Preparing for Peak Oil

Measures on Global Scale

The disastrous impact of peak oil seems inevitable. The major oil consuming countries, in particularly the U.S, have responded inadequate to prepare the world for a global oil shortage. These countries should have switched from oil as their primary energy source to alternative energy sources a long time ago to reduce the impact of peak oil.


Jimy Carter White House Solar Panels

Jimmy Carter with behind him the White House solar panels

In 1977 Jimmy Carter was elected to be the president of the United States. During his presidency there were two oil shocks that showed how much impact oil has on society. In 1979 he ordered to install the first presidential solar panels on the White House, to heat water.


In 1981 Ronald Reagan became the president of the United States. His first act was to remove the solar panels placed on the White House by Jimmy Carter, his predecessor. This action made the energy future of the U.S. very clear. The presidents who followed, Bush, Clinton and Bush junior continued to use oil as the primary energy source.


Measures on Local Scale

While governments are failing to prepare for peak oil, are many people on local scale making preparations for a global oil shortage at various different levels. There is however no solution against peak oil that does not involve a major change in the current lifestyle. Peak oil presents society with many problems, but also possibilities: an opportunity to solve many underlying societal problems, and the chance to create a healthier, simpler and more community oriented society.


Permaculture on an Organic Farm

Permaculture on a farm on the Swabian Mountains in Germany

Permaculture: Permaculture is a way of life which allows society to live in relative prosperity with minimal resource use. Permaculture can be applied to change the environments, ecological, agricultural and social systems from the post-peak oil era.


"Permaculture is about helping people make redesign choices: setting new goals and a shift in thinking that affects not only their home but their actions in the workplace, borrowings and investments"

The core values of permaculture are:

  • Earthcare - the Earth is considered the source of life, and perhaps even a living entity. Humanity is a part of the Earth, and not apart from it. Agriculturalists tend to exploit the land, animals and plants so intensely that serious internal (diseases, soil erosion, decrease of production etc.) as well as external problems (pollution from fertilizers, human diseases originating from farms etc.) occur. Permaculturalists have created a different kind of agriculture, based on producing only what is necessary to live in relative prosperity. Permaculture is about restoring and maintaining a mutually healthy and beneficial relationship between society and the Earth.
  • Peoplecare – In a permaculture society people help each other to develop a healthy society and they don't harm each other or the environment
  • Fairshare (limits on production) - ensuring that the limited resources of the planet are consumed in ways that are equitable and wise

Transition Town House

typical house in a transition town

Transition Towns: Several towns across the world have decided to make their own preparations for the upcoming global oil shortage, and are documenting the process. The Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan from the countryside of Ireland is the world's first report which describes how to deal with peak oil on local level. The report describes how to deal with issues related to peak oil, such as tourism, health, youth and education.


The plan was developed in 2006 by Naresh Giangrand and Rob Hopkins, the plan inspired the organization 'Transition Towns movement of peak oil' to prepare towns in Europe for peak oil. In the United States, local people from the city of Willits, California have started a similar project named the Willits Economic LocaLization Project (WELL). Many other towns around the world are following similar plans.



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