(Financial distress and its attendant challenges in the coming Long Descent will cause a lot of people to scramble to meet their needs. Clothing is one of those needs. Most humans like to look good and feel good about themselves and others. Dressing smartly with the resources available is one to create a sense of control in your life. In a world with tight restrictions of income, expressing yourself in the way you dress is one way to be poor with style. This is the third in a series of articles on the theme of "Down Home Punk" by guest blogger Justin Patrick Moore.)
First let me say, this is the first book that made me brush my teeth more. Second, I wish I had written this book.
Its that time of year, where we buy things for friends and family. Much of what we buy though is going to be a clueless purchase. Unless you are like a few of us and actually ask the person what they need and would like, your Christmas shopping will mean aimlessly walking around a crowded and lets be honest, soulless temple of consumerism that is the Mall or Big Box store, looking for something you can vaguely think will be useful.
Or go online and do the same, scrolling through the selections and recommendations that the algorithms generate (and we know are being paid to be that high). This year why don't you buy something that will set your friends and family onto a path of resilience and sustainability.
Tersea Peschel (aka Teresa from Hershey here and on Ecosophia) and her husband Bill are living the Green Wizard lifestyle, now for many years. "Suburban Stockade" is a collection of her experiences and learning distilled into an easily and enjoyable read.
At just over 300 pages its not something to pick up and read in a long afternoon. Teresa though breaks the book down into 36 short chapters, each about a specific theme of 5-10 pages. Though several subjects, like "Chapter 11: Buying A Home" and "Chapter 28: Grocery Shopping and Food Storage" come in around 25 pages. Within each chapter are short subsections. Not only are they very informative but are filled with personal information on Teresa and her family's life. This makes it a great book to toss into the car or in a backpack to be pulled out when you have a few minutes to read. You'll be left with much to think about too.
(See the entire listing of chapters here: Pershel Press )
You'll be motivated to make a change or two in your own life. Changes which will make it better and also save you real money. Give it to a friend and help them prepare for the Long Descent. It is the perfect companion to John Michael Greer's "Green Wizardry" and a great addition to your library. Buy two and give one away.
In last week's Ecosophia post Dancers at the End of Time, Part Three: A Mortal Splendor Greer made this comment:
"MichaelV, true, and they also don’t know how to be poor with style. It can be done; it’s just that most people now have forgotten how to do it."
If you take Greer's writing seriously, as I do and many others both Green Wizards and not, you have come to understand that we are headed into a cycle of downward de-growth. The energy and resources just aren't there any more. Its getting harder and harder to mine and extract what our energy intensive civilization uses to just get by, let alone continue endless growth.
Yet for at least the last half century the machinery of that civilization, fueled by energy has made the life of most of the people in Western and now some Asian cultures the envy of medieval Kings and Queens. The opulent over spending and extravagant (and sometimes decadent) excesses once reserved for the rich and powerful, which once were the markers of style and something for the Masses to expire to with envy, are now available for those Masses as well.
Made me wonder, just what being poor with style might mean? To answer that we must look at what "style" actually is and why we seek it.
To Divine Hermes I give thanks, and to Him I offer these words. Speak through me Oh God, for thy glory and the profit of those who will hear.
This essay began with a comment that I posted a few weeks back on John Michael Greer’s Ecosophia blog. The subject was Fantasies of the Apocalypse, a recurring theme at that site. I commented that I had, for many years, believed very sincerely in the imminent collapse of civilization. From roughly the year 2000 onward through Barack Obama’s second term I was a committed anti-civilization anarchist. I was certain that civilization was about to collapse, either all on its own or through the concerted effort of dedicated partisans.
Well, the reader will already have noticed that it’s two decades later, and civilization is still with us-- nor did the heroic partisans ever get around to emerging. And you won’t be surprised to hear that my belief-- or what I thought was my belief-- in the approaching apocalypse kept me from making any provisions for living in the actual world of my experience.
This is an essay about what happens when the apocalypse fails to show up, and you have to go on living anyway.
A solar tube is an odd thing to see in the wild. A skylight is obvious: it’s a big hole in your roof framed out like a window that lets sunlight pour in while excluding the rest of the great outdoors. Skylights tend to be large; several square feet or more. All that glass means a whole lot of free sunlight can come flooding in to light the room below.
A solar tube looks so small that it asks a question: How can a glass pane the size of a large dinner plate let in enough light to make it worth cutting a hole in your roof? And there is the fact the tube, which looks like an oversized dryer vent, ensures that the light has to travel a long way from your rooftop, through your attic, and thence into the room below. Surely light must be lost on the journey to the glass dinner plate set into your ceiling.
So the solar tube does seem questionable. They are expensive, need professional installation if you don’t want your roof to leak, and they don’t seem to offer nearly as much light as a skylight would.
In practice, they are tremendously useful.
I've tried to stay away from endorsing any sort of specific policy or plan for dealing with the challenges that climate change, petroleum depletion (and more broadly resource depletion) as well as the myriad of ways that the Long Descent and coming economic stair step backwards towards a level of tech that can be sustained because too many proposals try to do everything. Or as is often the case, their focus is not on fighting the actual challenges but instead use those challenges to advocate for a different policy completely.
What is daylighting?
Daylighting is an architectural term. It means designing a building to let natural sunlight into a building rather than keeping it outside and having to compensate by using artificial lighting. Since I’m not an architect, I’ll stick with basic information that I’ve learned and applied in my own home. Electricity costs good money so I’m always looking for ways to spend less. Daylighting isn’t just windows. It’s everything that lets in light, enhances light, and reflects light to where you want it. Paying attention to your daylighting can allow you to maximize free, healthy sunshine while lowering your energy bills.
Paying attention to how and where the sun comes inside also benefits you in August when you want to keep it outside, repelling the heat and letting you cool your house more effectively. This essay covers some of those ways.
We’ll start with getting the sunshine inside in the first place. In addition to regular windows, other methods include door windows, skylights, solar tubes, and specialized windows such as interior windows (placed on dividing walls between rooms), transoms (the window over top of the door, both internal and external), and sidelights (the window, usually fixed glass, on one or both sides of the door). There are also light shafts (leading to below grade spaces) and basement window wells.
Recently I've been considering the spiritual side of my Life, or more properly the lack of a real spiritual side. I have been discussing this in a recent post in the Eleventh Circle of Green Wizardry on Spirituality, Magic and Religion found here:
This thread began as an introduction to the occult discipline of Shamanism but has evolve into a discussion on my own spiritual journey.
Shamanism is a very old practice of mediation between humans and the spirit realms of animal, plant and elemental forces. You find it in every early culture from the people of the far Northern regions of the Arctic, to the aborigines in the Amazon rain forests. You find it in the nomads of the harsh dry deserts of the Middle East and the tribes of the gentle ocean islands of the Pacific. In a world were there were dangers all around you, having someone who could enlist the unseen spirits to be your friend and ally was a powerful thing. It meant your very survival.
I kind of think of it as a "Spiritual Kung Fu" in that its a spiritual skill most often associated with monks (or wizards) but has a useful practical side. It is a forgotten skill that I believe every Green Wizard should learn, and yet it might not be best discussed here on this site. That is why I'm introducing another blog.
(Migration and homelessness caused by climate change and economic collapse in the coming Long Descent will be a huge social challenge. We must think now how we will deal with it when it comes. To do that we should first look at the history of squatting over the last two centuries for some context of squatting in an urban environment. This is the second in a series of articles by guest blogger Justin Patrick Moore.)
If you live in a city you’ve seen the specter of homelessness.
Unless you are totally tuned out, indifferent and clueless, you probably understand that the chain of events that has led a person or a family to life on the streets has not been in their complete control. The rise and fall of the wheel of fortune, the ebb and flow of the tides of fate can be both boon and bane. It is not up to us to judge how people end up in the circumstances they inhabit. It will probably also never be up to us influence how they react and respond to the hand they have been dealt. Yet within each hand of cards life has given a person, there are certain plays and arrangements which can be made to make the most of a situation.
For the increasing homeless population of the world there is an opportunity to be found in something else industrial society has so carelessly discarded: buildings and home. Chances are, if you live in a city you have seen abandoned buildings boarded up somewhere (or everywhere), with knee high weeds surrounding the yard. Maybe you’ve even snuck into one of these empty houses, looking for ghosts, or as a dare or a cheap thrill, or perhaps just because you like exploring the ruins society has littered around us. The banks may see these empty homes as liabilities. In the eye of a green wizard, or anyone who doesn’t like to see things go to waste, these houses are resources.
("Shawshank Redemption" © Castle Rock Entertainment 1994)
In one of the most poniente scenes in the amazing movie "Shawshank Redemption" Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) tells his fellow inmate Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freedman that "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying."
Red (and many people watching the movie at that moment) believe that Andy has decided to commit suicide. We all know now that instead, Andy was just about to break out of the Hell he had been living in for over 19 years, and not only get his freedom but his revenge.
I've always thought that people tend to put themselves into their own private prisons, walled by expectations from those around them and by society into accept the shackles and bars imposed on them. I think its time we all took a cue from Andy.
I know which choice I will choose.