Book Review- Peak Oil Prep Three things you can do to Prepare for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse By Mick Winter Westsong Publishing 2006
If you were asked to offer just three actions people could take or start to take right now to help them prepare for Peak Oil, what would they be?
Perhaps surprisingly, of a straw-pole of just three people I have asked this question to, they all came up with the same three that Mick Winter recommends as “The Big Three” at the start of his book “Peak Oil Prep”:
1-Replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs; 2-Walk or bike instead of driving; 3-Plant a garden
These are three fairly simple and achievable steps that most people would be able to at least begin thinking about as we embark on the downward path of Energy Descent. Perhaps the most challenging- certainly for myself- would be the replacing of the van with a bike, but even if I can replace just some of my journeys normally done by motor vehicle, and keep my bicycle in good repair, then I have begun my preperations.
These are just the “Big Three” of dozens of ideas that Mick gives us on how to get started on what will ultimately need be an on-going process of making our lives more sustainable.
Peak Oil Prep, is essentially a directory of ideas, resources and information to get you through the coming challenges of energy scarcity, climate change and economic collapse.
The list of topics covered is pretty comprehensive, including basic food gardening, energy-proofing your home, creating community, herbal health cures, recycling and local government activism. Each section includes a brief overview of the issues, and “Three Things to Do” followed by websites, books and sources of further information.
Winter begins with a plain-talking assessment of where we are now and how we got here:
“Maybe you really did know better. And you were one of those few who really were concerned. But you were also one of those millions of people who were so busy working one or two or three jobs just to make ends meet that you didn’t have time to prepare for anything more than the next day. It’s not your fault, but you still suffer. “So, lots of things have peaked- or will shortly. The result is (or soon will be) a crashed economy; a collapsed transportation infrastructure; not enough oil, gas, electricity and energy to support our needs, let alone our desires; critical shortages of food; and huge levels of unemployment. “Not a pretty picture, is it? Oh, well, time to get on with it. You may still have time to prepare in certain areas, but mainly, you have to deal with the actual problem. This book will help”.
Mick presents his information with humour and in a very practical and down-to-earth way.
There is lots of practical information, for example in the chapter on Water, with a breakdown of average daily water requirements, and several ways to implement each of the three recommended actions:
1-Save water – by using compost toilets, fixing leeks and xeriscaping (using local plants that are suited to the conditions and don’t require so much watering); 2-Capture rainwater- some really useful websites listed here such as www.rainbarrelguide.com; And 3-Purify your own water, with again lots of useful ideas and links.
Mick doesn’t confine himself that individuals can do on the physical level by way of energy and resource-saving measures on the domestic scale, but looks at community processes in a short section on Neighbourhood, and actions to take politically at the local, regional and national levels. I appreciate that he includes a section that addresses Population, one of the “last taboos” for the environmental movement, but an issue that perhaps vies with Energy itself as the most fundamental. giving the Three Things to Do as: 1-Use birth control 2-Have only one child and 3- Adopt
At the end there is a really useful “Further Reading” section, including a look at Alternative Health, Cuba, Hemp, Self-Employment ideas and finishing on a look at the Bigger Picture: Societies, Empires and Cycles.
Although clearly aimed at the US market with most of the resources being from there, Peak Oil Prep provides a wealth of information and should prove useful to anyone trying to Powerdown and make the necessary changes to prosper through the changes that are coming.