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.

January GW Project - Auditing Your Cash Flow

  • Posted on: 2 January 2019
  • By: David Trammel

Before we get back to discussing the concept that serve as the foundation of Green Wizardry, Systems Thinking, I have a project for you during the month of January.

After the holidays, I want you to keep track of all of your expenditures for the entire month, from large ones to small ones, paying particular attention to reoccurring expenses like rent, utilities and food but not limited to those. The mid-season months of October in the Fall and April in the Spring are good ones for this, since they both are between the months we use our air conditioning and our heaters. And there are no major holidays in those months to give us large one time expenditures. like Christmas does. Write down each purchase you do, all through the month on a pad of paper or a text document. And most importantly, don't change your habits. If you regularly get a Starbuck's coffee heading into the office, continue to do that. You want a true and complete picture of what you spend in a typical month.

Why are we doing this?

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...

Climate Grief - Worry But Have Hope

  • Posted on: 20 December 2018
  • By: David Trammel

The holidays are a time of cheer and happiness for most people. It is a time to look back at the good things that have happened in the past year we can be thankful for, and to look forward to what the next year will bring.

But for some, perhaps too many, it is a time of depression and sadness.

Now to add to that sadness, comes "Climate Grief". Avichai Scher over on NBCnews posted this article on how the treat of climate change is effecting some people's mental health,

'Climate grief': The growing emotional toll of climate change

"When the U.N. released its latest climate report in October, it warned that without “unprecedented” action, catastrophic conditions could arrive by 2040. For Amy Jordan, 40, of Salt Lake City, a mother of three teenage children, the report caused a “crisis.” “The emotional reaction of my kids was severe,” she told NBC News. “There was a lot of crying. They told me, 'We know what’s coming, and it’s going to be really rough.’ She struggled too, because there wasn't much she could do for them. “I want to have hope, but the reports are showing that this isn’t going to stop, so all we can do is cope,” she said. The increasing visibility of climate change, combined with bleak scientific reports and rising carbon dioxide emissions, is taking a toll on mental health, especially among young people, who are increasingly losing hope for their future. Experts call it “climate grief,” depression, anxiety and mourning over climate change."

Funds And Flows

  • Posted on: 5 December 2018
  • By: David Trammel

In John Michael Greer's "Green Wizardry", he introduces us to several basic principles, that taken together form a core of a new viewpoint, a way to look at the World and our place in it as we begin the Long Descent. The viewpoint of a "Green Wizard". The way we act in a World with limited resources will be vastly different from what has come before, an age of excess.

We discussed the difference between a Predicament and a Problem in our last blog post and why knowing that is important. We will now talk about the second key principle which Green Wizards must understand, that is the difference between a "Fund" and a "Flow".

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