New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Why I Didn’t March for Science

April 26, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

Whose Interests Are Being Served? 

by Devon G. Peña

I consider myself an “ethno-scientist.” The methods and practices I follow in the fields of agroecology, ethnoecology, and related areas reflect my grounding in millennia of indigenous knowledge and study of ecological processes in the human-nature interrelationship. The two cultures divide that C. P. Snow lamented because it separates the humanities from the natural sciences remains a central concern for me as a practitioner of community-based collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

Yet, I did not participate in the March for Science. And it is not because I am anti-science. I am against continued widespread reductionism of and in science (e.g., the geneticization of all phenomena); I am against continued service of scientists in the capitalist control of knowledge production and the deployment of technologies that place our health, safety, and well-being at higher risk. I am certain many of the scientists who marched will feel the same way; but this is a minority worldview. (more…)

Weaving the Threads

February 25, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

And Reimagining What Can Be…

by Randall Amster

Good morning America, and welcome to those proverbial “interesting times.” We have a so-called President seemingly coming unhinged in public, a dystopian aura infusing politics at every level, a resurgence of hatred made safe by irresponsible rhetoric, and a cultural fascination with misdirection and blatant untruths. At the same time, there’s a burgeoning opposition movement contesting every brick in the apocalyptic wall, mobilizing in the streets and through its tweets alike, constituting a potential political counterforce—perhaps not only in this moment, but for the foreseeable future.

With football and baseball both on hiatus now, the national pastime seems to have swung to watching the unraveling of this Administration and the fantastic foibles of its terrific protagonist. This has all been a boon to the major media outlets, as well as to the Saturday night satirists and their ilk. It’s also a familiar posture for the general public to be in, regardless of political ideology, accustomed as many people have become to consuming “reality” programming, celebrity scandals, and infotainment gossip. (more…)

Still Have a Dream

January 16, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Time to Wake Up and Make It Come True

by Jennifer Browdy

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his I Have a Dream speech has never seemed more imperative, or more poignant.

In 2008, Americans had the dream that electing our first Black president would lead to a permanent undoing of racism, opening the door to a new age of American egalitarianism. But here we sit on the other side of eight years of a stellar Black first family in the White House, feeling like Hamlet looking from Hyperion to a satyr.

As we gaze grimly at the nightmare of the Tr$mp inauguration, it seems like a bad dream — except that every day we wake up and it goes on, but worse. (more…)

Pledging Resistance

December 23, 2016 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

With Allegiance to a Better World in the Making

by Robert C. Koehler

I pledge allegiance to . . . what?

The Electoral College, to no one’s serious surprise, voted Donald Tr$mp in as the nation’s 45th president, and the pot of outrage in the American spectator democracy begins to boil.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no — no to all his right-wing and idiotic cabinet and Team Tr$mp appointments, no to his conflicts of interest and serial tweets, no to his sexism, his reckless arrogance, his ego, his finger on the nuclear button.

The word of the day is resistance. For instance, Nancy Altman and Ira Lupu, writing at Huffington Post, point out that Tr$mp, though legally the new American president, lacks political legitimacy, thanks to widespread voter suppression, his huge loss in the popular vote and the anachronistic absurdity of the Electoral College; and even more disturbingly, is a thin-skinned, dishonest, immature jerk, utterly lacking the moral authority a national leader must project. These are flaws that cannot be ignored.

“Other elected officials, the media, and the citizenry at large have no obligation to afford him the slightest political respect,” they write. “Rather, the next four years should be a time of resistance and outright obstructionism. Opponents of Tr$mp should be at least as aggressive in challenging the political legitimacy and moral authority of his presidency as Republicans were in disrespecting President Obama, whose political legitimacy and moral authority were beyond reproach.” (more…)

Rewriting the Human Story

September 01, 2015 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Robert C. Koehler

Oh sacred planet…

by Robert C. Koehler

The terror of climate crisis is a long time in the making. As I read about the mass mobilization forming around the upcoming U.N. climate change convention, which is likely to accomplish far too Earth_flaglittle — because what’s needed is change at the roots of civilization — I feel a desperate impatience, a tearing at my soul. What can I do that’s bigger than anger, bigger than a demand for governmental and corporate entities to make changes they are essentially incapable of making?

Maybe I can help rewrite the story of civilization, which means unwriting the present story. From the Dark Mountain Manifesto, for instance, here are two of the “eight principles of uncivilization”:

“We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilization: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature.’ These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths…. We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.” (more…)

Losing Another Decade

April 30, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Can We Turn the Tide While There’s Still Time?

by Robert C. Koehler

“We cannot afford to lose another decade.”

My God. There’s more darkness in this quote than the New York Times intended. I winced when I read these words of Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the committee that wrote the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC report, which the Times quoted in a recent editorial headlined “Running Out of Time.”

Suddenly, ten years felt vital, alive with possibility. Edenhofer wasn’t referring to some abstract decade embedded in the history of the human race, or the history of the planet, but ten years gouged out of our own lifetimes and certainly out of our children’s lifetimes. We can’t afford to lose … ten years of breath and heartbeat. (more…)

Growing Up

April 21, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Robert C. Koehler

Living in Partnership with Mother Earth

by Robert C. Koehler

Okay, humankind, it’s time to grow up, and I see a good way to start: Change the wording of Genesis 1:26. Change one word.

I recently quoted that Bible verse in a column about the increasing velocity of climate change: “And God said . . . let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,” etc. Dominion! Nature belongs to us, to suck dry and toss away. And thus we moved out of the circle of life and became its conquerors, an attitude at the core of the Agricultural Revolution and the rise of civilization. The momentum of this attitude is still driving us. We don’t know how to stop, even though most people now grasp that we’re wrecking the environmental commons that sustains life. (more…)