'Disruption': Concerned Citizens join Global Environmental March

America may be on the verge of more war, but a consensus of the scientific community and activists would like to remind you that there could be another equally complex, lingering threat to our security: changing climate.

Disruption, a free, 51-minute documentary released online

Sept. 7, serves as a call to action to all would-be activists looking to take a stand on the issues of environmental justice. In a classroom auditorium at the University of Texas-Pan American, the Environmental Awareness Club and Environmental Studies Minor Committee joined other organizations nationwide, as they co-hosted a screening on Sept. 15.

“Everyone was really excited,” said Katie Lavallee, co-president of the EAC.

The film paints current weather patterns as the result of a manmade, changing Earth, while showing volunteers and organizers preparing for the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21. On the eve of the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in New York City, in which 120 Heads of State will attend, citizens will take to the streets around the world in what the group’s website describes as “the largest climate march in history,” voicing their support for less carbon-favored policies. The main march is concentrated in New York City, but community protests are scheduled in countless communities.

Alexis Bay, a 2013 recipient of a Bill Archer Fellowship, is helping organize the McAllen march, which will start at McAllen City Hall, proceed north on Main Street and end with a community gathering at Archer Park.

During her time in Washington, D.C. as an Archer Fellow, Bay interned with the Sierra Club working specifically on the Beyond Oil


Bay applauds the environmental mindedness of some larger cities in Texas, like Austin, and understands why locals might want to migrate there, but she echoes the ideology held by the larger movement.

“The thing about here in the Valley, the big groups want frontline communities to really speak out,” Bay said. “For a long time, the environmental movement was not represented of all the groups who are affected and impacted by what was happening to the planet.”

Frontline communities are areas being immediately impacted by climate change or an environmental issue, according to Bay.

She hopes to use her national advocacy experience for supporting environmental justice and existence of green space in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Anything that has been done through the social justice sphere has been done through communities coming together and letting their voices be heard,” Bay said. “Sometimes it’s not just a letter, an angry Tweet or angry Facebook status; sometimes you have to literally make a banner or a sign and go out there with a group of people that feel the same way you do.”

To Bay, this event is an opportunity to galvanize those who may share a concern for the future of their planet’s human habitability.

Bay calls on her fellow Valleyites to “… march and chant and let your voices be heard … (because) sometimes you have to make a little bit of noise to be heard.”

Lynn Vincentnathan, UTPA professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and supporter of campus environmentally-friendly initiatives, has been on a personal crusade to alleviate her carbon footprint since the ‘70s.

She’s purposely chosen to always live close to where she’s worked and around 1990, she got more serious about her concern for the climate, she said.

“They should do something about it,” Vincentnathan said. “Then, all of a sudden, I realized I was part of the problem. I have to do something about it.”

She started off slowly with changing light bulbs, insulating her water heater and switching to a low-flow shower head. She would go on to purchase an electric vehicle and install solar panels.

“We have decreased our greenhouse emissions by 60 percent, without decreasing our standard of living,” she said. Vincentnathan sees her personal activism as an investment, not just in the preservation of resources, but of her own finances.

“I don’t understand why middle class people aren’t jumping on the solar bandwagon,” Vincentnathan said. “We’re saving $1,000 a year on our energy bill.”

Bay also sees the economic potential in the adjustment of her community’s current habitats.

“Down here, we’re all about growth,” Bay said. “There is so much opportunity for green jobs.”

The Film

Grainy spots and broken radio transitions open the feature. Archived footage of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon, shakes on the screen, the Earth rising over the lunar surface.

“The vast loneliness up here of the Moon is awe inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” said Jim Lovell, American astronaut in a 1968 Christmas Eve broadcast. “The Earth from here is a grand oasis to the big vastness of space.”

Stark white sentences hang on black, the words frozen in front an ominous track of sound:

“We no longer live on that Earth … the world hasn’t ended … but the world as we know it has.”

The movie cuts into what can only be described as a barrage of video evidence chronicling communities affected by near-recent severe weather events including floods, high winds and droughts.

Environmental buzzwords pepper the narration by famous media personalities delivering some days’ bad news and as the score swells, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” The audio from President Barack Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address is over a landscape of burnt earth.

A polluted wasteland of trash cuts to an aerial view of a densely populated city square and then to a nondescript intersection of an elaborate highway system; roads circling and intertwined.

There is no nice way to talk about the idea of climate change. True believers of the issue come to the realization that life on Earth is in jeopardy and that’s a serious accusation that would require action.

This is the objective of Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, co-producer and co-director team.

Unlike conventional commercial releases fixated with box-office or on-demand gross, the filmmakers’ free-to-stream approach is banking on gaining human capital. This film is meant to act as a catalyst to the global event, the People’s Climate March happening next week.

Focusing on the disproportionate human cost of global climate change, Disruption humanizes the cause and presents it with urgency.

Did I mention that it’s free online to download or stream?



A Note to the RGV

Yo. I don’t know if u can submit posts via mobile, but I’d like you to share this on your blog, if possible.

I just moved out from the Valley and into California, along with my parents. Not just any place in California, either, but to Los Angeles. Now, we’ve been to LA before, but not to live permanently. We’re staying at my aunt’s house right now, having sold everything back home and moving across three state lines with one POD container and two cars.

And now, all I want to do is go back home to el valle.

In these two months, I’ve applied for over a hundred and twelve jobs I qualify for (I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English from UTPA), and have snagged only seven to eight interviews, and have heard back only from a few places, saying I didn’t get past the final interview stage.

Point being, job hunting in LA is crazy. So: rule one—don’t move out of the Valley unless you have a FOR-SURE job which pays well up north.

Tip/rule two—California is fucking expensive. Gas is expensive, apartments are expensive, even fucking carrots are more expensive here. And the raise in minimum wage does NOT fit the ratio to the Valley.

Point three (or whatever)—I miss the Valley so fucking bad. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city here. In fact, I prefer the city life of downtown LA to downtown McAllen. However, I think the Valley’s a better place to live. I miss the tacos, I miss the networking I have back there, but most of all, I miss the fact that my entire project for an RGV Bookmobile (something I’ve been working on for a while) is only going to work if if go back. I feel like I owe this place a lot. I’m a poor (literally) Pakistani kid who can barely string two sentences together in Spanish, but the way the Hispanic community in the Valley has opened its arms to me ever since I’ve been in America … I’ve never seen this anywhere else. And so I want to go back, if not for myself, then for the youth of the RGV, who are gonna get a smashing bookmobile or mobile library as part of their city system if I have anything to do with it.

I don’t think I was very eloquent while saying this, but I just have a lot of thoughts, and right now my main thought is … who in their right mind would leave the Valley and set off somewhere else? En serio.


Gov. Rick Perry to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to RGV

Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to announce he will activate the Texas National Guard at a news conference Monday in Austin, said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. 

Hinojosa did not have details of the effort, but an internal memo from another state official’s office said the governor planned to call about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley — at a cost of about $12 million per month.

The memo was provided to The Monitor on the condition of anonymity because the information is not yet public.

Troops are expected to enter the area gradually, building up to 1,000 after about a month, the memo said.

The troops will join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its recent surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking amid the influx of mostly Central Americans illegally crossing the Rio Grande. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced the $1.3 million per week effort last month.

State leaders approved funding for extra DPS troopers to fill in gaps in Border Patrol coverage in the Valley as the federal authorities were overwhelmed with an influx of children and families from Central America. The state officials feared Mexican drug cartels might exploit the situation to move their own drugs and human contraband while Border Patrol attention was turned elsewhere.

Hinojosa said Perry’s move smacked of political gamesmanship.

“All these politicians coming down to border, they don’t care about solving the problem, they just want to make a political point,” he said.

State officials denied the move amounted to a militarization of the border.

“This is not a militarization of the border,” the memo states. “The DPS and the National Guard are working to keep any drug and human trafficking south of (U.S. Highway) 83 and with the goal of keeping any smuggling from entering major highways to transport East/West/and North.”

DPS officials want to send National Guard troops into western areas of the Valley and the ranch lands further north, according to the memo.

“Smuggling has supposedly according to DPS moved West on the border with an increase in Jim Hogg County,” the memo states. “DPS especially wants to apply the Guard in the rural areas to patrol.”

The National Guard deployment — added to the DPS surge — will bring the price tag of troopers on the border to about $5 million per week, the memo said. And the funding source for the effort remains unclear.

“It is not clear where the money will come from in the budget,” the memo states, adding that Perry’s office has said the money will come from “non critical” areas, such as health care or transportation.

Hinojosa said the National Guard was not equipped to aid immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.

“They (cartels) are taking advantage of the situation,” he said. “But our local law enforcement from the sheriff’s offices of the different counties to the different police departments are taking care of the situation. This is a civil matter, not a military matter. What we need is more resources to hire more deputies, hire more Border Patrol.

“These are young people, just families coming across. They’re not armed. They’re not carrying weapons.” Source


Sacred Heart Church Donation Needs as of 6/20/14 in McAllen for Families travelling from Central America

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Feminine products
  • Bottled water
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bandaids
  • Gauze pads
  • Medical tape
  • Peroxide solution
  • Cotton balls. 

Please Read Y’all…

My name is Rosa Escobedo. You may be familiar with the sudden flow of immigrants coming to the US including the Valley from places like Honduras and El Salvador. These people are coming with permission from the US due to their lives being in danger in their country. The border patrol is buying them a ticket to go and meet their family relatives in different parts of the US. These families including babies have been detained in border patrol rooms for days and finally get to travel. They arrive at McAllen bus station and from there volunteers invite them to hydrate, eat and for first time after days to bathe and change clothes before they continue on their trips. Sister Norma from Sacred Heart Church opened the church which is near the bus station and started offering these people something to drink and eat. It is amazing what is happening in this place. Through word of mouth, face book and other media people from all over the valley from different denominations have come together to make donations: food, clothes, hygiene products, diapers, baby products. There have been different reporters covering the story from New York Times to our local valley.

At this time our biggest need is volunteers to serve these families. They are very humble people who are intimidated to ask for anything even if they are starving. Families can come in every hour from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm. We never know when they will arrive but when they do they come in large numbers. The city of McAllen is helping out by directing traffic of people who come to drop off donations. They provided portable showers for people to bathe in and currently a Dr. will be on site in a portable. Some of these babies are coming in dehydrated and the gift to see the before and after is PRICELESS. This is a great opportunity to serve others and to learn about their experiences.

I’m asking if you are willing to help these are some of the duties you will helping out with:
- serving plates of food
- organizing items that come in to be donated: categorize shoes, pants, shirts, baby food and would be in charge of a family as they come in.
- making sure that the families have something to eat, were able to bathe and change clothes, they have extra food to take on their trip.

As I mentioned before if we don’t offer these things to them, they will not ask. There have been situations when people leave without eating because they don’t ask and we are so short in volunteers that it is hard to keep track of everybody.

If you are interested in volunteering all you have to do is show up and ask for Sister Norma who will direct you to where the help is needed.

The address is 306 S. 15th St McAllen. This hall is open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. all week long including weekends Saturdays and Sundays.

Thank you very much for your attention to this invitation. We look forward to hearing from you all.

If you need further information or clarification please feel free to contact me via e-mail or phone to 956-533-1672 or Sister Norma, 956-455-1484.

Thank you and GOD Bless you,

Rosa Escobedo J


LETTER: Critical of Newsmaker interview with Greg Abbott


I read the interview of Thursday’s Newsmaker Breakfast Event by Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez with Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. One answer shows too clearly that Sanchez did almost nothing to get Abbott to reveal his party’s form of governance or how that philosophy matches up against the needs of the region whose support he so badly wants to gain.

He was asked about rising costs of higher education. His answer: We need to bring those costs down. Brilliant!

What about the fact that some years ago, the state of Texas paid 70 to 80 percent of the cost of higher education, yet now only contributes about 30 percent?

Let’s be clear. Abbott’s party is in control of the state government and it is their policies that have directed this shift. And to whom are those costs shifted? They’re directed to students in the form of higher tuition and fees for everything.

How do students pay for the education? With loans, and this is a money-making enterprise, with some agencies wanting to charge 6 percent interest — that’s more than for a car loan!

With so many young people in our region, and so many of them from families with limited incomes, how does Abbott defend this kind of fiscal practice? He talks about spending $5 billion on roads. How much is really needed? What are the needs in this area and will they be met?

I’m sure he will go other places and wave the flag about keeping taxes low, never mentioning that it also likely means reduced investments in state parks, highways and bridges, education at all levels, etc. In all areas, there are hidden taxes and costs, which again are passed onto others.

I don’t think Sanchez did his homework for this intereview. He did a great job of interviewing a celebrity and, no doubt, a wonderful time was had by all his fans, who packed the house.

Robert Ramirez, McAllen


An opportunity for McAllen residents to unite and talk about the toxic plume under South 23rd past Business 83.
Time: 6 PM
When: Saturday, March 22nd 
Where: Cordoba Cafe
Email for more info. 

An opportunity for McAllen residents to unite and talk about the toxic plume under South 23rd past Business 83.

Time: 6 PM

When: Saturday, March 22nd 

Where: Cordoba Cafe

Email for more info. 



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