New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Sustainable Water Use?

June 01, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Martin Zehr, Politics

Water Budgets Meet Financial Budgets in California ‘Water Wars’

by Martin Zehr, aka Mato Ska

There is an increasing body of evidence that any resolution to the peripheral canal and Delta infrastructure is meeting a financial wall around which there is no room to maneuver. What is happening in California is no different in many ways from what is happening elsewhere. Water wars are driven by allocations, financial and hydrological. Coastal urban allocations in California are disproportional in their priority because of the use of geo-political entities. As the Central Valley becomes more urbanized there is an increase in their political representation. But as long as diversions are the solution of choice in California, regional planning will never be utilized to integrate urban users with agricultural and rural users in the decision-making process.

There is a real base of support here in California among ag and rural users for regional planning. At this stage, this is primarily to get the State Legislature out of the process. Politically, there remains the Arnold attitude towards water that “We can have it all.” This is simply because of the political control of the State Legislatures by urban users. (more…)

The Peace Train

May 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Guest Author

Seeing and Believing It…

by Noah Kass

The prospect of peace seems distant in this modern era of perpetual warfare. As headlines scream of newfound conflict and environmental catastrophe, imaginations of peace are pushed further into our subconscious. But losing hope in the face of violence is just the easy way out when it comes to challenging the structures of violence that plague our planet. Instead of giving in to the negative narratives of apocalypse, we must prepare to wage peace. Averting our eyes and our actions from the destructive modes of living that have decimated life and environment, we must move toward the protection of our planet through the lenses of ourselves, our society, and the ecosystems that surround us.

The common Western mindset geared toward individualism and private opulence has fueled the rise of contemporary capitalism. Capitalism in turn has legitimized the Western consumption and acquisition of the world’s resources through violent coercion or extraction. Although a bit oversimplified, the truth remains that from the personal-entitlement complex of the common American citizen, we have subconsciously stamped our approval of the battles that take place in the name of resource security. In an effort to move toward sustainable survival, we must challenge our conceptions of subsistence and consumption. (more…)

Occupy Asteroids?

April 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

To Boldly Share What No One Has Shared Before

by Randall Amster

Sometimes the news reads like a cross between a corporate promotional campaign gone haywire and a rejected science fiction B-movie script. The announcement this week of an asteroid mining venture — backed by Google executives, the Perot Group, and James Cameron, among others — is precisely the sort of item that conjures both absurdity and horror in its full implications. Like rubberneckers passing a highway pileup, let’s take a closer look because we just can’t help doing so…

The company, called Planetary Resources, Inc., intends to mine 100 or more near-Earth asteroids for resources including water and various precious metals. Space resources are “just so valuable” and “really are the low-hanging fruit of the solar system,” co-founder and co-chairman Eric Anderson told SPACE.com. The idea is to generate resources in space sufficient to impel additional colonization efforts, creating a network of veritable “in-space gas stations” to fuel ongoing and expanding operations. (more…)

The Only Future We Have

April 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Robert C. Koehler

Can We Grow Up and Fall in Love with the Earth Again?

by Robert C. Koehler

The AP story on military maneuvers in the Arctic reads like the gleeful report of a mugging:

“To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.”

Wow, what fun — a new playground, with maybe 90 billion barrels waiting for corporate exploitation beneath the melting ice cap, 30 percent of the world’s untapped natural gas, and all sorts of minerals, diamonds, gold, copper, zinc and so much more. And the world’s armed forces get to play war games. Boys will be boys!

The first insanity here is that this is how major news is reported, as the sophomoric reduction of a terrifying global wound to a spectacle of pop culture, with military leaders portrayed as independent actors, taking it on themselves to prepare for inevitable war in or over the Arctic Circle, which is, thanks to global warming, now open for business. (more…)

Running Out

April 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Lawrence Wittner

Reflecting on The Race for What’s Left

by Lawrence Wittner

Is it possible to cope with the immense dangers posed by the rapid consumption of the world’s resources? In The Race for What’s Left, Michael Klare claims that it is — but only through a significant change in behavior.

Klare is the author of fourteen books, the most recent of which focus on resources and international conflict. He is also the defense correspondent for The Nation and the director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

In The Race for What’s Left — a book displaying his stunning knowledge of drilling and mining techniques, obscure minerals, geology, and remote regions of the world — Klare argues that “the world is entering an era of pervasive, unprecedented resource scarcity.” Both government and corporate officials “recognize that existing reserves are being depleted at a terrifying pace and will be largely exhausted in the not-too-distant future.”

In their view, “the only way for countries to ensure an adequate supply of these materials, and thereby keep their economies humming, is to acquire new, undeveloped reservoirs in those few locations that have not already been completely drained. (more…)

AFRICOM 2012

April 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Resisting All Armies, Not Just Kony’s

by Matt Meyer

We can come to quick consensus that Uganda’s Joseph Kony is a bad man. And while we’re not looking to separate the world into friends and enemies, we can probably get just about everyone to agree that Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been doing some pretty heinous things — crimes against humanity, in international legal terms. The question, then, in this interconnected, faster-than-the-speed-of-Internet world, is what to do about him and the conditions which enable him to continue?

In the viral video “KONY 2012” by the US-based non-governmental group Invisible Children, filmmaker Jason tells his young son Gavin — and the audience of over 100 million who have now viewed his slickly-produced half hour infomercial — that our electronic, Facebook-age “greatest desire” is to belong and connect… to share the love.” I am also a US-based father with a son only slightly older than Gavin, I too have traveled to and long worked for peace and justice in Africa, and I agree strongly with Jason that the only appropriate answer to the every-person question “Who are you to end a war?” is: “Who are you not to?” We are, as Jason suggests, every last one of us shaping human history nearly every day. What, then, will be the world’s new shape? (more…)

Overcoming Confusion

August 18, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

War, Consumption, Aggression — Can We Make a Cultural Change?

by Jan Lundberg

When we think of the millions of U.S. Americans who have needlessly attacked or harmed millions of others in dozens of countries, and have harmed themselves — without fully knowing why — and when we acknowledge that many in the U.S. seem resigned to allow more of the same, one can extend this phenomenon to the nation’s population in general. We can call it a common trait, and find it to be a U.S. tendency upon historical analysis or reading between the lines of corporate news. Let us name the national condition confusion.Under this we can lump poor education, being propagandized, exploitation of the poor, rampant ill health, environmental devastation, and the rape of Mother Nature (and therefore of ourselves and our spirit). (more…)