Blogs

Stickie: Welcome To The New "Green Wizards" - Site News and Info

  • Posted on: 31 December 2018
  • By: David Trammel

Its hard to believe that it was over eight years ago that John Michael Greer posted these words to open our site:

"One of the things the soon-to-be-deindustrializing world most needs just now is green wizards. By this I mean individuals who are willing to take on the responsibility to learn, practice, and thoroughly master a set of unpopular but valuable skills – the skills of the old appropriate tech movement – and share them with their neighbors when the day comes that their neighbors are willing to learn. This is not a subject where armchair theorizing counts for much – as every wizard’s apprentice learns sooner rather than later, what you really know is measured by what you’ve actually done – and it’s probably not going to earn anyone a living any time soon, either, though it can help almost anyone make whatever living they earn go a great deal further than it might otherwise go. Nor, again, will it prevent the unraveling of the industrial age and the coming of a harsh new world; what it can do, if enough people seize the opportunity, is make the rough road to that new world more bearable than it will otherwise be." JMG

In that time we have had some ups but many downs, and changes of leadership here and periods where the lights nearly went out. Now though we are ready to turn a new page on the idea of educating people in what will come in the near Future to us all, whether some want it or not, as well as teaching the skills and knowledge they will need to navigate, prosper and succeed in the Long Descent of our failing industrial civilization.

Here are some of the changes and new features we have to help you on your journey. First though, some information about the site...

Squatters Rites

  • Posted on: 18 September 2019
  • By: Justin Patrick Moore

(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.)


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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.

Admitting We Are In For Rough Times Ahead and Still Having Hope

  • Posted on: 9 September 2019
  • By: David Trammel


("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.

Keeping Your Writing Space Warm

  • Posted on: 4 September 2019
  • By: Teresa from Hershey

I think a lot about resilience and sustainability and how to do things better. Here’s something we (me and my dear husband) did recently that may help you. I started this particular project back in June of 2018 when I reviewed my home heating bills for the 2017/2018 winter. I was horrified. It wasn’t that cold of a winter here in central PA; we have endured much colder ones. We burned 355.7 gallons of home heating oil at $3.31 per gallon. We spent $1,177.22 to heat our 2,000-square-foot house. This is the most oil we’ve burned since the 2003/2004 winter when we burned 392 gallons. Back then, oil was $1.45 a gallon, costing us $567.21.

I shivered through that entire winter at my writing desk located in the coldest corner of our living room. I had to do something to improve my situation for future winters and it sure wasn't going to be sending more money to Keystone Heating Oil.

Down Home Punk: An Introduction

  • Posted on: 28 August 2019
  • By: Justin Patrick Moore

(First in a guest series)


(Image from the Morgan's Deck of Oracle cards: http://www.bohemianess.com/2016/09/oracle-deck-review-morgans-tarot.html )

The mohawk I had as a teenager is long gone. The army jacket I wore, with lighter clips and band names and patches scrawled all across it is buried and dead. The clothes I wear on a day-to-day basis are not ratted, and I’m not tatted, and no safety pin is in my nose, yet the movement that inspired me as a teenager continues to live on in my blood, and I continue to derive power from the legacy of the punk rock subculture and its various offshoots. I still love Crass but I have to side with the Exploited on this one and say “punks not dead”.

Punk is not dead. Its DNA lives on in a variety of mutated forms, just as the original aesthetics associated with the movement have grown, changed, or been dropped and new aesthetics adopted. The philosophy embedded within the punk subculture is still thriving and has the potential to form a core response to crisis of our times.

That is what this series of articles is all about: how the mindset, practices, and toolkit of the punk rock subculture can be applied to solving some of the problems humanity will face in the hard years of economic, ecological, and societal collapse that are now standing down the barrel at us in the present. As a subculture at odds with the Establishment the punk rockers developed workarounds and hacks for getting their ideas, words, art, and music out into the world on the cheap. They developed networks of support and communication that enabled the subculture to thrive in the absence, and without deference to, corporate handouts and support. I think that reviving and breathing new life into those methods now can be a useful adjunctive to the revival of the appropriate technology toolkit being done by enterprising green wizards.

Time To Walk The Talk - My Own Personal Collapse

  • Posted on: 15 August 2019
  • By: David Trammel

Around the end of next month, I'm going to voluntarily Collapse. I figure that tonight marks 30 working days (42 days overall), until I'm out of my current job and into semi-retirement.

(I took a few months off of posting, now I'm back)

Greer has always said that a wise person, seeing the way our civilization and society is slowly coming apart, should choose to downsize their own lifestyle and decrease their needs for energy, resources and just about everything else early when they have the cushion of making mistakes and not have it be life threatening. As he sums it up, "Collapse Now and Avoid The Rush".

I think I will followed his advice.

Running Out Of Gas - Peak Easy Energy

  • Posted on: 10 April 2019
  • By: David Trammel

Change of plans, I was going to post the final part of "Thinking In Systems" tonight but April Fool's Day gave us all a prank. It was announced this week that the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, their crown jew of easy oil, has had its output greatly over estimated by the "smart people". See the Saudi's never allowed anyone to audit their production, so people involved in the fossil fuel industry have made their best guesses. Turns out they were wrong. It will take me most of the week to read up and write a good summary for the Green Wizard community on why this new is shaking up investors and why we may be in for sizable price spike in gasoline and heating oil in the next two years.

In the mean time I am going to repost a article I wrote a while back that discusses an important concept when discussing Peak Oil and that is "Return on Investment" (aka ROI).

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Imagine you get a phone call tomorrow. Its from a lawyer, who tells you your Aunt, you know the one everyone in the family always called a bit crazy, has died and left you her sizable fortune. A very sizable fortune. After you take a moment and jump up and down in excitement, he then explains the conditions of the Will and you figure out why everyone thought she was crazy.

Instead of hiding all her money under her mattress, your Aunt put it into the bank. Well, lots of banks. The lawyer gives you a list and its dozens of pages long. Banks in your city, banks in the suburbs, even banks several counties over. A few in the next state. The list also has the amounts in each account, some with several thousand dollars, some with much less.

You can visit any account and take out money BUT the catch is you can only do it once a day.

Retro Tech - Heyer Model 76 Spirit Duplicator

  • Posted on: 3 April 2019
  • By: jlg4880

(The Admin: "One of the things Greer hoped that Green Wizards would do is relearn older technology and skills so that when economic contraction starts making current technology, like computers, microchips and such, too expensive or difficult to get a hold of, that older equipment could then replace it. Technology from the last century, like this "Spirit Duplicator" was not only cheaper to make but also could usually be repaired with simple hand tools and a working knowledge of mechanics. I'd like to thank Green Wizard jlg4880, for taking the time to learn how to use this and for sharing what he learned.")

How many of the current membership is familiar with or have read John Michael Greer’s delightful novel, and dare I say, modern classic Retrotopia?

A good number I should hope. I know my particular copy’s starting to get a wee bit dogeared.

Retrotopia, a novel about a future society that has kicked computer technologies to the curb--a destiny where the vast majority of poorly made, unrepairable computers are more than likely headed--got this particular Green Wizard contributor musing over the possibilities of resurrecting older printing/duplicating technologies.

And that brings us to the good old classic spirit duplicator, a machine that allows the reproduction of documents by typing, handwriting, or even drawing. A master copy was created with just a special paper and a manual typewriter. The by adding fluid and paper, you could turn off as many copies as you needed. Before the advent of photocopiers and computer printers this was “the machine” for every office, church or school. In the coming decades it may well return to prominence as our offices downsize.

Let's get started...

Food Resilience

  • Posted on: 27 March 2019
  • By: David Trammel

(With the start of the Spring gardening season, its time to talk about food.)

Is that what your cupboard looks like?

Ok so you might not be this bad BUT most of us are woefully short on our stored food supply. We hit the fast food place on the way home for dinner, or stop in at the grocery and buy today's lunch on the way into work. We never plan our meals in advance, but simply stare into the open refrigerator and see what strikes us as good tonight.

Changing that is your first step along the Circles of Green Wizardry.

Now you will certainly ask, why should I stock up on food when there are grocery stores just 10 minutes away? Restaurants on every street corner. If you are like me, a resident of the First World, its not like we have no options to feed ourselves at a moments notice. Why then put away food?

All you need to do to answer that is consider the Winter and the huge snowstorms that seem to happen more and more today. Or the pounding rain storms that lasts for days. Or heat waves that risk serious burns just touching the door of your auto. And that's just regular weather. Don't forget the super storms like Hurricane Sandy that pounded the East Coast in 2012. People were stuck inside for days, unable to get out. Others had their ability to just jot down to the supermarket curtailed when there was no power to run the cash registers or there just wasn't a store there anymore.

Shall we not laugh at New York Yuppies seeking power from electric sockets around trees at buildings put in for Christmas decorations desperate to charge their cell phones and lap tops. Lest we do, imagine we wouldn't do the same, faced with similar circumstances?

Its going to be a nasty fact of Life as we move into the future of the Long Descent. Supply disruptions, weather emergencies and maybe even civil unrest. And that doesn't even consider just something as basic as you losing your job.

Thoughts about how a Green Wizard uses Ham Radio

  • Posted on: 20 March 2019
  • By: augjohnson

Today’s new Hams are told that they should first get a 2Meter radio of some sort, hand-held or base/mobile radio, and get on the air using a local repeater to learn how to communicate. What does this mean? Does it fit with what the purpose of Ham Radio for Green Wizards who want to preserve reliable ways of communicating?

A 2 Meter radio operates in the VHF band of 144-148 Mhz (Megahertz), where the signals pretty much are line of sight communications. This is similar to FM Broadcast and TV frequencies, but at much lower powers. FM Broadcast and TV use powers of many 10's or 100's of thousands of watts whereas a hand-held radio uses no more than maybe 5 watts and a base radio 20-60 watts. A base or mobile radio has a range of maybe 5-20 miles and a hand-held radio maybe 2-5 miles.

These ranges are approximate and can vary greatly, but will serve to illustrate my point. A Repeater is a higher-powered transmitter hooked to a very good receiver and using a large antenna, usually on a tower or mountaintop, that simultaneously re-transmits (repeats) the signals it hears so as to greatly extend their range. If you can communicate with this repeater that is in an excellent location, you can communicate with anyone else who can communicate with it, even if you can't reach them directly. Since the Repeater has it's antenna in such a good location, you can usually reach it from quite a distance, maybe 20-50 miles, even using just a hand-held radio. This way you can talk to someone else also using a hand-held radio that may be 50, 100, or more miles away.

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