On an American farm where women work after their release from prison, the care strategy is a comprehensive approach to moving forward. And in environmental news, a giant Amazon photo album could come to the aid of the rainforest, while the island of Niue protects 100% of its marine environment.
1. United States
North Carolina women are rebuilding their lives after prison with local support. The non-profit Benevolence Farm welcomes six formerly incarcerated women at a time to live for free on 13 acres in a shared home for up to two years. There, they earn at least $15 an hour working on the farm or making homemade candles and body care products to sell online, and they have access to services such as career, transport and medical appointments.
Why we wrote this
In our roundup of progress, we go big – from a giant photo album that helps track species in the Amazon, to a Pacific island that protects 100% of its seas.
Given the high recidivism rates and rising incarceration rates in rural counties, the farm offers valuable lessons for other rehabilitation programs. The impact is relatively small — 32 people have gone through the program since its launch in 2008 — but 84% of those residents continue to live freely, most in the surrounding county, according to a 2020 annual report. Participants praise its effectiveness: “Even in my darkest moments, these women were ready to hear my call,” said one of the program participants, Katie Anderson. “They literally saved my life. And not only that, they helped me rebuild a relationship with my children.
The peaceful island of Niue has pledged to legally protect 100% of its ocean. The tiny island is home to just 1,700 people, but the 317,500 square kilometers of sovereign waters around one of the largest raised coral atolls in the world include numerous underwater caves, spinner dolphins and gray reef sharks. reef. The new Niue Nukutuluea Marine Park is divided into distinct areas for research, recreation, conservation and fishing; violators of the new laws will face fines of up to $500,000 (New Zealand; US$320,000) or prosecution. “The ocean is everything to us,” said Niuean Prime Minister Dalton Tagelagi. “It’s what defines us.”
More than 50 countries have pledged to help conserve 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, although only 6% of waters have so far been given protected status. Critics of the strategy point out that fishermen can simply move to other waters and enforcement can be a challenge in these isolated areas. Without its own navy, Niue relies on neighboring countries like Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and New Zealand to police illegal fishing. Locals will also monitor the areas, with the help of satellite monitoring from the non-profit organization Global Fishing Watch.
Sources: The Guardian, EcoWatch
3. Amazon Rainforest
The largest ever photo database of Amazonian wildlife makes it easier to monitor biodiversity and habitat loss. Scientists often use camouflaged motion-sensor cameras, called camera traps, to study animals that are able to hide from humans. Researchers have now compiled and standardized more than 154,000 of these images, documenting 317 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
The new study brings together records of scientists from 122 research institutes around the world, led by the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. With access to the photos, researchers will be able to better “understand the distribution patterns of species in their habitats, the interaction between predator and prey species, as well as make future projections about the impact of climate change and land use for the species,” said Ana Carolina Antunes, lead author of the paper, in an email to Mongabay. “There is still so much to learn.”
Australia’s new government is the most diverse yet. Women now hold 45% of ministerial posts, including a record 10 of the top 23 posts, an advance that follows a series of sexual misconduct scandals in the previous administration. Among the new ministers are Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal woman to serve as Minister for Indigenous Australians, and Malaysian-born and openly gay Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
With around 21% of Australia’s population of non-European descent, but only 6% of MPs, the country still has a long way to go when it comes to representation. For newly elected MP Sally Sitou, whose parents emigrated from Laos and who has Chinese heritage, increasing political diversity means better leadership: “You bring different experiences and perspectives, different ways of seeing the world, and this is what will make our parliament stronger and our democracy stronger.
Source: Citizen of the World