Saturday, 14 September 2013


From the moment humans formed social groups they exalted, or accepted the imposition of, an elite to lead them.
Archaeological finds give us evidence from burial sites that there have always been some humans  'more important' than others.
As humans developed they created whole systems where 'more important' people benefited by their 'importance' to the detriment of those less and less 'important' in the scheme of things.
Across the world Tribalism and Feudalism became the default systems,
It is becoming apparent that nothing has changed.

Every system of governance whether it be Democracy, Communism, Socialism, or even Fascism has never really worked because they all revert back to Feudalism and Tribalism.

Are we as humans wired to only be able to function by 'more important' people telling us what to do?

We all crave open and transparent governance but who is asking for good people, experienced in life who know what they are doing to govern us. What is the point of transparent governance that just reverts to a transparent tribalism or feudalism?

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are the the leaders of UK politics today and yet not one of them has had a normal job, not one of them has ever had to go out and learn a skill, not one of them has had to worry about paying for their education, not one of them had to fight to put food on the table for their family, google (if you dare) their bios. All of them have gone through a system training them to be 'important people'.
How, with absolutely no experience of the real world can these people govern us in any other way than the way they know and understand which is to preserve the status quo that put them there.

Buddhism tells us life itself is like an illusion, the job of leaders mentioned above are to create a tribal illusion that en mass we the people buy into to add layers of illusion upon the illusion of what we individually are.
It is only when we are the victims of the suffering the illusion creates for us we can open our eyes. It is only then we can see the problem is not the elites, it is our acceptance of the feudal system that creates those elites.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Size, Sex And Solar

Size, Sex and Solar.
What do Solar Photovoltaic systems and sex have in common? its that age old question ' size does not matter it's more important what you actually do with it versus size does matter ?'

Ok well lets suppose you have a nice comfy home and are a complete solar virgin. You read an article on Solar and something stirs deep inside you. You slowly develop a longing for a real relationship with your energy use. Having to pay a cold hearted professional for it every couple of months becomes lifeless and unfulfilling, you want to be in control of your destiny and walk into the future knowing your energy needs will be fulfilled. But like any relationship there has to be some give and take.
Like any virgin it can be difficult to know where to start so the first port of call is often contacting a professional solar installer to get them to audit your energy needs to ascertain size of system you will need.
Like any marriage broker or dating agency the professional solar installer is not there to tell you how you should live your life, they are there to facilitate a balanced relationship between who you are and what you are looking for so that a long lasting satisfaction can be achieved.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well folks it doesn't take me to tell you that there is a whole world of difference between being free and single and in a deep loving relationship, yes that's right I am talking about sacrifice and commitment oh and how big your pocket is!!

We are off grid and solar powered, have been for six years now. Whenever we tell people we are solar powered they shake their heads and mumble something about how expensive it is and how it cannot pay for itself. From this I deduce there is this common held idea solar is expensive. The other common response we get is "how big is it?"
 Well I sheepishly have to say that we have a very small one!

But back to our solar virgin. The audit has been done, the post arrives the envelope is eagerly opened, the heart sinks as the virgin counts the amount of zeros on the bottom figure needed to supply their energy needs from a solar panel system.
 Do not blame the installer, that bottom figure is the cost of meeting your needs. You may have to ask yourself are you a little too needy, is that why you are still a virgin?

Joking aside here are some tips on reducing the cost of a solar installation.

Heating and cooling anything electrically requires massive amounts of solar equipment and cost. To boil a kettle, run a fridge, run a normal washing machine (with a heater element) and supply hot water for washing electrically could double the cost of a solar photovoltaic system.
One could think of getting a separate Solar hot water system but that will not make your tea. We have a gas fridge/freezer, gas oven, a washing machine that does not make it's own hot water and a home made solar hot water system linked to a gas boiler, all the gas is bottle gas.

Lighting throughout our home is by 12 volt LED bulbs supplied straight from the battery to a separate 12 volt fuse box. Energy from the battery is lost when converting battery power (which in our case is 12 volt) into 220-240 volt. Outside we use individual solar lights which I make

So what would you give up to have a decent energy relationship?

 Apart from our television which is 12 volt, we can only use 200 watts of 220-240 power at any one time, this powers our satellite tv box, satellite internet and general electrical appliances, all of which were purchased on the basis of their low energy consumption. That is right, apart from lighting and the television everything runs off the energy it would take to power two old fashioned 100 watt light bulbs (with one unfortunate exception, the washing machine only uses 100 watts per wash BUT our inverter at 200 watts is too small to supply the 3-400 watts needed to start the electric motor! A case of being misled by a pretty face!!)

Our back up generator is 2000 watts and runs the washing machine, powers our tools and when there is no sun charges up the 530 watt batteries.

The system cost under 4000 euros including the inverter generator and has been powering our home in southern Spain for over 5 years now.

Does size matter? Well speaking as someone who has a perfectly satisfying energy relationship with a tiny package I am of the view that it is  more important how you use it !

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Green Living, the bad news!

I am not sure if it is because I am now a grumpy old man or if other’s share my view but I believe the various crisis that we are now experiencing, both financial and ecological are caused by human kind’s shallow spirituality caused by the growth of desire for ever more stuff!
With that said I thought it would be a good idea to visit other peoples green blogs to find out how they were living the green lifestyle so I could read and comment, hmmmm big mistake!!
All I could find was blogs selling green living, from soap to electric vehicles, admittedly there were some good blogs that consisted of regurgitated news on the subject but they themselves are supported by the advertising revenue that often looked quite dubious. (I am not speaking of green sites, just blogs)
I wanted to read what the people who have actually gone green had to say, I am not saying they are not out there, I just couldn’t find them, maybe the Google gods of search engines don’t value them, who knows.
So what does green living mean to you? Are you happy you can go online and buy it?
Of course you will not be buying an actual green way of life, you will just be buying into the same old ego success painted green.

Green living is living a sustainable life, so what standard of life would that be?
Well roughly, if you take the average USA citizen and reduce their standard of living by three quarters this reduction would not be quite enough to be sustainable, if you live in the UK and halved your standard of living, again this would not be enough to be sustainable, based on the whole world population having the same standard of living.

So what is one to do if one wants to not only live a green life but promote the benefits of a green lifestyle?
Well governments haven’t got a chance, no government is going to be voted into power on the bases that it is going to massively reduce your lifestyle.
Which unfortunately means most if not all the rich western governments are lying to their people when they talk about economics and growth.
So who really wants to sacrifice their lifestyle to return the earth to it’s natural colour.?
Well I do, and if you care to read on maybe you will as well.

It is not possible to sustain growth to a greener world, a greener world requires sustained shrinkage, in fact it is probably no longer just an option. If we cannot embrace sustained shrinkage it is likely the economic and environmental changes we are experiencing will force it upon us.

The fear of loss is greater than the loss you fear.

I believe the key to a green life is to seriously consider striving for heart success, the success of doing the right thing and not the ego success, the success of turning a blind eye to the right thing in order to have stuff and power.

We need to do more and use less but most of all we need to get out of the race to have the trinkets that say who we are and realise that all they say now is actually how spiritually shallow we are. To me wealth is not wrong but the trappings of wealth, for me, represent exploitation, somewhere along the line someone and something was exploited.

You cannot buy a green life, you have to live a green life as a whole.
Becoming a vegetarian (says the meat eater but I am trying!) is a wonderful example of doing more and using less, it takes planning and thought to eat well and be a vegetarian.
Any example I give you will be about making more effort and using less resources, that is the easy part, the hard part is to change peoples perception that success, real success, is not how much power and money you have or that you have a marble top kitchen, or the Ferrari parked outside.
Real success is sharing one’s wealth to resource others in your community, this is heart success, it is the key to the mindset that will help create a green life and combat the alternative which is the stealing by force of other’s precious resources, the darker alternative future.

For instance let us look at house wall and roof insulation, why haven’t all the houses built in the western world in the past 30 years had super insulated walls and roofs integrated at the design stage?
It is not because of cost or design factors it is because you can’t park insulation outside, or wear it to a party or show it off to your friends, unlike the success of double glazed windows which can be shown off that don’t save anywhere near as much energy as the unseen insulation
Green living is fun and I admit this post appears to be removing all the fun away from a green lifestyle but I am just trying to be real.
Now if your idea to go green is to buy an electric bike as an addition to all your stuff then you are not really helping anything other than your own ego, but if you buy the bike as a tool, an alternative means of travel it will give you the heart success I speak of, so much so that even on a cold wet evening sat at the traffic lights as the guy in the Ferrari pulls up next to you you may actually feel sorry for him!!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Nature vs Nurture, Environment vs Self

Can we change? Can we really change our selves and/or our environment for the better or is our fate and the fate of the earth set in stone?
There are so many questions, are we the product of our genes?
Can our happiness and success be ruined for ever by a lack of nurture?
Can we nurture our selves back to happiness and success?
Is it too late to nurture nature back to life?
How much does our environment impact on our selves?
How much does our self impact on nature and our environment?

The WWF Living Planet Report  (16/10/2010) key finding was -
‘Humanity’s demands exceed our planet’s capacity to sustain us. That is, we ask for more than what we have.’

If the scientists are correct the rising sea levels, destructive weather, dying out of species and loss of bio diversity are all the by products of human over consumption.
We need to change but is that possible? Let us take a closer look at the above questions.

Are we the product of our genes?
 Well yes we are, to survive we require certain things and our genes have within them the blueprint to create our ability to function in our environment. But that basic blueprint is the foundation on which we create ourselves, it is not ‘just’ what we are.
Can our happiness and success be ruined for ever by a lack of nurture?
 Yes, I believe one who has never been nurtured or has never nurtured themselves will never believe in their right for happiness and success and the destruction of their self will impact on their environment in a destructive way.
Can we nurture our selves back to happiness and success?
 Yes, I know we can, I believe The Map is just one of the many different methods available to open that path up. There are hundreds of free self help blogs where people have detailed their own paths back from the shadows of their demons.
Is it too late to nurture nature back to life?
 No, The WWF report’s one uplifting finding is that in countries that had previously destroyed much of their bio diversity, mainly the western world, that during the period their report covers there has been a 30% growth in some bio diversity.
How much does our environment impact on our selves?
 When I qualified as a nurse for people with learning disabilities (mentally handicapped people) it was at the time of the closing down of the institutions under the Care in the Community scheme. People who had lived in institutions all their lives who had been ‘managed’ by being tied to their bed and left in their own waste were suddenly moved to lovely houses, had their own bedrooms, received quality care, and were able to access the rest of the community, cinemas, bowling alleys, a pub lunch etc etc. So how does one take a damaged human being reduced to an existence of a caged animal, who in one case I know of had bitten off fingers of his previous Jailers/carers and return them to humanity? The answer is nurture them, teach them, value their existence, support good behaviour, withdraw support during bad behaviour (as opposed to punishment). The proof nurture works can be found in the care in the community system, in which one can also find the proof that if one can improve one’s environment one can beneficially impact one’s life.
How much does our self impact on nature and our environment?
 Here, in my opinion is the key to the future, understanding that each and every one of us has an impact on nature and our immediate environment, if we can learn the art of living with less consumption the more we can expand the self. Consuming stuff has become the norm to prop up who we are, but that outer show of stuff just detracts from our ‘self’, Why? Well if consuming stuff really made us happy why does one need to consume even more stuff the next day?
The art of nurturing a life consuming less is the way to expand the self and positively impact on your environment. It is doing what you can and with a little bit of luck will help to turn down the earth’s thermostat.
I believe what ever has happened in the past we can change our self and our environment for the better. It just takes the will to try.
Our fate is not set in stone, we have choice.