We’re highlighting more novelties this week, including a new initiative from two online booksellers to help authors make money selling their titles as used books.
1. United States
The US Senate has confirmed the first Muslim US federal judge in the country’s history. Zahid Quraishi was upheld by the US District Court for New Jersey on June 10 with 81 votes to 16. He was one of President Joe Biden’s earliest candidates to fill vacant judicial posts and is the son of Pakistani immigrants.
Why we wrote that
Our progress summary includes both legal and collaborative means to an end. In Israel, the sale of fashion fur is prohibited by law. In Jamaica’s Oracabessa Bay, fishermen working with conservationists are key to improving the health of the ecosystem.
The Rutgers Law School graduate also completed two tours of Iraq after September 11, and later became the first Asian American to sit on the federal bank in New Jersey when he was appointed US magistrate. “He is a role model for the outstanding contributions that Pakistani and Muslim Americans make to this country every day,” said Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, Chairman of the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee. “We are grateful to President Biden for his nomination and to the members of the Senate for his endorsement.”
A unique fish sanctuary improves Jamaica’s coastal health and proves that partnership with the community is key to marine conservation. Bottom eaters like the parrot fish help clean algae from coral reefs, and healthy reefs in turn provide shelter for fish, mitigate coastal erosion, and help maintain healthy oceans. Overfishing of these species creates a ripple effect that threatens the island’s tourism industry and coastal communities as fishermen are forced to dive and look further out to sea to catch fish.
To solve this dilemma, a group of fishermen teamed up with the GoldenEye Foundation in 2011 to create a fish-free zone on the north coast of Jamaica. Today, 18 people work for the Oracabessa Bay Fishing Sanctuary and all decisions are made through the Oracabessa Bay Marine Trust, which is 50% fishermen and 50% board members from the GoldenEye Foundation. Herbivorous fish populations reportedly reached 6,792 g / 100 m2 in 2020, up from 1,192 g / 100 m2 in 2013. The project will continue its work of protecting fish while replanting corals and releasing sea turtles into the ocean. Its success has inspired other conservation groups, and the Oracabessa Bay Fishing Sanctuary is currently working to roll out its management model to four other coastal areas in Jamaica.
3. United Kingdom
Leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, have pledged to plant 18 million trees across the city – roughly 10 trees for each resident – in one of the UK’s most ambitious reforestation initiatives. Reforestation is seen as a key strategy in mitigating climate change, as healthy tree cover helps slow down erosion, promote biodiversity and absorb CO2 emissions. Today Glasgow has approximately 71,000 acres of fragmented deciduous forest. The Clyde Climate Forest project aims to expand and connect these areas and increase the total urban forest area from 17% to 20%. The commitment comes as the city prepares to host the United Nations Climate Change Summit COP26 in November.
Jeff F. Mitchell / Reuters / File
Eight local councils have approved the initiative, funded in part by a Â£ 400,000 ($ 560,000) grant from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund. Trees are planted on vacant land, on former coal mines, and along city streets and parks to cool these neighborhoods. The organizers are calling on their communities to identify new locations or areas where trees have been lost and to participate in the planting.
Glasgow Live, The Guardian
Israel became the first country to ban the sale of fur in the fashion industry. The change, hailed as a historic milestone by animal rights activists, went into effect in June and will come into effect in December. “The use of skin and fur from wild animals for the fashion industry is immoral and certainly unnecessary,” said then Environment Minister Gila Gamliel in a statement. “Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market greener and more animal-friendly.”
Other governments have taken measures to restrict the fur industry. The UK was the first country to ban fur farming in 2003, and many European countries followed suit, although the sale of imported fur is still legal. In 2019, California banned the sale of fashion fur with a few exceptions. Israel will allow the sale of furs for “scientific research, education or teaching, as well as for religious purposes or tradition.”
The Jerusalem Post, Jewish News Syndicate
Rural counties in Kenya are improving hygiene by retrofitting latrines with safe toilets. A 2014 national survey found that 66% of rural Kenyans used either open pit latrines or an open field or bush, a number that corresponds to a global estimate of around 6 in 10 people who have access to adequate sanitation remains a challenge. Only 24% of Kenyan villages are certified as defecation free – a key factor in better sanitation. To improve hygiene, several counties turn to SATO products, which are developed through nonprofit funds and supported by the United States Agency for International Development.
The self-sealing plastic molds are available in three versions and can be embedded in a concrete base around each open latrine. You rinse with just 1 to 4 cups of water, which opens a weighted flap at the bottom of the pan. SATO covers reduce odors, prevent insects from entering or leaving the pit, and improve safety for children and others who use the toilet at night. The toilets are distributed by community health volunteers and cost between $ 6 and $ 12 plus the cost of masonry for proper installation. Siayu County residents have purchased more than 60,000 SATO products to date, and the local health services director says the county is working to install toilets in early childhood development centers and health facilities.
Science Africa, Innovate4Health
Thanks to a new collaboration between author organizations and online booksellers, writers can make money selling used books for the first time. Studies show the average income of full-time writers has been falling for years, and according to research by the Society of Authors, the pandemic has exacerbated the trend. The used book market is now growing.
A new program called AuthorSHARE is attempting to address this difference by ensuring that authors receive royalties for selling their second-hand books with World of Books or Bookbarn International. The retailers will track and share sales information with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, which has more than 112,000 members in 105 countries. The group will then match sales with their membership database and pay the authors out of a Â£ 200,000 ($ 280,000) licensing fund that is expected to grow over the coming years. Author payments are currently capped at Â£ 1,000. âThe value of a book is beyond the value of the paper on which it is printed. So it’s great to see original creators get some benefit when their work finds a new reader, âsaid novelist Joanne Harris.