There is no better time to learn about self-sufficient living. From a health aspect there is nothing better than eating insecticide-free, organically grown produce straight from your garden. And then of course there is that flash of pride in growing your own food.
But more importantly, the world is heading towards an oil crisis that is already unfolding in the form of peak oil.
Having lived in the Middle East for 10 years surrounded by oil, one never gives it a thought that perhaps one day the oil well would run dry. In fact, I never did. I had never heard about the concept of Peak Oil until I picked up a book called "Choosing Eden" by Adrienne Langman.
She spoke about Peak Oil and made some shocking revelations backed by research and statistics. I was numbed by the statements as they rolled off each page. The bottom line: We were passed the age of cheap oil, Peak Oil was already a reality for many countries and within the next 30 -35 years from now we could be looking at a world in collapse; a world without oil, and no adequate alternative energy source.
As a mother of 3 and looking forward to the stage in my life where I would have grandchildren the comments were sobering. What sort of world would my children and their children be living in? What about food security? Will they have access to enough food?
How was it possible that the Middle Eastern countries were saying that their wells were good for another 80-100 years, and yet on the other hand we were reading about an oil crisis? Well, it appears that there are many factors to this simple question.
No one really knows for sure how much oil the Middle Eastern countries actually have. It remains a tightly guarded secret. Secondly, world demand for oil increases by 2-3% each year. And secondly there is Peak Oil.
When there was plenty of oil in the ground it was cheap. Like any natural resource however, it is a finite resource, and eventually it becomes less and less. New oil fields are becoming fewer and fewer, and the existing oil fields are become less productive. Peak Oil is the point just before the extraction of the oil becomes less attractive financially because the volume being pumped, is not as great as it was when the well was first opened. The oil that is extracted starts to become less economically viable until eventually the wells are abandoned.
The peak of new oil discoveries was in 1965, and oil production per year has surpassed oil discoveries every year since 1980. You only have to go to the gas station and fill up your car to know that the days of cheap and plentiful oil was something that was around in the 70s, but certainly not today. Do we need to be more self sufficient and less reliant on fossil fuels or is it all baloney?
The world at large consumes an average of 30 billion barrels of oil per year, and the top oil consumers largely consist of developed nations.
What will happen to us when the oil runs out?
What happens then after the oil runs out?
What happens to the 300 000 daily-used objects that are made using oil?
Many claim that we already have alternative energy sources in the bag. Why worry? I'll tell you why we should be worried, and why we should be looking at self-sufficient living now before we are left high and dry, all clambering for a patch of earth to grow our own.
There is no alternative energy source to date that is economically efficient. In other words it costs more to produce this alternative energy source than is cost effective. Growing crops to feed cars and machinery is also flawed from a practical point of view. The world has the capacity to sustain 2 billion people. There are over 6 billion people on this planet and growing by the second. Many of these people go to bed hungry. How can we possibly give up producing food on our land to feed the starving masses and turn it into bio-fuel to feed cars?
The most convincing argument is that despite all of these alternative energy sources, none has been found that will replace aviation fuel. Trials have been done of late using cooking oil to power planes, but it still has been used in combination with aviation fuel, and usually only to run one engine. So, despite, this, there is still no new technology that can replace aviation fuel completely.
Did that make you suddenly stop you dead in your tracks? I know I did when I read that for the first time. A world without planes? Planes that we have relied on since the 1900s to get us from one side of the world to the other. Planes that we have relied on to bring food to our tables from all corners of the globe.
And finally, if we can learn to live without planes, can we live the months and years it could take for existing machinery to be converted to accept the alternative energy sources that will be around then. And will we still be able to make those indispensable everyday products that are currently made using oil, with something else?
What products? I hear you asking. Aspirin, bandages, antiseptics, movie film, toothpaste, tires, shoes, cassette tapes, hearing aids, refrigerants, anything plastic, house paint, eye glasses, contact lenses, curtains, credit cards, telephones, carpeting, shampoo, detergents, trash bags, pajamas, pillows... Read a full list of products put out by the American Petroleum Institute.
Ask petrochemical engineers and geologist what they think whether Peak Oil is a certainty and they will tell you that it is not a case of if, but when. However, governments and those propping up the oil industry have too much to lose by coming clean. These bodies need to make sure that confidence in the world's economy remains high. We saw what happened in 2009 when that wasn't there. The world's economy is built on confidence, not on finance. When there is a lack of confidence, people shed their shares overnight, markets plummet and soon people are nervous. Will we recover or will we slide into a recession?
So don't expect your governments to admit to Peak Oil, and certainly not the Oil sectors, because to admit to Peak Oil and diminishing oil wells would catapult the world's economy into a realm of catastrophic blind panic.
You need to know that Peak Oil is not a fantastical conspiracy theory, but it is a scientific fact. You need to prepare for a life without oil and learn to live off the land as best as you can. You need to know that where you live will determine how well you will survive life without oil. Stuck in a city block miles from farms where your food won't be trucked in makes you wonder how on earth you will survive when the time comes.
Learn to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient living doesn't mean that you have to all rush out and buy a farm. What it means is that you should be relooking at what you are growing in your garden. The lawn looks great, but you can't eat it! Learn to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit. Learn about medicinal herbs and how to use them if you have to. Learn how to live off the grid, because electricity is dependent on oil.
There are always skeptics with a subject like this. Ask Noah! He could tell you about a couple! However, I ask a question. Would you prefer to plan for something in 5 years and find that it happens in 50, or would you prefer to plan for something in 50 years and find that it happens in 5?
Can you really afford to ignore Peak Oil? If not for yourself, what about your children and your grandchildren? What skills can you pass on to them now so that they will be better prepared when it happens.
Be informed, be prepared, be self-sufficient and learn old skills that could stand you in good stead for the uncertain future. For more information, take a look at the video below.
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