Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
Marriage in China is at a crossroads. More young people than ever are choosing to remain single, pushing the country’s marriage rate down by some 40 percent in seven years. Yet Chinese laws still strongly encourage marriage — single people in China can’t adopt children, claim maternity benefits, or even easily buy a home in some cities.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that support groups are popping up for the millions of Chinese men and women who have vowed to stay single for life. Online havens like Huddling Group host hundreds of members who share tips on everything from dealing with stigma to navigating a legal system that discriminates against them. A report in Sixth Tone says these groups add up to a de facto “singles rights movement,” with members organizing for increased visibility and slowly winning public support. In one case, when a young single woman who was barred from freezing her eggs sued the hospital, a survey found 84 percent of respondents took her side.
“The best thing about this community is that when you express your concerns and worries about life, no one will pop up and tell you, ‘Go get married and everything will be fine,’” said one single.
Sea of tranquility
There’s an underwater idyll off the coast of New York that’s home to an immense array of colorful aquatic life including whales, turtles, sharks and corals — and its fate is now in our hands.
Known as Hudson Canyon, this ecologically diverse submarine trench could soon become the newest US marine sanctuary, a protected underwater area similar to a national park. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has the power to protect areas of the ocean, wants the public’s input on everything from what it might be called to where the proposed sanctuary’s boundaries should lie.
Achieving protected status would help the ancient chasm conserve its vital marine habitats, promote sustainable economic activities and create new scientific research opportunities. But the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which nominated Hudson Canyon for sanctuary status, hopes the federal government will go one step further and permanently close the area to oil, gas and mineral development. “We want to make sure we’re protecting it for the future,” said John Calvelli, WCS’s executive vice president for public affairs.
Hygiene poverty is real, and not just for people experiencing homelessness. Studies have shown that for students, limited access to clean clothes promotes absenteeism, which can lead lower literacy rates and higher dropout rates.
So, when Pastor Leo Robinson of North Flint’s Good Church realized the nearest laundromat was four miles from his community, he built an affordable laundry facility right in his church’s basement. Now, students from the local school get their clothes washed there on a regular basis, and school administrators say it’s making a difference.
“One counselor said that she takes kids’ clothes home herself to wash them,” Robinson told Flint Beat. “So I know it’s a big deal.”