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Ulery, 1 Michael Ulery Mrs. Misch English 1305 November 8, 2017 Repercussions of playing God? Michelangelo’s “The creation of Adam” depicts God’s formation of the first man. Many people can see its elements of beauty, life, and creation put into a simple painting. However what happens when the people shown in this painting take on the ro
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  Ulery, 1 Michael Ulery Mrs. Misch English 1305 November 8, 2017 Repercussions of playing God? Michelangelo’s   “The creation of Adam” depicts God’s formation of the first man. Many people can see its elements of beauty, life, and creation put into a simple painting. However what happens when the people shown in this painting take on the role of God? A deviantart artist created a piece in the likeness of the great painter before him to answer this question which he dubbed “Preservation” . He replaced God’s hand with  a black, corrupt hand holding a charred factory that smolders in its own ashes, extending towards a hand full of lush greenery that has just begun the transition towards mirroring the derelict scenery covered in rot and poison. The artist portrays the insatiable march of human progress, the already irreversible damage to the environment that humans have caused, and its innate destructive future. When you turn on the TV or see an ad on the internet you always see the newest and latest version of a product, companies cry and force this idea of progress in every item they showcase; but at what cost was this progress obtained? How many trees or acres of land were turned into a metallic beast bellowing toxicity into the sky in order to produce a product slightly better than the last, the artist’s depiction of our world gives  the answer of too much. This destructive march has led to a significant increase in carbon emissions, with the EPA estimating that, “ since 1970, CO2 emissions have increased by about 90 % ” ( EPA) which has led to the massive amount of damage that our environment has sustained and as humans we are far from done which Preservation uses choking smoke clouds that  Ulery, 2 bellow out into the sky to represent this. Deforestation has also become a rampant practice, especially in the Amazon forest where trees are cut to make more land for cattle farms. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that anywhere from “46 - 58 thousand square miles of forests are lost each year” (WWF) and very little is done to replace these thousands of acres leading to a large spike in carbon emissions. These trees that we cut down were acting as sponges that soak up all our excess emissions but with them out of the picture it leaves more and more carbon in our atmosphere each year. The artist sees these statistics and represents them by showing the factory churning out a dense black cloud that chokes and shrouds the right hand’ s scenery; turning it into a dead and bleak landscape that is dominated by the steel smoke stacks responsible for the smog. The destruction we cause has very real repercussions and they stare us in the face, growing larger in size every year that we march forward. With CO2 emissions being compounded with deforestation, the environment has never been more imbalanced. These imbalances lead to things like acid rain or general air pollution, both of which affect the environment significantly. Acid rain is created by chemicals rising high into the atmosphere then mixing with condensation in clouds; when that polluted rainwater returns to the surface water it causes a shift in the acidity levels of the stream or lake which can lead to the destruction of that eco-system (National Geographic). Acid rain also affects plants; it releases aluminum into soil which makes it hard for plants to absorb water while also harming the leaves on the plant or tree. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection released a study which details the effects of air pollution on people and the environment. It details how our pollution affects people and the possible adverse side effects like difficulty breathing or even increased risk for heart attack (MDEP). The artist incorporates these elements produced by humans by having a black, viscous liquid flowing from the ravaged hand on the right alongside the dark menacing smoke that fills the air. While some of these repercussions are reversible, many are not. An example being toxic waste, which can also be represented by that same viscous liquid in the picture, as toxins seep into our soil and oceans from  Ulery, 3 mishandled waste or even from the destruction left by a hurricane (Nat Geo 2). These irreversible mishaps lead to extremely high levels of mercury in fish or even lead in soil making the area barren and unusable (Nat Geo 2). These are all the current issues, what can we look towards in the future and how does the ad incorporate this? The ad predicts a complete destruction in our near future by showing the beginning of the transition from a lush emerald landscape on the left to the bleak, burned landscape that bleeds poison on the right. With an outlook of increased ocean levels due to melting icecaps and increased temperatures from unchecked carbon emissions in less developed countries; this prediction is looking rather accurate. The ad also shows the right hand burning and smoldering in a cloud of smog, while this seems like a massive overstatement; it could not be more accurate with highly industrialized places that have very few regulations, like China that already look like the factory depicted in the advertisement. Another issue that can and will lead us to this dystopian future can be seen in regulations that do not apply to developing nations due to the laws being too ambitious or countries not having the right equipment to monitor their output of pollutants. In an article written by Gregory Vogl, he mentions that while the lack of restrictions may benefit the country it is not always guaranteed that the country will have long term benefits environmentally (Vogl). The ad also shows how all of our once natural landscape will soon be undecipherable from the industrialized land we have already created. Every day the future that is depicted in Preservation comes closer and closer to fruition The advertisement “Preservation” seems to have taken a huge influence from Michelangelo’s “The creation of Adam” then threw a huge spin on it. He  replaced god with the desolate hand of man offering destruction to a hand yet to be wholly corrupted by fire held in the other. The ad conveys the absolute destruction we have caused to our fragile environment in the sake of progress and the dismal future that we face by using tall smokestacks that release foul and black smoke in to the air. The ad also  Ulery, 4 displays our effect on our water by showing a dark and disgusting fluid flowing from its hand. Preservation does a great job showing that with our constant look to the future through eyes of progress we have been blind to the destruction we have caused, and are only just realizing the harm caused by human actions alongside the repercussions the future holds.
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