Points of Progress: Tech halts poaching, garment workers get raise, and more

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An African elephant stands in Liwonde National Park, Malawi. The park is using technology to stop poaching.

Malawi

At Liwonde National Park, a new tool is preventing poaching. Created after an elephant census discovered that nearly a third of the continent’s elephants were killed between 2007 and 2014, EarthRanger can predict locations where poachers are likely to strike next. Poacher cams use algorithms to distinguish human movement and send pictures with GPS coordinates to EarthRanger and park staff. In the two years that EarthRanger has been building and using its database, poaching in Liwonde has drastically dropped. In an interview with NPR, an EarthRanger designer predicts that within two years technological improvements will help the park stop poachers before they can even fire a shot. (NPR)

Cambodia

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.

In January, workers in Cambodia’s largest export industry will get a pay raise. Clothing and footwear workers are scheduled to receive a 4.4% raise from $182 to $190 a month. The industry employs 800,000 people in about 1,000 garment and shoe factories across the country. Negotiations among the union, workers, and the government brought about the raise. The European Union continues to monitor Cambodia for human and labor rights violations. Cambodia is one of a number of developing nations that has a deal with the EU for access to its markets. In 2018, Cambodia shipped nearly $10 billion worth of products to the United States and Europe. (The Associated Press)

Australia

Starting next year, the country’s capital will be powered by 100% renewable energy. Canberra will be the first city outside Europe to achieve this milestone. Also, the Northern Territory has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced criticism, however, for his stance on climate change; observers say more must be done to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Mr. Morrison did not participate in this year’s Climate Action Summit during the United Nations General Assembly. (The Australia Institute)

Reuters/File
Wind farms are located on the hills surrounding Lake George, north of the Australian capital city of Canberra.

Gabon

Norway is giving Gabon $150 million to protect its rainforests. Gabon has 90% forest coverage and contains 12% of the world’s second-largest rainforest. It’s also home to more than half the continent’s forest elephants. For almost 20 years, the country has taken steps to preserve its natural resources by creating more than a dozen national parks. This United Nations-led partnership with Norway will further Gabon’s efforts. The national forest minister says the government will be able to create more jobs while preserving natural resources. (Africa News)

United States

For the first time, New York’s 136-year-old Metropolitan Opera will stage an opera written by a black composer. Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” will debut in an upcoming season. The opera is based on a memoir written by a black journalist. The Met’s general mana­ger told a reporter for The New York Times that they are looking to improve their diversity of voices. (The New York Times)

AP
Terence Blanchard will be the first black composer to have his opera staged at the Met.

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