New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

The Natural World

February 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

From Abuse and Fear to Serving the Public Good

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, my home was near the Holmes Run Creek in the west side of the city. The Creek separated my neighborhood from high rises. It was partly natural and partly a cement ditch. Trees and bushes and flowers and the running water made the Creek beautiful, the only stretch of land that had the appearance of wild nature. I used to bike or walk some of the length of the Creek alone or with my dog.

In time, the Creek became my world, a place I went to reflect, exercise, and enjoy the natural world. I was not alone in appreciating the Creek. From 1979 to 2008, the 29 years I lived near the Creek, I noticed the number of people walking or biking by the Creek increased tremendously. The Creek became our neighborhood, where people visited for enjoyment. (more…)


July 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Winslow Myers

It’s Getting Hot in Here…

by Winslow Myers

In the 1980s, to help awaken people to the danger of thermonuclear holocaust, the organization I volunteer for, Beyond War, used what is now a scientifically discredited metaphor: if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would immediately leap out, but if you put the same frog in a pot of cold water and gradually heated it, it would sit passively in the pot and slowly boil to death — the point being that if citizens continued to sleep and nations to drift, we would all get overtaken by nuclear war.

Unfortunately a metaphor can remain apt even if its literal source is untrue. This came involuntarily to mind as we sweated through the latest heat wave in our third floor walkup in Boston. We’re right under the roof of the building; meaningful survival is not possible without at least one room with AC into which to retreat. Yet there’s something about air conditioning that comes around to bite us in the butt. (more…)

Bolivia’s Indigenous Roots Remain

February 22, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Jan Lundberg

A ‘Subtle Genocide’ Sparks Community in Cerro Rico

by Jan Lundberg

The scene of several million deaths at the hands of Spaniard invaders, Cerro Rico (“rich hill”) is just above the city of Potosí in Bolivia. In May 2010, I noted significant amounts of plastic debris all over the mountainside, but I couldn’t guess the source. The answer, from my local driver, is that the miners working in the mountain constantly use plastic bags for their daily coca supplies. Chewing the leaves provides stamina and curbs hunger.

It is ironic that the seemingly harmless but unsightly plastic serves as a relatively new source of devastation to the health of the community and the ecosystem. For anyone to dismiss this concern as irrelevant compared to the poor miners’ work conditions of yesterday and today is to let off the petroleum corporations and everyone down the line participating in a long-term tragedy affecting future generations. (more…)