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

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

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.

Green Wizards Association of Auckland Meeting, March 30th

  • Posted on: 20 February 2019
  • By: Wormlamp

The inaugural meeting of the Green Wizards Association of Auckland will be held on the 30th of March 2019 at 13:00.

The venue is to be confirmed but will be near Aotea Square, 303 Queen St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand.

Please RSVP, or send queries and comments to limitstogrowth1972[at]gmail.com or better still sign up for e-mail reminders at https://wormlamp.com/gwaa/.

We look forward to meeting you.

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Why Should I?

  • Posted on: 20 February 2019
  • By: David Trammel


(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: David Trammel


(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: David Trammel

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: David Trammel


(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: David Trammel

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: David Trammel

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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