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:

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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