New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Beauty of Nature

November 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jan Lundberg, Politics

Moving Beyond the Human Fixation

by Jan Lundberg

We have just witnessed the power and fury of nature, with devastating hurricane force. But it is through neglecting the beauty of nature, and perpetrating narrow human interests, that we reap nature’s wrath, e.g., Sandy.

We all like to think we appreciate the beauty of nature. But to really know it and appreciate it, we need to keep in perspective a critical understanding of what may be termed the human fixation. This is the modern mindset of constantly putting our human-oriented concerns, desires and schemes first.

We want to acquire or grab material things and experiences to maximize short-term comfort and gratification. Nature becomes invisible or abstract. Why? We are besieged by man-made vibrations, toxic drugs, impure food and water, and poor air. So we’re being deviated subtly from even wanting nature, and are programmed for just more corporate advertised products. (more…)

Future Tense

September 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Devon G. Pena, Economy, Uncategorized

Designer Babies, the Panopticon, and a World Without Ethics 

by Devon G. Peña

“You got to be greedy when others are fearful and you got to be fearful when others are greedy.” — Warren Buffett

Wired is often lauded as a rebellious poke-you-in-the-eye futurist magazine that brings leading-edge, outside-the-box thinkers to the reading public. However, I wonder how many people actually read the entire rag from cover to cover other than die-hard futurists, some research scholars, and men who forgot their Smartphones and are bored while sitting in the waiting rooms of the auto repair shop or a dentist’s office?

While Wired presents glimpses of technology at the edge, it is usually done without depth or analytical prowess. It is more like a snippet or PowerPoint version of Technology Review with a lot of colorful graphics and a semiotic code that could only appeal to Generation X and so-called Millennials. The magazine is therefore neither cutting-edge nor critical, at least not in the sense of any radical expository or analytical discourse; it is actually a rather staidly conservative magazine in the sense of kowtowing to established and worn out libertarian ideologies and a belief that ever smarter and better technology will save us and the world in some soon to arrive future populated by perfectly hard ageless bodies filled with square-jawed genetically engineered intellects. (more…)

Debranding

July 06, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Creative New Movement Takes on Consumerism

by Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Thinking of tossing out a brand name shirt, handbag or backpack purchased with zeal last year but now seems so yesterday? Well, don’t. Debrand it instead to give it renewed life and do the environment a favor too.

What better symbols of the culture of consumerism than branding and logos. Marketers use these visuals in relentless campaigns to convince us that their brand of this or that is more desirable than the rest and that we can’t, and shouldn’t, live without it.

Marketers are not much interested, however, in what happens to all the frivolous extras and redundancies we amass once our attention shifts to the next brand or model that catches our fancy.

Older purchases which have lost their allure may collect dust for a while in a closet, or might even be given a second life if donated to charity, but either way likely end up as fodder for landfills. (more…)

Entrapped!

May 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

Confessions of a Violent Consumerist

by Randall Amster

I have a confession to make. I am part of a vast international conspiracy that is bent on violently destroying our way of life and, ultimately, threatening our very survival itself. This cabal has as its unstated purpose the erosion of public institutions, theft on a global scale, and the decimation of democratic structures wherever they may be found. It is a relentless enterprise, rife with hatred and vitriol, and it will not rest until it eliminates all competing systems of ideology and belief.

You see, I am a consumerist.

I didn’t intend to become one; it just sort of happened. My parents were ones too, so I guess it must have started there. All my teachers were ones, and my role models as well. Looking back, pretty much all of my friends and family, and just about everyone I’ve ever known, were also consumerists. My recruitment started early on and was reinforced at every turn by those around me — and likewise by every highway billboard, television commercial, and eye-level point-of-purchase display to which I was exposed. (more…)

Waking Life

March 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Randall Amster

You Don’t Need a Clock to Know What Time It Is

by Randall Amster

With each passing day, the news grows increasingly grim. In recent weeks alone, we’ve seen women’s rights under assault as reactionary forces seek to turn the clock back by decades. Half a world away in Afghanistan, corpses are defiled and more are brutally created, without even their ages or innocence sufficient to protect them. Meanwhile, back at home, Congress passes and President Obama signs a new law that further restricts the ability of “we the people” to say or do anything that might stem the tide of the insanity. It’s all such a familiar tune, one that plays out with flawless precision in nearly every turn of the news cycle.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere buzzes along, chronicling the morass and the madness with vigor. The headlines read like an excruciating autopsy of democracy and justice in the late, great United States — and a horrifying blueprint for how to decimate that portion of the planet’s inhabitants who have the misfortune of living atop, amid, or around something that we covet. Naked fascism here and wanton destruction there, with each solidifying the other in our hearts and minds as the gears of consumer culture blithely grind about their business with clocklike precision. Tick: the Dow Jones goes up! Tock: another celebrity melts down! And hardly anyone seems to really know what time it is… (more…)

All That We Are…

March 01, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Annie Leonard Discusses the Influence and Importance of the Commons

by Jay Walljasper

Annie Leonard is one of the most articulate, effective champions of the commons today. Her webfilm The Story of Stuff has been seen more than 15 million times by viewers. She also adapted it into a book.

Drawing on her experience investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues in more than 40 countries, Leonard says she’s “made it her life’s calling to blow the whistle on important issues plaguing our world.”

She deploys hard facts, common sense, witty animation and an engaging “everywoman” role as narrator to probe complex problems such as the high costs of consumerism, the influence of corporate money in our democracy, and government budget priorities.

In 2008, she founded the Story of Stuff Project, to help people get involved in making the decisions that affect their future and to create new webfilms on critical issues such as The Story of Citizens United and The Story of Bottled Water. Her most recent film, The Story of Broke, provides a riveting rebuttal to claims that America can no longer afford health and social protections. (more…)

Greenwashed

January 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Ecology, Economy

How Much Is an Earth, and Do You Have One in Extra Large?

by David Swanson

A new book suggests that “It’s the economy, stupid” may be more than political strategy; it may also be the key to environmental sustainability. The book is Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet, by Kendra Pierre-Louis. The argument developed is not just that the consumer choices of an individual won’t save the planet without collective action, but also that the only collective action that will save us is abandoning the whole idea of consumer choices.

Pierre-Louis lays the groundwork for her argument by walking us through the hazards of supposedly environmental approaches to numerous fields. First is clothing, in which a big trend is toward organic cotton. While reducing pesticides is all to the good, Pierre-Louis writes, growing cotton — any cotton — is a rapid way to exhaust the earth’s stores of fresh water. (more…)