Category Archives: People

Mexican Migration and Climate Change

Theme : 

– Mexico is a country that is vulnerable to the many effects of climate change including things like prolonged droughts, soil degradation, devastating rainstorms, lack of water and rising sea levels. These changes eventually cause for an increase in Mexican migration.

– Understanding that not all immigrants are the same, but instead each of their stories is different and unique. Learning to empathize by listening to other’s stories and life experiences, even if you’ve never lived through them before.

General storyline :

-The stories of three Mexican immigrants will follow this main story line: Their former lives in Mexico-> What changed? What lead them to make the decision to migrate?-> What the process of migrating was like? -> What their lives in the United States now look like?

Main characters : 

-My grandfather Jose Luis Castellanos from Michoacan, my friends father Luis Cervantes from Chiapas, and Lourdes Gutierrez the daughter of a farmer from Guanajuato.

Interviews : 

  • Jose Luis Castellanos, immigrant and former fisherman from Michoacan.
  • Luis Cervantes, immigrant and former corn farmer from Chiapas.
  • Lourdes Gutierrez, immigrant and daughter of a farmer from Guanajuato.

Arts Medium : 

-Their different interviews will be turned into vignettes. Each of these vignettes will be read out loud by three different actors. The audience will not know where these immigrants are from until the end of the presentation where it will be announced that all of them are Mexican immigrants. This will be to illustrate that we can’t generalize an entire group of people, instead we have toeach of their stories is different.

The Outline Outside My Mind

Theme : Have you ever wondered how great nature can be? Doesn’t matter your answer to that question because either way, this project will entice you to form a more perfect union with trees.

General storyline: I, along with a good friend of mine, will be walking through a forest and talking about the intricacies, the beauty, the majesty, the drama, the romance, the war, the famine, the peace, the pieces, and the nature of what we see. We will, of course, supplement all the factual information with statements that may not be facts to the general public, but they are to us.

Main characters: Those featured in this work will be, as of today, will be Raud, yours truly, and my main man Creek may sneak on camera.

Interviews: I have interviewed Creek, the caretaker of the particular forest I will be filming in, and Andy, the university’s urban forester. I am currently working with three other folks to get interviews. Some more viable than others, so we shall see who else will join in.

Arts Medium: I will be working with film. I do not think it will be on an old-timey crank-and-shoot, but the world has many surprises and that is always an option.

P.S.: I plan on reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio, so, ya know…the film should be pretty cool.




Leo lovingly pointing at...

Leo lovingly pointing at…

What Does The Future Hold?

desert-china-map This article, Living in China’s Expanding Desert illustrates in an interactive way how climate change is affecting not just those who live in coastal areas, but also those inland. It may be hard to understand why warming and increased water content in the atmosphere would cause desertification, but it is quite simple if you think about it. When water is heated, it evaporates and lifts up into the atmosphere where it condenses and falls again. However, in a desert or arid region, any moisture that lifts up, does not fall down in the same place. This is a natural process that is the result of wind cells on the planet stemming from equatorial heating. Unfortunately, the earth is heating more rapidly and water is spread further and further from areas that need it, like Chinese deserts or the Sahal in Africa. The input of energy into any system will cause a reaction and the more energy, the higher the magnitude of such a reaction.

This is yet another example of people who do not cause the majority of climate changes being affected the most by climate change. Rural people all over the world are being impacted and not with just hot days, they are losing their way of life and resources to food. This is a positive feedback loop that will accelerate with time and there is probably no going back from something like this. There is development of solar panels that are de-desertifying some places in Africa, but the problem of government intervention is just as bad or worse in China. This is a human rights issue that must be looked at as such; for, we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness… not just Americans.

Lake Chapala: My Grandfather’s Story

pasado-misma-fecha-recuperado-centimetros_milima20140818_0078_8When I think back to my childhood in Mexico and what it was like to grow up in San Luis Soyatlan, Jalisco, one of the first things that comes to mind is Lake Chapala. Growing up, my friends and I used to always go to the lake and play by the shore. Two of my uncles, who still happen to live there, used to go fishing and every once in a while I would join them just for fun. I remember it being a lovely experience, we would be surrounded by the water and the big, blue sky directly above us. The large sun would be shining over the lake and would make the water glisten and shine. My uncles would check their nets and remove the fish that they had caught for the day. To this day, those are some of the fondest memories I have of the lake. But what about my mother’s memories? Or my grandparent’s memories? After all, they lived in that town longer than I had. Why had I never asked them anything of it?

Ten years ago, my family decided to migrate and move to the US. Originally  I had thought that the main reason why we decided to come here was due to the lack of educational opportunities that were available to us. I thought that my mother simply wanted to provide more chance of achieving a higher education in the US. But after learning more about climate change and the effects that it has on migration, I began to wonder whether one of the reasons that we left San Luis was due to the lake changing over time. So I decided to ask my mom and my grandfather about their experiences with the lake. Below is some of what my grandfather, Jose Luis, told me when I interviewed him.

My grandfather told me stories about his ancestors, and he said that for many, many years his family had dedicated their lives to fishing. His grandfather was a fisherman, his father and uncles were fishermen, and eventually so was he. The lake used to provide food and water to his family, so it was a very important part of his life. He remembers growing up and playing by the clear blue water, being able to see the fish swimming under, and going there to bathe every once in a while. The lake was massive according to him. It used to reach the shores of the town and sometimes it would even overflow onto the streets. He remembers fishing and catching different kinds and species of fish. One species that he called “blanquillos”, or white fish, was the most popular, but they slowly began to decline in the lake and eventually became extinct. He says other species have also began to decline and that its really hard to catch or find any nowadays. This is only one of the aspects of the lake that changed over the course of my grandpas life there. He also mentioned that the size of the lake began to decrease and vary overtime, and that the water quality also decreased as more and more pollution found its way into the lake. For my grandfather, this was devastating. Every year his catches would become smaller. When the water level of the lake would decrease, he would sometimes have to walk really far distances just to reach the water. But for my grandfather it was more than that. To him seeing the lake slowly deteriorate was very depressing, since he had grown up and spent his life there. The lake had provided so much for him in the past, but what could he do to help it now that it was suffering? Eventually, my family was unable to continue to make a steady income from fishing. My uncles slowly began to leave for the US in hopes of a better future. Some years after that, my mother made the decision to leave as well, and with that my grandparents followed. For my grandfather, being away from the lake has been very hard. It has been six years now since he has last seen the lake, and he constantly talks about going back to see it.

After listening to my grandfather and my mother tell me stories of how the lake used to look when they were younger, I realize how much Lake Chapala has changed, and that what I knew of the lake was not at all what it once used to be.

I looked more into what has changed over the years and found that currently the lake is suffering from contamination and waste coming from the city of Guadalajara, where the lake also provides water to 60% of the population. The contamination of the lake comes from the city as well as from the river Lerma that comes from the state of Mexico and carries lots of waste. The water level of the lake has also decreased due to the lack of water coming from the river Lerma, the overuse of the city of Guadalajara, as well as droughts in the past.

Moving forward, I plan to interview a couple more immigrants about their stories in Mexico or other Latin American countries and what led them to Iowa.

One Sol, Two Creeks, and Tons of Trees

I am the one Sol (Solomon) who met up with a man named Creek, who showed me another creek that lied adjacent to a forest – the first forest I have ever been able to stand inside. I was literally among the trees! If you told a young Solomon Furious Worlds, that one day he would be able to stand tall next to real non-cactus plants that are green, leafy, and magnificent, he would have believed you because he, who is I, always knew he would make it to a forest.

Creek, my friend and “interviewee,” is not just an aspiring Environmental Scientist. He also happens to be the caretaker of the forest we explored. He knows more about the trees we saw than I know about myself. He explained his environment like an expert, while watching out for his two dogs. And, of course, we had our “interview” in the forest that the “interview” was about

The detailed reader noticed that I put the word interview in quotes. That is because our meeting was much to free form to be a typical interview. Our conversation was after delicious waffles, but just before we explored about 30 years of hip hop and Black culture. For Creek, it was an average Saturday. Ditto for me, except for all the beautiful trees. Here is a snippet of our conversation:

Our interaction was lax, but hearing about specific species of the forest I will be recording in was a fantastic experience. Getting to know Creek a bit better was priceless.

P.S. : I prefer Visa.
P.S.S. : The line I quote in the sound bit was improperly quoted. The source is much funnier. Here is the source: