Things That Matter

Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End

Three weeks into the New Year, and it feels like the end of times. Need proof? Australia is on fire, Puerto Rico won’t stop shaking, there’s flash flooding going on in various parts of the world, including here in the U.S., there are tornadoes in the southit’s snowing in Texas — and that’s just listing natural disasters. We haven’t gotten into the conflict with Iran that President Donald Trump started or the Ukrainian plane that was shot down during a missile strike. Now Mexico is dealing with another issue, and it has nothing to do with immigration. 

On Jan. 7, Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano, which is located  40 miles southeast of Mexico City, erupted. Thankfully no one was hurt.

Credit: @actionnewsnow / Twitter

The stunning images of Popocatépetl were impressive, to say the least, but people in the surrounding cities of Puebla and Mexico were warned to proceed with caution as the volcano is still active. Officials told people to remain cautious and keep their windows closed as ash continues to infiltrate the air. When the volcano erupted on Jan. 7 at around 6:30 a.m. local time, the mountain ejected ash and rock 20,000 feet into the sky. News outlets report that lava could also be seen from Popocatépetl. 

The name of the volcano — Popocatépetl — is an indigenous word that translates to “it smokes.” Locals call it El Popo. Since the Spanish acquisition, Popocatépetl has erupted at least 15 times, including last year.

Credit: @nwstampabay / Twitter

People in the surrounding areas were given a Yellow Alert advisory, which alerts them that “Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background activity.” That alert is a bit vague. However, it is one of the least frightening volcano alerts. If they had been given an Orange Alert, which is a level above Yellow, then it would have certainly caused a bit more worry in the area. An Orange alert means, “Volcano is exhibiting heightened, or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain OR an eruption is underway that poses limited hazards including no or minor volcanic-ash emissions.” Everything after that level would basically mean, run for your life. 

Last month in New Zealand, the eruption of the Whakaari on White Island resulted in 19 deaths.

Credit: @qz / Twitter

At the time of the eruption, only 47 people were on the small island, and many of them were tourists. Aside from the 19 casualties, 25 people were injured. 

Paramedic Russell Clark told CBS News that everything in sight was covered in ash. “I can only imagine what it was like for the people that were there at the time — they had nowhere to go and an absolutely terrible experience for them,” Clark said.

The Popocatépetl volcano isn’t the only active volcano currently.

Credit: @volcanodiscover / Twitter

Volcano Discovery reports that there are several active volcanos right now all over the world from Latin America to Japan. Clive Oppenheimer, professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge, told the Telegraph in an interview that all of these eruptions are actually quite normal, and people should not be freaked out.  

“There have been quite a few eruptions in the news lately, so people question whether there’s an increase in rates of volcanism that we’re seeing just now, and this isn’t really the case,” Oppenheimer said. “Eruptions are happening all the time; some make the news headlines, and others don’t. He added, “If we look at the statistics back in time, the main thing we see is a reporting bias. There are not many eruptions during World War Two, for example, when people had other things to really worry about. So, of course, things will flare up in one place or another place, and then it will be very much how those eruptions affect people and whereabouts in the world [as to] whether that then becomes newsworthy.”

These eruptions may be typical, but with all the chaos going on in the world, people are still freaking out that it’s the end of the world.

Credit: @dominiquedawk4 / Twitter

How much more can we expect?

It’s all too much and it’s not a coincidence.

Credit: @bellav0725 / Twitter

There’s no way to prepare for a natural disaster.

Let’s just pretend everything is okay.

Credit: @kylathecreative / Twitter

Denial never killed anyone. Right?

READ: Check Out The Image Of Mexico’s Volcano Popocatépetl Erupting 14 Times In One Night

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A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Culture

A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Jon G. Fuller / VW PICS / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It is important to be a responsible tourist. This means following rules, acting responsibly, and not violating sacred places. That is something one tourist learned the hard way when she climbed the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.

Here’s the video of a tourist running down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkán.

The Pyramid of Kukulkán is one of the most iconic examples of Pre-Hispanic architecture and culture in Mesoamerica. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. In 2017, more than 2 million visitors descended on the site.

Of course, #LadyKukulkan started to trend on Twitter.

You know that Twitter was ready to start calling out this woman for her actions. According to Yucatán Expat Life Magazine, the woman was there to honor her husband’s dying wish. The woman, identified as a tourist from Tijuana, wanted to spread her husband’s ashes on the top of the pyramid, which it seems that she did.

The video was a moment for Mexican Twitter.

Not only was she arrested by security when she descended, but the crowd was also clearly against her. Like, what was she even thinking? It isn’t like the pyramid is crawling with tourists all over it. She was the only person climbing the pyramid, which is federally owned and cared for.

The story is already sparking ideas for other people when they die.

“Me: (to my parents) Have you read about #ladykukulkan?
My Dad: Yes! (to my mom) When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the National Palace so they call you “Lady Palace,” sounds better, no?” wrote @hania_jh on Twitter.

READ: Mexico’s Version Of Burning Man Became A COVID-19 Super-Spreader Event Thanks To U.S. Tourists

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These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

Things That Matter

These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite a slight change in strategy in combatting the country’s endemic violence, Mexico continues to see a staggering degree of violence plaguing communities. Although the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, promised sweeping changes that would help pacify the country – violence has continues to spiral out of control, reaching record levels in 2020.

No where is this more evident than in the communities that have lost dozens or even hundreds of loved ones. Many of these communities have formed search brigades to help try and find their loved ones (or their remains) but they’re also getting creative with the ways in which they work to remember those they’ve lost.

A search brigade publishes a recipe book containing their loved ones’ favorite foods.

A group of women who came together to help locate the remains of their loved ones, have worked together on a new project to help remember their loved ones. Together, they have created Recipes to Remember, a book of favourite dishes of some of the missing. Each dish has the name of the person it was made for and the date they disappeared. It was the idea of Zahara Gómez Lucini, a Spanish-Argentine photographer who has documented the group since 2016.

The women are known as the Rasteadoras, and they’ve literally been digging to uncover graves of Mexico’s missing. Now, they’re finding ways to help remember those who have gone missing. The book is a way to strengthen the community and as one of the mothers told The Financial Times, “the book is a tool for building ties.”

“This recipe book is very important because it’s an exercise in collective memory and that’s very necessary,” says Enrique Olvera, the chef and restaurateur behind Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York and a sponsor of the book. “It enables the Rastreadoras to connect with the memory of their loved ones through food and brings us, the readers, closer … It weaves empathy,” he told the Financial Times.

Many of these women came to know each other as they searched for their missing loved ones.

The women – who are mostly housewives in their 40s and 50s – literally scour the nearby grasslands, deserts, and jungles with shovels in hands hoping to make a discovery.

Their “treasures” are among the more than 82,000 people recorded as having disappeared and not been located in Mexico since 2006, when the government declared a war on drug cartels, unleashing terrible, seemingly unstoppable violence. Notwithstanding Covid-19, 2020 may prove to have been the deadliest year on record. As of November there had been 31,871 murders, compared with a record 34,648 in 2019.

Their stories of loss are heartbreaking.

One of the mothers, Jessica Higuera Torres, speaks of her son Jesús Javier López Higuera, who disappeared in 2018, in the present tense. For the book, she prepared a soup with pork rind because “he loves it — when I was cooking, I felt as though he was by my side.”

On the other hand, Esther Preciado no longer cooks chile ribs, her recipe for her daughter’s father, Vladimir Castro Flores, who has been missing since 2013. “That one’s just for the memories now,” she says.

“You get addicted to searching,” she adds. The 120 or so Rastreadoras have found 68 people, but only about a quarter of those are their missing loved ones. She acknowledges many victims may have got into trouble because they sold or used drugs; others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mexico’s missing person problem continues to plague the country.

Since taking office in 2018, the government of President López Obrador has stepped up efforts to locate missing people and identify bodies. It says the number of reported disappearances for 2020 was trending down. But the government acknowledged in November that in 2019, a record 8,804 people had been reported missing and not been found.

According to official data, Mexico has counted 4,092 clandestine graves and exhumed 6,900 bodies since 2006. Sinaloa is notorious as the home of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, once Mexico’s most powerful drug baron, now locked up in a maximum-security jail in the U.S. The city of Los Mochis, where the Rastreadoras are based, is currently in the grip of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, known as El Chapo Isidro.

The Rastreadoras acknowledge that they’re on their own, turning to the authorities for help is not an option. As shown in the mass disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014, which rocked the country, municipal police have a terrible reputation for being infiltrated by cartels. “They won’t help us — they’re the same ones who are involved,” scoffs Reyna Rodríguez Peñuelas, whose son, Eduardo González Rodríguez, disappeared in 2016.

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