New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


A Sustainable Future

August 30, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Peter G. Cohen

Visions of a Post-Carbon World

by Peter G. Cohen

Surely one of the reasons that it is so difficult to achieve meaningful environmental legislation is that we don’t have a vision of a sustainable future. That’s understandable. For the last 250 years we’ve used coal and oil for energy rather than human and animal labor with great success. We’ve become dependent on carbon fuels. Coal and oil companies have spent millions to make sure that it stays that way. 

Coal has become the main source of electricity, which is so wonderfully clean and convenient that people can’t wait to get the latest electrical gadgets. Oil developed with the gasoline engine in cars, ships and planes. Now it is also essential for plastics and hundreds of chemicals. Gas was at first a lighting fuel and now can be used to heat homes and dinners, to power cars, electrical generators and factories.

These fossil fuels have been an enormous benefactor of mankind. We resist learning that by burning them we are destroying the climate that makes life possible. Furthermore, the big enemy, atmospheric CO2, is invisible. We can see smoke and soot, but not carbon dioxide or methane. They are invisible assailants. We must trust our scientists to read the signs of degrading earth and changing weather.  Everything that science has predicted about climate change is coming true, only at a faster rate than anticipated. (more…)

Things Have to Change

July 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

Understanding the Worsening Vibe of Violence in the U.S.

by Jan Lundberg

It certainly feels to me more peaceful and convivial in Germany and Holland, for example, than in the U.S. Aside from the oft-heard complaint of the U.S. as a crime-ridden and crazy place, here are three factors out of several offered in this article that contribute to significant cultural and physical-environment differences:

Image* The threat of physical violence posed by police and associated agencies that can instill fear without even making direct contact with civilians. * Job-insecurity and obsession about money for survival and self-image. * The car-oriented infrastructure that makes most streets potential death zones for pedestrians and bicyclists, not to mention creating ugly urban blight. (Not necessarily listed in order of importance.)

There appears to be more shocking police brutality in the U.S. than before, with more focus by alternative media outlets. Conventional news reporters tend to downplay police crimes because the police are important sources for news stories. But regardless, violence by police, sociopaths killing random crowds, and rising suicides are but symptoms of a society looking more like a madhouse than anywhere else besides war zones. (more…)

Positive Development

May 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Advancing the Conversion from War to Peace Economy 

by David Swanson

The Connecticut legislature has sent to the governor to sign a bill that would create a commission to develop a plan for, among other things:  “the diversification or conversion of defense-related industries with an emphasis on encouraging environmentally-sustainable and civilian product manufacturing. On or before December 1, 2014, the commission shall submit such report to the Governor and, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to commerce.”

The commission “shall Advise the General Assembly and the Department of Economic and Community Development on issues relating to the diversification or conversion of defense-related industries,” among other things. Read the full text. (more…)

Financial Insecurity

May 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

Good for Low-Energy Survival on a Changing Planet

by Jan Lundberg

The changing world leaves behind the money = wealth syndrome. We can see the trend gaining momentum in accord with the slow but sure shift in values toward universal ecological living.

The too-successful human species catches up with nature-based realism upon questioning the side-effects of destructive technologies. We are not yet all on the same page, but human consciousness may turn on a dime, like global climate when it reaches a tipping point. The latter may have to happen to enable the former.

Knowledge of the global trend to redefine wealth and security helps sustain those who understand and welcome fundamental change and its associated challenges. But many who staked their lives on jobs, property, consuming, owning stocks, etc. will be bewildered as they discover what their ancestors knew: wealth is much more than money. (more…)

Tiny Houses

April 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Guest Author

Living Simply So That Others May Simply Live

by Delo Freitas

It is an interesting time to be looking for a home in America. Though known for capitalism and consumerism, McDonalds and McMansions, emerging counter movements seek to promote sustainable living through the most personal of methods, and the one most tied up with the American dream — the home. Especially in the face of 2008’s economic crisis, more and more Americans are embracing the “Tiny House Movement,” in which each square foot is utilized to its full potential. Living small is, in its own way, a form of subversion: It decommodifies the idea of “home,” promotes a DIY (Do It Yourself) ethic in one the largest sectors of the U.S. economy, and places control back into the hands of homeowners instead of finance capitalists, speculators and the global market. (more…)

Lethal Artificial Surfaces

February 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

Countering a Pervasive, Abominable Disgrace

by Jan Lundberg

The artificial environment hasn’t yet been questioned by environmentalists. They accept it pretty much as is — they and it are wedded to the notions of progress, science, and “Better living through chemistry” (Dupont’s old slogan appropriated by acid-head Imagehippies). When a grassroots wing of the environmental movement went after road building and pavement (tarmac) two decades ago, it was quite fringy for mainstream enviros. Then when we went after plastics a decade ago, this too was considered “out there,” and kept low on the list of concerns for the average campaigner.

Fortunately, both plastics and endless road building — and even depaving — are by now familiar issues that are at least visible. However, they address the uncomfortable and almost taboo problem of lifestyle. Cars, the petroleum infrastructure (e.g., plastics and lubricants in vast quantities) and economic growth have not been fully challenged by environmentalists. Western Civilization is based on never-ending expansion — at best a questionable idea — yet, some of our finest minds such as NASA’s James Hansen uphold the legacy of civilization as the main reason to stop sea-level rise. (more…)