Social and economic inequality still runs rampant in many American cities in the U.S today. Predominantly white areas of cities have the luxury of nice recreational parks, vegetation, and other amenities that minority groups, such communities of color, don’t benefit from as often. Black and Brown residents usually get the short end of the stick in that department.
What We Know:
- According to a report from the New York Times, officials in Denver, Colorado are working to better that historical inequity in what could prove to be a solid outline for many other cities to follow. The Mile High City is only one example for others around the country that is launching this noble attempt to bring greater unity and equality.
- Funding for the project was made possible by an environmental tax which boosted the city’s budget up tens of millions of dollars. The initiative plans on purchasing land for new parks, repairing playgrounds, constructing new recreation centers, and planting new trees where it’s deemed fit.
- They hope to correct decades of uneven planning by the city and do their part to help fight climate change. By adding vast amounts of new green space, researchers concluded it can significantly help residents cope with rising heat and brings all sorts of other benefits. Some of those benefits would be filtering air pollution and increasing resident’s mental health.
“Trees are a lifesaving device in cities, especially in a warming climate,” said Jad Daley, president of American Forests, a nonprofit conservation group. “It’s a moral imperative that every neighborhood has them.”
- There have been instances where similar attempts in other cities have faced opposition in the past. The expansion of green space usually meets resistance from low-income neighborhoods. The common mentality for these residents is that they worry they’ll get stuck being the ones having to deal with the costs of maintaining the trees or desire city officials to redirect their attention to matters that are of greater importance.
- Detroit, Michigan had a solid tree-planting initiative in 2014 but was unfortunately rejected by a majority of the residents consulted, due to the fact they weren’t made aware of the project beforehand. Later in 2017, another initiative rose named “10,000 UP” and was put into effect. It planned on planting approximately ten thousand trees, hence the name, for three years since the start of the plan and has seen some positive results.
The reincarnation of that project proved that interest in projects like these existed, given proper planning. So it’s not hard to see why residents of Denver are slowly showing similar signs of optimism for the future. Since the environmental tax did eventually raise millions for funding, experts say the city’s equity focus is a substantial move in the right direction and a great example for all.
Naomi Osaka Withdraws from Wimbledon
What We Know:
- Osaka’s agent broke the news to ESPN in a statement. It declares that Osaka intends on “taking some personal time with friends and family.” Despite this, she will compete in next month’s Tokyo Olympics; she will represent Japan, her native country.
- Many already began to speculate she would not compete after she pulled out of the Berlin WTA 5000 grass-court tournament.
- The tennis competition’s official Twitter showed their support via a post. They wished her the best at the Olympics and hoped for her return next year.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 17, 2021
- Osaka became an icon after her 2018 U.S. Open win in which she defeated Serena Williams. Since then, she revealed she struggled with anxiety and depression while adjusting to her newfound fame.
- She became so overwhelmed with the limelight that she found it hard to do press conferences. This issue caused an uproar last month when she chose not to participate in any media events. The French Open officials disliked her decision and fined her $15,000. She responded by taking herself out of the competition; she also explained her choice in a tweet.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
- Her candidness garnered support across every sport. Athletes who applauded her include Kyrie Irving, Venus Williams, Coco Gauff, Lewis Hamilton, and more. It also raised conversation as to whether or not athletes should choose to speak with the press after events.
Osaka is not the only tennis champ withdrawing from Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal removed himself from the tournament last week as well; in a series of tweets, he wrote that after listening to his body, he determined he should sit out the games this year. He declared this would help him prolong his career.
Olympians Must ‘Avoid Unnecessary Forms of Contact’ During Games
Athletes participating in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics must avoid anything that may provoke another COVID-19 wave across Japan, including engaging in sexual activities.
What We Know:
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continuously emphasized last week that Olympic village citizens must observe social distancing guidelines. If someone does not obey the rules, they may face fines, disqualification, or deportation. After the information’s release, Japanese organizers began wondering if this meant they cannot distribute their 160,000 condoms throughout the village.
- The issuing out of contraception became a tradition in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Officials wanted to motivate Olympians in the village to practice safe sex. Oftentimes, athletes tend to sleep with each other, or with natives.
- Several companies and people expressed their concern over the new rules. Mountaineer Ken Noguchi said he “could not comprehend” why organizers can’t just hand out the condoms and ask the owners to “keep them under wraps”. Alongside this, four Japanese condom manufacturers expected to market their “specialty, ultra-thin” prophylactics; the contraceptives, made of polyurethane, are meant to heighten the pleasure of sex.
- In light of the IOC’s declaration, Tokyo Olympics organizers stated they do not intend on passing out condoms for use inside the village. Rather, they want athletes to take the contraceptives home as a souvenir. Organizers claim that athletes can return to their nations and raise awareness on HIV and AIDS with the condoms.
- The IOC’s warning stands despite the fact that 80% of Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be fully vaccinated by the time the games start on July 23. Additionally, officials placed extreme measures on athletes’ interactions outside of competitions. For example, although organizers intended on providing meals in “vast dining halls,” participants must now eat and sleep alone.
The IOC and Japan intend on minimizing any possible damage to the host country. Recently, Japan curbed its coronavirus rate and dropped restrictions. Japanese officials also ensured they will take precautions if numbers jump during the Olympics; this includes putting their state of emergency back into effect in the middle of the Games.
Shenzhou-12: China Sending First Crew to New Space Station For Three Months
The Shenzhou-12 mission to the new Chinese space station brings three astronauts into orbit.
What We Know:
- The rocket, Long March-2F, made its 15th flight on Thursday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, sending the Shenzhou spacecraft and astronauts into orbit. Nine minutes and forty seconds after liftoff, the rocket separated from Shenzhou.
- China’s previous six Shenzhou missions ran from 2003 to 2016, none of which contained astronauts. Thursday’s blastoff is Shenzhou’s seventh piloted mission set for three months in space.
- The core space module, named Heavenly Harmony, launched on April 29th. This module received supplies and equipment from an unpiloted cargo ship at the end of May. Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo plan to arrange the module for living, then run diagnostic tests on technology and experiment. Experimentation with solar panels has proven successful so far, with solar panels unfolding functionally and providing power to the space station.
- The Chinese Space Station is distinct from International Space Station built by the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency. Although smaller, it shares similar objectives: international research and technological development. China is excluded from the International Space Station due to the 2011 Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. This act set rules and funding for defense and other U.S. government agencies for the year and following years. In section 1340 of the act, it states that NASA cannot use division funds to collaborate with China unless a specific law permits it.
- The hub of the Chinese Space Station, called Tianhe, contains crew quarters, communication systems, life support technology, an airlock, and spacecraft control panels. If the Shenzhou-12 mission is a success, China plans to send two more docking modules later this year to complete the space station.
- Ji Qiming, assistant director of the China Manned Space Agency, explained intentions of sharing space as a forum for exploration. “Outer space is the commonwealth of people all over the world, and exploring the universe is the shared cause of all mankind…We are willing to carry out international cooperation and exchanges with all countries and regions worldwide that are committed to the peaceful use of outer space.”
Successfully executing the fully automated Shenzhou-12 mission tests technology, programming, and ultimately, science.
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