Pleeblandia

Thoughts from the front lines


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Innocence

Childhood is a very important period of our lives. Those years are the stage of innocence. We do not know much, but we get to learn about many things. We get to understand things faster while we’re younger, which explains why we do most of our “first steps” earlier on in life. A few of those first steps are walking, talking, writing, etc. However, there are some parents who try to avoid talking to their children about topics such as sexuality, death or adults problems, in order to protect them from the “ugly side” of the world. Yet, is it really protecting them or does it simply prevent them from growing up?

innocence

In the novel, MaddAddam, we clearly see the theme of innocence through the Crakers. They are just like children: they ask too many questions and are awfully curious. They learn and understand things through songs, stories and questions. They cannot differentiate right from wrong because they seem to think that everybody is kind and that everyone has good intentions. We see it in the first pages of the novel. Finally safe from the two painballers, Toby and Ren tied them. At a certain point, the Crakers arrive and since they feel like the painballers are in danger so they naively untied them. They did not understand why they were tied and thought that the “rope is hurting these ones” and that they “must take it away” (13).

Since Jimmy is unable to tell them stories, Toby answers most of their questions through metaphors so that they could easily understand them. She answers vaguely in order to protect them from suffering. Even when she explains the story of the birth of Zeb, she avoids certain details that are unpleasant.

The Crakers have been made innocent in the idea to be free from negative emotions/feelings. They have not been created to be violent so they cannot fight. In the last novel, we understand that the Crakers are a burden for everyone since they are just like children.

child

I feel like children lose this innocence at even younger age than past generations. They get to know the dark side of the world at a really young age. They get to know about sexuality, war, and social media elaborately.

Do you think that we should preserve childhood innocence or do they have the right to know the whole truth about what is coming?

Reference
Atwood, M. (2003). MaddAddam. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.

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Personification: Not just a literary device.

Pigs with human brain tissue and multiple human organs to be grown and eventually harvested. These are what the pigoons are meant to be. The concept of it may seem far-fetched to some, but here we are in 2017, an era where we take a few more steps into the MadAddam universe. Organs and tissue donors are hard to find and there is a long list of people who need them. Scientists have found oddly familiar answers.

 

Chimeras are no longer mere fantasy and are being studied closely in order to help humanity. In fact, the Maryland University of Medicine are studying and experimenting with ways to make pig organs usable for humans. They have already managed to filter human blood through pig lungs. Now, they are injecting pig embryos with human cells and put the embryos into grown female pigs to carry for a few weeks before being removed and studied some more.

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From animals to plants, no living being is spared from human testing. Now, spinach is found to be able to build or be used as human heart tissue. This is done by growing human cells on the leaves. The leaf’s veins can replicate human veins. Studies are ongoing and the scientists feel that other types of leaves can be turned into tissue for other parts of the human body. The test they conducted transformed the spinach leaf into a miniature human heart. They plan on improving their techniques.

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Human leaves and pigoons may not be so for off into the future. Of course, there is much controversy in what is being done in these experiments, but the tests have already been done. Our science is becoming eerily similar to that of Atwood’s MadAddam universe. Well, what do you think? Is science going in the right direction? Or are we tampering with things beyond our understanding? If we continue down this path, where exactly will we stop?

 

Works Cited:

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2010. Print.

Blakemore, Erin. “Human-Pig Hybrid Created In The Lab—Here Are The Facts”. News.nationalgeographic.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/01/human-pig-hybrid-embryo-chimera-organs-health-science/

Chambers, Delaney. “Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue”. News.nationalgeographic.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/human-heart-spinach-leaf-medicine-science/


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Life After Humans

Reading The MaddAddam Trilogy, fictional but based on our cruel reality, I keep wondering if Crake’s reason is right, whether it would be better off for the planet if humans disappeared.

Humans have been around for thousands and thousands of years, still some million years to go to beat the dinosaurs. We have made more progress (assumingly) than those reptiles: we have built structures, we have developed technology, etc.; but what if one day, all of us vanished, what would happen to all of those?

  • 1 day: lights are out. Most power plants without people to generate would shut down (except for hydro: they have limitless fuel to work by themselves). Plus, no worries for any radiation meltdown from nuclear power plants… yet. Subway/metro tunnels would be flooded after 36 hours.subway-flooded-635x357
  • 10 days: hard time for house pets: no one feeding them. Small dogs would be more likely to die first. They are princes and princesses waiting around to be fed. So consider getting a big one as in case you disappeared, they could get out and follow their natural instincts (my advice: huskies).
  • 1 year: plants start taking roots in our structures, and “once the tree roots…take hold, no human-built structure stands a chance” (Atwood 32). Remember those hydropower plants I mentioned? Now they would completely shut down as mussels would block the generators’ cooling pipes.
  • 20 years: wildlife would be thriving already: vegetation => herbivores => carnivores. Look at the Chernobyl disaster 20 years later.chernobyl2
  • 75 years: cars would completely corrode (it would take 20-25 years if they were at coastal cities like Miami). I wonder why there are piles of corroded cars if it has been only 1-2 years after the apocalypse in the books.
  • 100 years: no one (no aliens) would know our modern-time history as books, films would go back to dirt. It is not like they were carved in clay or stone walls like in ancient time.
  • 500 years: all buildings and infrastructure would go down.
  • 1,000 years: cities would become jungles.
  • 10,000 years: Great Wall of China, Great Pyramid of Giza, and Mount Rushmore might be the only evidence of human structures left behind.

Our time on Earth is short: only haft a minute of the planet’s life on a 24-hour scale, but look at the damages we have done.  Do you think Crake is right, about our problems coming from our greed? Everything has a golden age, do you think there would be such things as our replacements?

 

Find out more

 

de Vries, David; Hense, Jim; Cohen, Douglas; Kosa, Frank; Dolan, Sam; and Georgalis, Savas. Life After People. Top Documentary Films, topdocumentaryfilms.com/life-after-people.

AsapSCIENCE. “What If Humans Disappeared?” www.youtube.com/watch?v=guh7i7tHeZk&t=1s

“Nature Is Speaking.” Conservation International, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&t=4s

Gammon, Katharine. “A Brief History of Dinosaurs.” Live Science, www.livescience.com/3945-history-dinosaurs.html.


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Denial

Global warming image

In The Year of the Flood, we can read about the many consequences of global warming. Obvious examples would be the widespread droughts, coral bleaching, and the rise of sea levels. In our world, the effects of global warming are not as advanced as in the book but we are well on our way there.

During the United Nations conference on climate change in 2015, an agreement was made that the ideal limit would be a rise of 1.5C and that 2C rise would be the absolute limit. (Robertson, 2016)

Global warming

Unfortunately, these limits will be reached much sooner than anticipated. According to some experts, this preferred limit of 1.5C would be reached as soon as 2020! It gets even worse: the rise of 2C should be expected by 2030!

Despite scientific evidence proving that global warming is, in fact, a real issue, many (like Donald Trump) still seem to believe that global warming is “an expensive hoax”. More recently, the President of the United States signed an executive order to challenge the Clean Power Plan. This is a dangerous setback for the US and for the environment. Before signing it, he said:“The action I’m taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our workers and companies to thrive and compete on a level playing field for the first time in a long time.” (Smith, 2017) While the workers and the companies may thrive, Planet Earth will not. The problem here is that these people don’t seem to think about the consequences of such decisions on the long-term. Yes, some people may benefit from this decision, but we are all ultimately taking a great hit along with the environment.

This is not to say that this decision alone will be our downfall. However, if other nations start to ignore environmental issues to profit their economies and if this form of denial becomes widespread, we can bid our beautiful planet goodbye.

Stopping global warming is a collective effort. What can be done to reduce our carbon footprint as a nation in the long-term, but also on a personal day-to-day basis?

 

 

References

Robertson, J. (2016).  Dangerous Global Warming Will Happen Sooner Than Thought – Study . The Guardian. 

Smith, D. (2017). Trump Moves to Dismantle Obama’s Climate Legacy With Executive Order . The Guardian. 

 


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The Ice is Melting

Polar bears are one of the species who are currently the most affected by climate change. As the earth keeps warming up, the polar bears will have no other option then to slowly start heading south. Is the human race so faulty that we will not realise the harm we are doing until a polar bear moves in next door to one of us. Polar bears are perfectly designed for life in the arctic. Their fur allows them to easily blend in, their bigger paws are built to facilitate swimming between pieces of ice, etc. Unfortunately, due to the warming of the planet their natural habitat is disappearing. The food they have always relied on is becoming harder and harder to catch. Not because their hunting skills are declining but simply because their access to this food is melting. This will eventually force the polar bear to adapt or die. Atwood tackles this subject in her book The Year of the Flood.

In her book the human response to this problem is typical human behavior. Instead of pausing and changing are ways in order to reverse the melting of the polar bears natural habitat. We come up with the brilliant idea of flying in are organic waste to the arctic, in order to feed them. Thus allowing us to continue are destructive behavior, god help us! It is my hope that the real life solution we will come up with, will not mimic anything that even remotely resembles the Bearlift Company.

 

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We as Canadian are the closest human neighbours to the polar bear. What is bad for them will eventually be bad for us. What is good for them is good for us.

When you realise that decisions you have been taking are generating negative consequences. Do you go back and change those initial behaviors or do you find a way to adapt to those negative consequences?

FIND OUT MORE

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/climate-change-eroding-polar-bears-arctic-habitat-studiesshow/article26134453/

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2499/polar-bears-across-the-arctic-face-shorter-sea-ice-season/


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Your first this, your first that; how about your first love.

Your first love, your first everything. Is that always a good thing?

Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood explores a similar concept towards this idea of attachment to ones very first love.

In the novel, one of the main characters, Ren, develops a serious attachment to her boyfriend/friends with benefits known as Jimmy. The main issue here is when they break up their alliance. Ren goes through a troublesome period she describes as very dark; “I wondered what I was doing on Earth: no one would care much if I wasn’t on it anymore” (Atwood 227). Throughout the novel, Ren just can’t seem to forget Jimmy. No matter the number of years or acquaintances she’s had, Jimmy is always in the back of her mind.

Interesting I thought, why are we so affixed on our first love?

Here are a couple reasons that may answer this cryptic question.

Simply put; no one ever mentions their second kiss, their second car, their second house because your first anything is what’s really special. An analogy given by psychologist Art Aron, professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook says that our first love is like skydiving, “meaning, you’ll remember the first time you jumped out of an airplane much more clearly than the 10th time you took the leap” (McCarthy). This makes sense; jumping out of an airplane is definitely scary and exciting all at once, and so is falling in love for the first time. You’ve never seen yourself in this sort of situation and you don’t know how to handle it like you previously would.

 

first love

Another issue surrounding this fixation on our first love is that most likely we will think back and romanticize about it. How perfect everything may have felt, the butterflies in the stomach, the innocence, thinking how love really had no limits. To this day one might think back to those times and how your first love made you feel. Even if there were moments where you couldn’t stand the site of each other, you’re more inclined to recall the good experiences shared together.

In addition, a first romantic relationship “is the only time you’re ever in love where you’ve never had your heart broken” (Carpenter). Yes relationships after your first can make you think what was I even doing with this person in the first place, but also there will never be again a situation where you haven’t been hurt. Being with that first person was the purist form of love because you haven’t been knocked down yet and ultimately this relationship becomes a template on which we compare everything else with.

Finally, first relationships may be lurking at the back of our minds, whether we realize it or not. This little section of our brain that keeps it stored gets activated with new interactions. There is a chance that you meet someone who reminds you of your ex, even in a subtle way. In turn, that little area of your brain is triggered. Ren experiences this moment exactly when her current love interest, Croze, wants to have sex. She thinks to herself, “I don’t want to have sex without loving the person, and I haven’t really loved anybody in that way since Jimmy” (Atwood 394). Ren can’t stop herself from taking a trip down memory lane because any male will make her reflect on Jimmy.

All in all, it is difficult to not think about that person with whom you’ve experienced so many new feelings and emotions. Everyone moves on eventually but it’s okay to have these brief moments of nostalgia… so long as it is controlled.

 

References

Atwood, Margaret. (2010).The Year of the Flood. Toronto: Vintage Canada.

Hill, Amelia. (2009). Why we can never recover from first love. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/18/relationships-love

Hopkins, Michael. (2016). 3 Reasons It’s So Hard For You To Get Over Your First Love. Elite Daily. Retrieved from http://elitedaily.com/dating/getting-over-first-love/1484465/

McCarthy, Ellen. (2016). Why we never really get over that first love. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soloish/wp/2016/02/12/why-we-never-really-get-over-that-first-love/?utm_term=.1d3376fadb9d


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Survival

In year of the flood many themes and ideas are expressed. It makes the reader more engaged with the story and makes the story more interesting. In The Year of the Flood the main character Ren and Toby are fighting for their lives trying to survive this epidemic that Crake caused. So throughout the novel we see a lot of survival tactics which I found interesting. We could relate such tactics to the Native Americans and their traditions.

In the year of the flood we see that mainly Toby uses many tactics and strategies to keep her and the other characters alive and well. One example is when she uses a home aid remedy to help out Ren. She ends up using maggots which is an old way of curing people in the book. Native Americans also used such remedies. Native Americans used leaves and sometimes even food to cure their sick. So we see a relation on how Toby and native Americans use old tactics for survival. Also Native Americans would usually be in tribes. A relation of this is what we see is in the book. We see this from the gardeners, there like a tribe because they support each other and stick with one another. We see how this is also another important technique for survival and dates back to the Native Americains.Margaret Atwood made Toby a lot like an native American in the book Year of the flood. Maybe this was a way of showing the reader that age old traditions are not only important to remember because of history and culture. But also because it could help us when it seems like there is no hope left for survival.

Native American medicine

This theme and idea is very thought provoking. Do you think that age old traditions are important to hold onto for survival benefit? Also do you think that people will someday completely move onto old traditions?

 

 

For further reading:

Park, Alex. Do You Know These 25 Native American Survival Skills? Survival Life, 2017, https://survivallife.com/essential-native-american-survival-skills/. Accessed 4 April 2017.

Native Americans. Indians.org, 2017, http://www.indians.org/articles/native-americans.html. Accessed 4 April 2017.

Native American Legends. Legends of America, 2003, http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-remedy.html. Accessed 4 April 2017.

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. Vintage Canada,2010.