The Calm before the Crisis

Water is one of the most important resources for human beings. Even though water makes up about 70% of the world, not all of it is safe for consumption. In fact, many people are deprived of any water source while others take the luxury of it. In the United States, it takes huge loads of water to supply over 300 million people and the usage can be extreme. In the article, Where the Water Goes, David Owen explores the origin of America’s water source of its people and how it may not last from over usage and extreme climate change. My question or discussion would be how can we make people aware of this issue before it’s too late?

For many people, they may not be aware of how extreme usage of water can be harmful in the long run. Water is being used without worry of not having it the next day. From the article, it states, “The amount of water we thought we had in that river system doesn’t exist” ( Page 2). This quote tells me that our sources for safe water is depleting and even I didn’t know it until I read this article. For this, we need to take measures, literally, to ensure that our water source can hold up for the future generation. From Aram’s blog post, I learned a possible strategy is to turn off the running water when it is not needed. This should be encouraged in most public places such as public restrooms, official buildings, schools etc.

The Villain Inside a Superhero

Doctors are said to do the works of a miracle by treating an ill patient back to health. They fight with death every day to not let any patients slip away. A doctor generally decides what treatment should be given to a patient. The article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” describes the time during hurricane Katrina when Memorial doctors had to euthanize the sickest patients while the ‘not so ill’ patients were being evacuated. It raises many questions in this complex situation- how much control should a doctor hold over his or her patients? Should they command the death of a patient or let them die over time? Acknowledging that the hospital resources were getting limited due to hurricane Katrina, it is not easy to pick an extreme side.

The doctors who “…had hastened the deaths of some patients…”(Fink, 1) argued that they had no choice but to calculate which patients in the unit valued the most. The situation gets more controversial when the article states, “Several[of the patients] were almost certainly not near death when they were injected…” (Fink, 2). This tells me that the doctors and nurses simply tried to get rid of patients to make their work easier to handle. In this case, I feel like the doctors should have prioritized the most vulnerable patients so that they could receive resources faster. Evacuating those patients who are able to walk delayed the time for others who were surviving on limited resources. I acknowledge that the doctors and the nurses had the intention to ease their pain but it does not seem ethical to their service, especially when they had the choice to evacuate them first. It makes me disagree with the doctors’ actions when they addressed the terminally ill patients as ‘hopeless cases’ and ‘turkeys’ (Fink, 3). Their views degrade their beings and contradict their careers as doctors.

I think terminally ill patients should not receive lethal injections unless it is the very last hope. In the article, it states, “… The Coast Guard offered to evacuate more patients, but those in charge at Memorial declined” (6). This tells me that help was there to relocate patients in huge medical needs but their lives were considered the least valuable in society. While hurricane Katrina may contribute to natural selection, doctors should not have the power to contribute to artificial selection in terms of which patient should be evacuated.

A fish? A human? It’s a Mermaid!

Myths have been used to tell creative stories and then passed on to generations. A myth like a mermaid, a human with fish like body, can be seen in many books and movies. For example, The Little Mermaid movie may be considered a movie intended for children but the messages conveyed are enriched with the relationship between humans and the sea. Seeing figures like Ariel as well as Mami Wata, another figure referred to as the Goddess of the Sea, it makes me wonder how significant the image of a mermaid can be.
Mermaids seem to frequently appear like women with beauty and power. They represent the sea and its creatures as a whole. In The Little Mermaid, we see that Ariel tries to hide from the prince after her first interaction with him. As curious as she can be, it seems like there is a barrier between her and the human world. That raises a question. Why does the image or myth of mermaid still exist? Well, humans invent things to improve their lifestyles and develop their society. However, their inventions may lead to consequences like water pollution, deforestation etc. So, I think myths like Mami Wata encourage people to appreciate the sea and believe in becoming one with the sea.
After watching a short documentary about Mami Wata by 34thState, many people expressed their respect not only to the figure of Mami Wata but also the sea where she is said to reside. Mami Wata is also significant in representing women who are generally degraded by society. I wonder what makes it significant that it’s a mermaid. In other words, Mami Wata could have possibly be named ‘Mami Nature’ but the name specifically focuses on the huge body of water. From my thinking, there is this beauty in mermaids that draw people’s attention. Many people want to be connected to such power and they make stories that connect to them. It is said that Mami Wata comes to your dreams or uses telekinesis to contact ‘the chosen one.’ On the other hand, we see Ariel getting married to a prince who was born human. They are told from different parts of the world and yet they have a similar fusion. These two concepts relate to show that humans can live in harmony with the sea. It may not be as important whether mermaids or Mami Wata exist. I think what’s important is how their stories can impact the attitude humans have towards nature.


Should Humans be Selfish or Selfless?

Nature gives out its resources without expecting anything in return. With its selfless act, the ecosystem flourishes with beauty. However, there are those who seem to usurp a bit of nature for their gains. Some might argue that its the way of developing a successful civilization while others may use the system of education to preserve the beauty of nature. From the story, ‘Sea Story,’ it brings up a discussion to what extent humans can use nature for their selfish motives.

We have a protagonist, Harold, who shows love and passion for the sea that he grew up in. His countless visits to the beach give us readers an illustration that the water was his friend and shared lots of memories. However, the memories seem to have dissolved when he experiences love for the first time- more like one-sided love. He writes many letters to Laura who seem to be unresponsive “for the address she had given him was Scottish and she was in the Caribbean. ” This shows that Laura does not truly feel the same way back for our protagonist. I believe AS Byatt creates this setting to have it all connect back to the sea.

To make sure he gets his way to Laura, he decides to drop a glass bottle. Here, his intention is selfish, not thinking of what would happen during its potential journey to the Caribbeans by sea. Also, I find a contrast between his past and present self. He grew up collecting bottles and ends up throwing one of his own. Because of his action, “…a green turtle which mistook it[bottle cap] for a glass eel. When this turtle choked and died, the cap was picked from its remains by another turtle, which also choked…a hagfish lunged at it[the ring], swallowed it and choked.” As readers, we see that many marine animals are starting to suffer one after the other. It shows that a small issue can create a huge impact. In this case, the story ends up losing baby birds, two turtles and eel etc.

When Harold seems to give up on Laura, the story concludes his marriage to another woman, and “…strode along Filey Beach collecting plastic bags and debris.” AS Byatt could have allowed the readers to portray Harold as the bad guy for the marines. She is recognising the reality that we, humans can give up on our selfish acts and give in to selfless acts. She also shows one should let go of their selfish act and allow life flow like the body of water.