America’s inequality problem has improved for the first time in a generation. The poorest half of Americans now hold a bigger share of the nation’s wealth than they have at any point in the last 20 years. Some welcome news for 6.2 million workers in Germany too, who will receive up to €400 extra per month thanks to a national increase in the minimum wage.
Over the past decade Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, has reduced its homeless rate by 63% thanks to a radical ‘housing first’ approach that moves people into permanent accommodation rather than shelters. The city now has a $100 million plan in the works to cut homelessness by a further 50% by 2025. NYT
Thailand has become the first Asian country to legalise medicinal marijuana and allow people to grow the plant at home. While recreational use of the drug remains illegal, the government hopes the new law will boost the wellness and tourism industries. ABC
In the wake of the Uvalde shooting in Texas, Canada has implemented a national freeze on the sale and purchase of handguns. The new legislation is part of a gun control package that will also limit magazine capacities. While Canada’s gun homicide rate is less than a fifth of the US, it is higher than other wealthy countries. Reuters
For the first time in 60 years, China’s population is about to decrease. Over the past four decades the population swelled from 660 million to 1.4 billion, but in 2021 it increased by a record-low of 480,000, and is now on course to shrink in 2022. BBC
The number of young people being prosecuted in adult courts in the US has dropped from 8% in 2010 to 1% in 2020, giving tens of thousands of teens a second chance to turn their lives around. The ‘raise the age’ movement has contributed to the shift which deals with offenders under 18 years old through the juvenile justice system and community-based programs. AP
Regardless of what young offenders are charged with, what works is community-based intervention and letting communities lead reform efforts.
Naomi Smoot Evans, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington
Did you know that same sex marriage just took a big step closer to being legalized in both Thailand and Czech Republic?
Activists and MPs celebrate after Thai lawmakers gave initial approval to legalising same-sex unions.
The only home we’ve ever known
A community-led effort to protect turtles in Mohéli, one of the islands of the Indian Ocean nation of Comoros, has inspired the expansion of Comoros’s protected areas from one to six, including three new marine protected areas (MPAs). The country’s first MPA was created in 2001 and is now one of the largest nesting sites for green sea turtles in the Indian Ocean. Mongabay
Oil drilling in the Arctic’s National Wildlife Refuge is officially bad for business with three major oil companies cancelling leases and five of America’s big banks refusing to fund projects there. The 20 million-acre reserve provides critical habitat for the Southern Beaufort Sea’s remaining polar bears. WaPo
The ocean off Gaza is ‘crystal blue’ for the first time in years, after sewage treating facilities stepped up operations to stop untreated sewage flowing directly into the water. It’s good news for the 2.3 million Palestinians who can finally enjoy a swim this summer. Euro News
The Pacific Island state of Niue is creating a marine park to protect 100% of its ocean, an area the size of Vietnam spanning 317,500 km2. The island’s waters are a birthing ground for humpback whales and boast the world’s highest population of grey reef sharks and the katuali sea snake. Niue follows the lead of the Cook Islands which has also committed to 100% protection. Guardian
The ocean is everything to us. It’s what defines us. We have to ensure our reefs and corals remain to provide a healthy ecosystem and continue to create a food source for our people.
Dalton Tagelagi, Premier of Niue