Personal resilience | Community Resilience | Urge Government

Personal resilience

Determine your oil dependency and vulnerability

Think about how you use petroleum and petroleum-derived products in your everyday life: from driving to washing your hair to transporting your food, oil and its by-products are deeply entrenched in many of our daily actions. Consider your vulnerability to higher gas prices and how changes would affect different things — transportation, food, and heating, to name a few. What will your response be to higher prices? What changes will you implement? Begin to forecast the changes you need to implement in order to reduce your overall oil consumption by approximately 25% in ten years.

Change your mode of transportation

Begin a quantitative assessment of your use of petroleum for transportation. Keep track of how much fuel you use each month by car, and how many miles you travel by plane. Reduce your driving by doing the following:

  • trade in your vehicle for a smaller and more fuel-efficient one
  • commit to taking local transit one day per week and gradually work up to more days
  • purchase an electric scooter
  • ride your bike one or more days per week
  • join or start a carpool
  • join a car cooperative
  • group errands together so you make less trips in your vehicle

Whatever changes you decide to implement, work out a schedule so you are properly prepared for changes in travel time.

Change the food you eat

The petroleum used in supplying food accounts for about one third of average per-capita oil consumption. Therefore the food choices you make can substantially change the amount of petroleum you use:

  • purchase local and organic food whenever possible
  • shop at farmers’ markets
  • join a community garden
  • grow a vegetable garden and plant fruit and nut trees
  • try to purchase food that has been grown within 100 miles of where you live — known as the 100-Mile Diet, the emphasis is on eating locally produced, indigenous food that requires less transportation, supports local farmers, and promotes more sustainable agriculture
  • if you have a garden or are planning on starting one, abide by organic garden and lawn care practices and use organic fertilizers and natural pesticides — neither of which are derived from oil by-products

Avoid plastic and packaging

In addition to reducing the amount of oil you use, by avoiding plastic bags you are also helping to preserve our marine environments and landfill space, and reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals:

  • bring your own bag when you go shopping (keep a few at your front door for easy access)
  • wash and reuse plastic produce bags
  • avoid purchasing products that are overly packaged
  • look for products made from recycled, recyclable, and renewable sources
  • use reusable travel mugs and water bottles
  • avoid purchasing water bottled in disposable containers

Purchase products made from recycled and natural materials

A significant amount of products on today’s market are made out of synthetic, petroleum-derived fibres. Polyester, acetate, nylon, olefin, lyocell, and acrylic are all derived from petroleum and are used for clothing and various other purposes (ropes, tires, carpets, and sails to name a few).


Though cotton is a natural material, the production and harvesting of this crop is anything but natural. The growing of conventional cotton is an extremely pesticide-intensive process: it is estimated that more than 25% of all chemical pesticide and insecticide use world-wide is for growing cotton, one of the world’s largest crops. There are much more environmentally-friendly fibres available, many of which are taking the clothing industry by storm, such as soy, bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp. Use the guide below for making decisions about clothing purchases:

  • fibres:
    • soy
    • bamboo
    • organic cotton
    • tencel
    • hemp
    • linen
  • recycled and renewable materials
  • second-hand and slightly-worn clothing

Purchase non-petroleum-based personal care and cleaning products

Though this may seem like a small step in your overall oil-dependency reduction strategy, it actually accounts for a significant amount, especially when compounded throughout a lifetime. As most of the products on the mainstream market are made or derived from petroleum, we are literally doused in oil. Everything from lipstick to window cleaner to sponges contains petrochemicals.

Many stores and companies offer natural cleaning products, and there are literally hundreds of books that provide do-it-yourself recipes and tips for living a less toxic, less oil-dependent life. Natural and organic personal care products are available almost everywhere, as more companies are creating alternatives to petroleum-based and environmentally-harmful products. Be sure to check the ingredient list and certification body of the product to ensure that it really is natural and/or organic. A list of common petrochemicals can be found by here.

See also The End of Growth — exclusive supplemental materials


Build Community Resilience

Recognize that there is only so much you can do on your own and join with others in your neighborhood to build community resilence. Take a look at:

Transition Network
Transition US
Resilience Circles.
Maybe there is already a group in your area.

Also check out Energy Bulletin.netfor many other ideas for and examples of community resilience.


Urge Government

Write a letter to your elected officials

Write, email, or fax a letter to your local, provincial/state, and federal elected representatives. Tell them why you have adopted the Oil Depletion Protocol, what you are doing to reduce your dependence on oil, and why you are urging your government to get serious about oil depletion and take measures to effectively deal with it — by endorsing or adopting the Oil Depletion Protocol. If you are unsure of what to write, download the sample letter below and personalize it for greater impact.

Click here to download the letter to elected officials.

Get your municipality to pass a Peak Oil resolution

One of the easiest ways for municipalities to prepare for and respond to the forthcoming oil shortage is to pass a Peak Oil resolution. A Peak Oil resolution calls for:

  • Peak Oil to be considered a serious issue
  • a city-wide assessment funded by the mayor to be undertaken
  • the endorsement of the Oil Depletion Protocol

Click here for information on how to write and pass a Peak Oil resolution, and to learn what other cities have done to pass resolutions.

Many Peak Oil resolutions were initiated by Local Post Carbon Groups or Transition Groups. For more information on Transition US, visit www.transitionus.org.

Request a copy of the ODP book

As part of our education and outreach strategy, we are providing complimentary copies of The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse to elected officials, policy makers, diplomats, business and industry leaders, people of international stature, and other relevant and interested individuals.

If there is someone to whom you think we should send a copy of the book, click on the link below and submit the mailing details. We are unable to forward a book to everyone, as such, only those individuals and levels of government that we determine to be relevant will receive a copy.

Request a copy