Jul 152019
 

7/15/19

Anthropogenic climate change (ACC) and “us vs. them” have interplay. I therefore believe that working towards a solution for one inevitably decreases the severity of the other, and a solution to either would bring me towards my holistic goal. In order to simplify decisions and expedite action, I am choosing to focus on climate change.

Below, I have outlined the decision testing questions for which aspect of ACC to focus on. Included are three of what I consider the main causes of ACC.

Jul 152019
 

7/9/19

I consider two points on the Current Situation Analysis to be existential threats to humankind: anthropogenic climate change, and “us vs. them mentality” (sometimes referred to as tribalism). If these threats continue as they currently exist, I believe they will lead to our extinction.

Anthropogenic climate change caused by and coupled with unsustainable global practices has led to an increasing threat of global catastrophe. Anthropogenic climate change has many data citing the severe impacts it has and will have on the planet’s life and systems. Some believe that societal collapse is inevitable (Jem Bendell – Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy), many believe collapse is likely (Paul and Anne Ehrlich – Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?). Whether societal collapse would lead to extinction is debatable, but is not improbable.

“Us vs. them mentality” comes from the psychology of in-groups and out-groups. Evidence supports that people included in groups will support theirs over another, even when randomly placed in a group. Whether this mentality is from our nature or nurtured throughout our lives, it is seen across cultures and geography (Leonard Mlodinow – Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.) If we act to support our group over another without credible reason, then current and past tragedies of genocide, war, and poverty become more explainable; when members of one group have reason to believe another group wants to harm them, isn’t as good as them, or there aren’t enough resources for both groups, they can do terrible things. Whether through their own beliefs or manipulation, in-group and out-group psychology can be extremely divisive.

With the power of modern weapons, it could only take a group of people or a single government to cause global catastrophe and societal breakdown.

Jul 082019
 

7/8/19

The attached document will be used to quantify how much an initiative works towards one or more holistic goals, other types of goals, and the Current Situation Analysis. The right column is used to check off what goals/problems are worked towards, which are totaled at the bottom. It will be used in conjunction with the holistic management testing questions or “decision making framework/matrix” to choose an initiative that aligns with my holistic goal, the Athens’ Own holistic goal, potentially the holistic goals of other AO team members, and addresses the Current Situation Analysis.

The most recently updated version of this document can be found HERE.

Jul 082019
 

7/2/19

Jacob Faller

The following document is an analysis of the current state of the world. It is a fluid document that changes.
This iteration is a summary of the causes contributing to what I perceive as global crisis; it includes most of the previous iteration by Athens’ Own. Some of these causes have overlapping variables, but I have chosen to list such variables under a single point for the simplicity of this list.

The original concept behind Athens’ Own creating this list was to start a singular document that individuals and groups could use to holistically view the state of the world; weigh the potential benefits of decisions/initiatives towards any of the CSA variables; and align one’s decisions with others who may be/are working towards any of these variables.

Jul 082019
 

Jacob Faller

7/1/2019

My desire for life to flourish is the Quality of Life most evident in my Vision, which I have copied below to emphasize its importance. It is the future towards which I aim.

People treat each other as equals, and respect all life as having inherent value in its existence and sentience, beyond being just a resource. Because of this, all life is considered when making decisions that could help or harm. People are happy and help other life grow and to function better. People are free to be and express themselves. Life is visibly happy and robust, be it smiling, strong people, luscious Redwood forests, or 85 year old blue whales. All kinds of life have their needs met; food, water, shelter, clean air, and habitat; additionally for humans, education and interpersonal relationships. People are reconnected with themselves and others. Those who had seen themselves separate from nature have reconnected and realized their oneness. All of this brings nature together to work as a flourishing system; life is able to withstand, recover, and grow from disturbance or natural disaster.

Jul 082019
 

7/7/2019

Quality of Life

I want to be in good mental, physical, and spiritual health.

I want life to flourish (be happy, healthy, resilient, and grow vigorously.)

I want good interpersonal relationships and close friends.

I want enjoyment and to have fun.

I want to be able to creatively express myself.

Behaviors and Systems

Listen to my body and feelings

Run, workout, stretch, and meditate often

Good time management

Good communication

Good financial management

Empathy and compassion towards other people and life

Make sound decisions based on reason, not judgement

Be open to change

Make money doing meaningful work

Vision

People treat each other as equals, and respect all life as having inherent value in its existence and sentience, beyond being just a resource. Because of this, all life is considered when making decisions that could help or harm. People are happy and help other life grow and to function better. People are free to be and express themselves. Life is visibly happy and robust, be it smiling, strong people, luscious Redwood forests, or 85-year-old blue whales. All kinds of life have their needs met; food, water, shelter, clean air, and habitat; additionally, for humans, education and interpersonal relationships. People are reconnected with themselves and others. Those who had seen themselves separate from nature have reconnected and realized their oneness. All of this brings nature together to work as a flourishing system; life is able to withstand, recover, and grow from disturbance or natural disaster. 

Link to At Home with Holistic Management.

Jul 082019
 

7/9/19

You can’t make meaningful decisions without having a goal to aim for first. And you can’t aim for a goal if you don’t know what resources you have (money, people, organizations, skillsets), or who has influence on whether you reach your goal. Most importantly, no person or group of people can create positive change without a plan, the tools and systems to monitor that plan, and a comprehensive understanding of systems thinking (how every action affects all things.) Holistic management is the framework that provides this understanding. It gives anyone the tools they need to set a goal and achieve it. Without the type of thinking, tools, and systems that holistic management provides, we will not accomplish any sustainable positive change in our country or on this planet.

The “Quality of Life” section of a holistic goal is fairly self-explanatory. “Behaviors and Systems” are what has to happen for the Qualities of Life to become real. “Vision” is a person’s vision of the future; the life their Qualities of Life will produce.

I’ll end with a quote from At Home with Holistic Management, originally found in a church in Essex, England:

“A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision and a task is the hope of the world.”

May 242019
 

3/22/2019 by SOFB

Last week I had noticed a distinct noise while driving the Ford Ranger for deliveries in Athens. Similar to a squeaky belt, but more metallic and harsh, the sound was coming from something that was rotating, but I couldn’t determine where from. I pulled over and called AAA to get a tow back to the house.

Earlier, I has driven a short distance with the parking break engaged, so it was suspected that something in the break assembly had broke. This had potential to lead to the break pads being eroded, and was a major reason why we decided to tow the truck. After removing the break assemblies and determining this wasn’t the cause, Con moved to the differential, which allows the outer wheel to rotate faster than the inner wheel while turning. He had known there was an issue with it for some time. Wear on the end of each axle from the bearings and a soaked left break indicated an oil leak, and the high leakage rate indicated low oil in the differential. After removing the cover of the differential he discovered that it was indeed dry. None of these symptoms, however, indicated the noise I had heard while driving.

After lubricating the axles, axle bearings, and differential, and reassembling them, Con started the Ranger and turned the wheel, only to hear the same problematic noise. With the knowledge that turning the wheel turns the drift shaft, he removed the drive shaft and found that its rear u-joint bearings also had no lubrication. Lo and behold, the source was revealed!

We are currently in the process of ordering new bearing assemblies for the u-joint; the current ones have too much wear from lack of lubrication. We tried and failed to buff out the wear on the bearing housings. If we take away too much metal, the diameter changes and the bearings will not fit snugly inside.

Two important lessons have arisen from this experience, the first being to be attentive to a vehicle while driving, especially if you do not have the skill base to determine if it’s safe to drive with or fix whatever problem may arise. The second lesson is to monitor a situation even if you think you’ve solved the problem. Con could’ve stopped after the differential and not bothered to check on the noise before signing off on the Ranger; but, he was thinking holistically, with foresight, and discovered what is now suspected to be the source of the noise I heard. By monitoring a known symptom, he was able to find its source before any more damage was caused.

May 242019
 

4/9/2019 by SOFB

Q. What resilience skills do I want to work on? For this question, it’s important to think of resilience beyond basic survival. Athens’ Own defines resilience as “positive adaptation to perceived difficulty.” You’ve just lost your job of 10 years as an accountant, and can’t find another in this field. What do you do? Maybe you apply your hobby of cooking and find a job as an assistant chef. You overcome a difficulty through your diverse skill set.

A. Species identification; foraging and wilderness cooking; photography; knowledge of car mechanics; systems thinking; solar power system familiarity; dietary/nutritional familiarity

Q. Which of the Four Agreements do I most want to work toward?

A. Trying my best. My absolute best effort, every time.

Q. Which of the rest of the Worker Readiness Certification do I most want to work toward?

A. My initial response was that I wanted to be more creative, but now I think I would benefit most from being highly organized.

Q. What “hat” at a business table do I want? This question comes from Con’s concept that a business should have positions (hats) for history, communication, environment, etc. He believes only one hat should be for “business”, the rest to help maintain a business as socially and environmentally engaged and responsible. Community resilience cannot be achieved through businesses motivated by profit. Each person that comes into Athens’ Own has the opportunity to wear the hat that they want, if they demonstrate the appropriate skills to do so.

A. I expressed interest in having a journalist position, which Con stated would fall under the communication hat. I see the concept of journalism as a combination of research and communication. What appeals to me most about journalism is spreading truth through honest reporting, and invoking empathy by sharing stories about adversity, overcoming it, and working towards a better future for the whole of life.

Q. What skill(s) do I possess that I could carry out reliably without assistance? E.g., If Athens’ Own needed my skills, or were to lend me to an organization for use of my skills, how would I be of use?

A. Research/writing, whether scientific or social; basic cooking; photography

May 242019
 

3/12/2019

by SOFB

*See the end of this log for terminology used*

In February, one of our two dollies had a tire bulging out the side; the bead had been cut by the rim. We use this dolly to transport large loads of firewood inside the house, among other things. While searching for a new tire assembly (instead of replacing the entire dolly), we let some air out of the tube to decrease its pressure and the amount of strain on the tube and tire. I was later was informed by Con that the tire had been cut by from being improperly installed by hand, and was not cut be the rim.

In order to look for a new wheel assembly, we needed several measurements: axle diameter; length from outer edge of one side of cart to inner edge of split pin on same side of cart (split pins hold wheels on axle) divided by 2 (equaling max width of each new hub, including width for 2 washers per wheel and space for wheel so its not flush against cart); overall tire height; and tire width and rim size from tire label. Tire dimensions are generally labeled as “height/width – rim size”, but do not always include rim size. Labeled height is not the overall height, but from the inner edge (against the hub) to outer edge (touching the ground) of the tire.

A lesson I learned through this process was to ask “what is the basic function of this part, and what does it need to complete this function?” before any work is done. If any of the dimensions we measured were not met by the new wheel assembly, the dolly would not be able to function efficiently, or at all. If the new hubs were too wide, they could sit flush against the cart and split pins. At best, they’d create increased friction and wear, at worst they’d be too tight and the wheel wouldn’t rotate. If the new tires were too short, the tray would drag on the ground.

Each tire assembly was replaced individually; while doing the first, we left the old tire on the other side to help balance the cart. The axle was wiped of any grease/oil and dirt before replacing each, and re-oiled afterward.

Terminology:

wheel – circular metal piece onto which a tire is fitted

tire – rubber covering that is inflated or surrounds an inflated inner tube and is placed around a wheel to form a flexible contact with the ground

bead – edge of tire that sits on wheel

rim – outer edge of wheel that holds tire

tube – inflated, fits inside tire

hub – attaches wheel assembly to axle

axle – rod passing though center of wheel