Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

A Podcast on “Two Beers With Steve”

By Cam Mather

I did a podcast last week on “Two Beers With Steve”. This is a very cool website where Steve chats with people who have an alternative view on reality, or at least provide information that’s not always readily available from the mainstream media. He and his guests discuss topics such as peak oil, the financial crisis and the generally challenging times we find ourselves in.

The reality for many people is a little different than what is being presented on mainstream media news each night. Despite the reports of the economy being back on track, there are still lots of people without jobs, losing their homes, and struggling to feed their families and to make ends meet. I think it can be helpful for those people to hear their reality being discussed by a couple of people sitting around having a beer. Not that I was actually drinking beer. We did the interview in the morning and I wanted to stay lucid.

Steve’s story is that he chose to leave a job in the steel industry because he didn’t feel it had much of a future. These sorts of jarring changes take great intestinal fortitude to do voluntarily, rather than waiting for a pink slip to make the decision for you. It’s certainly something I emphasize in my book “Thriving During Challenging Times.” NOW is the time you should be taking a proactive approach to your future. If you still have a job and income you should reducing debt, making your home more energy efficient, installing systems that make your home more energy independent and building up savings.  It’s tough to do, but even harder if your hours at work are cut back or your job is eliminated.

It’s human inertia. We find it hard to react before things hit the crisis stage. In 1998 a massive ice storm caused huge damage to power systems in eastern Canada and the northern U.S. and many homes (and people) were without power for weeks. This turned peoples’ lives upside down. Pipes froze, homes had no water or light or heat, gas stations couldn’t pump gas and the system ground to a halt. As I’ve presented my renewable energy and independence workshops throughout the area I ask people how many days they were without power. Most say it was at least 3 days, some were without for a week, some for 2 weeks and some had no power for 3 or 4 weeks. Then I ask what people have done? How many have bought generators? Installed a woodstove? Have a “Plan B”? It’s amazing how few of the people affected by that ice storm have done anything to prepare for a recurrence. Even after having had their lives turned upside down, once the power came back on it was back to life as usual. They went back into “life will continue as it always has” mode.

Steve must have liked my rant about this event because he posted it on You Tube.

The strategy of doing nothing to prepare may work fine or it may not. I would suggest that it’s time to be proactive in the independence department. That it’s time to get over  that inertia and develop a plan. Part of that plan should be to plant a garden. I sent Steve a copy of my book “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook.” We had toyed with the idea of including recipes in the book, but in the end we decided not to with one exception. We did include the recipe for Michelle’s Orange Spinach Salad which is an unbelievably tasty and healthy way to eat raw spinach. It turns out that Steve’s wife made the salad and took this amazing photo of it. Thanks Kate! We have a cold frame full of spinach so I guess I know what I’m having for dinner!


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