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:

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."