New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

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…)

Deepening the Time Scale

September 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Walt Anderson

An Evolutionary Puzzle in Southern Arizona

by Walt Anderson

Though each organism is inherently a time traveler, its genes a partial chronicle of its evolutionary history, we may be the sole species to be able to reflect on that deeper history.  People with deep imaginations can visualize the ape in our behaviors, the prototypical vertebrate in our embryos, the symbiotic merger reflected in our mitochondria.  Some can look at a hillside and envision it as a product of tectonic upheavals, erosional incisions and depositions, the lithification that turned sediment into rock that has weathered into a substrate supporting juniper, cactus, and spiny lizard.  With some training, there is hope for those of us who don’t normally see so well.  Our temporal blinders may be lifted, our spirits uplifted by the joys of discovery and insight.  Informed imagination — that greatest of time machines — can take us further toward understanding the Sky Islands than mere physical descriptions ever will.  Join me, then, for a little time travel, not to see it all (who has time?), but for a sample of how informed imagination works… (more…)

Moving the Paradigm

September 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Peter Bergel

From Growth and Domination to Sustainability and Cooperation

by Peter Bergel

On Tuesday night a reported 100,000 Americans joined Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for a national conversation about breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC. It was another great example of the growing willingness of ordinary people to reclaim their power from those to whom they have delegated it, only to see it abused.

Schultz was a suitable leader for this conversation because he had recently organized CEOs from more than a hundred companies to halt contributions to U.S. political campaigns until DC office holders stop their political wrangling and behave in a financially responsible manner. He also encouraged those who joined him to spend their money to stimulate growth in their own industries. (more…)

The Evolution Has Come

March 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Randall Amster

Time to Put Down the Gun

by Randall Amster

The top of the news queue a few weeks ago almost went unnoticed in its ordinariness: “Gunman shoots 4 officers inside Detroit precinct” and “Walmart shooting leaves 2 dead, 2 deputies hurt.” It was merely just another day in America, where the “right to bear arms” is bolstered by the tortuous logic that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We’re still awaiting word of any sightings of a “well-regulated militia” being in the mix, but thus far the exercise appears to be mostly personal — and in fact, the Supreme Court in 2008 explicitly affirmed that the Second Amendment applies to individuals.

Let’s face it: America is obsessed with firearms, both domestically and in our exports and foreign policy directives alike. Guns are available on a legal or illegal basis nearly on a par with drugs in our society, which means pretty much everyone has access to them on demand. And some of the statistics are sobering, according to a 2007 Reuters article describing the U.S. as the “most armed country”: (more…)