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PaulS's picture

Personal Energy Descent Plan

PERSONAL ENERGY DESCENT PLAN
v1.1
When confronted with the implications of the decline
of global oil supplies, it can initially be terrifying to
any individual. With the foreknowledge of this
scenario, you can take steps to minimise your
exposure to the problems that will come.
PowerSwitch has put together this Personal Energy
Descent Plan to help you develop your own approach
for preparing for the oil and gas decline. We have
kept it simple, enough to give you ideas and
directions on what to do with your knowledge of
Peak Oil. You can’t expect yourself to implement
this all in a hurry, but you will be at an advantage by
preparing early. It will not be easy, but it will be
rewarding.

A lot of this will involve measures not absolutely
necessary now, but which will get you ready for when
it is. You may even wonder why you should start
‘doing without’, especially since any pressure you
relieve off the system will be used up by others. It is
all about preparing yourself and your expectations.
This is all presented as a list but an entire book on
this subject can be written. No such specific book
exists yet, but the good thing is that there are many
books out there that cover the different aspects of this
plan.

There are many people taking the Energy Descent
Road, willing to offer help and advice. You may find
them in your family, your local community or even
on the Internet.
We wish you all the best for your Energy Descent
Future. We welcome all your feedback on this EDP
at powerswitch.org.uk.

BOOKS & LINKS
Internet:
Transition Culture
http://transitionculture.org
Beyond Peak
http://www.beyondpeak.com
Community Solution
http://www.communitysolution.org
PostCarbon Institute
http://www.postcarbon.org
Permaculture
http://www.permaculture.org.uk
Kinsale Energy Descent Plan
http://transitionculture.org/?page_id=104
Action for Sustainable Living
http://afsl.org.uk
Downsizer
http://www.downsizer.net/
Energy Saving Trust
http://www.est.org.uk/
PowerSwitch Forums
http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/

Books:
Here are some books to get you started:
Powerdown by R Heinberg
Save Cash and Save The Planet by Smith &
Baird
The Earth Care Manual by P Whitefield
The Oil Factor by Leeb & Leeb
Making the Best of Basics by J Stevens
The Lazy Kitchen Gardener by J Yeoman
Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth
by D McCarthy
Ship Captain’s Medical Guide
The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John
Seymour
Go M.A.D by Bourne & Jones

TRANSPORT
Our dependence on transport to get products to us, or
us to work, cannot be underestimated.
Live closer to work
This can reduce car usage and give you more travel
options such as public transport or a bike. Reducing
your commuting is something many people are
already keen to do.
Reduce car use
Beyond work, find ways to reduce your general car
usage. For every journey, think “do I need to drive or
am I just taking the easy option?”
Use alternatives to cars, consider sharing or
converting to biofuels
You may need transport, but do you need a car?
Mopeds are much more fuel-efficient, for example. A
bicycle is even better.
Buy a bicycle
Bicycling is great fun and great exercise, and
automatically gives you more oil-free transport
options.
Avoid flying
Avoid flying, or fly while you still can? The price of
flights will go sky high after Peak Oil. Do you really
need to fly to go on holiday or business? There are
other options. You may holiday more locally, and
international business can be conducted via telephone
or videoconference.

SUSTENANCE
You can eat very well without being so dependent on
oil.
Buy local food in local shops
Local food from local shops reduces food miles, thus
oil usage, and encourages the growth of the local
economy. Also try to buy organic as organic food is
less dependent on fossil fuels.
Use a delivery box scheme
If you cannot get local organic food from local shops,
you may want to investigate food box schemes such
as Abel & Cole or Riverford.
Grow your own
Growing your own food (organically) is rewarding
and nourishing. If you don’t have a garden, get an
allotment. It is practically a free lunch.
Keep a stock of essentials – flour, veg oil, water etc
It is obvious, but the basics are essential.
Buy local food in season and learn to cook the
seasonal food
Don’t just buy local food, but local food that is in
season.
Compost food or get a wormery
Why throw so much organic matter in the bin when
you can compost it and use it to grow better food?
Without artificial fertiliser, this is an essential way to
nourish the soil.
Take a Permaculture course
Learning Permaculture will give you plenty of
knowledge about how to make the most of your land
and how to live a more sustainable life. There are
many weekend courses. It is easy to learn the basics,
and beyond that, the learning never stops.
Reduce food waste
Britons, on average, throw away 30% of the food they
buy. Reducing food waste will save you money.
Avoid ready meals
Learn how to cook again. Ready Meals, especially
with all their packaging, are very oil-intensive. They
won’t be here for ever. And anyone can cook better
than the food you get in ready meals.
Cook efficiently
Don’t just learn how to cook, learn how to cook
efficiently, using as little energy as possible. If you
feel experimental enough, learn how to prepare ‘raw
food’ meals.
Reduce meat and dairy
If you use a piece of land to grow crops rather than
raise animals, you can feed more people.
Learn effective nutrition
It isn’t just how much you eat, but what you eat, that
is important. Learn about what you need to eat, and
where to get it.
Eat communally
Group cooking and eating is more efficient and builds
a sense of community.
Store water
Water is absolutely essential and we always assume it
will be provided for us, but there may be situations
when that is not true.
Reduce water use
The water industry is very energy-intensive. Smarter
usage of water saves oil usage.

HEALTH & HYGEINE
With the future of a health service uncertain, your best
option, more than ever, is to strive to minimise your
need to use a health service altogether.
Keep fit, walk and cycle
However you do it, keep fit.
Watch what you eat
Diet is a key impact on your health and can reduce
health problems such as cancer, heart disease and
much more.
Go on a First Aid Course
First Aid is a very useful skill to have.
Stock water purification tablets
In an emergency, these could be a lifesaver.
Use non-petrochemical hygiene products
This encourages the growth of petrochemical free
industries.

MONEY & WORK
Energy decline leads to economic decline and
therefore personal financial insecurity. This is very
important to prepare for.
Get rid of, or reduce, debt
Rising energy prices will create inflation throughout
the system, increasing pressure for interest rate rises,
so clearing debt now makes more sense than ever. In
addition, you don’t know what will happen to your
employment.
Reduce expenditure on consumer goods
Do you need it? Is it essential? Put your money
towards preparing for the future.
Earn money to save/invest now
After the peak it will be harder to earn the same level
of money, so earn as much as you can now and use it
towards your Energy Descent Plan. Don’t rush out of
your current job.
Re-skill yourself
Assess your job and skills – have you got the skills
that will be useful in a Post Peak world? If not, get
those skills. If you have an idea for a business that
will be useful, start planning for it now.
Have a Peak Oil saving/investment plan
If you have money to invest, talk to an Independent
Financial Adviser about Peak Oil and how you’d like
to invest your money. Seek local ethical investment
opportunities.
Talk to colleagues about Peak Oil
Work is a great place to inform other people about
Peak Oil and it could even help your business prepare
a Business Energy Descent Plan.

HOUSING
Our homes are central to our lives – it is your biggest
and most important investment. Money spent now on
improving your house will save you money in the
long run. It will also get more expensive to improve
your house’s efficiency in the future, and you may
have less money to do it.
Invest in making housing durable and energyefficient
Whether it is Double Glazing or Combined Heating
Power, there are many things you can do to make your
home more durable and energy-efficient.
Consider a post-peak housing plan
Take account of Electricity, Heating, Size, Water,
Location and Durability.
Buy local, second-hand furniture
Cheaper, less energy needed, and minimises waste.
Take a course in DIY
It’ll make you useful in your home and the
community.
Use energy-efficient appliances
Saves money and energy. Even better, don’t use
appliances – you probably don’t need most of them.
Get rid of high-energy appliances – just stop using
them unless it is an essential.
Store water and essential food
The government recommends you have 3 weeks
worth of food and water stored for yourself and your
family in case of a crisis. After Peak Oil, that could
happen at almost any moment due to international
tensions.
Switch to a renewable energy supplier
It is so easy that there is no excuse not to. Try
Ecotricity or GoodEnergy.
Minimise TV in your life
Be the master of TV, not the slave! “Why Don't You
Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And
Do Something Less Boring Instead?”

PERSONAL LEISURE AND CONSUMER GOODS
For many, happiness comes from consumption of
products. Consumption will decline but your
happiness and enjoyment of life does not have to.
Reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle – in that order
Reduce what you use, reuse what you use, repair what
you use, recycle what you use. Throw away your
throwaway lifestyle.
Buy second-hand
Help other people reuse and recycle their goods.
Buy durable items
If it lasts longer it will minimise waste. Buy good
quality goods, even if it costs a little more.
Get spares for essential items
Supplies of essential items might be disrupted in
future (spare parts for bikes, etc.).
Reject consumption as leisure
Find ways to enjoy yourself that aren’t based on
excessive consumption. Sports, skills-learning, and
communal activities are all good options.
Learn to slow down
We try to fit so much into our lives. It stresses us out.
Learn to slow down and do things at a more leisurely
pace.
Turn your electricity off once a month to see how it
feels
Can you get by for a day with _no_ electricity? Try it
once a month as preparation.
Holiday in the UK or travel efficiently (boat and
bike)
Holidays are an important form of leisure but a
relatively recent luxury. They’re not necessarily
going to disappear but they are going to be much more
localised. Begin enjoying holidays closer to home.

COMMUNITY
A person is not an island unto themselves. Your life
consists of a system of interdependencies that will
become more visible in a world of energy decline.
Strength will come from community.
Form or join a local sustainability group
Join with others on their own Energy Descent, help
each other and work towards creating a Community
Energy Descent Plan. Identify community needs.
Get in touch with your local government
Work on local government to ‘future-proof’ your local
area. Local government is still a good way of
organising local communities.
Get to know your neighbours
They are your immediate community.
Get to know about local existing groups
There will be other local groups who can provide a
means of networking and leisure.
Use local businesses
With corporations destroying many local businesses,
you can save these essential community shops by
using them – even if they are more expensive.
Organise events and workshops
You have the knowledge. Educate others.
Organise local energy schemes
A community can work together to develop its own
local energy options, such as wind power. It may not
give you all the power you need, but it’ll give you
options.
Buy local food
So important that we’re saying it again.

AWARENESS
The more people that are aware of what lies ahead, the
more chance we have of working together to mitigate
the problems, especially on a local level. To do this,
YOU need to raise awareness.
Contact MPs and local councillors
Persuade those who have more power than you to
raise awareness and make wider changes.
Get schools, businesses and local groups involved
Education, Education, Education (about Peak Oil).
Leafleting/Door-to-Door campaigning
Leafleting your neighbourhood with information is a
good first step.
Email your address book
Cheap and effective method for raising awareness.
Email with regular updates. There’ll be more people
interested than you think. When you send letters to
people, include a leaflet about the subject.
Join or form a local awareness-raising group
Together you can work out other ways to raise
awareness. Plan how you’re going to do it.
www.PowerSwitch.Org.Uk