The first week of July is notorious in North America for massive displays of patriotism with July 1st in Canada and July 4th in the U.S. While many decided to abstain from celebrating this year either due to pandemic reasons or the messy history of both these countries, there are other reasons we should celebrate this week!
1. On June 15th, a 6-3 ruling in the Supreme Court banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This an overdue piece of news that should have been included in the last Sunny Sunday, but alas. Similar policies are already ubiquitous in many U.S. workplaces; however, the ruling creates a standard in the country that no member of the LGBTQ community can be fired due to their sexual orientation. It is important to note that this ruling was made in a majority conservative court and demonstrates a shift towards more progressive ideology for the party.
2. Germany announced a new policy banning single-use plastic and Styrofoam that will be implemented on July 3rd, 2021
In efforts to ditch ‘throw-away culture’, the country has banned many single-use plastics such as straws, Styrofoam cups, plastic cups, plates, etc. This comes after record-high plastic waste numbers in 2017.
3. On July 4th, Ontario saw just 121 new COVID-19 cases, a 5-day low since June 26th where the province saw just 111 new cases.
In the past week, Ontario has experienced just 2 days with more than 200 COVID-19 cases. While these are record low numbers, we are nowhere near out of the woods yet. Individuals should still practice social distancing, wear masks when in public areas and avoid gathering in large groups. Ontario may move towards loosening regulations, however, this does not suggest that we should once again do as we please. Don’t ditch your good cautionary pandemic practices!! Stay safe and stay healthy!
4. Italy and New York saw record low COVID-19 cases with each region reporting single digit deaths for the first time since February.
In the early days of the pandemic, these regions saw devastating case numbers which led to overflowing ICUs, massive death tolls, and strict quarantine regulations. After months of battling the virus, they have come out victorious, reaching record low numbers. Their fight is not over however, and they will have to remain on high alert for months to come.
5. NASA names their Washington, D.C. headquarters after the first black female engineer, Mary W. Jackson.
Jackson’s story was told in 2016’s Hidden Figures which depicted the racial discrimination she and many of her co-workers faced at NASA in the 60s. She was an integral figure in America’s space race whose role was over-looked for decades. Despite having passed away in 2005, she is finally gaining the recognition she deserves and will forever be memorialized at NASA’s Washington headquarters. This is a step in the right direction for the company in recognizing their mistakes and mending relationships.
6. The Italian coastguard managed to free a sperm whale from a large fishing net earlier this week, likely saving its life.
This is a feel-good story if there ever was one! The Italian coast guard helped a sperm whale escape inevitable death this week after detangling its tale from a fishing net. While this whale is free to keep swimming many other marine animals are not so lucky. This is an important reminder that plastic waste and careless fishing practices kill marine life and we should all be weary of how/what we consume and the impact we leave on our planet.
CBC. (2020, July 4). Ontario reports 121 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, lowest in more than a week. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-ontario-july-4-2020-1.5637728
Corbley, A. (2020, July 3). Once the epicenters for COVID-19, New York and Italy reach single digit numbers. Good News Network. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/new-york-and-italy-reach-single-digit-daily-case-numbers/
Corbley, A. (2020, July 4). In a victory for the environment Germany bans single-use plastic and Styrofoam. Good News Network. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/in-a-victory-for-the-environment-germany-bans-single-use-plastic-and-styrofoam/
DW. (2020, June 24). Germany bans single-use plastic paper. https://www.dw.com/en/germany-bans-single-use-plastic-products/a-53932107
Euronews. (2020, June 29). Entangled sperm whale liberated from fishing net by Italian Coastguard. https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/29/entangled-sperm-whale-freed-by-italian-coastguard-from-illegal-nets-off-aeolian-islands
Hesel, P. (2020, June 25). NASA names D.C. headquarters for ‘Hidden Figure’ Marry W. Jackson, first black woman engineer at agency. Today. https://www.today.com/news/nasa-names-d-c-headquarters-hidden-figure-mary-w-jackson-t185138
Nagele-Piazza, L. (2020, June 17). LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace: Updating policies and training. SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/lgbtq-inclusion-in-the-workplace-updating-policies-and-training.aspx