A New Lens came to life while I was staying in Noulens, France, which is of course where the name comes from. I was on a 3-month trip through Europe with my wife and we were housesitting for a retired English couple, loving our immersion in this tiny town in southwest France (no shops, no businesses, 1 church). We were two months deep into our trip, and amid all the charm of European life, I began to digest some surprising aspects of European culture up to that point. Europe’s dining culture lives up to its reputation, but its emphasis on accessible, fresh, sustainably raised food felt minimal. It made me nostalgic and thankful for the diversity of American culture, where the conversation about sustainability spans a broad spectrum from data-based and informed to sentimental and quackish. But at least it’s prominent in America, and that made me want to transition from a spectator to a contributor towards the conversation.

A New Lens, at its outset, will be a regular digital publication of original and curated content that aims to provide a better breakdown of topics in sustainability than currently exist by deconstructing and simplifying those topics to their core components. I believe the confusion and skepticism many people feel toward sustainability is primarily born of (1) confusing marketing, and (2) lack of visibility into why the scientific consensus on an issue is what it is. A new lens is needed to make sense of this kind of marketplace.

Common sense will be king whenever possible. If the breadth and complexity of a topic suggest that common sense does not prevail, the goal will still be to keep things straightforward, logic based, and relatable. I am not unbiased and therefore always acknowledge that thoughts and opinions expressed here just those, and are never meant to represent pure fact. I hope that you will read and consider A New Lens in concert with a variety of other, differing opinions, and arrive at your own conclusion based on the quality of the arguments presented.

A New Lens is purposefully broad in its mission because I want the freedom to approach many topics.  I’ve been a writer, a marine ecologist, a renewable energy project manager, and currently work for a SF Bay Area sustainable cattle ranch, so by nature I consider myself a generalist. I welcome the voice of experts to help illuminate the finer points – if that’s you and you want to contribute or collaborate, please drop me a line. 

-Brad MacDonald