Puerto Rico's Drought

Puerto Rico's Drought

And What It Has Taught Me
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Droughts and shortage of water are silently creeping into everyone's radar and becoming a more common topic of conversation. According to the Global Drought Information System, there have been serious drought reports all over the world. The reports include places like Switzerland, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Caspian Sea, Indonesia, the north of Africa, South Africa, California, Brazil, and Australia. And now, the small island of Puerto Rico is going through a very serious drought. Experts are even stating that this is the worst drought in Puerto Rico's history.

Most of Puerto Rico's water is taken from various reservoirs throughout the island. The main two reservoirs from which a great percentage of the island takes from are Carraízo and La Plata. Rising temperatures, excessive consumption, and other factors have led to the reduction of water levels in these and other reservoirs.

While this drought has been slowly ongoing for various years, the effects have been greatly felt this summer throughout the island.

Earlier this summer, around May, the Water and Sewage Authority (known as AAA in Puerto Rico) began rationing water supply to the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. This affected over 300,000 homes and businesses at the time. The rationing consisted of residents having no access to the water supply every other day.

Today, the effects of the drought have grown. Currently, 34 out Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities are categorized as "under extreme drought." In addition, the U.S Drought Monitor recorded that throughout the island the drought is affecting over 2.8 million people, or 86.54% of the population. Last week, the number of affected people was 2.7 million. In some of these municipalities, the rationing has been of having water supply only every third day (two days of no water, one day with). In others, the rationing was taken up to only two set days of water supply a week.

Out of the 78 municipalities, only two (Adjuntas and Las Marias) are not classified in any category of drought and so far have not been affected by it.

Surprisingly, despite the risks and seriousness of the situation, Puerto Ricans in general have been both understanding and optimistic toward the situation. Puerto Ricans still maintain their joyful and celebratory attitude. They have taken a grim situation and made the best they can out of it. For example, famous Puerto Rican YouTubers and Viners have made parodies of the situation, motivating people to look at the situation from a more humorous angle. Also, many Puerto Ricans have used the rationing as an excuse to travel, visit family and friends, go out more, and to just have fun. If there's one thing I've learned about my Puerto Rican culture, it is to be joyful, positive, and grateful in all situations.

Cover Image Credit: http://montecristialdia.blogspot.com/2015/07/no-solo-es-en-la-linea-noroeste-en.html

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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