Addressing Concerns and Getting Involved

This week on the writing course I’m taking, there was an assignment asking us to make a list of things that concern us.  These can often be a good source of material to write about.  But I wanted to look at this a bit differently.

I was never much of an activist when I was younger.  I guess I’m still not very actively an activist now, either.  However, there are some things I’m concerned about that I wish I could make a difference with.  And I do plan on doing some things to help.  I think it’s important to be more active with our world.

The Environment

Climate change, pollution, deforestation, desertification, and other environmental problems are a major concern of mine.  These issues are being taken care of at such a slow pace that at this rate they’ll never improve.

Some things that can be done include recycling, walking or riding a bicycle instead of driving (or taking public transit), volunteering to clean up a local park or your neighbourhood, buying a hybrid car, installing solar panels, and more.  Even planting a few extra plants and trees around your home could help reduce carbon dioxide, even if it is a tiny amount.  If more people did these kinds of things, carbon dioxide emissions would decrease, landfills wouldn’t fill up so quickly, we’d use less oil, and have a smaller reliance on fossil fuels for electricity (this doesn’t apply for people whose power is derived from renewable resources).

Governments should get involved, too.  They can encourage people to do the above, but also put more money into researching alternative fuels, protecting forests, cutting back on waste, and more.

Science Education

It seems to me that science has become a bit unpopular in some countries.  Unfortunately, science is what’s needed for health, engineering, agriculture, and more.  There’s been a dangerous trend of not getting children vaccinated, resulting in an increase in measles and pertussis, both of which can be fatal in infants.  People are also very uneducated about climate change and evolution because of some aspects of organised religion.  It seems I read about some state in the US trying to deny these sciences even exist, and want to alter them in their schools’ textbooks.  That’s a disservice to children.

People and governments need to be more educated about science.  It’s extremely important.  Without a proper science education, a country get fall behind, have less innovation, and in the end, be less productive.  Take an interest in science.  I know I’ll be showing my daughter how wonderful and enjoyable it is.

Political Childishness

That’s how I describe politics.  It’s nothing but little children squabbling.  I can’t believe how some leaders behave, not caring about the welfare of their own people, more concerned about lining their own pockets and living luxuriously.

My advice is for governments to grow up.  Start accepting responsibility and act like adults.  Treat people fairly, treat other countries fairly, and stop being the little brats you are.  Some of you world leaders make me sick.

Equality

Everyone should be equal.  Racial equality is still not there yet.  In many countries, there are still problems.  Gender equality isn’t there yet, either.  There are still problems with income, education, and basic rights for women.  They should be equal.  Homosexuality shouldn’t be an issue, either.  It’s today’s civil rights movement.  Gay men should be able to marry.  Lesbians should be able to marry.  What’s the big deal?  I can’t understand why so many people feel they have the right to dictate how gay people can live their lives.  They just want to live with the person they love.  Gay marriage won’t destroy traditional marriage.  Actually, it’s the straight people who act like asses towards their spouses that are ruining traditional marriage.  I wouldn’t be surprised if gay marriage was more stable and healthy.  And finally, religious equality.  There should be no favouritism for a certain religion.  There’s a lot of discrimination against minority religions, as well as the non-religious in many countries.  Religion shouldn’t dictate laws, either.  When religion starts dictating laws, that’s when intolerance against other religions begins in the realm of law enforcement.  Just recently, a Christian woman was sentence to death for simply being Christian when her father was Muslim.  Ridiculous.

Many of these issues are nothing new to most of you.  They’re constantly being talked about in the news.  I guess this all boils down to people being better than they are.  People need to be better to the Earth, other nations, and other people.  I don’t like what I see going on in the world, but it seems that this kind of thing has always been happening.  Are humans just selfish, stupid, arrogant animals?  It seems that way.  I think we can be better.

I will teach my daughter how beautiful the world is.  She will spend time in nature, looking at animals and plants.  She’ll also learn about different cultures, and how different people can be unique.  She’ll learn to be tolerant of others, whether it’s based on religion, race, gender, or sexual preference.  She’ll also see how important science is for the world to improve.  Even though she’s only two years old, she already understands it’s polite to say “please” and “thank you” and to apologise when she hurt someone.  I will teach her a lot more.

I hope a lot of you are trying to make the world a better place.

Book Review – Xenocide

xenocideXenocide

Author: Orson Scott Card

Series: The Ender Saga #3

Genre: Science Fiction

Published 1991

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Goodreads Description

The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright.

On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Starways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, and a second xenocide seems inevitable.

Review

Xenocide is the third book in the Ender Saga series by Orson Scott Card.  I enjoyed the first two books, but how is this third one?  Well, I had a completely different impression.

We return to Lusitania and join Ender with the colony, the pequeninos and the Hive Queen once again, but they are also joined by Valentine.  This takes place many years after Speaker for the Dead, so all the kids are grown up, except Milo.  Milo had gone out to meet Valentine, so he hasn’t aged a bit.  Ender has married Novinha, as well.  Ender has changed.  He seems so much less of the Ender we got to know before, and seems less effective.  Valentine is much the same, and seems stronger than Ender now.  Milo, with his severe injuries, is often very dark and broody.  Novinha is cold and distant.  The kids are grown up, with Grego still an asshole, Ela extremely strongminded about her job and trying to solve the descolada problem, Quara is extremely stubborn, Quim has become a priest, and Olhado has become the most stable of them all.  Jane is back, and now her life is on the line.

On the world of Path, a girl, Han Qing-jao, one of the godspoken, and her father, Han Fei-tzu, are two of the most brilliant minds on their world, and they have to suffer a form of OCD if they think anything against their gods.  Enter Si Wang-mu, a lower class girl, who plays a major part of this story.  The cast of characters is fairly large, and I didn’t really like many of them.  Ender just wasn’t Ender anymore.  Quara, Miro, Ela, and Grego were difficult to endure.  Qing-jao was so incredibly stupid, it was hard to believe she’s intelligent.  I really liked Wang-mu, though.

The major problem I had with this book is that there was far too much philosophising.  Honestly, who in the world would spend half of their time speaking in terms of philosophy?  It made the story drag on so slowly.  The dialogue was incredibly unnatural.  People do not speak like that.  In the first book, Ender was such an engaging character, and he continued that in the second book, but with this book, he had become boring.  He, Valentine, Miro, and Qing-jao constantly spoke philosophically, and it made it difficult to read.  The first half of the book was actually boring.  Not much happened other than talk.  No one seemed to speak like humans.  I do understand that Ender, Valentine, Miro, and Qing-jao are all brilliant people, but even the gifted speak normally.  Did I mention that I can’t stand Qing-jao?  Her intelligence was apparent, but she was so closed-minded and lacked any kind of wisdom.  She seemed to be an imbecile to me.  Wang-mu was wise beyond her years, though.  She was the best character in the entire book.

The setting was not as vividly described as before.  I just didn’t feel I was into it so strongly.  We only saw a handful of places, though.  I didn’t get the same feeling of Lusitania as before, and Path was confined to the Han home mostly.  I could fill in how I thought it looked, though.

With all sorts of pressure to find a way to defeat the descolada, I felt that the pacing of the story didn’t give me a sense of urgency.  The unnatural dialogue, far too much philosophy, and too many characters with extreme personalities made it a much more difficult book to read that I’d expected.  It’s intelligent, I’ll give it that.  But it doesn’t have feeling behind.  Thankfully, the last half of the book redeemed it somewhat.  Get past the first half, and you should be okay.  If you like philosophy, this may be the book for you.  Overall, I give this a generous 3 out of 5 stars.  That’s because of the second half.