Crudeawakening Masthead

Jan. 6th

Select Members of the group will be discussing the movie "A Crude Awakening" at 6:30pm on Jan. 6th, 2009 at the Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition.

Crude Awakening is an advocacy group based in Austin, TX. We concentrate our efforts on political and community awareness of peak oil...

Find our main discussion board plus information about our community meetins in Austin, TX

After the Peak -- Video
A docudrama explores the impact of peak oil on a typical American community
Looking for Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash? Click here to go to the website and view a snippet of the award-winning film


Re-localization is a concept that needs more attention. It is the process by which communities rebuild their culture, economics, and governance, to localize (produce locally) their economies and essential systems, such as food and energy production, water, money, culture, governance, media, and ownership, to assure a vibrant community, particularly in preparation for the affects of oil depletion. It means drastically lower consumption, greater local self-reliance, and more cooperative and inclusive communities. View PostCarbon Institute's Call to Action. For interviews and sucessful re-localization efforts, check out Global Public Media's re-localization page.

Being dependant upon an imported resource also offers the additional challenge of competition for that resource from other communities and/or consumer groups. Should supply fall short of demand the resource generally goes to the highest bidder or the easiest distribution point. Today's urban environments function on a broad dependency of resources imported from outside the immediate urban area, meaning the residents are not only dependent upon a competitive supply system of the imported the goods and services, but that the community's economic prosperity is being exported. The Oil Drum (www.theoildrum.com) has an excellent page dedicated to local issues relating to the micro effects of peak oil.

A great example is the import of electricity. Considering the enormous amounts of electricity that are imported into the community from outside sources, one must consider that payment for that energy is being exported to suppliers outside the community, thereby converting those dollars to unavailable economic benefit for the local community. Assume for a moment that your urban community imports roughly $5 Billion worth of electricity per year, with that $5 Billion leaving the local economy. If that structure were somehow reversed, say the community somehow begins to generate its own power locally, that $5 billion not only stays in the community to be reused (in the form of salaries for local employees, local infrastructure, etc.) but also eliminates the export of that enormous economic activity for use elsewhere. The end result is actually a $5 Billion economic benefit to the local community versus the exported $5 Billion dollar economic loss -- a $10 Billion dollar economic impact.

In a world with increasing energy shortages a significant number of important products and services that are generally in constant demand by a community may become subject to severe supply shortages or astronomical price increases. Such products certainly include things like gasoline and electricity, but also extend to food and dairy products, clothing, bottled water, building supplies, office supplies, and so on. Re-localization means establishing local industries to produce these products upon which citizens are highly dependant.

Here are some research questions affecting re-localization that might generate some perspective:

For the purposes of this list of questions, the “Zone” refers to the CAP Metro five-county geographic area of Austin, but could apply to any urban area.


How much energy does the zone use?

How much in dollars does the zone currently send outside the zone to suppliers to import the energy used within the zone?

How much land is covered by roofs (sq. ft.) and parking lots in the zone?

How many square feet of PV panels with grid intertie would be required to deliver an equivalent amount of the energy currently consumed in the zone?

What economic benefits can the zone gain by becoming totally energy self-sufficient?

What economic benefits can the zone gain by becoming a net exporter of energy to the Texas grid?

If all traffic lights and city street lighting were converted to solar energy, powered by PV Panels atop the lighting fixtures, what economic benefits would this bring to the zone in terms of energy savings and reduced electrical infrastructure vs. the cost of the PV panels and batteries?

What economic benefit could the zone realize by establishing a solar panel manufacturing industry within the zone to supply all local PV panel requirements?

What percentage of raw materials for PV panel manufacturing is available from local sources?

What economic impact would occur if every resident exchanged half of their incandescent lightbulbs to compact florescent bulbs which require only 1/4 of the energy for the same amount of light?


How much potable water is used in the zone for all purposes (including bottled water)?

What is the typical annual rainfall total in the zone?

How much square footage or harvesting area would be required to capture enough rainwater to supply all the potable water needs of the zone?

What economic benefits can the zone gain by diverting to public water supplies the rainwater that falls on building roofs and parking lots?

How much bottled drinking water is imported into the zone?


How much food is imported into the zone?

What is the annual dollar value of these imports?

Which of these foods could be produced in the local area?

How much arable, tillable land exists within a 50 mile radius of the zone?

What percentage of these foods could be produced using the arable, tillable land in the zone?

What would be the dollar value of that production kept in the local economy?

What economic benefits can the zone gain by replacing imported foods with the percentage of replacements made possible by local production?

Policy Changes

What economic benefit (and energy consumption impacts) would the zone realize if residential customers were permitted a given amount of electricity use per month at normal rates, with rates doubled for energy used beyond that amount? For business users? For industrial users?

What energy consumption impacts would occur if the zone had a building code requiring solar panel installations with grid intertie for all new construction, which would produce a minimum of ¼ of the typical energy usage for a structure of that type?

What energy consumption impacts would occur if the zone had a building codes that required:

-an increase of 20% of the “R-“ values for wall insulation, 30% for floor and ceiling insulation, and triple-paned thermal windows?

-solar hot water heaters for all new construction?

-geo-thermal as the approved source of HVAC for all new residential construction?

-Mandatory minimum and maximum thermostat settings for different seasons?

What commuting impacts would occur if the zone converted all roadways of two or more lanes in each direction to include at least one HOV lane? (I-35, Loop 360, Mopac, RR620 Hwy 280, Hwy 71, Hwy 183, etc.)

What commuting impacts would occur if the zone created business district tolls which would be charged to all entering vehicles except those registered to an address within the district, and those that were carrying two or more occupants (to include all public transportation)?