A 'sister city' in Mexico has sent volunteer firefighters to help with Oregon blazes

The entire west coast of the United States is either on fire or covered in some measure of smoke and ash at the moment. We've seen photos of the midday sky the wrong color, from eery orange to apocalypse red. Entire towns have burned down, air quality indexes are hovering in the hazardous zone for millions, and our skilled, brave firefighters are overwhelmed.

Right now, the west needs all the help it can get.

Enter the volunteer firefighters of Guanajuato, Mexico who have arrived in Southern Oregon to help try to get the raging blazes under control. Known as the Heroic Fire Department of Guanajuato, the firefighters come from a city in central Mexico that has a 50-year "sister city" relationship with the Oregon city of Ashland. According to Portland Monthly, the five firefighters dispatched to Oregon have trained in the area before, which means they can jump right in.



The men include Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and firefighter Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They arrived in Oregon Thursday, along with the city's mayor, Alejandro Navarro. The group has already gotten started and are "very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes," Mayor Navarro wrote in a tweet, adding the hashtag #PrayForAshland.

Ashland is a picturesque town in Southern Oregon best known for its 85-year-old, Tony award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Alameda Fire that threatens the town and has forced evacuations is just one of many fires burning in Oregon. Today, the New York Times reported that 500,000 people are under evacuation orders in the state. That's 10% of Oregon's population. Other states have begun sending firefighters to help as well.

Five firefighters might not sound like a lot, but every set of skilled hands helps—especially individuals that are familiar with fighting fires in a specific area. While this story is a lovely example of support, it also highlights one of the many benefits of maintaining positive relations across borders and nurturing international friendship and cooperation.

When need arises, friends and allies step up to help. Thank you, Guanajuato, for sending help to a state that isn't even in your own country. Your generosity is definitely appreciated.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

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Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

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