New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

On Dystopias and Hope

January 10, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Priscilla Stuckey

Can We Imagine a Better Future?

by Priscilla Stuckey

A blog reader named Ray contacted me a while back to say that he shares a deep concern about climate change. In fact, he’s publishing a novel about it on his website. In his book the Arctic polar ice cap melts quickly (as we can already see) and causes more abrupt global warming than we expect. The rapid climate change leads to a collapse in agriculture, there is a surge of terrorism, and right-wing extremists stage a coup against the US government.

He was curious what I might think about his book.

I had to confess my discontent. I don’t enjoy dystopian fiction. And that’s putting it mildly. I usually don’t subject myself to it. These days, it’s getting hard to avoid, since dystopian visions always surge in popularity during a time of crisis. People sense that the world as they know it is dying, and they are frightened beyond belief — and I mean this quite literally. (more…)

Thinking Small

July 12, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Family, Nancy Mattina

“Go to the Ant, O Sluggard”

by Nancy Mattina

Thinking small doesn’t come naturally to an American. Even in straightened economic times we urge ourselves incessantly to swing for the bleachers, reach for the stars, be ready for the big break. In the Far West, our daily landscapes conspire with our propensity to dream large. We get ten-gallon-hat ideas about life and liberty whether we are hiking above the clouds in the Rockies or streaking across the limitless deserts in our half-ton trucks.

With just an average amount of human imagination, it is easy to extract a can-do spirit from towering volcanic cones, glaciated valleys, and great canted slabs of the Earth’s crust. Never mind what must be done merely to survive, the preoccupation of all of the non-human species that surround us. We yearn to be so much more than mere survivors. (more…)