Things That Matter

Here’s Why Mexico’s President And Leonardo DiCaprio Have Joined Forces

Mexico’s Gulf of California is home to one of the most endangered species of porpoise in the world: the vaquita.


Located in the western part of Mexico, just south of California, it is believed that as few as 30 of the mammals are still alive. Their numbers are so low that scientists believe the only way to save the endangered animal is by relocating those remaining in the wild to a sanctuary in San Felipe, Mexico, The Guardian reports.

To save the vaquita porpoise, the Mexican government and the U.S. Association of Zoos and Aquariums have started a $4 million campaign.


The money will go to securing the necessary technology to locate the rare porpoises remaining in the wild, as well as using trained dolphins to help in that process, and providing them with holding pens that will transport them to the sanctuary.

Scientists are unsure of how the porpoise will react to this process, as no one has managed to successfully capture a living vaquita.


They are so rare that footage of vaquitas is hard to find. This video was taken in 2015, which shows only the briefest glimpse of the animal in its natural habitat.

In an effort to bring awareness to the vaquita’s struggle, actor Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted the following:


The Oscar-winning actor is known for taking on environmental causes.

As the Huffington Post reported, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted support for DiCaprio’s message.


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Peña Nieto then went on a Twitter tear, providing information about Mexico’s efforts to save the vaquita.

@EPN / TWITTER

The vaquita has faced threats from numerous sources in the Gulf of California.


The Guardian reports that the vaquita are often caught in the nets of fishermen illegally hunting the totoaba, another endangered animal in the Gulf of California, whose bladder “commands a higher price than cocaine,” according to Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change’s Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho. The nets used, called gill nets, are the perfect size to capture the vaquita, and were banned from the Gulf of California until this past April.

Even with the ban, these aggressive, illegal fishing practices, have caused the porpoise’s numbers to drop by 90 percent over the last five years, The Huffington Post reports.


Even with their numbers reaching grim levels, activists are working hard to ensure the species will survive. As Rojas-Bracho told The Guardian, “we have to do our best or [the vaquita] will be lost to the planet forever.”

[H/T] The Guardian: Last-ditch attempt to save the endangered vaquita porpoise

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Leonardo DiCaprio Stands Up To Fight Amazon Fires, Pledges $5M To Support Indigenous Groups

Things That Matter

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands Up To Fight Amazon Fires, Pledges $5M To Support Indigenous Groups

@ajplus / Twitter

Leonardo DiCaprio is well known for his environmental activism. He’s spoken at numerous conferences, co-produced a documentary, and promoted a plant-based diet, all to help our global environment and our battle against climate change. 

So when news broke that the Amazon rainforest is experiencing unprecedented forest fires, of course Leo was one of the first major public figures to step forward and actually try and do something to help. 

The Titanic actor pledged $5 million to help fight the growing environmental crisis happening in Brazil and Bolivia right now.

Earth Alliance will give the money to local groups and indigenous communities as they work to protect the Amazon.

The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil says there have been more than 72,000 fires in the Amazon rainforest this year. That’s up from 40,000 at the same point last year.

A statement on the Earth Alliance website says: “The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is rapidly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet’s best defences against the climate crisis.”

“The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon — home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species — has been burning for more than two weeks straight,” DiCaprio wrote in an Instagram post announcing the donation

Several on-the-ground organizations will benefit from the infusion of cash. 

The organizations receiving the cash are Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

Earth Alliance was founded by Leo and two other philanthropists in July – aiming to protect wildlife, push for climate justice and secure indigenous rights.

The Amazon Forest Fund is the group’s initiative to raise money for the protection of this specific area.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, the actor said he is “deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples”.

He wants the public to get involved and support the crisis too, linking to ways people can make donations.

Meanwhile, international leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, are reportedly reaching an agreement on international help towards the crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries would release $22 million to help combat the fires.

The funding pledge was announced as the leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – continue to meet in Biarritz, France.

However, President Jair Bolsonaro said Mr Macron’s plan of an “alliance” to “save” the Amazon treated Brazil “as if we were a colony or no man’s land”.

Mr Macron said the funds would be made available “immediately” – primarily to pay for more fire-fighting planes – and that France would also “offer concrete support with military in the region within the next few hours”.

However, Mr Bolsonaro – who has been engaged in a public argument with Mr Macron in recent weeks – accused the French leader of launching “unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region”, and “hiding his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of G7 countries”.

He wrote on Twitter that Brazil’s sovereignty should be respected – and said he had discussed with Colombia’s president the need for “a joint plan” from the countries that actually made up the Amazon region.

And the fires come as the Brazilian ministry for the environment has had funding severely reduced.

“The funding for Brazil’s environment agency has gone down by 95% this year, it essentially gutted a large part of the actions that have been put in by the agricultural ministry,” University of Oxford ecosystem science professor Yadvinder Malhi told the BBC’s Today program, as BBC News reported.

“So the real thing is to look at the political direction of governance in the Amazon that’s changing under the new Brazilian government.

Many on Twitter applauded the move of Leo, who was actually putting his money where his mouth is. 

Ellen, along with many others on Twitter, were happy to see the actor put up such a large sum of money to combat the crisis. 

With that much money up, it would hopefully inspire others to take action and provide much needed aid to the fight. 

Leonardo DiCaprio Just Said He Thinks Pupusas Are Better Than Tacos And He Just Sent The Internet Into WWIII

Culture

Leonardo DiCaprio Just Said He Thinks Pupusas Are Better Than Tacos And He Just Sent The Internet Into WWIII

Not everything has to be a competition but when it comes to food, us Latinos can get really riled up about what comes out on top. That’s the case with the epic debate of what’s better, tacos or pupusas? Everyone has their own personal preference right, so why boil it down to one or the other? 

Why not just enjoy both?

But well, while things in the tacos vs. pupusas debate seemed to be dormant, actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio just caused an uproar when he declared pupusas better than tacos. 

Leo has spoken, y’all! 

In a video for Univision’s Despierta America, reporter Luis Sandoval gets together with the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to talk about the latest movie. Sandoval sits down with Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio and asks them about Mexican cuisine in L.A. which is discussed in the film. 

Sandoval asks them if they ACTUALLY like Mexican food and Brad Pitt responds, “You cannot live in Los Angeles and not love Mexican food.”

We 100% agree with you, Brad. After all, Mexicans comprise the largest ethnic group of Latinos in Los Angeles, followed by Salvadorans and Guatemalans. You can’t walk a single block in L.A. without seeing your local tamalera, frutero, paletero, elotero, or food truck joint selling tacos or pupusas. 

L.A. culture is heavily influenced by Latinx communities and you’ll always find different types of cuisine in this boiling pot of different cultures. 

But now back to Leo’s point. Brad quickly followed up his statement by saying, “you can’t beat a taco.” That’s when Leo was like alright, hold my beer. 

Leo answered Sandoval’s question about what the cast’s favorite type Mexican cuisine food by saying, “I prefer pupusas.” 

At first, it’s unclear whether Leo is somehow confusing pupusas for Mexican cuisine or if he’s simply making the claim that pupusas just do it better for him than tacos.

You do you, Leo. We’re a fan of both the cheesy goodness a pupusa brings and the beautiful anatomy of a taco.   

“I’m a pupusa man, myself,” Leo said. “Better than tacos to me, I gotta go with [pupusas].” 

Of course, as soon as that single clip of this video interview hit social media, everyone went nuts with Leo DiCaprio’s hot take. (A hot take because again, people always want to make a competition about everything.) 

“Who knew Leonardo DiCaprio was a Salvadoran king?,” one Twitter user said.

“New career goal: Interview Leo while he eats my mom’s pupusas,” they added. Tbh, we can’t wait to read and watch that interview. 

Carrusel Bakery, which serves Salvadoran, Mexican, and Guatemalan foods, was quick to ask their Instagram followers about their preference. 

“We’re Team Leo!,” they wrote in their caption. Go leave your comment, y’all. 

A Twitter user was fangirling even more than before, “as if he wasn’t already amazing.”

Damn, Leo, you’ve scored some more brownie points with folks. Another woman (@GiselletheeBest) on Twitter responded to this tweet saying, “An eco-friendly king that loves pupusas I fucking stan!!!!” WE STAN, TOO. 

Despite Leo’s “hot take” however, we should all take a moment to S/O ALL Latinx cuisine because it’s all delicious.

We’re with ya, @VotoLatino. “Pupusas, arepas, mofongo, tacos, etc., we love it all!”

Plus look, you can always have the best of both worlds.

Treat yo self to dos de asada y dos de revuelta please. 

And whoever once thought Jack didn’t deserve to survive in the Titanic, can think again now!

“Por cierto cabías con la Rose en la tabla,” one Twitter user said. LOL!

Another Twitter user shared a text her mother sent her with a hilarious reaction to Leo DiCaprio’s comments. 

“My Panamanian mom in true Central American fashion knows how much shit Leonardo DiCaprio is going to get for saying pupusas are better than tacos esp us living in L.A.,” writes journalist Brigette Lugo

Leo DiCaprio’s comments are going to leave a mark for sure. 

Historically, pupusas don’t get the same love that tacos do. But it’s time we quit with the comparisons and just enjoy others’ food for what it is: a delicious piece of someone else’s culture. 

BRB, we’re on our way to Rincón Hondureño on West Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles. This video and Leo DiCaprio has got us craving pupusas. 

Where are your favorite pupusa spots in L.A.?