Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


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Help Save the World

Throughout MaddAddam, we come to see how climate change is a big issue in the book and also how it reflects in the real world, and how this affects different living species in different parts of the world. The main focus of the corporations in MaddAddam is to help save the polar bears from the climate change in the arctic that is melting.

In our society, we have many companies and corporations that have been starting to take climate change more seriously, and have started to make big changes regarding their product consumption. Also, many organizations in the world have come together to share their thoughts and ideas on different aspects that involve climate change.

There is an organization based in Canada called Climate Action Network – their goal is to work together by involving families and communities all across Canada to keep them safe and come up with solutions to help the environment and save our planet. Members have to understand that how they use and generate energy comes from the use of natural resources such as water and land in order to prevent very dangerous human interference with the climate system.

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The organization also manages to protect the quality of life of not only people, but of animals and plants as well. With the use of advanced technology, this organization looks for ways to develop their natural resources and find ways to change the way we use appliances and the way we build our community.

What are your thoughts on climate change and how do you think we can help the world be a better place? Do you think it can be possible to save the species that are living in areas where climate change is more present?

 

 

Sources:

http://climateactionnetwork.ca/

http://www.worldfinance.com/special-reports/the-relationship-between-corporations-and-climate-change

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6234/571.full

 


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What’s in a Name?

It’s a long- held idea that names carry with them meaning, along with a sort of determination or prediction of the character of the person it’s associated with. The thing that made me curious is that usually our names are given to us as children long before we have developed any sort of personality; yet in Maddaddam and the other books, many people are referred to by names that were picked for or by them at a much later age. This made me wonder to what extent the Maddaddam names relate to their respective characters.

Jimmy/Thickney

The Thicknee, or Bush-stone Curlew, is a bird found in Australia. Apart from it’s ‘remarkable courtship dance’ (we are all well aware of Jimmy’s ability to attract girlfriends), I found little in the ways of behavioural traits that linked to Jimmy except for Atwood’s description in Oryx and Crake: “a… double jointed bird that used to hang around in cemeteries, -and Jimmy suspected- because Crake liked the sound of it as it applied to Jimmy”. It’s interesting to note that Crake gave Jimmy his Maddaddam name: you could interpret it as the beginning of Crake’s deception. Also, the idea that his extinct animal is found in cemeteries among the dead is a kind of foreshadowing, which could even hint at Jimmy’s future of survival during and after the pandemic, in a global graveyard!

Glenn/Crake

None of the Maddaddam trilogy books really offer an explanation as to why Glenn chose to be Crake; the only thing mentioned is that the Red-Necked Crake is a relatively rare bird species. This could indicate that Crake had a type of superiority complex, though. However, I found indications that a Crake’s behaviour tends to be rather secretive. This is definitely related to Glenn’s behaviour, since throughout the trilogy he comes off to everyone as a rather mysterious person, and never really reveals his plans to anyone. Even the reader is left hanging and we never get a true glimpse into his thought process that led to him wiping out almost all of humanity.

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Toby/Inaccessible Rail

The Inaccessible Rail is yet another bird, except this one is flightless. Toby didn’t put too much thought into her choice, yet when I picked apart the details I was able to find some connections (although some might accuse me of grasping at straws!). One slightly entertaining aspect of Rails is that they’re pretty territorial, and while Toby comes across in general as the wise mother figure to the group, she gets very jealous and protective over Zeb once they start being in a relationship. Similarly, Rails form permanent pair bonds, which again is connected to Zeb who was even convinced to settle down with her. Considering that Zeb introduced Toby to Maddaddam and that they eventually fall in love, Atwood seems to have picked an appropriate creature for her.

Zeb/Spirit Bear

Spirit Bears are a special type of black bear that have a rare gene that makes them white.  As the name suggests, they have a spiritual significance to Native Americans. They are revered and protected, and as such killing them is taboo. This sort of legendary status surrounding them definitely relates to how the Crakers love, respect, and to some extent worship Zeb, in my opinion. I think that it’s also significant that Adam gave Zeb this nickname. It appears to me that it reflects Adam’s perception of Zeb, which would be one of a big brother wanting to protect his little brother; but it could simply be Adam finding a clever way of mocking Zeb’s Bearlift adventures. Regardless, Zeb seems undeniable connected to bears, as he himself admits that his meditation animal was the bear he ate when stranded in the wilderness.

Overall, it seems to me that Atwood was able to cleverly use animals that reflected their characters at least a little. What do you think? Is there truth to this, or is it mere conspiracy? Are there any links to the behaviour and character of Swift Fox, Oryx, Lotis Blue, Ivory Bill, and the rest of the Maddaddamites?


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Beehive and the end of the world

In Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood novel, the author makes a clear emphasize on bees and how the world of the Gardeners turns around them. In a matter of fact, bees are really important in life. An extinction of the species could lead to the end of the world and I will explain you why.

First of all, we all know how crucial bees are when it comes to pollination. When a bee is looking for the nectar of a flower (which is their main source of food), pollen that comes from the male part of flower sticks to the bee. Pollen is what call the grains of a flower. After the bee has finished collecting the nectar of a flower, it forages to another flower transporting with it the pollen. This finishes by entering the female part of the flower which creates afterward a new flower.

During the fall, those flowers often turn out to be apples, cherries, blueberries and other different kinds of fruits. Actually, most of our alimentation depends on the process of pollination and the main pollinators are bees. Unfortunately, many of them are dying. This means that our entire food chain is collapsing. Even the cotton industry that produces clothes that we use depends on pollination. Also, herbivore animals and cattle are the first ones depending on pollination to survive. Without cattle, some people would not be able to eat meat anymore. Therefore, the meat provision will drop and carnivores too except vultures.

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Finally, the disappearance of bees will even impact our provision of water.  This seems unbelievable at first sight, but if pollination stops, the vegetation will decrease because it is unable to reproduce itself. If that happens, the soil will begin to dry and will cause a major arid soil and desert which means that water will disappear because it would not be able to be maintained in the soil which is what vegetation permits to do.

One of the major causes of the disappearance of honeybees is global warming creating a deregulation in the climate, and, therefore affects honeybees time for pollination. Also, the use of pesticide, especially, neonicotinoids, can affect an entire honeybee population’s view. Neonicotinoid is a poison that sticks to the bee and can contaminate the entire honeybee if the bee return to its beehive. Some symptoms are paralysis and death. In my opinion, the Gardeners were wise people who knew that without honeybees we would not survive, not like the rest of the population. I think a return to the base is needed to our world. Let me know what you think about it. Should we take a step back in our way of life or continue with our non-renewable lifestyle? Please leave a comment below.

References :

 Daftardar, Ishan et al. “What Would Happen If Bees Went Extinct?”. Science ABC, 2017, https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/bee-extinction-means-end-humanity.html.

Haltiwanger, John. “If All The Bees In The World Die, Humans Will Not Survive”. Elite Daily, 2017, http://elitedaily.com/news/world/humans-need-bees-to-survive/755737/.

 Hagopian, Joachim. “Death And Extinction Of The Bees”. Global Research, 2017, http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684.

 


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VEGANS VS NON-VEGANS

In The Year of The Flood, God’s gardeners are against the idea of eating animal based foods. They practice a vegetarian diet in order to honor and preserve animal and plant life.

A vegan is someone who follows a diet that contains no animal meat, fish, eggs, dairy products or any other food that comes from animals. They differ from vegetarians who generally still eat dairy and eggs as part of their diets. By not consuming any animal products, vegans follow a dietary path similar to an herbivore, while meat eaters are typically omnivores which mean they eat both plants and animals.

People on a vegan diet tend to be leaner. In a cross sectional study of nearly 40 000 adults, meat eater had the highest body mass index (BMI). Vegetarians were in the middle and vegans had the lowest. Vegans appear to have lower rates of hypertension than both meat eaters and vegetarians and lower a cardiometabolic risks for conditions like heart disease or strokes.

 

If you are interested, this is a TED talk about a plant based nutrition:

 

The problem however doesn’t seem to be with meat itself but rather with the quality of meat. Recent finding have found that coronary heart disease problems do not seem to be linked with red meat and saturated fats like previously thought, but rather with processed meats. While there certainly may be some health advantages in going vegan, there seems to be some common in the diet. One of these deficiencies is with the vitamin B-12. According to the ADA, a plant-based diet does not contain a significant amount of vitamins. With vegans requiring supplements to meet their nutritional needs, it may seem that veganism is unnatural, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy.

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At this point, some of you may be wondering which diet leads to longer life spans. None of these two diets have an effect on a human’s life span. The optimal human diet can be achieved without going completely vegan. Many health organizations, including the ADA, state that well-planned vegan diets are healthy and nutritional adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. It seems like no matter what your dietary preferences are, a healthy lifestyle can be achieved o or off a vegan diet.

Are you a vegan? Would you ever consider becoming a vegan?

 

 


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This is just the Veganning

Environmentalism is the most obvious theme in The Year of the Flood because of the characters such as Gardeners and the environmental disaster that is the frame of the whole story. This group condemns the killing of any sort of animal, even killing a fly requires praying for forgiveness. The use of non-recycled materials and material attachment plays an important part in the novel. In the very beginning of the novel we come to know that the waterless flood has destroyed everything and everyone and only two humans survive; Toby and Ren. The two main characters are members of God’s Gardeners and they both believe that it is their duty to survive God’s Waterless Flood and to re-populate their world in a more pure, earth-loving way. The Gardeners believe that man was created by God to live in peace with animals, forming a sort of species friendship. We also see throughout the novel how the Gardener’s only eat vegetarian meals, which shows how they respect animals. Although this book is all fiction, some things mentioned in the novel are a lot likely to be present in today’s world, such as cruelty towards animals.

Cruelty means inflicting pain and causing suffering. Animal cruelty is a nationwide problem that is rapidly growing in today’s society. Animals are being beaten and starved to death every day and millions of animals die each year because of their heartless owners. Most people don’t know what is actually being done to the meat that they eat. Animals being beaten and left alone in unsanitary conditions with no food or water is just the beginning on what happens in these slaughterhouses.

Veganism is spreading fast and it has become more popular with the help of many different publicities. People need to educate themselves on what is actually being done to their meat before they eat it. Think of it this way: wouldn’t you feel better about yourself knowing that an animal didn’t have to go through a lot of torture to end up on your plate?

https://sentience-politics.org/philosophy/altruism-numbers-factory-farms


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Pigoons in the real world?!

I don’t know how many of you have heard about this, but recently I’ve seen a few article headlines about how humans have created the first human-pig hybrid! Clearly this freaked me out and reminded me of our novel, so I decided to look into it.

The first thing I learned is that although humans have succeeded in injecting human stem cells into pig embryos and implanting the embryos in adult pigs, the embryos were then removed, meaning that we don’t have fully-grown real-life pigoons wandering around preparing to survive the apocalypse and terrorize lone surviving humans just yet- but we’re one step closer! This also means that they are not yet incredibly useful to us, as the organs are not developed and as of right now, have so many pig cells that they would be rejected by human bodies.

These hybrids, by the way, are referred to as “chimeras” (the term for any organism or tissue containing two or more sets of DNA) and a four-week old human-pig chimera embryo looks like this:

human-pig-chimeraFreaky, right? Although this is still in it’s early stages and it could take many years before the researchers are capable of creating functional human organs, I still find myself thinking to the distant future and wondering about the implications of this research. I’m not the only one- many of the articles I’ve read on this topic suggest diverse possibilities for what this research could lead to, whether optimistic or pessimistic, or a little bit of both. This article briefly speculates on whether human abilities that were suppressed during evolution could return in a different environment.  This article mentions public concern over whether the creatures could develop human brains, and what may happen if they were released into the wild- some of the exact issues we see raised in Oryx and Crake. This article suggests that human organs grown in pigs could one day be so cheap, safe and easily available that it would become common for doctors to replace human organs as we grow older, in order to extend human lifespans.

Reading these reactions and others reminds me that Atwood really did tap into realistic human hopes and fears- the places where many people’s concerns lie are often the same as those predicted within the novel. I guess we will have to wait and see what the future holds when it comes to this intriguing research.

Sources (besides those already linked to in the post):

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

https://www.britannica.com/topic/chimera-genetics

Megan Huff

 

 


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The Worst for the Better (Maybe?)

We all read book or seen movies with fantastic creatures that we wish could exist. Since the beginning of time the human imagination make some hybrid human or animal take life from legends or stories. Minotaur, kraken, Anzû, griffon, and even more. Now, around the world we are apt to recognize the variety of monster created by the imagination of humans. Is it the beginning of the creation of all those monsters by word of mouth it’s the fruit of the human desire to be able to play the god? Does the human being have all the resources possible today to be able to create his new forms of life? Yes and no. Human already create and release some genetic animals. They are not extravagant like in some book or movie but they are still modified for the vision of humans. Cows are already modified to produce more milk, dogs are mixed and transformed for a beauty image, some hypoallergenic animals are modified for families with allergies. If you like there are some genetic animals, you might not know:
The Featherless Chicken was crated in Israel. This prototype doesn’t grow feathers and is ecological. The scientific proclaim this bird to be cheap to raze and practical on time (no need to pluck). Unfortunately, the nature gives chicken feathers to help the skin and provide against parasite and weather conditions, the featherless chicken doesn’t get this protection.

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Glow in the dark animal? The first animal how got the ability to glow in the dark are stemmed from art. It was an albino rabbit developed by Eduard Kac in 2000. In 2011 scientific created cat who can glow to prevent feline immunodeficiency virus. Now we can find some worm and cow glowing at night too.

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The Popeye pig is a genetic modification created by Japanese who decide to make a pig able to be meat and vegetable. Those pigs got insert with spinach genes that provide saturated fat into unsaturated. Those pigs are grated very healthy but some people wonder why not only eat vegetable instead of mix some in meat. 1.jpg

After learning about what human already improve ( I think) in terms of science where do you think those modifications can go? Will we be able to completely create a new form of animals in the 21st century? Should human is in the wrong to provide or mortified animals?