Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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Page added on July 31, 2012
What would you do if the lights went off tomorrow, the power cut off for good? If you aren’t already living off-grid you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.
If you are, great! But what happens next?
If your supply breaks how will you fix it? This is the type of worst case, zero-electricity scenario that Aric McBay’s book ‘Peak Oil Survival’ promises to prepare you for (Buy in UK). McBay is a writer, activist and organic farmer who lives in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in issues around peak oil and sharing off-the-grid skills, and he has combined them here, explaining in the introduction “This book is about far more than just peak oil…This book is a primer for problems we will face in the future as well as a hand book for people who want to live ‘off-the-grid’ now”.
Sub-titled ‘Preparation for life after grid crash’ the book focuses on some of the basics for survival, chapters include obtaining and treating water, grey water and toilets, storing food, cooking, lighting and heat – essentially all the things we take for granted in an everyday home. However the book doesn’t take into account transportation, security or obtaining food, (surely the most important issue after shelter).
McBay takes a simple-as-possible approach, starting from basic survival principles which are outlined at the beginning of each chapter; he then proposes down-to-earth techniques to solve each problem, sometimes moving on to an improved version that takes more skill or effort. Each one illustrated with clearly drawn diagrams, placed where they will be most helpful. McBay has a list of criteria that a technique or technology ought to fulfil to be included in the book, which he states in the introduction, and which includes conditions such as ‘they apply to a variety of bioregions’ and ‘they rely on items that are easy to find or make’. All of this makes for a book with a refreshing lack of extortions to buy loads of equipment, that will supposedly solve all your problems, but will most likely be expensive to buy and difficult or impossible to fix. Furthermore it means that these techniques are cheap, environmentally sound, and can translate to everyday off grid living.
The book’s virtues do not make up fr the lack of info on food and shelter. His answer might be that these topics are well covered in other books focusing on emergency preparedness and are easy to research on the internet, and may have been left out because of that. I feel, though, the lapse would have been more forgivable if mention had been made of these topics, perhaps with an indication of where to find more information, rather than leaving them out entirely.
Overall, although it’s not the perfect textbook for the scenario painted at the beginning, it certainly would be very helpful.
What recommends it most is its simple, sensible approach and the good ideas it contains. Both for people wanting to go off grid without spending too much, and those already off grid wishing to reduce the burden on their electricity supply.