New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Pump Fiction

March 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

We’re Not Going to Drill, Dig, or Frack Our Way Out of This Mess…

by Randall Amster

We have entered a critical era for the future of humanity on this planet, and the stakes are indeed as high as whether there will be anything left for those who come next. In the period of expansive consumer growth following World War II, and then again with another quantum leap in the age of globalization and digitization, humankind has been collectively taxing the planet’s carrying capacity and altering basic processes that have sustained our existence for eons. At this juncture, we cannot simply go back to a more pristine time (real or imagined), and the question of where we go from here is an open and urgent one.

Unfortunately, elite interests of both the national and multinational varieties are already in the process of making this all-important decision for us. Rather than reconsidering the profligate lifestyles and extractive mindsets that have pushed us to the brink, the profit-seeking powers that be are doubling down on their efforts to procure every last usable penny’s worth from the planet in short order. (more…)

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

September 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Peter Bergel, Politics

Working Together to Address Threats Ignored by Dysfunctional Government

by Peter Bergel

In my email recently was a message from one of my favorite organizations, the League of Conservation Voters, that began: “We just won a major victory: The Obama administration has finalized new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that will raise the average gas mileage on cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Simply put, this is the single biggest thing the United States government has ever done to reduce global warming pollution.” The League urged me to thank President Obama “for protecting our planet.”

I know I should not look a gift horse in the mouth, but I have to admit that my reaction was “really?”

Modest Achievement

This “biggest thing,” raises average mileage on cars by 2025 — 13 years from now. Obama will be long out of office by then and the auto industry will have plenty of time to work on chiseling that mileage figure down. Besides, why did it take Obama nearly 4 years to get around to this? And why is the mileage figure so low? (more…)

Frack You!

June 25, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Ecology, Economy, Politics

From Culver City to the Inglewood Oil Fields

by Diane Lefer

Since I don’t ordinarily attend Chamber of Commerce meetings or Tea Party gatherings, I’m not used to hearing hundreds of people object to new regulations for industry, but when the California Department of Conservation sent representatives from the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to Culver City on June 12 for a workshop seeking input on how to regulate fracking, the community response was close to unanimous: Don’t regulate!

What the standing-room-only and overflow crowd of several hundred people wanted instead was a total ban.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, makes it possible to exploit oil and gas resources that were formerly too difficult or expensive to reach — factors which, until recently, left California’s oil fields in a state of decline. Today, horizontal drilling techniques make it possible to access distant sources. Then, the high-pressure injection of water mixed with chemicals forces the oil or gas up to where it can be pumped or skimmed off the surface, but the process is controversial enough that it has been entirely banned by the State of Vermont and the whole country of France. (more…)

Every Grain of Sand

May 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Guest Author, Politics, Tina Lynn Evans

Hydraulically Fracturing Our Humanity

by Tina Lynn Evans and Tom Kerns

{Editor’s note: Environment and Human Rights Advisory recently released a report on the human rights implications of hydraulic fracturing. The report’s author Tom Kerns, Executive Director of EHRA, and Tina Lynn Evans, who organized the network of individuals and organizations that brought the report to fruition, reflect on the intersection between environmental damage and damage to human health. They call upon us to consider the fundamental moral implications of fracking and to use the concept of universal human rights as a defining feature of our engagement with the environment and other people.}

I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man; Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand. — Bob Dylan

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That refrain from the 1992 presidential election would aptly describe the subject of most concern to many in the U.S. today. This is not surprising in the aftermath of the bursting housing bubble and the larceny committed by the banks (with government assistance), and it’s not surprising in an atmosphere of crushing unemployment and myriad underwater mortgages. (more…)

Breaking the Ice

November 22, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Getting Back to Basics to Raise Money for the Needy

by Pat LaMarche

According to information furnished by the American Pulpwood Association and reprinted on the Maine Nature News website we should “respect mother nature.”  And that admonition is used in conjunction with the proscribed ice thicknesses on Maine lakes when it comes to traveling across them.

Here are a few of the safety hints they cite: ice two inches thick will support the weight of “one person on foot” — ice seven and a half inches thick holds “a passenger car” — and two feet of ice can hold about “45 tons.”

Now if you’re not from Maine I need to explain a few things about these ice facts.  Winter sporting enthusiasts need to know them because they play — aka fish, snow mobile, cross country ski, etc. — on the waterways as though they were land.  They even build ice shacks onto the thick ice of lakes, rivers and ponds from which they enjoy their winter activities. (more…)