Points of Progress: Ivan Golunov, air pollution, and more

Pavel Golovkin/AP
Russian journalist Ivan Golunov cries as he leaves a federal Investigative Committee building in Moscow after Russian police dropped all charges against him on June 11.

Russia

Russian authorities backed down after a public outcry about freedom of the press. Ivan Golunov was investigating corruption within the funeral business when he was arrested for alleged drug dealing on June 7. State-owned and independent media alike spoke out – three newspapers published “I/We are Ivan Golunov” on their front pages. Russian journalists set up pickets and celebrities recorded supportive videos. Journalists rallied worldwide and signed a petition to free Mr. Golunov. Within a week, he was released and criminal charges were dropped. (CNN)

United States

Why We Wrote This

This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to inspire you.

Since New York enacted clean-air taxi legislation in 2004, air pollution associated with the taxi industry has abated. An analysis by Columbia and Drexel universities has found that taxi fuel efficiency more than doubled since 2004. As a result, the two major sources of air pollution have substantially decreased: nitrous oxide emissions by 82% and particulate exhaust emissions by 49%. Researchers conclude that air pollution legislation is effective in improving urban air quality. (Columbia University)

Ghana

College-educated millennials are challenging the stigma of farming. In Ghana, farming is synonymous with poverty, and the farmer population is growing older. But younger individuals are entering the field with a different approach; “agripreneurs” incorporate data and scientific research to increase yields and, they hope, profits. Africa contains 65% of the world’s arable but uncultivated land, and yet $35 billion worth of food is still imported annually. Agripreneurs see their college degrees as an opportunity to reduce imports and find solutions to problems that have plagued the industry. Farming tech startups across Africa increased substantially over the past few years, according to a report by Disrupt Africa. Since becoming president in 2017, Nana Akufo-Addo has focused on the agricultural sector, encouraging younger farmers and deploying more than 2,700 educators on motorbikes to teach farmers about sustainable practices to improve climate change resiliency. (The New York Times)

Netherlands

Women in soccer are getting a pay raise. In June, the Royal Dutch Football Association announced that women’s team salaries will increase incrementally until women are paid the same as men by 2023. Australia has also announced that professional women footballers will receive an equal hourly rate, resulting in a 33% increase. Despite being reigning World Cup champions, the U.S. women’s team has not had as much success with payment. In March, the team filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for “purposeful gender discrimination.” But women are gaining ground in this year’s World Cup, with prize money doubling to $30 million since the previous tournament in 2015. This still pales in comparison with the $400 million in prize money that men’s teams shared in the 2018 World Cup. (Yahoo Sports)

AP
Dutch players celebrate their 1-0 win over New Zealand in a FIFA Women’s World Cup match in Le Havre, France, on June 11.

Canada

Whales, porpoises, and dolphins can no longer be taken into captivity under a bill passed by Parliament. Lawmakers called the move a “moral obligation.” Animal rights activists have long criticized the confining spaces of tanks; many also see the treatment of the animals during training as abuse. The new law does not apply to animals already in captivity, and animals can be kept for rehabilitation and licensed scientific research. (NPR)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.