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Animal crossings, and different networks for extra security


Along with everyday road safety and emergency preparedness, we look at improved quality of life for LGBTQ people in Chile and formerly incarcerated Nigerians. 

1. Canada

Wildlife crossings in Canada’s Banff National Park are inspiring transportation authorities to build animal-friendly roadways elsewhere. In the early 1980s, the Trans-Canada Highway running through the country’s oldest national park averaged about 100 elk-vehicle collisions annually. The once-infamous roadway now boasts the highest density of animal crossings in the world, with at least 38 underpasses and six overpasses, and has served as a proving ground for the conservation strategy. “There was just a lot of skepticism from biologists,” said Tony Clevenger, a senior wildlife research scientist at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University in the United States, who was asked to monitor these structures by the Canadian government. “But our data showed the wildlife crossing measures were highly effective.”

Why We Wrote This

Both special construction projects and better planning have saved lives. In Canada, a busy highway features pathways that protect animals and people alike. And in Bangladesh, cyclone preparation includes layers of warnings and the personnel to staff the effort.

His team proved not only that these bridges and tunnels reduced deer collisions by 86%, but also that the structures allowed otherwise isolated bear populations to breed. The Banff project has informed animal crossing projects in other countries, including the U.S. and Costa Rica.
Mongabay

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File

Drivers pass under a wildlife corridor in Banff National Park in Alberta in July 2019. These structures allow wildlife to traverse the park and avoid contact with vehicles.

2. Chile

Chile has legalized same-sex marriage, making it the eighth Latin American country to embrace marriage equality. Both congressional houses voted by an overwhelming majority to approve the measure, which was quickly signed into law by President Sebastián Piñera, a center-right leader whose term ends in March and who once opposed the legislation. He changed his position this past summer, stating, “The time has come to guarantee that freedom and that dignity to all people.”

Same-sex couples have been able to form civil unions in Chile since 2015, but now they can enjoy equal spousal benefits and adoption rights as married couples. The bill, which was first introduced in 2017, reflects a shift in opinion on LGBTQ issues. Most Chileans now support same-sex marriage.
NPR, Al Jazeera

Rafael Teran (left) and his boyfriend, Cristian Garcia, take a selfie in front of the La Moneda presidential palace after lawmakers approved legislation legalizing marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, in Santiago, Chile.

3. Nigeria

An organization in Nigeria is working to lower recidivism with job training and support. In Nigeria the rate at which formerly incarcerated people return to prison jumped from 35% in 2007 to 50% in 2019. Dream Again, which began as a small effort to bring libraries to correctional centers throughout the country, prepares those behind bars for reentry into society. With five staff members and eight volunteers, the group works with prison authorities to coordinate its “Rethink, Reform, and Re-enter” program. Phase one focuses on mentally and emotionally supporting incarcerated people, phase two is about job skills training, and phase three involves material support for newly released participants.

To date, Dream Again has worked with 2,000 individuals in six prisons across Nigeria. One participant, Emmanuel Kusa, says the group helped him start his own soap-making business after he struggled to find work outside prison. “I am so happy bearing in mind my one-year stay in prison was not in vain,” said Mr. Kusa. “I see it as going there to learn.”
Prime Progress

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