UN says healthy environment is a human right. How about a home address?

Sometimes people encourage home and a healthy environment not only for others but also for animals, as seen in the comeback of locally extinct land iguanas to a part of the Galápagos Islands. 

1. Ecuador

Land iguanas are once again breeding on Santiago Island after 187 years of local extinction. When Charles Darwin explored the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador in 1835, he recorded an abundance of land iguanas. By the early 1900s, these lizards had vanished from Santiago Island, likely due to the interference of introduced species such as feral pigs, goats, and donkeys.

Why We Wrote This

Our progress roundup highlights disadvantages that some people live with every day and how to minimize them – including what it means for residents of informal settlements in India to receive their first-ever home address.

Authorities at the Galápagos National Park reintroduced land iguanas to Santiago in 2019 after removing the large invasive animals from the island. They’ve since released 3,000 of the lizards, known as an engineer species that helps maintain a balanced ecosystem, into the wild. Last month, park rangers discovered a new crop of land iguanas of varying ages, evidence that the experiment worked. Scientists say the project offers an encouraging model of addressing ecosystem imbalance at its source.
Source: NPR

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File

A land iguana perches on a rock in the Galápagos archipelago.

2. United States

The last unpardoned victim of the Salem witch trials has been exonerated. Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was one of over 200 women from around Salem, Massachusetts, accused by Puritans of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693. The General Court declared the trials unlawful by 1702, and in 1711, the rights and “good names” of most of the women were restored. But without descendants to press the cause, Ms. Johnson was the only one whose name was not officially cleared.

Carrie LaPierre, a local eighth grade civics teacher, rallied for three years with students to put the final nail in the coffin of the trials, which historians say were rooted in collective religious paranoia. The project helped her students learn about research methods, state legislation, how to contact a lawmaker – and the importance of acceptance. “It’s something we talk a lot about: identity and stereotypes and respecting people who are different than you,” said Ms. LaPierre.

Karla Hailer takes a video at the site in Salem, Massachusetts, where five women were hanged over three centuries ago.

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio added the amendment pardoning Ms. Johnson to the state budget, signed last month. “These students have set an incredible example of the power of advocacy and speaking up for others who don’t have a voice,” she said.
Source: The New York Times

3. India

Residents of informal housing in India are getting home addresses for the first time. Without a street address, it can be hard for the country’s slum households – more than one-third of the population – to do things like sign up for a bank account or the internet, register to vote, or order items online.


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