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.
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.
(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.
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.
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).
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.
(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...