Eminent Introduction

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done. -Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart is an extremely influential and inspiring person. She tackled many obstacles in her life, and she is looked up to by many. I am drawn to her because we share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses as gifted learners, and our wants and fears are also similar. For example, we are both independent, stubborn, ambitious and determined. I aspire to emulate her levels of resilience and bravery. We are also similar in terms of upbringing. She had a good home life, and her parents were always right beside her to support her decisions. Although my passions are not the same as Amelia’s, I am inspired by the choices she made in her life and the impact she has left on the world. Amelia exemplifies my own goals as a TALONS learner. She is extremely ambitious, creative and determined. She’s known what she’s wanted from a young age, and she is prepared to do anything to achieve that goal while also maintaining a strong leadership position and being a good role model. There are some barriers between Amelia and I, such as the where and when she grew up, and the standards and norms at the time. However, these impediments are not so big that there would be no way for me to put myself in her shoes. Amelia has contributed greatly to both aviation and women’s rights movements. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the USA, which was a huge accomplishment. She also created a clothing line for women that sold clothes deemed as ‘men’s wear’ at the time, such as pants and baggy shirts. She will be remembered in hundreds of years because of all of the records she set, but also the incredible influence she had on young girls with big dreams. Amelia faced many obstacles on her rise to eminence, such as being looked down upon because of who she wanted to be and how she portrayed herself. She cut her hair short and wore pants often, which tackled many stereotypes in place at the time. She was told she couldn’t do all of these things, such as dressing ‘unladylike’ and flying a plane, but that only made her want to do them more. Amelia is worth learning about, as her passion can inspire others to follow their dreams. From learning about her, some wisdom we can gain is to always follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. Amelia once said “the most effective way do it, is to do it.” This shows a little bit about her beliefs, and it is also something we should take away from learning about her. Amelia is one of a kind and very unique. There were only a few other female pilots in the world alive at the same time as her, but none of them were able to accomplish what she did. She is someone that I wish to be able to emulate in the future, and I believe that others should take note and emulate her passion as well.

Single Stories

People are influenced everyday by their experiences, whether that means the people they’re surrounded by, the country they live in, or the societal norms and standards. As a child, you are constantly surrounded by your parents, which can cause their values and beliefs to be projected onto you. So, from a young age, we tend to believe in solely what we have been taught by others, such as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. But at what point does that change? As you are growing up, you become curious about everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do the leaves change in the fall? Why is my skin lighter than my best friend’s? These questions are answered by individuals, such as your parents or your teachers. But because everyone has their own values and beliefs, the answers you receive from each different person can vary. To be able to get a complete answer, and not a single story, you need to know how to view things from different perspectives. Obviously, you can’t obtain everyone’s life experiences. However, you can put yourself in other people’s shoes, and try to see life through their tinted glasses. This would be an ideal situation. But unfortunately, a lot of people are too stubborn to consider that their perspectives are anything except ‘the right way of thinking’. This is why stereotypes and biases are formed; because people are too stubborn to consider other ideas, beliefs and values. “Show people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” To begin to reject this idea of a single story, and that people can simply fit into boxes, we need to have an open mind. We need to share our perspectives without imposing them on others, and we need to be able to look at points of views that seem completely opposite to ours. We can never obtain every perspective. But in order to embrace our differences, we need to see the most complete story we can get.

The Handsmaid’s Tale

In The Handsmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, while Offred and Ofglen are out shopping, they are approached by a group of tourists from Japan. One of the tourists asks the pair if they are happy. Offred responds by murmuring ‘yes, we are very happy.’ (37) Offred impressed me in this scene because inside, she is longing to tell the truth; to tell the intrigued tourists about all of the suffering they’re going through. But instead, she decides to lie, and Ofglen says nothing at all. This shows that Offred prioritizes maintaining a certain reputation in her community over the chance to educate the rest of the world about the hardships they go through every single day. However, maintaining a certain image is not Offred’s only motivation; her safety could have been jeopardized had she told the truth. This shows that Offred is extremely strong and resilient, and even though she wants something really bad, she knows that it is in her best interest to keep quiet. Offred is facing many internal and external conflicts in this scene. Two of the external conflicts she’s facing are the customs of the society she’s living in and the Japanese tourists/ interpreters. The tourists are trying to force Offred and Ofglen to talk and pose for pictures, which is against the rules. The people enforcing the rules are the Eyes, and ‘most of the interpreters are Eyes, or so it’s said.’ (36) The internal conflict Offred is facing is wether or not she should tell the truth in the hopes of freeing herself and the other Handsmaids. If she tells the truth, it could benefit her and everyone living in this society in the future. But at the same time, it could compromise her safety and the safety of Ofglen. This is one of Offred’s biggest fears in this scene. Over the course of the first third of the novel, Offred’s character development is very realistic. She has started to do certain things that are forbidden, such as “dating” Nick, one of the Guardians, and sneaking out of her room at night. However, she still has not mustered up enough strength to challenge the system or make a change in any way, and her fears of being caught are holding her back from her relationship with Nick. Although I believe that Offred ‘s character has acted well so far, I don’t think she is someone we should look up to. Although she has a good mindset and she wants to make a change, the only thing she has done to challenge authority so far is to get into an illegal relationship. There are many different things she could do to demonstrate her disagreement with the way things are working currently, some of which would most likely be more effective. Instead of breaking the law, she could gather a group of people who want to make a difference and get them all to revolt. More change is going to come from a community protesting than a couple illicitly making out in the hallway late at night. I have faced conflicts similar to Offred’s, though not nearly as dangerous and life threatening. For example, there are times when I have a couple hours worth of homework I have to complete. However, my dance teachers are expecting me to attend dance class for four hours, and my parents are expecting me to help with chores around the house and get a minimum of nine hours of sleep. All of these expectations can be contradictory, which is similar to the situation Offred is in. Offred handles the situation by doing what she believes will benefit her the most overall, which is to keep quiet and conform to societies expectations. I believe that if I were in her place, I would do the same thing. I would probably be too scared to make a commotion, and I would fear that the consequences of my actions would be too much to handle. However, I would probably tart to gather others who seem to want to change the system in the hopes of gathering an army strong enough to overthrow the current governmental system, controlled by the Commander.

Emil

All of your actions towards others, either positive or negative, can have big effects on your life in the future. This is a piece of wisdom that Morely learns in Stuart McLean’s ‘Emil’, a story about a homeless man’s encounters with Dave and Morely’s family. From the moment Morely meets Emil, she is empathetic of his situation. He is living on the streets and is being looked down upon by society. Morely often offers Emil money, but he only takes what he needs; he often says “I have enough. I have enough.” (111) This shows that Emil isn’t selfish; if anything, he is the exact opposite. When he wins the lottery, he first thing he does is donate over three quarters of it to the Heart of Christ Religious Supplies and Fax Services. Then, with all of the money he has left, he pays back everyone who has regularly given him money, including Morely. However, Emil gives no money to Dave, Morely’s husband, because Dave rarely helps Emil and often yells at him. Dave says “he’s making me crazy. He’s driving away business.” (109) Dave and Morely’s children, Sam and Stephanie, also believe that Morely shouldn’t be giving Emil money, which shows that Morely is the only one in her family who wants to help and believe in Emil. This is another reason why Emil gives Morely money, but holds little things such as overdue library books over Dave’s head. Eventually, Morely ends up with five hundred dollars from Emil, and Dave ends up owing Emil seven dollars. This shows that the action of choosing to give or not to give money to Emil greatly effects both Dave and Morely’s lives, something which Morely is sure to be aware of as well.

Star Wars: A New Hope

The most effective lens to view the film Star Wars: A New Hope from is the gender lens because of the many discrepancies between the male and the female characters. In this movie, there were only three female characters: Princess Leia, Luke’s aunt, and a girl at the bar in the cantina. The girl at the bar was only on the screen for a second or two before the scene changed, and she had no speaking lines. Luke’s aunt died within the first 30 minutes, and she was only shown making food and giving food before she died. Princess Leia was often involved in fights, but she was usually captured immediately and only fought back a couple of times. She was referred to as ‘Princess’ more than ‘Leia’, and she was labeled ‘too trusting’ by a group of men. She was portrayed as helpless, in a sense, and she needed to be saved by a male protagonist. She was looked down upon by everyone else, as shown when Hans said that the group should “avoid female advice” to get out of the Death Star sooner. Watching this film through the gender lens helped me see three prominent things I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. The first was how the word ‘Jedi’ was labeled as ‘his’. This implies that only men can be Jedi, or that there are very few, if any, female Jedi. The next thing I noticed was that the few women in the film usually only spoke after being spoken to first. Leia had a couple of moments where she was the one to talk before any of the men, but most of her lines were preceded by Luke or Hans. The third thing that stood out to me was how after Leia, Luke and Hans were rescued from the garbage compacter, Leia immediately fixed her hair and her dress. This perpetuates the stereotype that all women care about is their physical appearance, especially while surrounded by men. After viewing this film through the gender lens, I can see that it might be about how women are often portrayed as damsels in distress who need to be saved by a strong male character. The whole reason why Leia was rescued in the first place was because Luke thought she was pretty. Two of Hans Solo’s lines in the film were “I don’t know if I like her or if I want to kill her”, and “I’m not in it for you, Princess”. This implies that he wasn’t rescuing her to do the right thing, but rather because she was pretty and rich. This film could also be about how men are often viewed as the ‘stronger sex’ and are stereotypically stronger, tougher, more courageous, etc. In the film, after Luke’s aunt and uncle died, Luke didn’t cry. Instead, he went straight to Obi-Wan and told him he wanted to fight against the people who killed his aunt and uncle. This perpetuates the stereotype that men don’t cry, and instead should turn their sadness into anger. In conclusion, certain films viewed universally today perpetuate stereotypes typically associated with men and women, and therefore can be considered sexist films.

Confederation Speech

Hello. My name is Mercy Anne Coles, and I am here on behalf of Prince Edward Island to discuss federalism in Confederation. 

First off, I would like to address the political deadlock that we are currently stuck in. We believe that not every colony should have to confederate, and can decide whether or not it would benefit them. Every colony has its own needs, wants and fears. Those should not be overlooked just because the majority wants to confederate. Prince Edward Island, for example, is an economically stable colony. We have good trade relations with other colonies, and if we were to confederate, Rep by pop would not be a good thing for us as we are a small colony of only 80,857 people as of 1861. 

On the topic of majority, we believe that double majority is not the way to pass bills. Canada east and Canada west get fair representation, however the maritimes do not get any. Also, double majority is one of the biggest causes of political deadlock. We believe that a better solution would be to count all of the votes from each colony and combine them, giving one single result. 

Next, I would like to talk about loose fish in our parliament. These people, who don’t have their own opinions, are one of the main causes of political deadlock. While we do believe that confederation would be a solution to this, we also feel that there are other ways to handle the situation. For example, a voting system could be put in place where all of the colonies are represented, and a majority vote would result in a passing of a bill instead of a double majority.

As for the great coalition, we believe that it would be in everyone’s best interest to not form a coalition. The French and the English in Canada east and west, respectively, do not get along. Although it would solve political deadlock due to double majority, we believe that the pros would not outweigh the cons.

I have mentioned some solutions to political deadlock above, but by far the most affective in our opinion would be to become independent colonies. It would solve political deadlock, and would mean Rep by pop would no longer be an issue. 

Hydrogen Sulphide Inquiry

Hello! Here is a link to my video presentation. I will be talking about my inquiry question, ‘What effects would a massive hydrogen sulphide explosion have on the Hawaiian islands and the life there?’.

War of 1812 Inquiry

How did the war of 1812 affect the native Americans in what we now call Canada and the United States?

I chose this question because, like with my previous inquiry assignment, I was interested to see this war from the perspective of the native Americans. This war may have seemed pointless (it wasn’t, but it might come off that way at first), as the border between Canada (British at the time) and the United States stayed the same. However, the native Americans fought on both sides of the war, which makes their story much more interesting. More than 10,000 First Nations warriors fought at some point and most participated in nearly every battle. This is extremely important, because it shows how loyal the native Americans were to either the Canadians (British) or the Americans. For simplicity, I will be referring to what we now call Canada as Britain, since they were a British colony.

In 1814, Britain and the US started talking about a possible peace treaty. The British were pushing for indigenous land, and the Americans, fearing another war, decided that giving the land to the British was not a good idea. Instead, the decided to give the indigenous people the same amount of land as they had before the war. This basically meant that all 10,000 First Nation people who fought in the war did not gain anything, which goes to show that even though they were extremely loyal to the Americans and the British, they were not treated with the same respect.

Let’s go back to the beginning. One of the main reasons that the native Americans decided to fight in the war of 1812 was to secure British support. They wanted to go to war against the United States, as they were being treated unfairly. The Americans were spreading into indigenous territory, and the indigenous people wanted to put a stop to it. The indigenous people wanted weapons, artillery, troops and munition from the British to stop the colonizing of Americans into First Nations territory. Tecumseh was the indigenous military leader that made the decision of siding with the British in the first place. However, once he was killed in battle by the Americans, the Native American coalition was broken up. Some indigenous people made peace with the Americans, while some continued to fight for the British. This caused a lot of tension, as the indigenous people were fighting each other on opposite sides of the war.

After the war, settlers came into upper and lower Canada. These settlers wanted to cut down forests for land so they could farm. More land was needed, and fast. Britain did the easiest thing they could think of; take First Nations land. The First Nations people agreed, because they believed that since they helped in the war, they were still entitled to help if and when they needed it. They trusted the government to protect them from the Americans who they still believed were the sole people trying to steal their land. 

Eventually, the native Americans realized what was happening and distanced themselves from the British. The war of 1812 led to many other important events, such as the Creek war, where the US won against the Creek Native Americans. The US negotiated over two hundred treaties that took indigenous land away from the rightful owners.

This is extremely historically significant because the war was extremely devastating for the First Nations people at the time, and is still one of the predominant reasons why First Nation land is scarce today. Without this war, there may have been a much more violent war between the First Nations and the Americans.

Ecological Footprint

Water use: 95

Clothing: 125

Stuff: 38

Shelter: -10

Transportation: 300

Fun: 130

Food: 135

Total: 8.13 hectares

My plan

My total score for my ecological footprint was 8.13 hectares. Compared to Leah’s (7.25), Jerome’s (8.35), Kimi’s (12.4), and Elaine’s (7.45), I think I am around the average mark. However, this does not mean that I thought the number shouldn’t be lower. When I first completed my calculations, I thought I must have made a mistake. 8.13 hectares! That’s a really large area! However, upon asking around, I found out that others had similar numbers. It seems illogical to me that one person could occupy that much space. So below are ten of the things that made the biggest impact on my total.

  1. Taking showers longer than 10 minutes 
  2. Producing a shoebox full of garbage every day
  3. Travelling with my family in a car
  4. Spending more than one hour per day in a vehicle
  5. Using a medium sized car most often
  6. Owning two separate cars
  7. Spending more than one hour on a screen
  8. Eating some food grown elsewhere
  9. Eating some foods grown with pesticides 
  10. Hardly wearing 1/2 of the clothes that I own

Before completing this package, I had no idea how much my everyday actions were impacting the way I live and the space I occupy. I decided that I would attempt to change seven of the above contributors. The ones I chose were: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I chose these because they seemed the most possible. The others were all surrounding travel. I take pubic transit as much as possible, but I have extracurriculars that require me to be taken by car, wether that be because of a time crunch, too far of a distance, or there just aren’t any transit lines near where I need to go. 

I chose number one because I often take long showers, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes (depending on how tired I am). I also often listen to music in the shower, which probably contributes to the amount of time spent. I decided that the best thing to do to make sure I don’t spend too long in the shower is to set an alarm that will stop my music after seven minutes. The goal is that I will become so annoyed or so bored that I will get out of the shower. 

I chose number two because I recently did some research on the effects that trash and landfills have on the planet and was extremely surprised (not in a good way). I collected the amount of trash I produced in one day and found that it barely fit in a shoebox. I asked my parents to buy less non compostable packages with their products (food, clothes, etc), I bought a reusable straw and cup, and I made separate boxes for our recycling, compost and garbage to be put in each room. However, I have yet to implement any of these strategies. 

I chose number five because I am often driven to activities in my moms car, which is a medium sized car. This is usually because my dad (who has a small car) isn’t home, but sometimes both cars are I the garage and we decide to take the bigger one for basically no reason. I am going to try to get my dad to drive me more often, or to get my mom to drive me but in my dads car.

I chose number seven because I spend a lot of time on screens. Wether it be for homework, free time or just checking the time, not an hour goes by where I don’t look at my phone some how. I have a few camping trips coming up where I won’t be taking my phone, so I think this would be a good time to start slowly reducing the amount of time I spend staring at a screen. Obviously, I have to complete my homework. However, during my free time I could read a book, or take a walk.

I chose number eight and nine because l feel like they would be fairly easy to do, and also extremely beneficial to my health. My mom eats mostly organic foods and does not easy any food produced with pesticides, so I can match up my diet with hers for a few weeks and see how much that positively affects my footprint and my health.

I chose number 10 because, when I recently went down to Seattle to go shopping with my family, I bought a lot of clothes. Once I got home, I realized that I barely had any room in my closet! I decided I needed to sort through my clothes and I make piles of clothes I wear often, clothes I haven’t worn in a while but wear sometimes, and clothes I forgot I even owned. I am planning on donating the pile of clothes that I don’t  want or that don’t fit to a non profit organization. 

Reflection

The easiest for me to implement were number 5, 8, 9 and 10. Number eight and nine were surprisingly easy for me to do. I completely cut out pesticides from my diet for a month, and I only ate organic foods for a week and a half. I feel like this was easy because of my moms diet. Since she eats all organ aid and pesticide free foods, it was much easier for me to follow. I think that if she didn’t eat like that, it would be a lot harder as I would have to buy, learn how to cook and become used to all new foods. 

Number ten was easy for me because I enjoy sorting and organizing things. I organized my whole closet and donated any clothes I didn’t need to the Salvation Army. I also gathered a few things from around the house that aren’t used, and I even brought a few cans of food with me.

The hardest for me to implement were number 1, 2 and 7. Number one was hard for me as it was a big change to suddenly cut my showering time in more than half. I decided the best thing to do would be to start off by taking a really short, two minute shower to get used to the idea. However, I realized quickly that I would need more than two minutes to wash my hair. Once I got out of the shower, it had been nine and a half minutes. An improvement, but not a big one. Over the next few weeks, I managed to shorten my time to six minutes if I use less conditioner (less to wash out). 

Number 2 was hard because of all of the garbage needed to make a single meal. I started going shopping with my parents and making sure they bought in bulk to reduce packaging. I also bought a package of five reusable straws, one for everyone in my family (and an extra just in case). I realized how many of the things I buy are individually packaged, so I started to buy less things such as granola bars to snack on and more things like big boxes of crackers. After three weeks, I still could not fit everything into a cup. The shoebox was only half full, but the cup overflowed. 

Number seven was probably the hardest for me. I calculated that, in an average day, I spend five hours on my phone. I managed to cut that time in half for some days, but once again, homework isn’t something you can get rid of. I read three books over the past month in my free time (they took me around two hours each, so that greatly reduced my screen time). I only spent more than five hours on a screen once, and the vast majority of it was spent working on a PowerPoint presentation.

Some of the obstacles I encountered were my dad not being home for two weeks (therefore his smaller car wasn’t there). I had to use my moms car, which is a four door, eight seat car. Another obstacle I encountered was having a lot of projects and assignments that required a device. This increased my screen usage significantly. The last big obstacle I encountered was losing track of time. While trying to take a short shower, I would sometimes be lost in thought and not realize that my music had gone off (the signal for me to get out of the shower). This caused me to stay in for a minute or two longer than I should have once in a while.

In the future, I am hoping to do multiple things. I will continue to take shorter showers as much as possible, I will buy in bulk more often to reduce packaging, I will try to use my dads car more often than my moms (and use transit as much as possible), I will stay off my phone (for the most part) during my free time, I will continue to not eat pesticides and avoid non organic foods as much as I can, and I will collect old clothes and “stuff” from my family to donate to the Salvation Army.