New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Water World

December 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Evaggelos Vallianatos

Are We Approaching a Global ‘Cadillac Desert’?

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Water for the Greeks was the immortal natural world. The supreme Greek god, Zeus, sent rains; Poseidon, brother of Zeus, was the god of the oceans and seas; Metis, daughter of the Ocean River god and first wife of Zeus, was goddess of intelligence and mother of Athena, goddess of the arts of civilization.

Homer said the god of metallurgy, Hephaistos, sculpted the great Ocean River surrounding the Earth on the outermost rim of Achilleus’ shield. Achilleus, son of a water nymph, was the Greeks’ greatest hero during the Trojan War.

And the first Greek natural philosopher, Thales, proposed in the seventh century BCE that water was the stuff of life and the cosmos. (more…)

Landscape Lunacy

August 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Walt Anderson

Reflections on Hubris, Mythology, and the Need for Ecological Literacy

by Walt Anderson

29 June 2013.  Prescott, Arizona.  At Granite Mountain, eleven days after the eruption of the big Doce Fire, the smoke has cleared — mostly.  There are still hot pockets (inedible ones) with potential for flames to rise from the ashes and run amok again.  Mother Nature teases us with clouds trailing virga — and even a few drops of liquid that reach the ground — but the hot winds accompanying the clouds continue their mischief, and dry lightning ignites new blazes around the county.  A microburst (sorry, not an artisan brew) takes down trees in town and starts a fire.  The firefighters are still out there at the mountain, and aircraft drone overhead on their missions of attempted control.  But for most of us, the adrenalin has subsided; our fears have receded.

30 June 2013.  One of those fires started two days ago happened to be in Yarnell, and today it erupted into the disastrous fire that took the lives of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the same folks who fought the Doce Fire and, in the process, saved the sacred ancient juniper that may have watched the comings and goings of wildfire for millennia. (more…)

Cultura or Cult?

August 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Devon G. Pena, Politics

Note to School Board President: Get Educated, Please

by Devon G. Peña

Joseph Campbell has long been one of my favorite scholars in the field of comparative religion and the study of mythology. I first encountered Campbell’s magnificent work as an undergraduate in, of all places, a Chicano Studies course on poetry taught by Alurista at the University of Texas in 1974. The work I personally encountered during that class was The Hero’s Journey, a book first published in 1954.

I discussed The Hero’s Journey with Alurista since I was already reading it. It is a book about myth but it is also about the human quality of resilience through the experience of discovery and loss, of how one adapts and grows from our journeys into the unknown, which begins with the crossing of thresholds or boundaries that mark the separation of the familiar from the unfamiliar. Alurista thought this could be used as an analog for understanding the role of Chicana/o poetry, that is, as an exploration across boundaries. Alurista thought that borders that are meant to separate may in the end dissipate before the power of the transition to a full humanity realized only through the acceptance of the “Other.” Poetry is the language we use to realize this more just and peaceful moral order. (more…)