Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Day Without Oil

I decided I need to get back to my values and do my part to live a greener life. I thought I’d do an experiment: Live one day without oil, gas or any product made from petroleum.



I get up and take off all my clothes. Since even my cotton shirts have plastic buttons or polyester stitching I’m left with nothing to wear. But then I remember the skein of local llama wool I bought at our town’s craft fair 2 years ago. I had intended to take up knitting and make a hat, but I just got too busy. Unfortunately, I’m cheap and it was expensive so I only bought a little, enough to knot up some burlesque style pasties, but then I get a better idea. I go into my backyard, rip off some cedar branches from my hedges and use the wool to tie up a basic sun dress. Fabulous, I’m dressed.


I need a source of naturally flowing water. There’s a big park with a good sized stream about 13 blocks from my house. I walk barefoot through my subdivision, feeling a little itchy from the cedar branches but proud of my self sufficiency. As I wave to my neighbours, I’m too inspired and committed to my goal to realize I have just made my kids friendless.

When I get to the park, I walk through the woods, give a friendly smile to the local teens smoking odd smelling, homemade cigarettes and find a nice creek side spot to live by for the day. The water looks oily and tastes tinny, but that’s okay, I’m just not used to living the natural life. My thoughts turn to food. I studied the SAS Survival Handbook to prepare myself for this day. Are those bilberries I wonder? Hmmm, better be safe. I spot some mushrooms. I know I need to be absolutely sure about fungi. I study the mushrooms and am certain they** are the ones my old college roommate once brought home and said were amazing. I just take a little as I need to conserve my food.

My energy will soon dwindle if I don’t find some protein. Grubs and maggots are underneath the leaf cover and I know they’re a great source of energy, but then I remember...the bunnies. Just outside this forest lies a big open field lined with blackberries bushes. There are bunnies everywhere. Here people discreetly release their pet rabbits they don’t want anymore. What incredible luck, not only are there several rabbits, but mindlessly munching on the grass sits Snowflake. He used to belong to a family on my street before they brought him here. I wonder if rabbits have the capacity to remember people who were good to them. We took care of Snowflake when the family went to Mexico. Perhaps he’ll recognize my voice and I can lure him over. No such luck, apparently Snowflake has gone feral, he ignores me and hops away. But that’s okay, I have a strict catch and release policy in my home for even the smallest insect. I simply don’t have the heart to kill anything.

An hour or so passes and I’m aware of some surprising changes taking place. I feel good, real good. The fresh air, being one with nature, I’m sure it’s making me euphoric. Colors are brighter and the air smells so clean my nose tingles. I’m so happy to be here I can't stop giggling. And then I it possible? Yes, it’s true...Snowflake has come back and he’s... he’s SMILING at me! His fur is so white it glows, vibrates even...
Okay, this plan could only end in one of two ways, I get hospitalized for hypothermia and a hallucinogenic mushroom overdose or temporarily institutionalized for my radical, self endangering behavior. Living without oil? JUST ISN'T POSSIBLE.

I think I'll just keep on increasing the 3 'R's: reduce, reuse and recycle. One product I did discover that I think is great is the paper that was used for the above illustration - Strathmore's bristol stock manufactured by wind power, not fossil fuels.

I wanted to finish this post with a picture of the real, 'Snowflake'. He really does exist at that park, so I went looking for him today. I couldn't find him and realized how ridiculously befitting it was I was searching for the elusive white rabbit to conclude this post, so I stopped and snapped a pic of his buddy.

** now that I've actually posted a link to magic mushrooms, I feel compelled to add, (JUST IN CASE someone gets a crazy idea) 'shrooms can kill! forage wisely AT the grocery store or farmers market.


Melody said...

Great post......awesome reading. Thanks as always

patricia said...

What a clever, witty, entertaining post! I really enjoyed it. But...underneath all that humour, of course there is the very sad and scary reality that we are in a whole shit of trouble once the oil does run out (and I am a firm believer that this will happen, sooner than later). What will we do? Ethanal doesn't really seem to be solving the problem the way people hoped. Will wind power and solar heating be enough? At this point in time, it doesn't look that way. I guess all that any of us can do, is add our light to the sum of light, doing little positive things here and there, and try not to be a huge part of the problem. Otherwise, if we think about it too much, we'll all go crazy real fast, without the help of any magic mushrooms.

Love the Alic in Wonderland references...One mushroom makes you taller, and one mushroom makes you smaller...

Angela Rockett said...

This post is absolutely BRILLIANT, Ellen!

andrea said...

A DISCLAIMER! OK, I get it, "Somebody's Mom", but I'm hoping you've dried some of those fab fungi to garnish salads and serve unsuspecting -- or even suspecting -- guests. I've heard natural-source pharmacology does a better job at killing depression than Prozac. (Spoken like a BC native.) Great post -- thanks for the lift.

girl work studios said...

Thanks Melody and Angela!

Patricia - I'm of 2 minds, part of me doesn't think we can do enough fast enough to avoid the blow to the way we live and some tragic consequences throughout the rest of the world. What I've read/heard is we really have peaked globally for oil, and the global warming 'tipping point' may be much closer than we thought. On the other hand I think I'm an optimist in spite of myself. Humans are incredibly resiliant and adaptable. It's those tiny germs of ideas that keep spreading from one person to the next that sink into our collective unconsciousness and make change possible.
There's a british show on HGTV called Outrageous Wasters. I love it, families with several SUV's, 12 televisions left on all day and who never recycle are forced to spend 1 week at a carbon neutral bootcamp while their home is made a greener. I'm amazed that some of these people who couldn't care less about the environment, who are sooo resistant to the least bit of inconvience start changing, not only actions, but how they feel about becoming greener. After watching that show, it's just another notch in the belt of hope (oooo, that is uber corny!). And now that I'm inspired, I really need to give myself a bigger kick in the butt.

girl work studios said...

Andrea: a disclaimer - I know,I'm such an old fart. Hey, you just gave me some ideas for lunch when you come here. I take it you'd be the suspecting guest, you hippy BC girl. (It'll all taste like chicken though...).

Angela Rockett said...

Outrageous Wasters sounds like such a great show! Interesting that it hasn't made it to HGTV in the States.

dinahmow said...

Unfortunately, I can't reduce the font in comments, but consider me whispering...and maybe don't read my post!
Seriously, I do think tempering it with humour reaches a wider audience.
Hey! How come the bunnies survive? I'd have thought coyotes, foxes, dogs, kids with BB guns would eliminate them.

girl work studios said...

Dinah: hey, that's okay, at least that old mustang didn't make it into landfill.

People do leave their rabbits there and think they're giving them a good life, but most probably do end up as coyote food. There is always some there though, because they breed like..well, like rabbits.

ArtyEm said...

lovely and inspiring post.
the three R's are what we need to remember, but you do put it into perspective what our modern dependence has done to us.

BlueJude said...

TOOO FUNNY! Point made. As for the shrooms, well I'll keep it in mind! (:
I have a wabbit that visits in my backyard. Sadly however, he is not The White Rabbit. But pretty darn cute all the same! Happy Friday!

Ellen said...

Artyem - thanks for stopping by! It seems to be getting worse as I filled my car with record gas prices, ouch!

Blue-awww, that's nice to have a rabbit visitor. I'm surprised your dog doesn't scare it away.