Even at age 94, Jimmy Carter's still an eco-warrior. Trump should pay attention.

Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, the small, rural town of Plains, Georgia, just reached quite the benchmark: It now gets 50% of its energy from solar power.

Sure, it's a very small town — "We have about 215 households, 700 or so people, in Plains," resident Jill Stuckey told the Associated Press — but it's still an impressive feat.

Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images.


Carter leased 10 acres of his own land in his hometown to build a solar farm, a project that was completed in February.

"In the solar industry, a lot of the folks that I know think of him as kind of the father of the solar industry," said Stuckey, who is a friend of Carter's. "And to have these panels in Plains today that will create more than half the energy that we utilize here in Plains is just really wonderful for us."

On top of his gift in Plains, last month the Carter family also provided 324 solar panels to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.

Carter's commitment to clean energy began a long, long time ago.

On June 20, 1979, Carter's administration installed 32 solar panels on the roof of the White House to harvest renewable energy at the president's residence, according to Scientific American.  

It wasn't just a symbolic move, either. As Carter declared in a speech that day:

"A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people."

In a message to Congress the same day of his speech, Carter laid out his plans to overhaul America's energy systems. By the year 2020, he envisioned, at least 20% of the energy used in the U.S. would come from renewable sources.

Spoiler alert: We definitely didn't reach that goal. Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, played a big role in sending us backward on environmental policy throughout the 1980s.

Carter's hopes of a sustainable 21st-century America took another hit in the 2016 election.

President Trump, as you may have noticed, isn't exactly known for hugging trees.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

So far, Trump has handed over the Environmental Protection Agency to Scott Pruitt, who's turned "the EPA into a supine lap dog" for the oil and gas industry, as David Horse eloquently put it in the L.A. Times. Trump, Bloomberg reported on July 13, also wants to invest in coal-fire power plants using money that's currently allocated to the United Nations to help countries hit hardest by climate change.

In June, to the dismay of millions around the world, Trump pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement — a global effort to curb the effects of global warming. Now, America is one of just three countries (the others being Syria and Nicaragua) that aren't signed on to reach target emissions goals.

In terms of energy policy, it seems like Trump is a far better fit to lead in, say ... the early 1970s.

The good news is, America's energy future won't be decided by a single presidency.

One administration can push us forward or set us back in significant ways, to be sure. But it's on us to keep up the fight — regardless of who's in the Oval Office.

After all, you don't need to be a president to make a difference, as Carter would tell you.

Photo by Steve Schaefer/AFP/Getty Images.

"I think symbolically — like those panels on the White House [in 1979] — this little unit in Plains will be very beneficial," Carter told the AP. "It shows what a small town can do, what one farmer can do."

Watch President Carter's interview below:

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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