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Living for the future

Date: 15 Aug 2008 :: By: Vicki Stebbins

Peak Oil, what's it all about? – Part 1

We are now seeing huge changes to our world and those things we have come to expect as cheap and part of our lives are fading into the distance.

We hear the terms 'Climate Change', 'Peak Oil', 'Sustainbility' and wonder where is this taking us and how do we survive and 'what does it mean for me'.

Let's start with 'Peak Oil', Peak Oil is the term given when we reach 'the peak' which is the 'most oil ever produced, then production goes down. Then you find that demand exceeds the declining oil production capacity, to maintain our lifestyles. There is a lot of dispute on when the peak will be reached or if in fact it has, but science agrees there will be a peak and sooner rather than later.

Oil isn't just about our petrol, it covers the many things that use oil or oil derivatives and the flow on effect from that. This means all our machinery, plastics, tyres, fertiliser, pharmaceuticals and materials such as nylon as well as many many many more products that we don't recognise are made from or use oil to make them. Of course this effects our food, which uses tractors, fertiliser, factory machines and trucks to get it to our supermarkets where it's contained more often than not in plastic.

What will this mean for all of us?

We need to take a good look at our lives and what is really important and what things we can modify, do without or absolutely love and want to keep. Then work on a plan and chip away to achieve what you can.

Here's a few things we can think about now:

  • We can 'car pool' to go to work, or cut down on the number of trips we take.Think about how many cars do we need in one family. It wasn't that long ago a car was referred to as the 'family car' because only one was affordable.
  • Buy in bulk, the more times you go to the shop for one small thing the more 'stuff' you buy. There is currently a worldwide food shortage of the main staples that feed the world – rice and grains, this means the price will sky rocket, the same for flour, cake mixes etc
  • Think about planting a few vegetables in the garden, plan with a neighbour and grown different things and pool them.
  • More people than ever are going back to making their own preserves and cheesemaking. In our area we have some of the best fruits,vegetables and dairies, we can preserve the very best of each season quite easily.
  • Buy local, don't buy imported foods especially 'fresh fruit' and vegetables.

Tips for Bulk Buying:

  • If you buy 5kg bags of rice or flour, they are much cheaper. The way to store them is to place in the freezer (in the bag) for two days, then take out for two days and then put back in for two days. The reason you place in the freezer is all rice and flour contains weevils and their eggs, and the freezer kills the weevils, if any eggs start to hatch they will do in the two days out, so back in the freezer and they're fixed. You should never get weevils in these products by treating this way, and so be able to store these products for longer.
  • Store what you eat and eat what you store. There's no point buying lots of something the family hate to eat, it just won't get eaten. Store the things they love to eat and buy in bulk.

Websites of interest:

Part 2: Why Preserve, tips and recipes - next issue Coraki News

This article was originally written for and appeared in the Coraki & District Newsletter.

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