Honestly, I have never been too concerned with environmental stability or anything regarding the sort. I recycle and turn the lights off and do things that everyone else does, but I haven't had any urge to go an extra step further than that. After watching Wasteland and learning about Vik Muniz's collaborative effort to help bring attention to these recycling centers in Jardim Gramacho, Brazil and just as importantly the people who work there called pickers, my understanding of underlying themes in Witi Ihimaera's Whale Rider and understanding of Loyola's mission to be green has further developed.
The documentary initially has no real hints to what is going on. There is just talk about a famous artist, Vik Muniz, and his goal of contributing by doing something for his native land. He goes and there's more of a general idea that he is going to do something about all the recycling centers, but when you meet the people and hear about their background is when it becomes real. The revelation was that it wasn't just affecting the environment or that the landfill was the largest landfill in the world, it was that all these people are so affected by it and that they are contributing by recycling and all on their own initiative. Even if they are paid, the government doesn't even recognize them and yet they work to recycle and separate the trash from recyclables.
This resonates with Whale Rider on the same level. A group of people who are ignored and yet they are passionate about their culture and protecting their environment. After reoccurring environmental themes throughout the book, watching Wasteland seemed to speak on the same personal level. The resounding idea of how when you have a negative impact on the environment, you not only hurt the ecosystem you hurt yourself and the people around it. This evident truth has given me a clearer insight toward the reality and the importance of Loyola's mission to be green as well as tying essential themes together.
Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" revolves around a wall that separates two neighbors, and yet they build it up, because, "Good fences make good neighbors," (Frost.27) And yet it is evident that the something that doesn't love a wall is nature itself. The wall is unnatural and nature is trying to break it down and yet the ones separating themselves are the people. The separation between them is unnatural and a similar theme in Whale Rider is how through time and misunderstanding there was an unnatural separation between the people and nature.
In "Accident, Mass. Ave." by Jill McDonough, the whole beginning experience, emotion is the mentality of self over all. The two in the accident are yelling at one another only thinking about what happened to themselves and their possessions. In the moment they realize nothing happened and they have recognition of each other as human beings there is a revelation and a mutual apology without saying sorry. This lines up perfectly with Whale Rider when everyone unites with a common goal and with consideration for each other. Whites, Maoris, police officers, and even gang members, they all realize how much more important each other are and their connection with humanity rather than the connection of personal status or disposition.
Frances E. W. Harper tells a story with complete parallel to Whale Rider's story of Kahu. "Learning to Read" reveals a completely unjust action of depriving someone because of a factor they cannot change. Whether it be race or gender the two stories reflect one another, and likewise with the same passion and drive Kahu and the narrator or "Learning to Read" still learn and accomplish what they're actively being told they can't.
Finally, is "The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education" which reflects on the topic of cultural change, the idea of what can they do to modernize and yet keep the same structure and rigidity. This the exact change in Whale Rider as well as a change I see on out Campus as well. The question is constantly there when culture is morphing as fast as it does now. The answer resides in appreciation and understanding of those around you and respect for ideas other than one's own. This is the attitude on Loyola's campus and is the major shift that takes place at the end of Whale Rider.