forth to my 'Plan B' site a couple of times a month (100km round trip).  I'm trying to adapt in place.  I live in a town of about 3900 people; we have excellent wind energy resources (two megawatt wind generators about 2km away), geothermal (they flooded the old coal mines when they closed, and the mine water produces geothermal energy), and a deep cycle battery factory in town.  There are lots of local farms, and a gravity fed water system (originally built in 1891, but upgraded a couple of years ago in a way that made the system safer without sacrificing the gravity fed design).  All in all, not a bad place to be and we have a 1 acre lot with good soil, within walking distance to the hospital, schools, grocery store, and other amenities. 

All things considered, though, there may come a time when our town becomes less comfortable to live in.  To that end, we've insulated our hunting cabin and I've tried to grow some food on the mountain as well as at home (potatoes, hazelnut trees, blueberries, plus there are fish in the stream and plenty of wild game).   This is my Plan B, but it takes oil to go there, and may be a waste if civil society can be maintained.  Is anyone else trying to cut back on energy use, but keeping a foot in both the 'adapt in place' and 'get out of Dodge' camps?  

Bluenoser

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

idoctor wrote:

Twin turbos on a V8 are pretty hard to beat but I've never seen one outrun a 50 BMG.;-)  What are you running, an Audi RS6?

 

On the issue of rising to your challenge of being part of the problem, I just went out and bought a  2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to which I will be adding a supercharger and water injection.  It'll burn gas like no tomorrow at full throttle running 4WD and make a great Mad Max vehicle for running over those pesky little Priuses when they get in my way during the rush for the last remaining drops of fuel.  No bio-diesel for this boy.  I figure that for every Prius I destroy, that'll be one less vehicle on the road burning up precious drops of fuel and using up scarce raw materials to make their bio-hazard batteries.  Bullet proofing ought to add several hundred pounds to the gross vehicle weight and drop my gas mileage even further but that'll be a small trade-off since I'll have added capability for taking on even larger, more dangerous, and possibly armed vehicles.  Tally ho!

LOL......AO I have 2 turbos on my V8 so good luck Mad Maxing me out......got to catch me first & that supercharger just will not do it.

 

AO  That is amazing you guest it Audi RS6. Love the car & it does get 20 mpg when I am not playing with the turbos. I plan to enjoy cheap energy while we have it. I really doubt my 2 turbos will flame out this earth. 

PS I am working on the 50 BMG....

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Re: What are you--personally--doing to be less dependent on ...

I got rid of my car and I walk, bike and take public transit. Don't miss the car or the maintenance, insurance and other hassles. 

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Got to page 25

Got to page 25 of Discussions and decided this could be home of this link to five videos about solar, etc.:

http://www.altestore.com/store/Books-Classes-Educational-Videos/Educational-Videos/c1138/

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Las year I bought a Victory

Las year I bought a Victory Vision motorcycle to replace my old one, and a 5'X10' trailer with a tilt bed to tow it on as a dinghy behind my RV.  The trailer came with a 3500 lb. axle, and so I sold my Chevy one ton dually pickup.  My Jeep Grand Cherokee has a 5,000 lb. towing capacity, and since the trailer has more surface area for hauling big stuff, and a yard of gravel only weighs about 1800lbs., I'm totally saving the planet by exchanging nearly the same capacity for 15mpg vs. 7.

I'm saving so much, I picked up a Mini Cooper for when gas hits 5 bucks, and I'm also building a greenhouse.  My wife says she'll leave me if I bring home any chickens, though.  She won't clean up after chickens.

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