Matt Savinar, 27, once aspired to own a Hummer. He studied poli sci at the University of California, Davis, before going on to get his law degree at U.C. Hastings in San Francisco. He was into bodybuilding. Today, Savinar doesn’t own any car, much less a Hummer, and he doesn’t practice law, although he’s licensed to do so. Frankly, he doesn’t think that driving or the legal profession, with the exception of maybe bankruptcy law, have much of a future. Instead of buying a car, Savinar walks, takes the bus and catches rides with friends, but not because he’s trying to save the world, he assures me.

Savinar doesn’t drive because he’s saving the money he’d spend on a used car to buy land; he’s not sure exactly where yet, but somewhere with a supply of fresh water, arable soil, low population density and that’s far from military bases. He’s starting to get back into bodybuilding again, too, all the better to be healthy and in shape to till the earth and grow food, when the time comes. “I happen to think that we’re going straight to hell, and I’m trying to figure out how to be in the least hot place of hell,” he told me recently on an incongruously balmy 72 degree February afternoon in sunny Santa Rosa, Calif., at a restaurant just a few blocks from the apartment where he lives.

For a young, quick-witted, able-bodied man with an advanced degree, living in the most prosperous country in the world, Savinar has a pretty dim view of his — and all the rest of our — prospects. He believes that many if not most of the blandishments of modern American life are endangered species and he’s trying to figure out how not to become one of them. So Savinar has become a full-time prophet of “peak oil,” spreading the word about how the world’s oil production will soon peak and global demand will outstrip supply.

CONTINUED AT SALON