New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Dreaming of Duvets

November 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Smith-Ferri, Family

Dreams of Peace Laying at Their Feet…

by David Smith-Ferri

“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” –– William Butler Yeats

Haroon has recurring dreams. Haroon whose father was killed when he was a boy and who remembers a gnawing hunger during the long winter in every year of his childhood. At night, he dreams that someone drops him from a great height. He freefalls through the air, crashes to hard ground, and dies. During the day, he dreams of relief from the anger and confusion that pursue him, and of being a photographer, a traveler.

Faiz, who lost his parents when he was a boy, and whose brother was shot and killed in front of him, has nightmares, too. Each night at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) House here in Kabul, as he sleeps against the wall a few feet away, his moans and cries wake me. By day, he dreams of being a journalist, of marrying and raising a family, of a world without borders and war. (more…)

Too Much to Ask?

July 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Jan Lundberg

Bodily and Planetary Health in a World Out of Control

by Jan Lundberg

When we boil down what we need to survive and be happy, the sine qua non is to be healthy. And most truly educated people have by now learned that personal health has a limited future if our ecological health is plummeting — which it is.

As a long-time observer of environmentalism, peak-oil based survivalism, and yearnings for peace, I find that two reasonable wishes have become the common denominator: (1) to be healthy, as one attempts to navigate the toxic present, and (2) to hope that the climate can be stabilized. A third wish, often at the top of the list, is to see one’s personal material security be elevated as times get rougher. This urge is common for isolated consumers, and understandable in our crises-wounded world. (more…)

Cooperative and Capable

April 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Guest Author

Community Resilience in Natural Disasters

Peace researchers Dr. Diane Bretherton and Anouk Ride say evidence indicates most people, when facing a natural disaster, are cooperative, altruistic, and resilient.

If you watch the news, particularly news about foreign countries, you could easily believe that natural disasters are followed by looting, crime and individualistic behavior to survive. However, research from six different countries indicates when facing a natural disaster most people are cooperative, altruistic, and resilient.

If you face a natural disaster, you will most likely turn to your neighbors and your community for help, advice and to help others you see as suffering more than yourself. This is a natural response to survive, to cope psychologically with the chaos and loss of control experienced in a disaster, and to rebuild communities. This behavior is far more common than generally assumed by the authorities and media commentators — who predict crime, competition and opportunism.

Initially we wanted to find out why some communities seemed to cope better than others with natural disasters. With local researchers in six countries, we talked to people who had survived tsunami waves higher than multistory buildings, droughts that lasted for years, earthquakes that crumbled entire villages. (more…)

Of Uncertain Futures

February 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

As We Are Not Yet One…

by Jan Lundberg

As the modern age accelerates its downward spiral toward an uncertain outcome, we are divided in our outlooks and fears.  Yet, if we examine them, and if enough of us have a dialogue resulting in action, we might discover our apparent weaknesses in such a way to make us stronger.

More “haves” than ever sense an uncertain future, mainly that of becoming have-nots.  But when haves admit that deeper threats are getting close to engulfing humanity — ecological deterioration, famine over rising energy prices and water shortage — the future appears downright doubtful.

The have-nots have fears about the future too, but rarely about becoming haves.  That was so ’60s. The uncertain future of non-rich, insecure people can appear to them to be limited to severe lack of money.  But knowledge of ecological collapse and resource shortages are also appreciated by many of the poor, thereby putting almost all people in the same boat (today or very soon). (more…)

Common Concern

February 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

Toward A World that Works for Everyone

by Jay Walljasper

You would expect Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business to focus its teaching on making profits from the world as it is instead of asking students to explore how to fundamentally change it.

But that means you probably haven’t met business Professor Leo Burke — a former entrepreneur, Motorola executive and, in his student days, manager of the Notre Dame football team.

At first glance, Burke ’70 hardly seems a rabble-rouser. Wearing tassel loafers, navy blue slacks, a tasteful blazer and wire-rim glasses, he looks exactly the part of a business professor. Yet when standing at the podium in an Executive Leadership Seminar — so slender it appears a strong breeze would carry him away — he sounds like a community organizer crossed with a moral philosopher. “When we are able to work out of our deepest values, we can work with a compassion for others that changes systems.” (more…)

The Hope of Occupy

December 09, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

Bank and Land Occupations — It’s Not Over Yet, by a Long Shot

by Jan Lundberg

Occupy Santa Cruz has had in three days three major setbacks. Perhaps they were fruitless attempts to set back the movement.  The last one in the series, that the police moved to pull off on Dec. 7, is the eviction and dismantling of the tent city of Occupiers (and previously homeless folk) downtown at San Lorenzo Park by the river.  [Update: the tent city was partly abandoned by dark on the 7th, and the police came in after 7 AM the next day, arresting five people.] The police and their backers might think they are on a roll. This report shows this thinking would be flawed. (more…)

Beyond the Nation-State

September 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

From an ‘Obsolete Fiction’ to a ‘Spirit of Openness’

by Robert C. Koehler

Is there such a thing as a relaxed nation — one that isn’t, you know, obsessed with its borders and sense of identity?

We can easily see how absurd it all is when we read about the hikers recently released from prison in Iran, where they were held in cruelly restricted confinement for more than two years because they had inadvertently strayed across the border, out of U.S.-occupied Iraq. The inhuman nature of Iran’s response — the trumped up charges of espionage against the two young men, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, and their companion, Sarah Shourd, who was imprisoned for over a year — were gleefully obvious to the American media … because they were Americans, and Iran is part of the Axis of Evil.

However, the hikers, upon their release last week, strayed across another border as well, and in so doing belied the concept of good nations and bad ones. (more…)


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