Peak Oil is You

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Page added on February 27, 2009

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For survivalists, the end is always nigh

THE end, when it comes, will be swift. A spiralling economy and diminishing oil supplies will lead to power outages, food shortages, a breakdown in law and order, and ultimately, complete societal collapse. “I anticipate that it’ll happen quite fast, like the bushfires,” says Tony, a 44-year-old ex-stockbroker.

Tony, who lives with his wife and three young children in Baulkham Hills, has been stockpiling supplies including rice, multivitamins, peanut butter and honey – “Stuff you don’t need to cook or refrigerate and that is high in calories” – plus plenty of soap and toilet paper. “Sanitation will break down as sewerage [systems] clog because people will be unable to maintain the infrastructure. So we’ll see diseases like cholera and typhoid.”

Tony (who didn’t want his second name used), is part of a new wave of Australian survivalists, a disparate group that includes peak oilers, permaculturalists and “transition teams” that are making plans for what they see as the coming apocalypse. Such people used to fret about nuclear Armageddon or Y2K: today, it’s more likely to be global warming, shrinking oil reserves and financial collapse.

“There has been a surge in interest recently,” says Simon Beer, whose website,, has practical tips in bush skills, fire starting and food gathering. “Climate change, peak oil, the economic situation – people are seeing we’re headed for catastrophic changes.” In 2001, he moved from McMahons Point to the Blue Mountains, where he grows his own vegetables and collects tinned food. He says: “When resources become scarce, people fight, nations fight.”

The Canberra Times

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