New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


The Carbon Crisis

February 07, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Kent Shifferd

Can We Fix Humanity’s ‘Biggest Mistake’ in Time?

by Kent Shifferd

The great release of carbon-based energy began in the second half of the eighteenth century, prompting the poet William Blake to coin his famous line about “England’s dark, satanic mills.” All history before that was characterized by an organic tool kit. Our technology was mostly biodegradable and not very powerful. Nature was strong — humanity was weak. I am not suggesting we want to revert to that relationship, but did we go in the right direction, and if not, what can we do about it now?

Why was the release of carbon energies humanity’s greatest mistake? The answer is simple; it has led to the severe damage to the biosphere we now see all around us. The biosphere, that thin zone of life that surrounds the earth like the skin on an apple, is the only place in this solar system that we can live and we are utterly dependent upon its natural processes. It provides oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and soil that produces all our food. As everyone knows, it is a vastly complicated, living web whose interconnections we will never fully understand. The release of carbon energy has made it possible for us to recklessly pull apart the strands. (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…)