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.
David Trammel's blog
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.
("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.
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.
(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.
I haven't talked much about the "Green" side of Green Wizardry on this blog yet this year. Growing your own food is a core skill of being a Green Wizard and while not all will master it, you should at least be able to give good advice about a person's garden. Its a skill I've been working on for many years now and I'm still not even an informed amateur let alone a expert.
This year I've made a promise to try and start all of my plants, both my vegetables and my flowers from seed. I also want to continue my earlier experiments in micro greens as well as begin trying my hand at sprouts. This year I want to focus on four main vegetables, onions, carrots, peppers and tomatoes, though I will have a few odd plants, one offs that I am going to grow primarily to take pictures for the GW Book of Plants, I will also be doing an early crop of some outside lettuce, spinach and other greens, but I will focus most of my growing of those plants in my micro green experiments.
About two weeks ago I started my earliest plants, that is onions. Onions are a cool weather plant and like to be started early in the year. Last year I tried both white and red onions, but unfortunately I planted them with carrots at the same time. The carrots quickly over took the onions and shaded them too much. I had to dig the onions up and replant them into their own bed, with mixed results.
Let's look at what I've got so far.
(Lots of pictures in this post...)
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.
(© 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.
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.