Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
Historically, Toronto’s Don River has been treated as a kind of sacrifice zone: a longtime dumping spot for local industry and, at one point, even raw sewage. An environmental organization went so far as to hold a funeral for the waterway in 1969. But today, the river is alive and well — or at least well on its way.
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Building on decades of grassroots efforts, the city has invested more than $1 billion Canadian (US $741,000,000) in the river’s restoration, including the creation of coastal wetlands and returning the human-straightened stream to a more natural, curving course. Moreover, a new tunnel will stop sewage from overflowing into the river, which will make a huge difference in water quality.
“We want to see the Don River swimmable,” said Sameer Dhalla, the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority’s director of development and engineering services. “We want to see that the fish are healthy and even edible.”
Since 2021, the Bridge Project has been providing no-strings cash to new mothers in northern Manhattan. This pilot program is now set to become permanent — and to spread elsewhere in New York City and Rochester, New York — making it the first guaranteed income program in the US intended to continue indefinitely.
Via a monthly debit card, participants receive $1,000 a month for 18 months, then $500 a month for another 18 months. The idea is that making life easier for the baby’s first 1,000 days will help families build more stability long-term.
“The simple question of: Could this actually alleviate child poverty? Could it lead towards better outcomes for children? The answer is very clearly, yes,” said Megha Agarwal, the project’s co-founder and executive director.
A treaty freebie
In 1987, the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol banned close to 100 chemicals that were eating away at the Earth’s ozone layer. This was good news, of course — and it turns out its goodness went beyond just the ozone: Because the banned substances contribute to global warming, according to a new report, the Montreal Protocol inadvertently prevented 1 °C of warming by 2050.
Of course, there’s plenty more work to be done to continue to fight climate change, but as Susann Tegtmeier, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Saskatchewan, put it, this is “a very welcome and very positive side effect” of a decades-old treaty. We’ll take it.