dtrammel's blog

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

  • Posted on: 31 December 2018
  • By: dtrammel

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...

Very Short Post This Week

  • Posted on: 13 March 2019
  • By: dtrammel

Sorry this week's post will be delayed until next week. I'm just getting over the flu and I still have a rough cough and trouble thinking well. I will be discussing Professor Jem Bendell and the new Deep Adaptation forum.

Also I started the Seed Sprout Demo last Sunday and they are coming up well. Mostly, lol.

The picture with this post is from Day 3. The Lettuce bowl is rocking (bottom left), with lots of sprouts, though it did get a lot of seeds. Still impressive though.

The Sunflower seeds (top left) are half and half. My older Mongolian Giants seem to be past their time. None of them have come up yet. The more recent ones I purchased last week all seem to be sprouting. Most still have their seed husks on them but they are stout stemmed sprouts. I can see why people include them in their mix of seeds.

The peas (bottom right) seem to be sprouting while the bush beans (top right) don't be doing that well. They both have white mold on the seeds indicating I've over watered them, I'm going to put all four containers under the grow lamps for a few hours tonight and mot water them, to see if they do better.

I'll post more when I feel better. In the mean time, read the first blog by August Johnson on ham radio.

Handing Out Life Vests on the Titanic

  • Posted on: 6 March 2019
  • By: dtrammel


(© 1997 Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.)

With all the new and returning members I thought I'd take this week's blog post and clarify a few things.

I know its tempting to lump John Michael Greer and his idea of Green Wizardry into the Survival/Prepper category. We both speak of a change to civilization. An end of things as they are. Of a time where the World is Harsh.

Its easy though for deniers of the changes to come, to latch onto the fringe element of that subculture to belittle and marginalize the important message that community has. That a site like Zombie Squad, with its motto of "If you can survive the zombie apocalypse, you can survive anything", are just crazed wannabees. I happen to like the people at Zombie Squad. The original chapter is out of St Louis and I know several of them. Wacko nut jobs they aren't.

(They are doing a site reboot, so if you visit, click through to the forums. A lot of good info there.)

And look at us. Wizards, Green Wizards? Isn't that worth a laugh? Pointy hats and wands maybe? Where is a flying broomstick when you need one?

Humor aside, there is nothing to laugh at what's coming towards us all.

An Introduction to "Thinking In Systems" - Part Four: The Third Input - Information

  • Posted on: 27 February 2019
  • By: dtrammel

If Matter is the physical body of the car you drive each day, and Energy the gasoline and electricity that makes it run, then Information is the driver. Each is important and all three must work in harmony to successfully get to where you want to go.

Matter moves in circles from base elements up the line of organization on the up side of its Circle, forming more and complex things. Later as age and wear takes it toll, the Matter of that car begins to deconstruct, to rust and fall apart until at one point on the down side of its Circle, its sitting in a junk yard being picked for parts before the remains are taken to the melting pot to be born again.

Energy on the other hand begins as a concentrated source, like the electricity in a battery or the gasoline in the tank, and in small parts breaks down, releasing energy to perform work. It always generates a little bit of waste heat when it works. Whether its the radiating heat off a hot engine block, to the frictional heat when you apply the brakes and the brake shoes rub on the rotors, and even the tiny bit of heat generate by friction as the air passes over the body of the car in motion. Bit by bit, Energy is turned into waste heat and its usefulness to us ends.

Information has its actions too, but before we talk about that, we must clear up a big misconception about Information.

Why Should I?

  • Posted on: 20 February 2019
  • By: dtrammel


(She looks a little worried, doesn't she?)

"Why should I?"

Its a question I get a lot when I discuss Green Wizardry with people, especially those who are not readers of John Michael Greer's blogs.

"Why should I learn the things you teach at Green Wizards?"

The idea that Society as we know it has an end date and that people should prepare for an eventual decline of resources and technology isn't on many people's radar. That the way we do things now isn't working and in many cases is actually making things worse. That people should learn to be more sustainable in their day to day lives and especially learn now how to grow some of their own food, NOW when they have some extra breathing room to make mistakes and learn from their experiences before it becomes really important not to make mistakes. That people need to learn now how to do with less and get more from what they do have, for when it does get tight, then they can survive and even prosper when other don't.

Sometimes though, the people you are talking to have an inkling that something isn't right with Society. Then they grasp it.

"Ok! Excited Now! Zombie Apocalypse without Zombies going to happen soon..."

Story Circle: Creating Minor Characters In A Short Story

  • Posted on: 13 February 2019
  • By: dtrammel


(from the movie "Gladiator", ©2000 Dream Works and Universal Pictures)

One of the things we haven't done yet is discuss the art and practice of storytelling.

Its an important part of Green Wizardry, the ability to teach using stories but very few people are natural story tellers. Like athletes, story telling is a skill you learn by doing. You practice and practice again, until you get better.

This first post will be about characterization.

Characterization is the art of creating people in your story.

Science fiction and fantasy, as well as the niche we most deal with here on Green Wizards, "Climate Fiction" (aka Cli-Fi) which is the stories set in a "World in Decline", all create fantastic worlds which are at once interesting and at other times sad. And yet, the most amazing world is just an empty landscape without people. Believable people that the reader cares for and wants to read more of are important to any story. Your job as the writer is to populate your world, but populate it with character that make it interesting.

More specifically to the subject of characterization, in this post we will focus not on creating the major characters in a short story, but the background ones.

An Introduction to "Thinking In Systems" - Part Three: The Second Input - Matter

  • Posted on: 6 February 2019
  • By: dtrammel

If our first input, Energy, is a straight forward process going from a concentrated source to diffuse heat, our second input, Matter tends to move in circles.

Matter doesn't just break down. Its components, be it base elements, more complex compound, all the way up to living organisms like plants and animals, as well as mechanical systems and processes, all take some sort of Matter and reprocess it into another form. This process can be pictured as circular because the original Matter we are looking at eventually returns back into the first system.

That explanation is a little vague. Lets look a specific example that explains it better.

The Difference Between Weather and Climate

  • Posted on: 29 January 2019
  • By: dtrammel


(Picture from New York Times)

(Something of a short post this week, I'm getting over the flu...)

Like many of you, especially if you live in the American Midwest and Northeast, I'm seeing record breaking cold temperatures here in St Louis this week. Dangerously low temperatures. And with such Winter events, comes the people who who misunderstand the difference between climate and weather.

"In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!"
Donald Trump, tweeting from @realDonaldTrump

Perhaps our President might recognize that the two aren't the same.

Why Is the Cold Weather So Extreme if the Earth Is Warming?

"To use an analogy Mr. Trump might appreciate, weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, anymore than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich. What matters is what happens over the long term."

An Introduction to "Thinking In Systems" - Part Two: The First of the Three Inputs - "Energy"

  • Posted on: 23 January 2019
  • By: dtrammel

In the first part of this introduction to the valuable Green Wizardry principle, "Thinking In Systems", we saw how simple things like a bathroom shower are in fact an organized and adaptive mechanism, one with a desired "output", in this case "getting a hot wash".

This "output" is affected by three broad "inputs" which we call Energy, Matter and Information. They each influence the overall system in different ways, and can be tweaked to make the system perform in various ways, both good and bad. Understanding how to optimize those inputs to achieve the best performance at the least cost, is key to using Green Wizardry.

An Introduction to "Thinking In Systems" - Part One

  • Posted on: 16 January 2019
  • By: dtrammel

Over the next month and a half we will be discussing one of the most important parts of your training in Green Wizardry, the ability to "Think In Systems". It is a way of looking at the World that so few people have anymore. If more did, we wouldn't have the troubles and problems we have. Or we would have less of them. Troubles will always be with us, but how we approach them, makes them either Problems to be solved or Predicaments to be lived with.

I would expect that everyone reading this is familiar with this most basic of household furnishings, the Bathroom Shower. Some are opulent temples of the act of washing, decked in marble and chrome, while others are just a simple hose nozzle over a tree limb at a county cabin. From either extreme, it is one of those technical innovations that no one remembers who invented it but we would hate to do without. A bath or shower is a good example of a "system".

Let us examine it in detail.

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