New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


The Empowerment Project

January 24, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Robert C. Koehler

Stories of Courage and Nonviolence

by Robert C. Koehler

In the end, perhaps, this is bigger than personal safety. It’s about rescuing our humanity.

Two images compete for my attention as I write this, a month after Newtown, a week after the shooting at a high school in Taft, Calif., with hundreds of murders in between. One image is of Robbie Parker, father of slain 6-year-old Emilie, offering public condolences to the family of the shooter and pleading, through his tears, “Let it” — the murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School — “not turn into something that defines us, but something that inspires us to be more compassionate and humble people.”

The other image is of Americans flooding gun stores from coast to coast, buying semiautomatics and other weapons in the wake of feared new gun laws. (more…)

Call to Action

December 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy

Telling the Story of Climate Change

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

You probably didn’t notice, but this past week another round of major international climate talks were held in Doha, Qatar, surely one of the least “green” locations on the globe.

The mainstream press barely bothered to give a nod to what has come to be a mind-numbing ritual of bait, switch and dodge. The alternative press knew better than to look to the assembled ministers in Doha for any real news, focusing instead on the grim report released early last week by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.

The 84-page report, titled “Turn Down the Heat” and funded by that radical fringe group known as the World Bank, demonstrates that if we continue our reckless heating of the planet at the present rate, all the scenarios of which readers of this blog are well aware — sea level rise, droughts and floods leading to severe food shortages, more frequent and more severe storms, loss of biodiversity and loss of human life on a biblical scale — will come to pass. (more…)

Near-Death Experiences

October 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Missy Beattie

To Bee or Not to Bee…

by Missy Beattie

I have a neighbor, F, here in the Kingdom of Cross Words (and puzzling entanglements), who’s been depressed and medicated off and on for months.  The genesis of his anguish is twisted adoration for a female who clutches him closely and then hurls him away with language and equivocation that would send most in the direction of sanity. Seems this woman-like object holding the deed to F’s underwater soul has torture down to an artistic science. And despite my disdain for his willingness to accept abuse, F and I have managed to talk each other up, and by up, I mean elevated from death wishes. Plus, he tolerates my radical political views without recoiling or criticizing.

Recently, F announced he had a story for me. I thought perhaps he was going to report that sunlight’s truth had illuminated his sensibilities as well as his sensitivities and that finally he’d used the word he and his fixation once selected to signal THE END.  But no. (more…)

Stepping Away

February 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Mary Sojourner

An Experiment in Research Methods

by Mary Sojourner

The world outside my writing room window is diamond bright. Gleaming black ravens hop and posture around the corn chips and unshelled peanuts I’ve scattered for their breakfast. Conan, a ferocious tassel-eared squirrel half a raven’s size, scoots down the apartment wall and dashes into the birds. They step aside. If I were prone to anthropomorphizing, I would conjecture that they are muttering, “Sheesh, it’s that pushy kid again. Humor him.” Conan stuffs corn chips in his cheeks and races off.

There’s a flash of sapphire. A Steller’s jay drops down to grab one of the peanuts. He gobbles one, then grabs a second and flies off. “Hey,” I say, “you’ll choke.” He’s back in a forager’s heartbeat and I find myself wondering about that first peanut. Did he swallow it whole? Did he tuck it somewhere behind his beak? (more…)

Living Side by Side with Dignity

June 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Julia Chaitin, Politics

Distinguishing Facts and Narratives in the Pursuit of Common Ground

by Julia Chaitin

(Editor’s Note: This week on NCV, as part of a thematic series, we are featuring articles focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict and attendant issues, hoping to stimulate a dialogue and suggest potential ways forward.)

Recently in Haaretz, Shlomo Avineri wrote an op-ed piece on historical truths and narratives, which I quote here at some length:

“On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. That is truth, not narrative. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked and destroyed the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. That is truth, not narrative…. In recent debates about the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ the claim has been made that there are two ‘narratives,’ an Israeli one and a Palestinian one, and we should pay attention to both of them. That, of course, is true: Alongside the Israeli-Zionist claims regarding the Jewish people’s connection to its historic homeland and the Jews’ miserable situation, there are Palestinian claims that regard the Jews as a religious group only and Zionism as an imperialist movement.  But above and beyond these claims is the simple fact … not a ‘narrative’ — that in 1947, the Zionist movement accepted the United Nations partition plan, whereas the Arab side rejected it and went to war against it.” (more…)

Climate Change Chronicles

June 17, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Family, Guest Author

Overcoming Self-Destruction with a New Human Story

by Tim Hicks

We appear to be at a momentous point in our human story, the culmination of all our activities as a species to date, an ironic chapter in which those characteristics that have made us so successful — our inquisitiveness, creativity, and inventiveness — threaten our survival.

It seems that unless we change our behaviors very soon, climate change will radically alter the conditions for all life on the planet.

Climate change is a threshold event that calls into question much of what we are and what we do as a species. In this sense, climate change is a maturation point in human history, in concert with several trends in humanity’s social evolution that include the movement toward human rights and civil liberties, gender equality, and non-violent conflict resolution, but also the concurrent evolution of weapons development that has produced the thermonuclear bomb. (more…)

The Right to a Future

January 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Family, Guest Author

A New Lens and Lexicon for Navigating ‘Climate Collapse’

by Raffi Cavoukian

Are we tweeting while Earth burns? Is climate collapse our new collective Titanic? How do we best describe the survival struggle of seven billion in a way that connects with the public and with decision makers?

The science on global warming is clear and compelling. Earth is in serious climate crisis. That’s why many writers have recently upgraded climate change to climate collapse, climate catastrophe, the long emergency. To convey the climate threat fully, we need a new Story.

In a well known Greek myth, the very rich King Midas, who loves gold above all else, is granted his singular wish that everything he touches turn into gold. The gift becomes a curse when his golden touch kills plants, food and even his daughter, who is turned into a statue. Bereft and repentant, forsaking greed, the king begs for deliverance. His curse is lifted by a wash in the river. All he holds truly precious is restored. (more…)