Cam & Noah’s Ark

This post was originally published on June 9, 2010. Since Cam is busy trying to get his garden planted and doesn’t have time to write a new post right now, I thought I’d re-post this, especially for all of our new subscribers.

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By Cam Mather

On Monday night I made a presentation to my local council about peak oil. I was there because I felt they were not spending money in a way that made sense if they were aware of peak oil. So several weeks ago I asked if they would be interested in a presentation on peak oil and they said yes. I told them I had a 6-hour presentation, a one-hour presentation, or I could put together a 10-minute presentation. Surprisingly they chose the 10-minute one.

Given that I have hours and hours worth of material that documents the case for peak oil, it was tough to scale it back to 10 minutes worth. But I did and I think I made a pretty convincing case. It’s not that hard these days. Ten years ago the price of oil was $20/ barrel. Today it’s $80. The major media outlets openly report peak oil these days, even if many are trying to dispute it. The gulf oil spill seems to have helped to bring it all into focus. People are asking why we are drilling a mile and half below the ocean in apparently difficult conditions? Oh, because we’ve run out of the easy stuff – that makes sense.

I also included information on the “Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security” in the U.K., which just published “The Oil Crunch – A Wake Up Call.”(  This is an industry group and includes Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (including Virgin Airlines) so it seems to give the concept of peak oil some credibility. Their recommendation is that “We must prepare for significantly higher prices and disruptions.” When people, even people who are new to the idea of peak oil, see a guy who owns an airline saying peak oil is a problem, they listen.

During the question period after my 10-minute presentation one of the councilors suggested, “You must feel like Noah, warning about the flood.” I have often thought of myself in biblical terms but it was always more as a young muscled David slingshotting rocks at Goliath. I picture Noah more like a bearded Charlton Heston. But I’m 50 now and when I don’t shave for a few days, my beard has lots of grey in it. I’m hoping that conveys some level of achieved wisdom.

I guess the analogy to Noah is appropriate. My book “Thriving During Challenging Times” is a warning of some tough times, maybe not a flood that will wipe out all life on the planet, but challenging none-the-less. And my recommendations are way easier than gathering up two of every animal and putting them in a big boat for 40 days. When I see how much hay a couple of cows or horses eat in a day, how you feed a boat full of elephants and other big animals is beyond me.

Installing a solar domestic hot water heater on the other hand, isn’t that big a deal. You can find a dealer to do it you don’t want to. Saving 50 to 60% a year on your hot water bill is a pretty good deal. Inflation proofing your family from rising energy prices makes sound financial sense. Putting in a vegetable garden and building a root cellar to store those vegetables is a great project.

That’s what I like about the roadmap the book provides. There is no downside to anything I suggest. It will ultimately make you more energy-, food- and financially-independent. This is a good thing. You don’t lose by paying off debt and investing in technologies that generate energy at your home. And with the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint! There is no down side, only upside.

In the meantime I’m off to the scrap woodpile down the road. My neighbor Don has a wood mill and I scrounge through his pile of off-cuts. I’m thinking maybe there’s a big boat waiting to be built somewhere in that pile.

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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