How Would You Celebrate Peak Oil Day, July 11?

Richard Heinberg suggests we commemorate July 11, 2008 as Peak Oil Day. Even if the occurrence may not have been precisely July 11, 2008, that day was most memorable: “The price of a barrel of oil hit a record $147.27 in daily trading. That same month, world crude oil production achieved a record 74.8 million barrels per day.” Heinberg observes,

“Where are we now? The global economy is in tatters, yet oil prices have recovered somewhat (they’re now about half what they were in July 2008). World energy consumption is down, world trade is down, the airline industry is shrinking, and most of the world’s automakers are on life support….

Now the name of the game is adaptation. We are in an entirely new economic environment, in which old assumptions about the inevitability of perpetual growth, and the usefulness of leveraging investments based on expectations of future growth, are crashing in flames.”

Noting that an annual Peak Oil Day “may remind us why our economy is shrinking, and focus our thoughts on ways to facilitate the transition to a post-petroleum world,” he invites us to celebrate with low-energy activities and by signing a petition. After signing, I wrote,

“Peak Oil Day! How can we make it a fossil fuel usage-free day here at Lone Bobcat Woods? No driving, no chain-sawing, no generating to pump water into our storage tanks. We don’t need (propane-fueled) hot water to wash or do laundry. How about we cook all our meals in the solar oven? That would do it. (Most of our food is from a quite local CSA, so its oil content (for transportation) is pretty low. We’re off-grid, so we can work on the computers or watch a dvd without burning natural gas to create electricity as is needed most places here in California).

That’s for a fossil fuel USAGE-free day, not a fossil fuel-free day — because everything we use was transported here and probably made using oil.

What could we do to celebrate a minimal fossil-fuel day? On our land alone, we could take a walk barefoot and naked, eat wild berries, and drink water from the spring (unfiltered) using our hands or, if we had one, from a hand-crafted local clay or woven reed vessel. We could sing and dance with friends who walked or biked or rode horseback over here.

When a friend replied she’d join me but would need shoes, I replied, “Hmm, I guess I could make you shoes from the roadkill squirrel I skinned a few years ago (or I could pick up a recent one from the road, unfortunately). The skinning knife, however, would’ve used fossil fuel in its fabrication. As would, actually, the means of death for the squirrel….hmmm…the imprint of oil is everywhere we turn.”

At the very least, commemorating Peak Oil Day could give us chance to reflect on how thoroughly oil permeates our daily lives. It’s a starting place to check how we’re doing at reducing our fossil-fuel energy demands. Even here, where we’re off-grid, there’s a long ways to go to powerdown.

How would you celebrate Peak Oil Day?


  1. We road our bikes around Sacramento and had a picnic in the park. It was difficult to stay out of the air conditioned restaurants :). I’m afraid frolicking in the parks naked around here would get us arrested ;).

    In solidarity,
    Logan & Tammy. 🙂

  2. Mary Nelson says:

    I am celebrating by visualizing the time-developmental Universe flowing, the initial flaring forth, then the moment when the light broke through and Universe became transparent. I see the moment when the galaxies began to form, the moment when star creation began. I see the moment when our primary star supernovaed creating the essential components of life and our Sun and its planets – with Earth a perfect habitat for the species that would come forth to eat the Sun. And the species to eat the Sun-eaters. I am visualizing the forests and the ocean creatures and massive reptiles whose incarnation and death became an unexpected and unappreciated source of special extraneous energy for us late-arriving Humans to use, for a brief moment, before depleting and returning us to the Sun-eaters and, finally, the Sun. I am visualizing Hubbert’s Peak on a scale of 13.7 billion years. Here we are!

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