Palm oil use and production raises hackles around the world

EL PASO – The expanding production and use of palm oil has dire consequences for the environment, human health and rain forest wildlife according to those advocating a reduction in palm oil consumption.Palm oil has a low trans-fat compared to vegetable oil but it is extremely high in saturated fat, which is one of the main causes for heart disease. Orangutans, Sumatran elephants, Asian elephants, the sun bear, rhinoceros, and tigers are at risk of extinction as companies expand plantations into rain forests.Palm oil production is considered the main cause of deforestation of carbon-rich tropical peatlands, changing the forest landscape into wasteland. “Palm oil awareness has really picked up over the past ten years, but the industry has only been around about thirty years. Palm oil has been around for thousands of years, but only as a minor product that was produced by people who knew how to use the palm oil fruit.” claims Rick LoBello, Education Curator at El Paso Zoo. Palm oil plantations are creating massive damage to peatlands in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia as these areas are being cut down to open land for plantations.

Ruben Salazar was a journalist living in two cultures, like me

EL PASO – While viewing the special screening here of the new documentary on the life and death of Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar, Man in the Middle, I experienced a mix of emotions. The documentary by Phillip Rodriguez address the duality of his life as a journalist, but, it felt to me that it lacked a wider explanation of Salazar’s private life. Salazar came from a Mexican background and grew up in El Paso, but the documentary portrayed him as identifying more with American culture. Salazar was an outstanding journalist who took risks and was not afraid to take assignments other journalists avoided. I felt that that my image of Salazar had changed after watching this documentary, as it explained that his death might not have been an accident, but rather an intentional attack.

Learning how to swim and following the rules can prevent drownings

EL PASO — Even though 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water there are people who don’t know how to swim and don’t find it necessary to learn.That attitude can drown them. “My dad threw me in when I was four,” said University of Texas at El Paso student Linda Flores, 20. “I had to learn not to panic.”
Most people can recall a scary, calm, or funny experience they had when learning how to swim.According to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim.There are people that do not think swimming is dangerous, but when a person drowns there usually is no call for help. The victim can’t yell underwater and it can happen even in the shallowest depths.Studies from the Centers for Disease Control have found that a toddler can even drown in a bucket filled with water due to lack of supervision. The toddler’s head can get stuck on the way in and finding no way out, the child can slump into the bucket preventing the body from standing back up.