Culture

Scientists Want To Save The Monarch Butterfly From Extinction By Moving A Forest Because Of Climate Change

Every winter countless tourists head on over to Piedra Herrada Sanctuary in Mexico to witness a breathtaking experience that doesn’t happen anywhere else. They are there to see the migration of the monarch butterfly that is a remarkable part of life itself. Seeing these little creatures fly around Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and soon it could be gone forever.

Environmentalists fear that because of climate change and other factors, the monarch butterfly could become extinct.

Instagram/@mucun0332

The butterflies’ 3,000-mile migration begins in November in Mexico. The butterflies make their way north through the U.S. and then to Canada in mid-March. Between the fall and winter season is when they return to Mexico once again for their yearly trip bringing with them a spectacular scene.

“In the early days, we didn’t know where they came from,” 75-year-old Francisco Ramirez Cruz told the Los Angeles Times. Cruz has lived near the reserve and has experienced the migration since he was a little boy. “But we have always been so happy to see them.”

He said there’s a variety of reasons why the monarch butterfly migration may soon come to an end. According to the Los Angeles Times, he said the monarch population is dwindling quickly due to “logging, herbicides and other human activities destroying natural habitats.” However, the most significant factor is climate change. The butterflies make their way to this particular forest, but if climate change brings drought, warm weather, and severe storms, the woods may lose its oyamel fir trees.

Scientists and researchers are trying to move the entire forest to a higher elevation to save the trees and have a place for the butterflies to come home to.

Instagram/@jderse

According to Scientific American, moving a natural habitat is one they rarely consider because it can be extremely damaging, but they say in the case of oyamel fir trees they are considering it because they have nothing left to lose.

This drastic measure would mean not just moving trees to a higher elevation —  1,000 feet up a mountain — but also plant new trees.

Instagram/@arandomwalkatw

“Researchers were able to shift more than 750 seedlings up a mountainside by up to 400 meters, as long as they planted the young trees under the shade of neighboring bushes,” the Scientific American explains. “This protected the seedlings from sunlight and extreme temperatures.”

Chip Taylor, a retired ecology professor in Kansas and the director of Monarch Watch, told the Los Angeles Times that by planting new trees and relocating the forest, this could give researchers time to figure out their next move.

“What these measures do is give us time to address climate change,” Taylor told the publication. “If we don’t do something eventually about CO2s, eventually the new trees will be pushed off the mountain too.”

READ: AOC Is Pushing Back Against The GOP’s Ignorance On Climate Change And The Dangers It Poses

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Group of Latino Students In the Bronx Had Their Names Flown Into Space on NASA’s Mars Rover

Things That Matter

This Group of Latino Students In the Bronx Had Their Names Flown Into Space on NASA’s Mars Rover

Photo via Alejandro Mundo

Everyone has a teacher that has come into their life and gone above and beyond. A teacher that has changed your life for the better. For a group of Latino students at Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, that teacher is Alejandro Mundo.

Science teacher Alejandro Mundo encouraged his astronomy class to send their names into the NASA’s Mars space rover.

Not only is Mr. Mundo a beloved high school science teacher, he’s also an associate NASA researcher. Apparently, NASA was the one who proposed the idea to Mr. Mundo in the first place. NASA reached out to Mr. Mundo and asked if the 25 astronomy students would send their names, stenciled on chips, on the Mars Rover.

NASA believed the idea would symbolize a personal touch between humanity and the mystery and wonder of space. They also liked the idea of a group of Latino students–a group that is underrepresented in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)–and the historic space mission.

Alejandro Mundo’s primary reason for becoming a science teacher in the first place was to get more inner-city kids of color into the STEM fields.

As of now, Black and Latinos make up between 8 and 9 percent of STEM occupations. Kingsbridge International High School, the school that Mr. Mundo teaches at, is 93 percent Latino. 86 percent of those students are leaning English as a second language.

“The only way we can change that in the future is by starting with this current generation,” Mundo told NBC News. “So by igniting my students with a passion for science, that is the key that I have seen that can make a difference. Little by little, we will be changing those statistics.”

Born in Mexico, Alejandro Mundo came over to the US when he was 12-years-old, hardly knowing any English.

The adults around him–who were supposed to support him–told him that he would end up “cleaning bathrooms” or “working in a factory”. Mundo knew he was destined for more than that. “No, I’m going to college,” he told himself. “I’m going to get a career, and I’m going to use this career not for my personal growth but to help others, specifically people like me.”

Now, Alejandro Mundo inspires his majority-Latino students to also reach for the stars–literally and figuratively. He does that by engaging them on a creative level, like when he took his class on a field trip to the NYC Center for Aerospace and Applied Mathematics. The center showed his students what its like to be an astronaut. They also viewed a simulated space mission to Mars.

Alejandro Mundo has directly inspired his students both with his teaching methods, and with his own example of success.

In fact, his students love him so much that they created the “Mundology Club”, a club dedicated to STEM fields–and an obvious tribute to their favorite teacher.

“I couldn’t have this opportunity in my country,” said one of Mundo’s students, Dominican-born Jorge Fernandez, about the opportunity for his name to “travel” to Mars. “I feel like our teacher made that possible. It’s really important for us Latinos to get into it, because, basically, we can do a lot.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

Things That Matter

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com