New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


We Are All Noah Now

February 03, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Wake Up and Smell the Extinction…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

We are all Noah now.

These words have been sounding in my head like a mantra these past few weeks, and this morning I woke from strong dreams of animals in trouble — a big lone fox, a frantically hopping toad — and felt the need to make my inchoate awareness of danger and responsibility more tangible by writing it down and sharing it with others.

Derrick Jensen asks with desperate, angry sadness how long it will take us to finally wake up and start resisting the accelerating extinction of species happening on our watch.

How can we love our pets so much (I ask with my purring cat on my lap and my snoring dog at my feet) and remain unmoved by the news that hundreds of sweet, innocent reptiles and amphibians, many of them from fragile, endangered species, were cruelly murdered by callous neglect last week, crushed into hot plastic tubs without food or water for days in a crate bound from Madagascar to the U.S. pet store market? (more…)

Inner Eye

October 22, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

A Message from the Wounded Heart of the Earth

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

While in the foreground Washington politics continued as usual, a remarkable animal came like a messenger sent to remind me of the state of things in the background, where what’s really important is going on.

ospreyI’m using Mary Daly’s terminology here: she calls everything that mainstream society generally focuses on part of the “foreground,” which distracts us from the deeper and more significant issues and events going on in the “background.”

Instead of worrying about how the “snools” are jerking the country around from their headquarters inside the Beltway, Daly urges us to pay attention to the bigger, deeper picture of what’s happening on a global level to the ecological systems that keep us all alive.

Sometimes it’s hard to wrench my attention away from all the grotesqueries going on in the foreground.  Recently, I had help. As I was walking along a trail by a small river near my house, in the gathering gloom of dusk, I looked back to see my dog Loki standing stock-still near a large object that I couldn’t immediately identify. (more…)

Bad Girls and Tricky Boys

February 14, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Mary Sojourner

The Gateway Ghosts of Flagstaff, Arizona

by Mary Sojourner

They worked for free. No budget allocation necessary, no bids for building and installing, no $28,714.99 chunk out of the City budget, no steel, no rock columns, no treated log. Unlike the gateway sign recently approved for 89N’s entrance into Flagstaff, the bad girls and tricky boys of the early Nineties went on about their daily business voluntarily, which had much less to do with welcoming tourists to our town, and everything to do with survival — and what, to my human eyes, seemed to be fun.

They — the teasing females and wily males — were the ever-alert, ever-busy members of a prairie dog colony that once occupied the center of a little traffic circle on which a faux-classy motel and a pseudo-Mex fast food joint now squat. I was one of many lucky humans who watched them — and blessed the red light that often stopped us near their home, and the rare Friday late afternoon traffic jam that would let us sit through two changes of red to green, long enough to begin to see the differences between the individual dogs — the chunky one who was always scrounging food, the two young pups who seemed to chase each other from dawn to dusk. I lived in a trailer in Kachina, worked in town, ran errands on a daily basis. Over time, over seasons, the prairie dogs reminded me to slow down, pay attention, to get my head out of my too human reveries and resentments. (more…)

In Defense of Tumbleweeds

October 08, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Walt Anderson

Reflections of Ourselves in Coping with an ‘Invasive Species’

by Walt Anderson

Drifting along, like a tumbling tumbleweed.  That catchy tune warbled by the Sons of the Pioneers somehow epitomizes nostalgia for the Old West.  Never mind that the tumbleweed is a carpetbagger, an interloper, an émigré otherwise known as Russian thistle.  I’ve heard tell that the Russkies sent it here as a kind of biological weapon, a plague on our plains, a prickly infestation designed to lay waste to our grasslands, to overwhelm us with its ability to take any of our attacks against it and come back stronger than ever.  Where is the real truth here?

As an ecologist, I am always suspicious of introduced species.  What are they outcompeting?  What natives suffer at the advancing wave of heavily armed hordes of aggressive Salsola? (more…)