New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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We Are All Noah Now

February 03, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, 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 de Hernandez, 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…)

Subversive Ecology

September 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

Can It Be an Antidote to Our Toxic Age?

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

One of the discoveries I made during my 25-year tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ecology.

Of course, I had heard of ecology before joining EPA in 1979. I studied zoology as an undergraduate, so I was familiar with ecology and its theoretical focus on connections and processes. They underpinned the natural world.

But nothing had prepared me for the political ecology of EPA. I came to know a few ecologists and, more than that, I read dozens of their memos.

It was then I realized the harmful effects of pesticides — and the limits of ecology in America. (more…)

Looking … Seeing

August 27, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Missy Beattie

Reflections on the Health of Our World

by Missy Beattie

I saw the dime when I was running. I continued on and then circled back, picking up the coin to throw to the gods for an unselfish wish. I thought about the mythology, a ritual I usually associate with finding a penny.

Later, mid-afternoon, as I walked to the grocery, a disheveled man approached. “Can you spare a dime? I need something to eat,” he said. I started to tell him I’d tossed one on his behalf just hours before — that if my wish came true, he wouldn’t be hungry. No one would.

I thought it was clever — to ask only for a dime. He smelled like stale beer. But so what? Around 4:00, I’d have a drink. Maybe two. And possibly smell like stale Prosecco later.

Tucked between finding that dime and encountering the hungry man, a floor expert was in my apartment. Because… (more…)

R.O.I. from Another P.O.V.

August 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Measuring Wealth and Well-Being from the Perspective of Mother Earth

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Peter Buffett, one of billionaire Warren Buffett’s sons, published a brave, thoughtful op-ed piece in the New York Times the other day.  In it, Buffett takes to task what he calls “the Charitable-Industrial Complex,” the philanthropic crowd who piously seek to save the world, as long as the R.O.I. is sufficiently rosy and the status quo is not upset.

Buffett knows he sounds like a class traitor here as he proffers this description of “Philanthropic Colonialism” (his term):

“As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to ‘give back’. It’s what I would call ‘conscience laundering’ — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity. But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.” (more…)

Financial Insecurity

May 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

Good for Low-Energy Survival on a Changing Planet

by Jan Lundberg

The changing world leaves behind the money = wealth syndrome. We can see the trend gaining momentum in accord with the slow but sure shift in values toward universal ecological living.

The too-successful human species catches up with nature-based realism upon questioning the side-effects of destructive technologies. We are not yet all on the same page, but human consciousness may turn on a dime, like global climate when it reaches a tipping point. The latter may have to happen to enable the former.

Knowledge of the global trend to redefine wealth and security helps sustain those who understand and welcome fundamental change and its associated challenges. But many who staked their lives on jobs, property, consuming, owning stocks, etc. will be bewildered as they discover what their ancestors knew: wealth is much more than money. (more…)

Common Future Identity

March 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Erikson’s ‘Golden Rule in the Light of New Insight’ Revisited

by Winslow Myers

Sixty years ago the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson gave a talk in India on the Golden Rule, a formulation that occurs, with some variation, in all the major religions. Judaism: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to you fellow man.” Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.” Christianity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Erikson’s theme was the creative potential of mutuality — between spouses, parents and children, doctors and patients, teachers and pupils, even between nations. Mutuality, Erikson asserted, is a relationship in which partners depend upon each other for the enhancement of their respective strengths.  The curiosity of a student elicits from the teacher the skills for transmitting the excitement of learning in a way that benefits both teacher and student.

In the case of nations, fear of Hobbesian chaos if leaders relax their futile race toward military superiority makes it difficult to encourage mutuality. Ruthless power relations turn the life-giving spirit of mutuality on its head: do not even think of trying to destroy me because if you do I will destroy you. This paranoia rationalizes the unabated manufacture of ever more destructive weaponry, irrespective of sensible policy goals, by ever more powerful corporations. (more…)


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