Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Windup Girl--Part 2

To a certain extent I believe in the Gaia hypothesis, that the earth is a living system. At the very least, I believe that everything affects everything else. I believe that we all need to live our lives with an awareness of how our actions or inactions affect the world around us. Lately, I have been looking at that paradigm in terms of air pollution regulations. Paolo Bacigalupi in The Windup Girl looks at the interconnectedness with regard to genetic engineering:

The symbol for the Environment Ministry is the eye of a tortoise, for the long view—the understanding that nothing comes cheap or quickly without hidden cost.
Lately our weather has been unusual. A local meteorologist said that in all the decades he has been forecasting weather, he has never seen anything like we experienced this summer. Similarly, I have been working on a project with an individual who is expert in an aspect of air pollution monitoring, and I also have been trying to get a pulse on the environment through Facebook and newsfeeds. Studies indicate that air pollution may contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and even diabetes. Have we gone beyond the tipping point? Besides rethinking our housing, transportation, diets, and occupations; do we need to rethink our physical bodies?

The “Windup Girl” refers to a genetically engineered person created as a servant. In the story a scientist argues that she represents the future of humankind:

Our environment has changed. If we wish to remain at the top of our food chain, we must evolve. Or we will refuse, and go the way of the dinosaurs and Felis domesticus. Evolve or die. It has always been nature’s guiding principle…

This is all very creepy and yet very interesting to me.

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